Ella, One Year Later: A Story of HealingPosted: September 11, 2013
It has been an eventful year in just about every way. (Anyone else tend to mentally separate years based on the school calendar?) Homeschooling, selling our house, moving, building, gardening and all that other stuff we all do day in and day out. It has been good, and God has blessed.
And even with all the big changes, what stands out the most is the change in our little Ella.
You see 2012 was a hard year for her, health-wise. While her pediatrician told us that by the time she was five, she’d probably outgrow her allergies and eczema, her fifth year turned out to be the hardest by far.
It began in March/April with the blooming of all the trees. We had done well all winter–even been cleared to eat wheat by the allergist–and other than her chronically dry skin, she was doing well. But things began to change. The rashes started returning. Her under eye area was dark again from chronic congestion. Then came a persistent dry cough that lasted for weeks.
The cough cleared up after I started giving her an herbal and vitamin complex for allergies and asthma. But everything else just got worse. By midsummer, she was a mess. Her skin was barely functioning properly. It was peeling and sloughing off CONSTANTLY. She was full of crusty, wet skin infections from head to toe. We had to change her sheets every day and vacuum all the little skin flakes off the furniture sometimes more than once a day. She literally smelled of infection and disease, no matter what we did.
She was also very lethargic and foggy headed. Some days, I would have to wake her up at 10:00 am because she was still sleeping.
Her eyes were surrounded by purple circles. She just lay around all day. She hadn’t grown or gained much weight at all in over a year. (Almost 6 and only 34 lbs.) Her hair was falling out. She cried every time she got in the tub because it hurt so bad. It was frustrating and terrifying and we were growing desperate.
She saw several doctors that summer. The allergist ordered a blood test for antibodies and other food allergens. The results were alarming. Her IgE levels (the immunoglobulin E–responsible for histamine and allergy reactions) were THROUGH THE ROOF. Over 5000. They told me average was something in the hundreds. Then we were sent to a pediatric immunologist at WVU hospital. More blood tests. More skin prick tests.
We were told that she could no longer have wheat and that we needed to avoid any gluten containing grain as well as corn and oats. Seriously?
The one good thing about this extra doctor was that he ruled out any scary immune-deficiency syndromes–which had been mentioned to us by the pediatrician.
But I’m supposed to be talking about the healing…
Getting corn and oats out of her diet did seem to help. The allergist prescribed about a month of some heavier medications–which she knew I was opposed to–and she promised that it was just to get her under control and then we’d back off and see how she did. At this point, momma bear instinct was in overdrive and I was at the end of my rope, so I think I would have done whatever she said if it seemed at all hopeful.
And after a little more research (which had become a full time job for me that summer) I stumbled upon some evidence that she might be having a Vitamin B deficiency (because she was eating mostly grain free)–which might be causing the hair loss. So we started her on a supplement, brought some safter grains back into her diet (rice, buckwheat, millet) and hoped for the best.
We did have one more serious skin infection where she looked like she had pox all over for about a week–which required more meds.
But then we moved.
We left the city and moved to the country. It was a beautiful, warm fall. She played and ran and soaked up the autumn sun. Her appetite got better. The skin flaking subsided and the infections cleared up. Her energy grew and her face brightened.
Eventually, little baby hairs started growing all around her hairline (which had receded greatly). They were like funny spikes that we had to retrain. And I was grateful for everyone of them.
Now, a year later she has passed 40 lbs. and grown so much. Her skin is actually soft (which it really hadn’t been since she was born) and we only deal with a few patches of eczema here and there. She’s sleeping well, eating well (we’re still avoiding wheat and corn, and only a little oats now and then) and is alert and engaged.
If you’re looking for one of those “How I healed my kid” posts, I’m sorry to disappoint. This is more of a story of thankfulness. I can’t say exactly what it was. Except that it was definitely an answer to prayer.
We still have to be vigilant about her more severe food allergies. I keep her on the herbal supplement to keep the allergies in check and we’ve been able to keep the other meds to a minimum this summer. She eats a pretty clean, natural diet. The kid’s favorite snack is carrot sticks and hummus.
Call me a mystic, but I do believe there is something very healing about sunshine and fresh air and playing outside. (We all read Heidi–right?)
But mostly I believe in the mercies of God. This time He chose to heal here on earth. And this momma’s heart is glad indeed.