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A TRUE MOTHER WARRIOR

10 May

Today is Mother’s Day, so I wanted to start out by wishing my own mom a Happy Mother’s Day (I will be seeing her later tonight).

Over the years, my mom has been my rock many times. She is an extremely strong woman who, no matter what hand she is dealt in life, always comes up swinging. She would do anything for me and has always been nothing less than supportive, loving, caring and nurturing. Her love is unconditional and she has truly shaped who I am today by her kindness. Thank you mom and I love you very much.

I thought it was also important to share my thoughts on one celebrity mom who has made an impact on me and whose fierce determination to heal her son continues to amaze me. While I do not have children myself, I can only imagine what she has gone through and what she has had to do to demand the attention of doctor’s and of those who have been against her and tried to knock her down time and time again.

I am talking about Jenny McCarthy.

jmccarthy320

Years ago, if someone said the name Jenny McCarthy to me, I automatically thought … Playboy model and comedic actress who appeared in spoofs like Scary Movie 3. But these days, she is much, much more than that. Her most esteemed role to date is that of mother to her son Evan.  McCarthy gave birth to Evan in May of 2002. His father was her then husband, director John Mallory Asher.

In 2005, after a series of unexplained seizures, Evan was diagnosed with Autism. McCarthy “died in that moment…” but remembers her motherly instincts telling her that the doctor’s diagnosis was right.

From that moment on, McCarthy, once known for her risqué demeanor and her off-color sense-of-humor, became a voice for all parents with autistic children. Most of the mothers, like her, were silenced, made to feel like they were crazy, even by their own pediatricians. They were called ignorant and some were even accused of CAUSING their child’s Autism due to their own negligence.

The nature of McCarthy’s beliefs has been and remains to be an extremely controversial topic. She, along with thousands of others, believes that cocktail (one-size-fits-all) vaccinations have something to do with the onset of Autism in children. She also believes that a Gluten-free and Casein-free diet, plus biomedical treatments such as oxygen therapy and metals detoxification can help kids who suffer from Autism (Many of these treatments are very costly, but what shocked me the most was that insurance does not cover any of them!). Essentially, McCarthy does not say that Autism is curable, but does believe that kids with Autism can RECOVER. There are, of course, many critics, along with the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) who staunchly disagree with these theories.

Here’s an excerpt from her book Mother Warriors that I found to be extremely powerful:

Imagine watching your child climb up a flight of stairs. He slips on a stair and cuts his knee open and begins gushing blood. The cuts are deep and you immediately wash away the blood, wrap up the knee and head to the hospital. Once you get there, the doctor asks what happened. You reply, “He climbed up some stairs and fell and got hurt.”

Now imagine the doctor telling you it’s not possible that your child got hurt from the stairs. “But I saw him climb stairs and fall and I saw his knee split open,” you explain. Again the doctor says “It’s not possible.”

And you repeat “But I saw it happen!”

Then the doctor tells you that climbing the stairs is safe. But you know what you saw with your own eyes and so you insist, “But obviously sometimes it’s NOT safe. Look at my child. I saw him get hurt!” The doctor just keeps shaking his head and denies that stairs could ever harm a child.

This is how black and white it is for us moms who have children with Autism. We had healthy beautiful children who climbed upstairs perfectly until one stair caused them to fall. We have witnessed the neurological downfall of our children after certain vaccinations, but when we tell the doctors what we saw, they don’t believe us. Can you imagine how frustrating this is?

Let’s take the stair scenario a step further. After the doctor rejects your claims, you decide to treat the wound yourself. You learn about natural and alternative treatments, which you try out, and your child’s knee heals to the point where you can barely see any marks. Now imagine you go to the doctor for a follow-up visit and this time you see a different doctor. The doctor looks at your child’s knee strangely and says, “This must be the wrong knee.” You explain, “No, this is the knee that split open.” The doctor says, “It can’t be, because it healed up. There is no way an injury like that could heal. The hospital must have mistaken the severity of the wound.”

You reply, “No doctor, I healed the wound myself by cleaning it out and treating my child with natural remedies.” The doctor then looks at you strangely. He begins to laugh at you and tells you your son never really had an open wound to begin with. You stand there with your mouth open. “Yes, he did, doctor. Take a look at the medical records. He was seen in YOUR hospital!” The doctor replies, “It must have been a mistake on his records. He never had a wound here.”

This is exactly how it is when a child with Autism gets better. No one believes he had anything wrong with him to begin with. People think these recovered children were misdiagnosed. The reason recovery is controversial is because we are healing these kids by treating the injuries caused by the vaccines or the environmental toxins rather than the Autism itself. When we treat these things, the symptoms of the Autism get better. The medical community is terrified to come within ten feet of detoxing metals out of these kids because it will point the finger directly at what everyone is so scared to admit. Vaccines CAN trigger Autism.

There are two controversies about Autism: first, the causes, and second, whether a child can recover. A battle is raging in the medical community, but there is a growing army of mothers who are fighting for their children and witnessing recovery firsthand. Imagine a world in which we are all fighting on the same side to help make children with Autism better. The time to unite is now.

Mother Warriors

Jenny McCarthy’s Autism organization is called GENERATION RESCUE. It is a parent-run charitable organization that supports and educates families in need and funds leading scientific research.

Defeat Autism Now! (DAN!) is another great organization

AN AUDITION WORTHY OF ACCOLADES

2 May

I recently finished devouring the touching and awe-inspiring memoir written by Barbara Walters called Audition.

In this heartfelt tale, Walters truly gives readers a brutally honest glimpse

Audition

Audition

into her roller-coaster ride and, at times, tumultuous life. She takes us through years of network rivalries, sexism in the workplace, her rise from glorified coffee fetcher to “Today Show” co-host, and a family life which was not always smooth sailing. The iconic TV personality reveals her insecurities, which eventually became the driving force behind her success and propelled her forward in her career. After reading this book I now understand what Walters means when she tells aspiring young journalists that they have to “take the whole package” when they tell her they want to have her life. By the end of this book, I found myself envying her a little less and admiring her strength and perseverance more than anything.

Some of Walters most memorable interviews included: Fidel Castro, who took her on a trip to the Bay of Pigs, a sit down with Golda Meir, Richard Nixon, Anwar Sadat, Cher, Mel Gibson, Elizabeth Taylor, Judy Garland, President and Betty Ford (who appeared to be intoxicated) among many, many others.

Here are some juicy tidbits that I never knew about Barbara Wa-Wa (as the late great Gilda Radner affectionately referred to her). Perhaps they will whet your appetites and make you run to your nearest Barnes and Noble.

1. Barbara is afraid to drive and has never gotten her driver’s license.

2. Barbara’s sister Jackie (who died of ovarian cancer a few years ago) was developmentally disabled and Barbara has often thought she may have been autistic. Barbara (as a single mother) singlehandedly took care of and supported her sister and her mother after her father passed away.

3. Barbara’s father was Broadway legend Lou Walters, whose claim to fame was the very successful Latin Quarter in NYC (he also owned other Latin  Quarter nightclubs in Boston and Florida).

4. Barbara had a string of three unsuccessful marriages and had a “long and rocky” affair with married African American senator from Massachusetts, Edward Brooke. She eventually chose her career over the relationship.

5. Barbara dated former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan and remains friendly with him to this day.

6. Barbara admits to having trouble with her r’s and says she went to a speech specialist early in her career but couldn’t shed the remnants of what she describes as  her “Boston accent.”

7. Her daughter Jackie (who she named after her late sister) was adopted and now runs a recovery camp for troubled teens in Maine. She herself  was a rebellious teen who ran away from home after falling deep into drugs. According to Barbara, this period in her daughter’s life was “the hardest chapter to write.”

8. She admits her worst interview was Warren Beatty (he had absolutely nothing to say and just froze up on camera), her best was Katherine Hepburn.

9. Her dog is named Cha Cha Walters.

10. She only wears one contact lens while working. She can read the teleprompter with one lens, but with two, it would be impossible to read her notes.

I, for one, do not think this book is Walter’s final Audition and I am anxiously awaiting the chance to read about the next.