Richie’s Story – Ulcerative Colitis (age 5)

In March of 2004, our then perfectly healthy 5-year-old boy had previously had a winter filled with sinus infections and lots of antibiotics. Shortly after using antibiotics we began to see mucus in his stool. We didn’t know at the time that this was his mucus lining breaking down from antibiotic use. Shortly after that we began to see blood in his stool. We brought him to the doctor who put him on Miralax “stool softener” thinking he was constipated. Still seeing symptoms, the doctor referred us to a Pediatric Gastroenterologist. He sent Richie for a water enema. Leaving the exam Richie had his very first explosive bowel movement in his life, with blood. We were very disturbed to see this but the doctor said there was no connection between the exam and the now more serious problem. Can you believe that?

Time passed and Richie’s symptoms became worse: lying on the floor in pain, tired, pale. The doctor did a colonoscopy and they told us he had Ulcerative Colitis. We were sick to our stomachs. We didn’t know what this meant. All we knew was that we were told that our (now) 6 year old had an incurable disease and he would have to be on medicine for the rest of his life. He was then prescribed asacol, an antiinflammatory drug. We were also required to have his liver and kidney levels checked monthly. That should have told us something right there. What do we know? The doctor said we had no choice and we wanted our child well. He also wanted to prescribe an immune suppressing drug called Immuran and we refused. One of the side effects of this medicine can be Lymphoma “cancer.” We should have left the office at that moment, never to return, but we were scared and desperate and we knew of no other alternative and had no where else to turn. He had the nerve to tell us not to worry that kids who have Lymphoma do really well. Can you believe that?

The asacol worked a little but symptoms kept returning. Frustrated and angry about this, we would call the doctor, whom we relied on at the time and he prescribed another medicine in addition to asacol. This one was Rowasa Enema. Now we had to give our little boy a medicated enema at night and expect a child with an urgent bowel to hold in the medicine all night! This did seem to help a little but would cause him dizziness and headaches the next morning. We called the doctor and he said it was time to start a new drug called prednisone; “steroids.” This was so frightening for us to think of him being on such horrible medicine.

He was on 40 mg a day and would soon feel the effects. He was always starving, his body swelled up so much that my husband couldn’t recognize him in the school yard one day when he picked him up. He would sweat terribly and just didn’t feel like himself at all.

We then learned about the Specific Carbohydrate Diet, and this was a very restricted diet that would help us get him off the steroid. We finally started to see that there may be a way out of this nightmare. While coming off steroids he did bleed again and have loose bowels but we wanted him to be off the steroids.

In September of 2005 symptoms would still come and go but mostly stay. I can remember one morning not wanting to get out of bed because I was feeling so helpless for my child and in utter desperation, I got down on my knees and just prayed to God to help guide us in the right direction. I tried so hard not to question, “why us?” I just needed some help. I knew in my heart there was another way.

One day I was shopping in a health food store and a gentleman who worked there came up to me and asked me why I was always looking into the reference area. He wondered if he could help me with anything. I told him about my son and he put his hand on my shoulder and said, “I know just the person who can help your family.” I thought to myself, “There’s no way this perfect stranger will refer someone to us that will change our lives forever.” He gave me his website and informed me that I should call him. His name is Russell Mariani. I went home, told my husband, wondering if he was going to think I was nuts. We both agreed that we had nothing to lose. I called Russell in October 2005 and I knew after hearing him talk about all his personal experiences and his beliefs about the healing process, we had finally found someone who thought the same way we did. He confirmed for us what we had already felt in our hearts.

Russell told us that Richie can heal and he can get off the drugs. From that point on we tried very hard to change all of the misconceptions we had for so many years. This was not so easy. Things with Richie took time, patience and faith. Emotionally we would continue the fight to make Richie well. There were many days of crying, despair, and losing the faith. The day-in day-out restrictions of food, swallowing many herbal supplements each day, converting to organic whole foods was all so new and foreign to our family. Russell walked Richie through a colon cleanse to remove toxins caused by the medication out of his system. During this process Richie was tired, weak and had headaches. He spent about a month on the couch. What a thing to watch.

Russell gave our family the tools necessary to begin the healing process. I had my doubts, believe me. We started with the Watercure, Formula #2, Essentials and whole foods. We thought it sounded too good to be true. We didn’t realize this would be a challenging experience that would change our lives for ever. Try explaining to a 6-year-old why eating these foods, taking these herbs and learning new habits would make him well. He would cry every day for his old life (before he got sick). What a trooper he was! He did everything that was asked of him. Perhaps he felt way down inside that his family loved him so much to go to through all this trouble so that he would be well again. In the meantime, we had to keep the faith and see things improve for ourselves.

The most important lesson of all that Russell has taught our family is that a well-nourished body doesn’t make mistakes. We have been blessed to be working with Russell for 6 months now. Today Richie still has his off days, but they are less and less. Just a few short months ago Richie was so lethargic, in such constant pain, most days he would just lie on the couch and moan. Now he runs, climbs, swims, and loves life again. I never thought I would see the day! I remember the day a year ago when the doctor told us he would be on medicine for the rest of his life. Well, he has been off medicine for almost 8 months and has turned toward a happy lifestyle with healthy meals and a natural approach. Yipeeeee!

We have since found ourselves a new pediatrician who practices Complementary Medicine. We saw her for the first time this week and if she wasn’t already informed of Richie’s past two years of health problems, she would never have known anything had been wrong with him. We left her office feeling not only proud of ourselves for finding another way but delighted to have found a pediatrician who isn’t going to alarm us unnecessarily ever again. There are doctors out there
who really do know differently; you just have to look.

We also had a very nice meeting with Richie’s teachers who also informed us that he is no longer hanging over the side of his desk fatigued and lethargic and missing out on recess and gym. He is just like all the other kids again!

In my opinion, you can’t put a price on good health. There is no better feeling than healing your child with diet, herbs, and vitamins. Russell deserves so much more than he asks for. How do you thank someone who helps you save your child’s life? Russell’s answer is always follow the basic fundamentals and you will get well and stay well. Every day is a new day and you just need to keep the faith and truly allow Russell’s program to help you along the way.

Richie Drinkwater