From Surviving to Thriving: Lydia’s Victory over PANDAS
Here at Longevity, our mission is to love God and serve people, and we love hearing stories from patients who have experienced amazing transformations with their health. Enjoy this story of our sweet patient, Lydia, as told by her mom, April.
I am writing to share our story because I want anyone who reads this to find hope in what was, for us, a very hard road. When we arrived at Longevity Health Center, we had already sought help from a pediatric neurologist, pediatrician, two play therapists, two urgent care offices and two hospitals. Our daughter had taken 37 courses of antibiotics and had been given a prescription for psychiatric medication. We were prepared to have her start kindergarten in a special class because we did not feel she would be able to function in a mainstream classroom.
Today, she is a thriving first grader who is being considered for the gifted program in second grade.
Our first appointment At Longevity was in May of 2019. I expressed concern about school starting in August and asked for documentation so we could get special assistance through the school. Without hesitation, Dr. Anderson said, “that gives us three months. I don’t think you will need help from the school.” It seemed laughable at the time, but he was right.
Here is how our journey started: Lydia had attended preschool at 3 and 4 years old and loved it. Very abruptly she started having severe separation anxiety. “Severe” in that my four year old would not get more than 3 feet away from me. She would not go to the bathroom alone, she did not even like to be far apart in the same room when she could see me. It seemed overnight, she started talking about death. She feared that I would die after dropping her off at preschool and at a very low point she walked through our house and said to my husband, “Daddy, can we hang up some more pictures of me so that you will remember me after I die.” Again, she was only 4 years old.
Trouble continued. She developed a twitch or tic in her eye. She became terrified in groups of people and had several panic attacks. She was unable to use the bathroom outside of our house and had multiple OCD-like behaviors.
Lydia repeatedly tested positive for strep throat and eventually had her tonsils removed. I would ask doctors for an antibiotic because she always showed improvement that we didn’t understand on antibiotics, and then the behaviors would return as soon as she finished the round.
We were in a vicious cycle of taking medication to control symptoms, but never had any answers. One day, after a strep diagnosis that caused regression of all the behaviors, our play therapist suggested that we might look into PANDAS (Pediatric Autoimmune Neuropsychiatric Disorders Associated with Streptococcal Infections). I had only heard of this once and had never thought of it again.
I did research and then started asking around for a doctor to help. We made an appointment with a top specialist in Washington D.C., but it was a 6-month waiting list to get to see the doctor. While we waited, I continued to ask around and heard about Longevity. I did this more or less, to be proactive and try something while we waited to see the PANDAS specialist. I never imagined we would cancel the appointment in Washington D.C. because we no longer needed to go after the help we got through Longevity.
I entered our first appointment as a skeptic to say the least. In fact, when we left the office, I said to my husband “This is crazy and we are not doing any of it.” He looked at me and said, “We are desperate and we are trying all of it.”
We started to see significant improvement just one week after our initial visit. Several things happened: Lydia slept through the night and was able to get her face wet (which was major). We knew there was a change, but random acquaintances could see it too. It was a dramatic difference.
Here is what I found most interesting. We were still preparing to go to the PANDAS specialist and so I was gathering medical records and recording outlines of Lydia’s health history. As I started putting it all together, the very things that showed in the testing at Longevity started to make sense. I was finding medical documentation to support the protocol that we were doing through Longevity.
Today, we see a pediatrician who fully supports our work with Longevity. My daughter, the same one who was constantly sick along with all of the behavioral symptoms, just survived a flu outbreak at our school as one of the few students who did not get sick! I believe this is largely because we now have a protocol to start immediately when we see signs of sickness or compromised immunity.
On our first visit, we were told “we are going to help your family heal.” That is exactly what happened. We have seen the transformation in our daughter and we have all found so much joy in seeing her thrive beyond our wildest expectation. I cannot say thank you enough to the Longevity team, to Dr. Anderson and to Cristina McMullen.
Whenever I meet a family in a similar place that we found ourselves, I suggest that they make the drive (we travel two hours each way) and get to Longevity. For us it has been absolutely life changing. I want other parents to know that there is hope that their life can return to normal, and that their child can thrive.
If you have a transformation story to share, we’d love to hear from you! Email JoAnna at email@example.com.