Joe suffered with this debilitating condition for many years. He welcomed the change in diet that brought him relief.
After an easy first few weeks as an infant, Joe’s problems began. He suffered from colic and later from ear infections. These resulted in hearing loss, followed by a temporary loss of speech. He underwent the insertion of tubes in his ears and then repair from the tubes. Joe’s mom, Kathryn, experimented with using soy formula, but he didn’t seem to tolerate it well. Because he was homeschooled, some of the problems Joe would have encountered in school were avoided. He had difficulty with both reading and writing, and he suffered from dyslexia, for which he received special tutoring.
As Kathryn discovered which foods and food additives were to blame, the troubling symptoms diminished.
Looking back, Joe recalls that it was hard for him to focus, but he believed that most of the problems he faced were normal. The huge issue for him was always the terrible migraines. He went through many diagnostic procedures, including MRIs and a thorough allergy panel, but none of this helped identify a reason for the migraines, and his parents were very worried. An Internet search led Kathryn to the Feingold diet and brought some major changes in their lifestyle. They had become a family on the go with co-op classes, field trips, martial arts and roller hockey for Joe’s older brother. A package of Skittles was often Joe’s treat as he waited through his brother’s games. But with the prospect of a healthy life for her son, Kathryn learned to pack healthy food and treats and to plan ahead. “It took a little time,” she recalls, “but with the support of so many moms on the Feingold members’ forum, we were able to adjust quickly. Once we had the migraines under control, we were able to discern other things that were causing problems. This included sensitivities to high fructose corn syrup, cinnamon and maple syrup, to name a few. Slowly but surely, things just kept getting better and better!”
The huge issue for Joe was always the migraines.
“I didn’t have migraines any longer,” Joe happily notes, “so missing out on ‘treats’ wasn’t a sacrifice. It was great to feel better.” He continues, “I always turned down food at friends’ homes because I assumed nothing was safe. Mom packed my food for parties, and now we continue to pack for events, retreats, etc.”
Another problem that was resolved by a change in diet was Joe’s extreme sensitivity to noise. The multiple ear infections resulted in a temporary loss of hearing. When his hearing returned and he had completed speech therapy, his parents began noticing how sensitive his hearing had become. He had a hard time in movie theaters, at church, and with large groups of people. Kathryn recalls, “We had to sit in the church lobby on Sundays because the noise level was too high.” As the additives were removed, Joe’s sensitivity to sound diminished. He was able to sit through a service at church, play the bass in a band, and run the sound equipment, too! Joe will be starting college this month and reports that he is doing great. “I feel good and can focus so much better,” he finds. “I’m looking forward to college and enjoy Bible study, playing bass, banjo and video games. My mind is so much clearer now that it is hard to imagine what life would have been like without Feingold!”
Kathryn writes, “Joe decided to go to community college his first two years so that he can commute. The college has multiple campuses, and at the two Joe will attend, the only thing he would be able to safely purchase is water. (How sad is that?) “He likes to pack snacks that are small, portable and keep well in his backpack and that provide protein to keep him going. He has access to grocery stores next to both campuses should he need to get something else to eat. “Joe has taken ownership of his health for so long he knows what he can buy. Because going off of the Feingold Program means pain, he is super careful about what he eats.”