Labor with Jana lasted 24 hours. Her heart became distressed in the 18th hour, and she was facing up instead of down. The ob-gyn doctor turned her face down while I pushed her out for an hour and a half, but there was no medical evidence of a problem. At the two-month and four-month visit, I asked the pediatrician why she didn’t move her right arm and open her hand unless sleeping. He kept saying that the hands and arms developed at different times, and she would be fine.
I believed him. I was a new mother. What did I know?
At her six-month visit, I knew something was wrong and demanded to see a different doctor in the practice. She ordered a brain MRI at a renowned children’s hospital in Delaware. She told us she’d had a stroke. We were devastated. What had we done to our child? What kind of life would she be able to lead now? How much more complicated were our lives about to become and for how long?
Guilt consumed me. What had I done to cause this? What could I have done to stop the stroke from happening? Then the resignation, despair and hopelessness set in.
Jana Suffers from Cerebral Palsy Hemiplegia, Affecting the Right Side of Her Body
The top doctors said she had cerebral palsy hemiplegia. It meant the right side of her body would never work as well as the left. Early intervention sent physical and occupational therapists once a week for only an hour. She had a hard time grasping things in the right hand and moved her whole torso when doing so.
Special braces were made for both feet. Her right ankle turned in, or pronated, so badly she developed a bunion. The doctors saw Jana every three to six months. They just told us to keep doing what we were doing. I had to fight to get the type of braces changed when they started causing penny-sized blisters.
In the meantime, I had our second daughter. Jana was in love with her sister from the moment she realized mommy’s tummy was big. And she was tested by early intervention again. We were very lucky. In the area of cognition and communication, she was advanced by a year to a year and a half.
But Jana’s suffering got worse. She couldn’t feel the skin on her right side or the inside of her body when she eliminated waste. She experienced embarrassment every time she didn’t make it to the bathroom in time, and she fell down much more than normal.
By her fourth birthday, Jana had not gained more than 2 pounds in two years. When she got sick, it went straight to her chest and lasted up to three weeks every time.
Jana Is Diagnosed with Failure to Thrive and Asthma
I panicked. Our new pediatrician diagnosed her with failure to thrive, a condition children can die from. Her allergist diagnosed her with asthma, even though her lungs were clear.
I started hunting for a nutritionist. Andrea Stevens was at the top of the therapist list. She worked with a place called the Family Hope Center and told us about their brain injury seminar. After much research into this organization, we took the seminar and learned all about brain development and injuries. We were finally able to pinpoint the extent and severity of the damage.
Jana Begins Treatment with Dr. Barry Gillespie, Creator of Gillespie Approach–Craniosacral Fascial Therapy
At Family Hope Center, we met Dr. Barry Gillespie, Gillespie Approach–Craniosacral Fascial Therapy specialist … . We were deeply skeptical of both, but they didn’t do surgery and there were no drugs. What could we lose?
We had already seen miraculous success with Andrea. We took out gluten, dairy, soy, corn and sugar. Jana started eating animal proteins, a variety of vegetables and low-sugar fruit. With added supplements and enzymes, she gained 4 pounds in three months. She stopped falling down, she started feeling her skin on the right side, her bathroom problems disappeared and her appetite exploded. She also stopped getting sick!
Jana had orthotics made by Dr. Joe in December. By February, the bunion that took four years to grow so bad her toe slanted sideways was gone. She stopped pronating by spring. Dr. Barry Gillespie started seeing Jana once a week in December.
It was working! We saw the old orthopedic doctor in Delaware in the summer. His nurse assumed Jana had outgrown her bunion in two months. The doctor wrote “Orthotics cause no harm” in his notes. I asked why he didn’t write about the miracle they’d produced. He said: “I can’t. We’ll lose our business.” I wanted to slug him. He saw the salvation of a child’s quality of life as a threat to his ability to make money.
Jana Experiences Marked Health Improvement with Gillespie Approach–Craniosacral Fascial Therapy
My guilt began to recede as I saw dramatic improvements. Slowly, Jana started gaining strength and grip in her right hand. One day I picked her up early from school. I scrambled to capture Jana, riding a tricycle round and round the tables, on film. I couldn’t believe what she was doing.
Jana went from the 10th percentile for weight to the 50th percentile. She figured out how to ride a scooter without asking for help this December, only one year from when we started our journey. She was able to push her whole body around with her right leg and foot.
The head of the orthopedics department at one of the best children’s hospitals in the Northeast told us Jana would probably never use her right side well again, and she would eventually go toe up with a pronounced deformity. If he could only see her now and believe it.