By Teresa Conrick
Teresa Conrick is a Contributing Editor to Age of Autism.
May 3, 2011
The sketch you see of my daughter, Megan, (here) was done by my neighbor, Ceil, when Megan was eight. She used a photo as Meg was never able to pose and Ceil wanted to capture the sense of Megan’s autism. I think the likeness is stunning and the message haunting. Meg is unable to speak and yet she wants to desperately. Ceil and her family moved in 2004, right as my marriage was moving into divorce court. It was a hard year and honestly, this year may top it.
Megan is now eighteen and as I have written here Hormones Seizures and Autism a Dangerous Mix she began to have Catemenial Epilepsy in the Summer of 2010. It is an extremely unusual type of epilepsy as it comes violently, strikingly and fortunately, only one time monthly, announcing the rise of estrogen and impending ovulation. Megan is a victim of injuries to her body brought on by vaccines as a baby/toddler and this latest assault, like a sniper rising out of the shadows each month, is a reminder of why autism is so very dramatic in its medical and behavioral picture.
We completed a month of hormone testing to be able to get a more comprehensive view of what could be happening to cause Megan to violently convulse into a grand mal type seizure, leaving her incapacitated and then into a deep, deep sleep for hours. Before I share that data and a possible source of this mysterious medical monster, let me describe the behaviors that have been happening, especially since autism has been historically branded as “psychiatric” and the medical horrors downplayed as “anecdotal.”
My sweet daughter who has no words is charming and beautiful but this experience has turned her personality into Mr. Hyde as the hormones surge. As we get closer to Meg’s period, she begins to snort out of her nose loudly and often. Any professionally-trained DSM follower, would call this a “stim” or possibly “repetitive” behavior but they would be wrong. You see, as Meg’s potent levels of hormones begin their crazy climb, estrogen especially, causes nasal swelling:
“ORL J Otorhinolaryngol Relat Spec. 2000 Jan-Feb;62(1):39-42.
Nasal Mucosal Swelling and Reactivity During a Menstrual Cycle.
CONCLUSION: There is a connection between high oestrogen level and nasal mucosal reactivity.”
Another “behavior” is wetting and I mean frequent, horribly smelling and like clockwork each month. Again, easy to say that this is autism, a “developmental disability”, thus issues of toileting would be included but again, they would be wrong. This is a young woman who knows how to use the toilet but something happens in tandem to the hormone surges. In keeping with the theme:
Tufts Mast Cell Inflammation HERE
“Critical Role Of Mast Cells In Inflammatory Diseases And The Effect Of Acute Stress”
Hormones and Mast Cells
“The bladder has a surprisingly high number of estrogen receptors which make the bladder sensitive to variations in estrogen levels found during the menstrual cycle. Why? The bladder, urethra, vagina and vulva are all part of the urogenital sinus, and began as one small cell in a fetus which later divided to create each organ. Thus it is not suprising that the bladder can be so sensitive to estrogen. High estrogen levels activate mast cells and can cause IC patients to experience an increase in pain, pressure and frequency. Many IC patients endure an increase in bladder symptoms during the times of the month when their estrogen levels are high, particularly in the days before their period”…..”These finding could be important in view of the fact that mast cells express estrogen receptors.”