Please welcome to the stage Dr Katie Long
James you ruined my hors d'oeuvre's joke I was gonna the secrets out So thank you so much for having me tonight
I'm really happy to be here and I've chosen to share a letter with you all tonight Written by a mother and our practice of a boy named Carter and I hope that our story helps to really illustrate how we would approach medicine differently If we knew the root causes of our health conditions "Dear DrKatie, I've been trying to make something the last year and a half to express how thankful we are to have found you
Everyday since we found out about Carter's condition we have known that God brought us to you When Carter was born, we had been married over 10 years and had wanted a child ever since I had surgery for a tumor which resulted in major complications when my surgeon accidentally punctured my Aorta Long story short many professionals told us I could never carry a baby After trying to conceive without success I made an appointment with the adoption agency
A month after scheduling this I found out I had conceived That day and every day following in my pregnancy I had no Caffeine, Sugar, pre-made foods I didn't wear makeup, nail polish or use unclean products of any kind I carried Carter three days past my due date and I was excited in the hospital Everyone in our family came to wait for our miracle baby
Every single day since finding out I was pregnant Carter has been our heart our soul and our entire world Every decision in action is centered around him When we met you and found out what was happening it shattered our world for a moment Not out of anger or questioning why? but sheer shock that we could have an almost dead lose our miracle I know I get very emotional at our visits and it's literally the overwhelming thankfulness for all of this happening
The fact that you saw and acted upon your instincts saved our son our entire family We are not just willing but are happy to do whatever it takes for him We are thankful for the path of his life and to God for meeting you I've made so many things for you with Carter but these felt right I wanted you to know more about who he really is and what you have given us which is him in our lives
He is so incredible and I have nothing but faith now for his future You will really never know what you have given us but I hope we are able to show you how much love and admiration we will always have for you Thank you for saving my son's and my life all of my love, Heather Leading up to Carter's first birthday his parents recalled that he was a happy healthy baby
He was very connected He was engaged He had more than ten distinct words and was a great eater He had followed a vegan diet was exposed to multiple courses of antibiotics Developed eczema and chronically loose stools and then his growth percentiles began decreasing over time By the time I met Carter he was 18 months old and his development was clearly in regression Carter was no longer making any eye contact
He was barely babbling He didn't want to play with other children anymore or even interact with his family He only ate tortillas and oats at that point I had the difficult responsibility of notifying Carter's parents that his symptoms were consistent with a developing autism spectrum disorder They were not expecting this and this truly rocked their world I was blessed to have my functional medicine training to help me use the analogy of the tree to compare Carters symptoms of autism to the branches and the leaves of the tree and to tell them that we were going to work together to get to the root causes to go to the soil and the roots and the trunk of that tree and work together to make him healthy again
We made a plan to work diligently to do this to uncover the root causes to shift Carter's state of health and optimize his developmental trajectory Our work uncovered imbalance of the Microbiome, Intestinal inflammation, Malabsorption Multiple nutrient deficiencies, a high body burden of toxins and food sensitivities These factors as well as genetic predispositions that we uncovered were leading to cellular dysfunction and complicated processes like Methylation and the Mitochondria These are functions that are critical in the developing brain enter extensively studied in autism spectrum disorders Now that we knew the root causes of Carter's health condition
We were able to personalize his care and work together to reverse these factors He was started on a nutrient dense and low inflammatory style of nutrition Within two months his loose stools and eczema had resolved and his developmental regression had come to a halt Over the next four months we implemented the functional medicine 5-hour program for intestinal healing while repeating his nutrient deficiencies, supporting his body's detoxification pathways and introduced the family to craniosacral therapy to help support his nervous system At the end of that six-month period Carter's speech improved to average for age His growth percentiles improved to where he was before his regression and I will never forget the tears in his mother's eyes as she reported to me that he tells her "I love you"
now close to two years into our journey with Carter's healing I would like to let his family's words speak for him For those of you that can't see that "I am healthier and happier, I can speak clearer and sleep better I will have a long life with a clearer mind I am getting bigger and taller and we are thankful every day for you being in our lives we call you my guardian angel, and always will because of your attention to detail, and sharing my life is better
I will never forget everything you have done for me as long as I live, and will never take for granted these days that I have on earth" Well each of my patients are unique and hold a special place in my heart I am grateful to report that I am in therapeutic partnerships with multiple patients with symptoms similar to Carter and improvement similar to Carter as well We need more support and access for functional medicine for pediatric patients If Carter had been my only patient and my only story of success
I would still know that my entire training the long hours, lifelong commitment to expanding my education are worth every single second In the pediatric population time is brain True preventative medicine needs to happen in the prenatal and infant period I would like to close tonight with gratitude to the Padilla family Thank you for blessing me with the gift of your son and your trust
Holding Carter's your world's health in my hands is one of the most rewarding responsibilities I will ever have Your bravery in this journey and openness and sharing our story will ensure more children are given opportunities of connection, happiness, and optimal health and development Thank you very much!