This week I picked up this book while hanging out in Pittsburgh waiting for my son at camp. It was a quick read and one that I could not put down- perhaps because the physical and medical underpinnings of psychiatric illness are a topic near and dear to my heart, but partly because Beth Maloney tells the story as only a mom can, of saving her son from the horror of what she witnessed before her eyes. Beth, like so many other mothers I know, experienced seeing her typically developing pre-teen son “disappear” and become lost in the world of what the psychiatrists that she was seeing for him labeled as obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) and tourettes. It was only through her searching and her tenacity to find out what happened to her son, that she was able to lead him to health (with a hand picked team of enlightened professionals). Without giving away too much of the story, I think it is important to mention that the cause of her son’s “mental illness” was an infection that millions suffer from yearly- STREP. The condition her son was suffering from is called Pediatric Autoimmune Neuropsychiatric Disorders Associated (with) Streptococcus (PANDAS). I highly encourage all moms out there to read this book, to allow it to broaden you mind of what may actually be going on with children who suffer from “mental illness”- from OCD to Tics, from Bi-polar to Autism… and ask yourself if medicine is doing all it can to properly diagnose and treat our next generation. In the past 3 years, I have unfortunatley gotten a crash course in PANDAS because a number of close friends have had children “catch” this illness that is unrelenting. Recently I have heard many in the Autism community struggling with PANDAS in addition to their child’s autism.
I will end with some links to resources for PANDAS and more about Sammy’s story, which is truly remarkable. If you don’t have time to read the book, please take the time to watch these 2 videos about Sammy and PANDAS:
Beth’s second book on PANDAS
Saving Sammy FaceBook page
A resource for PANDAS testing.