I work in a very small world. It’s not uncommon for people to not even know my speciality exists! Chiropractic pediatrics? You mean people bring their KIDS to chiropractors? Their babies? #mindblown
So how did I get into it? Looking back, it is not hard for me to trace a very clear path the leads me to where I am today, though I was not aware of it in most of those moments. But it really boils down to a very simple answer: my brother. I do what I do today because of my bother. Here is his story (or at least a small part of it).
I am the oldest of 4 children. Three girls and I was 8 when my mom was pregnant with the 4th. I can remember so vividly telling everyone that the new baby would be girl because mom and dad “only had the recipe for girls”. It made perfect sense to my 8-year-old brain. So when it was announced at the hospital that I had a baby brother, I can remember running out of the room and crying. Not because I didn’t want a brother. It was that my little ego couldn’t handle being wrong.
Right from the beginning, my brother Joe was not a healthy kid. He was sick a lot. When he was 2, he got an ear infection so bad it left a deaf spot in one ear. He struggled with breathing. He had reactive asthma and had to breathe through a fancy puffer because he was too small for a regular one. His lungs weren’t really able to support him running until he was about 10. He was such a fun, cool little kid, but he was not thriving.
He had a lot of little quirks and he wasn’t catching on at school. It was easy to pass it all off as “he’s just different because he is a boy”, but very much to my parents’ credit, they started digging deeper. After a fair bit of testing and meetings and doctors appointments, Joe was diagnosed with some mild learning struggles (classified as a Delay in Phonological Awareness and Tolerance-Fading Memory, for those of you who want to know). Sometimes it looked similar to dyslexia and he had trouble with decoding skills. If you asked him a question, his default answer would be “I don’t know”. It was a learned response because the answers weren’t coming quickly. There was about a 10-second delay in his capacity to articulate an answer, but he could come up with it if prompted and patient. It has nothing to do with intelligence, but the way he needed to learn was a little different from what he was getting in his public school classroom and a second language was too much. So my parents pulled him out of public school early French immersion and put him back a grade halfway through the year and then into a small private Christian school with only 10 students in the classroom. He saw a speech and language therapist (though he had no idea it was therapy; he thought he had a special friend that he got to go play games with). He had a series of tutors (mostly because the patience required to do his homework with him did not reside in our household). They got him help.
Learning was a huge area of focus, but health comes first. As I mentioned, he was not thriving. This is where Dr Bruce Hayhoe comes into the picture. Dr Hayhoe is a double doc: chiropractor and naturopath. It was Dr Hayhoe’s guidance that turned Joe from a zombie child to a thriving expression of health. He diagnosed some critical food sensitivies. Joe’s triggers were dairy and nitrates. Once of dairy, his asthma cleared up entirely and he never got another ear infection. The nitrates were interesting. It’s amazing how much children can understand. When he would be offered a hotdog, he would say “No thank you. Hotdogs give me headaches.”. Kids can make good choices too. These food switches might seem simple, but they were a BIG deal to my family at the time (think Nesquick & poptarts). Anyway, Dr Hayhoe guided my family through a lot. He made small but critical shifts in Joe’s diet. He did some desensitization work through the NAET program. He instructed my parents to get rid of the carpets in our house and a big batch of stuffed animals. (We still kept the pets.) He adjusted him, especially his ankles which would get very jammed up. And once Joe was getting a little older and his growth was still delayed – which as it turns out, was actually kind of convenient that he was a small child, because no one knew that he was a year older than his classmates – Dr Hayhoe instructed him on some supplements (primarily zinc and green tea) to stimulate a growth spurt.
There are more health details that I can really get into over a short blog, but my brother and mother went in to see Dr Hayhoe weekly for a long time. It was not a burden. They were excited about these visits and they looked forward to the continual progress. They were high impact interactions and they were important.
If it sounds like my parents did a lot, it’s because they did. Raising Joe up from survive to thrive was not short journey; there were no quick fixes and there was no one magic pill. My family is not perfect, nor are they experts, but they stuck with. & oh what a reward! My brother Joe actually went from grade 6 in that small private Christian school to grade 8 in public school and maintained a 90% average throughout. He’s the only kid a know that actually went back up the grade he was held back. He’s taller than everyone else in my family now and he is built like Michael Phelps. He is the kind of guy who you could send out into the woods with nothing but a loincloth and a knife and we would not only survive, but quite enjoy the experience. (Sorry ladies, he is married now.) He’s absolutely incredible and I love bragging about him. Watching him transform from a failure-to-thrive sick runty zombie who struggled at school into the strong young man he is today still impresses me.
And that’s what I want to do with my life. I want to help all the Joey’s of the world go from “okay” to “wow”, from survive to thrive. And that’s exactly what I do. I love my job.