Starting in early infancy my older daughter, Mary, had odd bouts of vomiting that, while usually brief, were often very difficult to deal with while they were occurring. Every few months or so, usually first thing in the morning, anything that was put in her mouth would immediately come back up. After an hour or two, she would doze off for a bit and wake with no apparent ill affects. We always found it strange and troubling, but when we mentioned our concerns to various physicians, we were told it was nothing to worry about.
That all changed when Mary was 2 1/2. She came down with what appeared to be a garden-variety stomach bug on a Sunday afternoon. Within a few hours, though, she was vomiting every 15 minutes. We bounced between ERs and clinics for the next 24 hours until Mary was finally admitted to the hospital for rehydration. By this point, she was lethargic, in pain, unable to keep down even tiny sips of water, and a strange, acrid smell was emanating from her pores. Her pediatrician was shocked to find that she had gone into metabolic acidosis. Days later, she was finally diagnosed with paralytic ileus, a cessation of function in the section of a intestine. We were assured that it was a consequence of the virus she contacted, and was in no way related to the similar but (self-limiting) episodes she’d suffered in the past.
Unfortunately, her symptoms continued. We followed up with a pediatric surgeon and a gastroenterologist at two different children’s hospitals. They ran several more tests, and the G.I. specialist we saw delivered a bewildering and frightening pronouncement: a diagnosis of Cyclic Vomiting Syndrome, or CVS. He warned us that CVS struck most often during periods of excitement and activity, like holidays and vacations and birthdays, and that treatment must be sought immediately, because there were an alarming number of fatalities associated with even slight delays in treatment. In short, our daughter could die of this. No parent ever, ever wants to hear the word “fatal” used in conjunction with his or her child’s disorder, even when the blow is supposedly softened with a qualifier like “potentially” — it’s as if all the air leaves the room in that instant. That aside, what kind of quality of life could our daughter expect when every cornerstone of a normal, happy childhood became a trigger for serious illness? I didn’t—I couldn’t—accept that.
I begin scouring the internet for ideas, grasping at straws. One of the first things I uncovered was an article touting chiropractic care as a remedy for symptoms similar to hers. My father recommended Rollette Chiropractic Center, and I called and scheduled Mary’s first appointment right away. I’ll admit that, prior to that consultation, I was largely ignorant about what chiropractic care entailed.
All that changed as soon as we walked into the office. I felt this immediate sense of well-being, and by the time the appointment was over, my mood had changed from one of quiet desperation to a feeling of hope and rightness (for lack of a better word). When Dr. Dale explained to me how chiropractic care worked, it occurred to me that maybe there might be some way to combat this awful CVS diagnosis after all.
Mary’s treatment continued, and my husband and I were stunned by her turnaround. She had improved significantly within a month, and by the end of her first six months of treatment she was like a different child. The acid test came just before Christmas, when we took a family trip to Disney World. In spite of encountering nearly every single known trigger for severe CVS episodes, she handled the adventure beautifully. I’ll never forget the sight of my bright-eyed, animated, healthy three-year-old watching the Magic Kingdom Christmas Parade from atop her father’s shoulders, dizzy with joy.
Today, we’ve become such believers that our entire family are regulars in the office. What Dr. Dale, Dr. Denise, and Dr. Franco have done for us goes beyond the most basic aspects of chiropractic treatment to comprise true health care—a rare find these days. There are simply no words that will express our gratitude, particularly when we look at our bright, bubbly, wonderfully normal child and consider what might have been.