As I watch Rylee get more foods back, continue to sleep better and have an overall more positive attitude, I can’t help but release a big sigh of relief. What an exhaustive, draining journey we have been on the last few years. Rylee’s first year of life seemed so perfect. There were no big red flags at the time. In hindsight, perhaps, but there’s no sense dwelling on those. Instead, I want to take that information that I look back on and transform it into positive awareness for other individuals out there, who may have someone or may themselves be suffering from allergies, eczema, recurrent staph infections, yeast overgrowth and more. Perhaps, one has no idea what ails them, but knows something does. That is part of the reason I started this blog- to share my ridiculous amount of random information accumulated over these three years. I also want to share recipes, adventures and life. More than anything, I hope my information on my blog can help you. That’s what I want the most, is to help someone avoid going down the road we traveled, get out of the rut you’re already in or pass my blog on to a friend you think could use a light in their tunnel.
When I look back to see how we arrived where we are now, I decided to sum it up in these 11 steps of 2011. You don’t have to follow them in order, you don’t have to follow them at all, but maybe one or two or all of them will help you better manage your health. Improved health will surely result in more happiness!
It’s a new year, so make it your time to take on your health. That’s what we did for Rylee. I cringe when I think about where we would be without taking his health into our own hands. It’s the best thing we’ve ever done and we’re almost to 100% good health, not quite, but incredibly close. As a result, we all couldn’t be happier- getting your sanity back has a tendency of doing that. Note: I’m not a doctor and this is not intended as medical information or advice. These are things one mom has learned from her son on their allergic adventure!
- Ask your doctor’s why? whether it’s giving your child a vaccine, delaying a vaccine, prescribing antibiotics, delaying allergy testing, prescribing steroid creams, dismissing yeast overgrowth, ask them WHY? It’s your health, it’s your child’s health. If you can’t ask why, find a different doctor (not easy, I know). Be persistent with your why’s. If you let up, they don’t have to answer the question. If they can’t answer the question, ask them to work with you to answer it.
- Be your child’s advocate! Having a sick child is never easy. When they are babies, toddlers, small children, who can’t express how they are feeling, that only adds to the pain. We know our children better than anyone, though. We know if something is not right, even if the doctor tells us everything is okay. Our intuition won’t let us hide from our reality. Keep returning, keep asking why, stay persistent. Advocate!
- Take doctor’s off their pedestals. As harsh as that may sound, I really don’t mean disregard towards doctors. However, I think we’ve (society) have placed doctors up on this pedestal, where we believe everything they say. This should not be our reality. Doctors do not know everything. If they tell us something, this doesn’t make it true. I’ve heard so many different things about Ry that were false. Some of the biggest ones? He doesn’t have eczema; yeast overgrowth doesn’t exist; he’ll grow out of all this. Because we kept searching for answers, we found that he most definitely had eczema, yeast can be a huge underlying factor in eczema and allergies and I’ve yet to believe he would’ve grown out of all this. I’m not trying to give myself a pat on the back for our perseverance in finding answers, I just want others to understand it is not easy, but worthwhile!
- Get your child allergy tested, as early as possible! Infants can be allergy tested. I don’t know how many times I have been told otherwise. Do not wait until your child is one. If he is having problems at 6 weeks, that leaves 10-1/2 months for his allergens to wreak havoc on his tiny, developing body. Just like everything else in life, early intervention is critical!
- Understand allergy tests are not fool-proof. While this may sound a bit contradictory to number 4, I just want to be sure it is understood that not everything is going to show up on an allergy test. There are also things that may show that aren’t actually allergens. However, it is still worth getting the testing done. It gives you somewhere to start. There are many different types of tests and I’d definitely recommend doing the patch and prick test. Those are the only two types we’ve done, so I’m not familiar with others. The prick test is more common, but be sure to get the patch test! This is where a lot of things show up, when things on the prick test may not show up because they are different types of reactions.
- Educate yourself on yeast overgrowth because it does exist. Treating Ry for yeast overgrowth changed our lives. He used to try to rip his penis off, literally. It itched that bad. All night long, he’d toss and turn, itching from head to toe, and itching all day long, from head to toe. Skin so dry, people would tell me to put some lotion on him. They didn’t realize he’d already had three coats of vaseline put on that morning. They didn’t see me take his pj’s off when he woke up, watching a cloud of dead skin follow behind. It was disgusting. It sucked. It was yeast. Yeast can also cause allergens, it’s a vicious cycle. You have unknown allergies and unknown yeast, you get more antibiotics and prednisone prescribed. The yeast feeds off of these, creating more allergens, in addition to the ones you already are unaware of. Your skin is out of control. You don’t know why. You can’t figure out what you’re allergic to...it goes on and on, unless you figure out the source. Yeast won’t be the source for everyone, but it’s definitely worth researching.
- Open up to alternative healthcare. Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) has been nothing short of amazing. Ry’s hands literally cleared within a few days of his first appointment, which included acupuncture, massage, herbal ointment and powdered herbs twice a day. Hands that were cracked and hardened for the previous two years were soft. I couldn’t stop holding them; I was in shock. They felt “right.” Internally, he felt right. Just like any medical professional, not every TCM doctor will have the same results. Search the internet, ask people for references, find resources.
- Find a source of support. Whether it is with family or friends, online or over the phone, find other people you can talk to you that are going through similar struggles. For me, finding blogs online and discussion groups was highly beneficial. These are the places I learned about yeast, LDA, elimination diets, bleach baths, alternative health care and more. There are so many parents out there going through these allergic adventures and so many are eager to share what they’ve learned.
- Read Dr. Kenneth Bock’s book, “Healing the New Childhood Epidemics.” I learned about this resource in a discussion board and I credit this book with changing our lives. Prior to this, I didn’t know much about yeast, I was overwhelmed, we were at a total loss for what to do for Ry. This book opened my eyes to so much, including supplements and yeast overgrowth. Although eczema is not one for the 4 A disorders (autism, ADD, asthma and allergies), I’d still highly recommend Dr. Bock’s book.
- Visit Mothering.com’s discussion board. The allergy and asthma section within health and healing is absolutely wonderful. While I haven’t been on there in a very long time, I need to revisit it. I got so much wonderful information from there. It’s also a perfect place to help build your support network. So many knowledgeable parents are on there, who have been through similar struggles.
- Try to keep your sanity. In all of this, try to find something that helps you maintain your sanity. Easier said than done, I know. I’m pretty sure I lost mine a few times. But doing things, like starting this blog, was extremely helpful- Allergic Adventures has certainly been therapeutic for me. So whatever takes you away, even just for a very short while, find it because your sanity is highly valuable!