Five days into our vacation and we are having fun! We are happily soaking up our vitamin D, playing in the water, visiting family and eating fresh fruit. Best of all, Ry is having a great time. After our Hawaii vacation in February, I was a bit unsure of how this vacation would go (Hawaii was not good, I think for a combination of reasons, but Ry’s skin was so flared almost the entire time we were there- it was sad!). Our first day here, after flying all night, we went to our first appointment with the Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) doctor. She looked at Ry’s skin, which was in pretty good shape; looked at his tongue, which was very pink with a thin, whitish coating; asked me some questions about him; gave him a massage on his forearms, calves and back; and also did some acupuncture- four needles in his back and one in his leg. It was amazing- Rylee just laid there soaking it all up. He really enjoyed the massage and he didn’t even twitch when she put the needles in his back.
The last needle, in his leg, hurt and he was bummed out from that, but otherwise, it was absolutely incredible to watch how calm and relaxed he was. I never imagined he would be accepting of the needles. She also made up an herbal mixture that he has to take twice a day and there is a cream to put on his skin when flared. The day after the appointment, I started the herbs and cream. He would have nothing to do with his herbs, which I mixed in applesauce. Great, I thought, all this work for nothing......but wait, apple juice saves the day!
There is still a lingering taste of herbs when I mix 1/2 a teaspoon with juice in his water bottle, but he drinks it. More like gulps it. Since we’re in the heat all day, I continuously remind him to stay hydrated. I’m not (really) lying and he drinks up the juice, so it works out good! The cream is incredible. The first few times I applied it, he screamed. He told me it hurt. He tells me his hydrocortisone hurts, too. This may sound evil, but I think he is exaggerating. I understand the open cuts might hurt, but when he doesn’t have any open skin and the screaming sometimes starts before the cream touches his skin, I’m thinking he may be a little over expressive (which he excels at!). I could be wrong, but either way, the cream is helping his skin clear and he’s now letting me apply it, minus the screaming.
I am also supposed to be doing the massage once a day, but am struggling because Ry won't let me. I think he eventually will let me, but I don't want to force it- he is a strong-willed little man and if he doesn't want something, good luck! I have to say there are some big things going on right now with Ry that leads me to believe our appointment last Friday is having a positive impact, in addition to his 7th LDA shot a week ago (last Thursday):
- his hands and wrists are the softest and clearest I have ever seen them. There are no cuts on them; he hasn’t tried tearing them up and they are just so soft, did I already say that? It is also interesting because his skin pigmentation is different on part of his hand, where the eczema was really bad. I have heard of this happening as eczema heals, but never experienced it with Ry. I’m hoping this is a positive sign of healing. Holding is hands is almost strange because (I’m repetitive, I know) his hands are so, so soft!
- The one last spot on the right side of his forehead is basically gone. His hair is growing in everywhere there and there is no dryness left- it’s like WOW!
- His neck (front and back) is not red, dry, inflammed, etc. It’s soft and clear, just like his hands!
- The last couple nights he has slept so good. He only wakes 2-3 times for less than a minute, itching. I just brush his hands down and he is done.
- He is peeing like a crazy man, maybe it’s because of all the apple juice I’m (not really) forcing him to drink. He usually drinks a lot of liquids, though, but doesn’t pee that often. I always thought it was a little strange how little he peed, but wasn’t overly concerned about it, now it seems like he always has to go to the bathroom. He is also pooping “normal” poops. He is not constipated or having diarrhea, but having poops that look “right.” I know, kind of gross, but in this allergy world, studying poops has become a regular pastime.
- He is playing around dust, hay, horses and dogs and seems to be just fine. No sneezing, coughing, itching, hives, etc. This is just weird, a year ago we couldn’t go outside in the summertime and that was just for a walk through the grass.
- He is playing in the water. We went to the beach twice this week and both days he was in the water. The first day he was naked, playing in the water past his knees. I wish I could express how amazing this is. In the past, every time his skin would get wet, he would just start tearing at it and that’s if he would actually touch the water. It’s incredibly exciting.
- He is wearing shorts and t-shirts. Yes, he still wears his footed pajamas sometimes, but not all the time. This is a big deal, too. When Ry is not living in his jammies, we are doing good!
- Best of all, he is wild, demanding, bossy, intelligent, helpful, entertaining, funny, loving, challenging and happy, just like a three-and-a-half-year-old boy should be!
I hope I am not jinxing myself by running off this list of improvements we are witnessing with Ry, but I am eager to share them. Perhaps we may take a few steps forward and a couple steps back, but I’m hopeful that, finally, we are going to be done with this eczema battle. We’ve been fighting it for what seems like forever and I want to win so bad; these improvements finally make me feel like we could win! When it comes down to it, I don’t know the exact reason for Ry’s improvements. I know what is contributing to it and I know what I would recommend to other parents of children with allergies, asthma and eczema, but I don’t know if the same would work for others. However, I do know that standard western medicine does not seem to be the only answer. While it is necessary and helpful, it needs to be complemented with other forms of alternative medicine, because it is not curing all of our health problems.
Our children deserve the best care and to provide them with this involves hours and days and months and years of researching for answers, as well as money we don’t always have and most importantly, hope. Sometimes, hope is the best thing we can utilize. If we aren’t hopeful that something will work, then it’s not worth trying it. We have to be optimistic and open-minded in this healing journey. While it’s hard to positively move forward because of the challenges that each day brings, it’s the only way we will achieve good health!