My Son Turned 18 today: Reflecting on Our Journey with Autism

I found this tee shirt for my son while shopping for a card for him at the Lifeway store here in Georgia. It says “I will be courageous”. If you are a parent of a child with autism I don’t need to explain to you why I bought it.  It takes a lot of courage to face the world with autism. Happy Birthday My Son.  You are courageous – and you have inspired me to take care of children all over the world and to never, never, never give up. I love you and hope and pray for the very best for you and always will.

Matt 18

WOW.  I couldn’t begin to explain the last 18 years without a whole book.  From an easy pregnancy and simple delivery you progressed as a sweet and happy baby boy right up until 8 months when that first ear infection struck.  It didn’t want to go away easily and ultimately you needed tubes to drain the infection.  Prior to that we tried a lot of antibiotics and none worked.  We didn’t realize back then that you had a primary immune deficiency and couldn’t make enough IgM to defend your body.

I can’t even talk about the next year and all the things that happened.  But your mother and I had to watch our precious boy change without understanding what was happening. The first time you pulled the pans out of the kitchen cabinets and banged on them it was cute.  The next 20 times it was obvious something was wrong.  And then you just didn’t seem to cry when you fell and hurt yourself.  I had never seen that before.

The worst part of those early years was the horrific diarrhea that would actually burn your bottom within seconds. That was so sad and so hard to treat.  Back in those days we understood so little about the gut connection to autism.

Ultimately, secretin ( a simple hormone) give IV made a huge difference in that problem.  It was an immediate change and even got you the attention of Bernie Rimland and the National Enquirer. Your response to secretin made you an immediate hit with about 10 million readers of the Enquirer and neither your nor my life has been the same since.

Thanks to a meeting I was invited to at NIH, I met Prof Gupta from University of California – Irvine who suggested I consider IVIG for you. Intravenous immunogloblin made a huge difference as well – enough so that Prof Simon Murch from the Royal Free Hospital considered it life changing for you.

Over the years I have learned much about your health and in that process you have taught me so much about helping other children.  You mother has never tired from helping you in this process and you have an amazing sister who loves you and cares for you.

Now you face being an adult and seeing the world through more than just the eyes of child. You are growing up but aren’t “grown-up”.  You feel that and yet you want more say over your own life. It is coming, but you mother and I recognize you still need our support.

Bless you my son.  I love you and pray you continue to inspire others to persist in their struggles like you have.

About Dr Bradstreet
Dr Bradstreet is a graduate of the University of South Florida College of Medicine and received his residency training at Wilford Hall USAF Medical Center. He is a Fellow of the American Academy of Family Physicians. He is an Adjunct Professor at the Southwest College of Naturopathic Medicine in Arizona. He is extensively published in the peer-reviewed literature on subjects of autism, oxidative stress, mitochondrial disorders, virology, hyperbaric oxygen, and toxicology (especially heavy metal chelation). He is trained in the the isolation and use of stem cells.

20 Responses to My Son Turned 18 today: Reflecting on Our Journey with Autism

  1. Valerie says:

    Thank you for sharing your memories and fior continuing to be pasdionate about helping others’ children!

  2. Thanks for sharing your journey and helping so many sick children. Happy Birthday to your son!

  3. Ashley says:

    That is beautiful Dr. Bradstreet. God bless you and your son. I believe many more good things are to come. Birthdays are always bitter sweet in our home. On one hand a celebration of the life of a wonderful child. And on the other hand there is also the bit of sadness of another year passing and the dreams we have become even more distant. However we keep going and fighting and doing whatever we must for them. Thank you for all that you do. You are right, we must never ever give up.

  4. Susan says:

    Best wishes to your son on his birthday and his continued journey into adulthood. You as his parents have taught him strength, perseverence, loyalty, and unyielding love, and in the process, learning as much from him as he has learned from you. Thank you for sharing your personal thoughts and reflections on such as a special day and God bless you both.

  5. Tonya says:

    Happy birthday to your son, Dr. Bradstreet! And thank you so much for sharing his special day with us. Your words really touched my heart. God bless.

  6. Rose Sibanda says:

    Happy birthday to your son Dr Bradstreet. You are blessed in him. You would never have learnt or done all that you have on autism had it not been for him. God gave him the best parents he could ever have in you and his mother. Thank you for all you do.
    Keep on keeping hope alive and take courage in the knowledge that you are not in this journey alone.
    May the blessings of the most high come pouring down on your son on his birthday!

  7. Andrea Owens says:

    Thank you for sharing with us. Your love for your son is so evident. Your journey to help him has not only blessed him, but so many of us as well have been blessed by the medical knowledge that you have gained. May God continue to bless you and your family and may He lead you to more and more answers that will unravel the autism mystery as you journey with our Lord and Savior.

  8. marilina says:

    happy birthday for your lovely son, dr.Bradstreet!!!!!!

  9. Houck Family says:

    How beautiful! Wishing your son a very Happy Birthday and many more:)
    Thank You Dr.Bradstreet for sharing these pieces of your life with us.
    We’re blessed to know such a Dr that holds family with such value.

  10. Susan Barrett says:

    Happy Birthday to your son. I remember right after he received the Secretin, what a difference. Seeing his progress has always encouraged me to keep pushing with my son who will be 18 in July.

  11. Fromitaly says:

    Best wishes to your son dr Bradstreet!!!!! ❤

  12. Gawsons says:

    This is beautiful, Dr. Bradstreet. Thank you for sharing your son with us. More power and best wishes to you.

    Happy birthday to Matt!

  13. Rolando Marriott says:

    I want to wish your son a beautiful Happy Birthday! He is an angel and inspiring to me. Every day of the journey has been/will be a precious one. I want to thank you and your wife for having THAT DRIVE to continue to help your son and many family in need.

    Please give your son a warm heart felt hug and kisses from my family.

    All the blessings to your family.

  14. Luigi Gallo says:

    Dr, Jeff
    Best Wishes to your Son!
    You are right, our guys and kids are really courageous, and they will be in the future too!

  15. Minoo Bahrami says:

    Best wishes for your son on his birthday,and thank you for sharing us his special day . may God continue to bless you and your family.

  16. Ralph & Stella says:

    Dr. Bradstreet – Congratulations and Happy Birthday to your beautiful son!!! Thanks for working so hard to help – not only for your son – but all of our special kids.

  17. Leah Hochbaum says:

    In Hebrew we give the blessing of “mazel tov” – that goodness should pour forth into your life! Our Yedidya is turning 18 in one month and we, too, have been reflecting on our journey with him and Autism over the years.

    We have a t-shirt we have saved since he was three and we began this journey which reads “Miracle in Progress” – may we share in each others miracles!


    p.s. Could I have a copy of your slides from your presentation at Autism One last year? I am giving a talk at an OT Autism conference here about our journey with Yedidya and I liked so much how you put your thoughts together on the current research. It’s the presentation that starts with the list of the different universities / researchers where this autism research is taking place…Thank you!

  18. Marcie says:

    Happy Bday to your son. And thank you for sharing your personal story. Thank you for all you do we are so fortunate to have you as our doctor. God Bless.

  19. Ralph says:

    Dr. Bradstreet –
    Happy Birthday to your beautiful and courageous son!!! Awesome! Congratulations to you for having the dedication and determination to fight so hard for your son. Truly inspiring.

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