December 6, 2010

My Child's Allergies - Six Months Later.

So, I had some errands to run today and I decided to start early so that Myer wouldn't fall asleep mid-grocery-store again, but by the time I pulled into the parking lot at the store, he was already OUT. It was 9:30AM.

I think he's coming down with something, which is sad, but then you add on top of that the worry of triggering his asthma and wheezing breathing treatments, and his refusing to eat for days on end, and suddenly little colds don't feel quite so little anymore. They feel like you're walking on a tightrope over a pool of hungry sharks with frickin' laser beams attached to their heads.

(Forgive me. I saw Austin Powers no less than 10 times in the theater way back in 1997, and ran to purchase the DVD on the day it was released. I was AM slightly obsessed.)

I've been meaning to touch base again with where we are at with Myer's allergies, and some of you have emailed me personally with similar situations in your own households- wondering what steps we've taken and what has worked for us or not. So, I thought I'd share all that with you guys now, even though I am not entirely confident in our approaches thus far...

Let me start by saying that I am no expert or doctor, these are just my personal findings mixed up with my gut instincts and I'm not making any kind of blanket statements here.

I have ALWAYS been a 'go with your gut feeling' kind of person, which has generally worked out great for me, except for when it doesn't, and then it's quite unfortunate because you don't have facts or research or doctors to pin any blame on, it pretty much all falls right back on YOU. And your lousy, blabber-mouthed gut. haha.

SO, after we took Myer to the allergist six months ago (holy moo it feels like it was years ago) I became completely and utterly overwhelmed. Suddenly I was told to change every single thing about my life and the life of my son. No more wheat, eggs, strawberries, peanuts, dust, carpets, drapes, animals, grass, pollen, or trees. Suddenly there were six perscriptions to be filled every month that cost us more than we were comfortably able to spend. Or to give. We were told he was asthmatic and needed epi-pens and rescue inhalers and blood tests.

I had always hoped that, if put in this kind of circumstance, I would magically transform into a supermom who stopped at nothing to find every answer and solve every discomfort that my son was feeling. I don't know, I guess I was expecting some sort of mega-strength to fall from the sky into my lap so that I could be the mom who CONQUERED and BEAT the problem for her son.

No such strength fell from the sky. These past six months have been hard for me, mainly because I have had to face the fact that I feel like I've failed quite a bit, and the guilt that I carry from that can be crushing at times.

We pulled Myer off of all the suspected food for about three months. We gave him the medicines. We tried to keep him indoors, tried to keep him from getting too overheated or sweaty which made his eczema flare up like no tomorrow.

Things were... a tiny bit better? Maybe?

But the effort of finding food that he would actually eat that didn't contain a suspected allergen was taking a toll on me. And the 'progress' that I was seeing was not outweighing the stress and tears and anxiety on my part. His skin was still itchy and raw in places, he still had an almost constant runny nose.

Add to this the fact that I started doing some research of my own and found out that those allergy tests that they give have 60% false positive rate, and I was pretty much convinced that I couldn't keep up this way of life knowing it was based on nothing much more solid than conjecture. On guessing. I was told that some of the foods that showed up positive on his tests could have been because he had eaten some of that food recently and it was 'still in his system'. I was quickly losing confidence in the information I'd been given.

Soooo, we slowly started re-introducing foods. We kept our eye on Myer for any reactions. There were no major changes.

Now, he is back to eating anything except peanuts. He is on an anti-histamine twice a day, and we give him Singul@ir and breathing treatments when he starts showing signs that he is coming down with something. (his asthmatic symptoms seem to be only triggered by him getting sick & congested.)

Other than that, we just try to manage his skin as best as we can. It still gets bad sometimes. Baths once or twice a day, patting him dry, and covering him with vaseline or aquafor seem to be the only things that help. We also have a steroid foam that we put on his spots when they get really bad, and we use a mild detergent on all his clothes.

To sum it up, we are pretty much living life as normal and just trying to manage the eczema. He is still pretty much always itchy somewhere on his body, but it isn't as intense as it once was-- when he used to thrash all night and not be able to sleep due to the all-over itching. There is something in me that feels like this is somehow not enough, that I have failed on some level, yet it seems to be working mostly OK for us for now. He sleeps well at night, he itches a bit during the days, and he is a happy, contented little guy for the most part.

This is what my gut has been telling me to do. To manage the skin as best I can, and go on living our lives.

I really do feel that pulling my son away from every single thing that might maybe cause a reaction in his skin will ultimately do him more harm than good. Of course, my biggest hope and prayer is that he will grow out of all of this and his skin will stop being so itchy and irritated all the time. And I feel that by allowing his body to be exposed to whatever it is that is causing his skin to be this way, he will have more of a fighting chance of doing that by building up immunities.

My next plan of action is to get him in to see a naturopath here in the city who has been able to help some of my friend's kids who have allergies. I figure it won't hurt to talk to someone else about all of this, and I feel like a less "medical" approach may be a better fit for my family.

Are there any of you out there who have had similar experiences with allergies and tests and doctors? Is there anything that helped you that I may not be thinking of or seeing? Talking about all of this really helps me, and I am definitely here for any of you who want to talk through it more as well... just shoot me an email any time or leave me a comment. You guys have been such a help and resource for me in all of this, and I really, really can't thank you enough!!


Alivia said...

I'm sorry the little buddy has to go through all that! Hope you find some kind of solution soon!!

glynis said...

Sounds like you're doing a great job of balancing his needs and medical advice. Maybe this could help with the itchies.

Making Hypoallergenic Soap
You will need one bar of castile (olive oil) soap. This kind of natural soap does not have any added chemicals, fragrances or additives. You will need 1/2 cup of washing soda, such as Arm and Hammer. Lastly, you will need 1/2 cup of Borax (boric acid). Grate the olive oil soap with any type of fine grater, like a box grater, until you have a large mound of fine grains. Mix in a large bowl with the washing soda and borax. Blend this mixture in a blender or food processor until it is a fine powder. Keep this mixture in a large, plastic container with a tight-fitting lid. Use three tbsp. of this mixture per load of clothes.

Rita said...

Oh my goodness, a lightbulb just went off in my head. Baby Paige has CONSTANT bright red patches that itch like crazy and then eventually oooze. And her nose runs constantly. CONSTANTLY.

My gosh. I'll be she has allergies!

Care to share the name of the homeopathic doc? I may need to make an appointment.

And THANK YOU for writing this post!

Carolyn said...

Just delurking to leave you some encouragement. :) My daughter had very bad asthma that started at 11 months old and was triggered any time she had a cold or illness. We ended up in the hospital twice just because she got a cold--it was that bad. She also took Singulair daily (at $100 a month--ugh!) and we did breathing treatments at home any time she was sick. In other words, bad asthma, triggered by illness. However--and this is the encouraging part--she is now five years old and is SOOO much better! She finally stopped taking the Singulair about 6 months ago and we haven't noticed any difference. When she gets a cold, it's now just like any other kid with a cold. I was told that the younger they start with asthma, the more likely they are to outgrow it. We still have all of her medications on hand, if needed, but I'm so thankful that it's no longer something I need to think about. I'm PRAYING the same thing happens for Myer and one day this will all be a distant memory! :)

Eric and Tara said...

I feel your pain dude. Malak doesn't have as many allergies as Myer does (he's off of gluten, milk and sugar) but they still suck and it is SO hard to know what is best! I think going to the naturopath is a great idea- we go (as does Malak) and she's helped SOOO much- stuff that dozens of dr's appt/medication never helped with. So good luck, can't wait to hear how it goes!
P.s. Side note: One thing I do know is that eczema is the result of some sort of food sensitivity, so once you firgure out which one of the foods is causing it, it should comletely go away. That's why lotion will help it some but not ever get rid of it completely. The good news is that the naturopath should be able to figure it out for you pretty easily.

Rachel said...

Hi! Poor little guy! He and I have very similar allergy probs (I did all the allergy testing as a child too). The only things that have worked for me are:

~JASON Natural E.F.A Lotion every day (seriously, CHANGED MY WORLD as far as my constant skin's amazing). The essential fatty acids in the lotion reduce inflammation of the skin, moreso than anything I've tried...and I've tried A LOT.

~Then meeting with an ND who taught me all about inflammation in the body and how to reduce it based on diet and lifestyle (not crazy difficult stuff, pretty simple things to implement). Seriously has helped me SO MUCH.

So great that you are meeting with the ND...they are amazing and I'm sure will help a ton. :) Sounds like you are exactly on the right path as far as trusting your gut and letting your child experience life without all the restrictions/stress and helping him build his immunities naturally. Many prayers for you and for him! xoxoxo

meredith said...

We have had several friends go through the same thing you are. One friend had an extensive stay at the hospital due to eczema, which turned into a bacterial infection. it was awful!

they ended up going the Nourishing Traditions route of whole & fermented foods for their daughter, which has helped tremendously.

Have you heard of Norwex cleaning cloths? They are microfiber cloths that have silver in them which makes them antibacterial. I use them to wash my face with & when ever I get flair ups with eczema. I don't even use soap! They have an entire line for body. They are amazing!! This friend I mentioned can't use soap on her little girl, so she uses those for her now. She is seeing great results.

I would encourage you to keep seeking out answers! Give yourself grace for what you can handle & don't get too overwhelmed. You are right to go with your gut!! Sounds like the naturopath would be a good fit for you guys, too.

I would say that your theory about building up immunities is pretty good, but the problem with things like eczema & allergies is that the immune system is already compromised/overworked/shutting down due to having been exposed to something it can't handle for a period of time. Giving the "gut" a chance to heal from those allergens is best--usually from 6 mo. to 3 years to full heal. The gut needs time to be strong before it can fight off the allergens. Then the slow introduction of possible allergens after the gut is healed will be the true test b/c it will be more of true allergic reaction to that food/allergen. (this is just from my own reading I have done for my leaky gut/gluten/wheat allergy research).

But, there are also many sides to the allergy debate. I am not saying what I know is gospel truth, but it made sense to me. Food allergies & asthma are some of the hardest things to fight & find a cure in the medical world! Good luck to you & lil' Myer!!!

KristinChaos said...

I had very bad allergies and eczema as a little one too. So bad that my parents didn't take me out too much because the doctor had recommended that also. Sadly what helped me the most was

a) Moving from the midwest to california (I have and still have environmental allergies to trees in Missouri, I break out in hives within an hour of arriving out there to visit!)
b) Eating organic
c) Age- I definitely grew out of my allergies with only one flare up when I was a teenager (had to start carrying an epi pen, taking albuterol, singulair, advair, the whole shebang) but that only lasted for the allergy season that year.

I definitely recommend trying the homeopathic route. So many medications just treat the SYMPTOMS without helping the CAUSE. Hopefully the naturopath can help guide on how to treat the root cause.

Good luck and it sounds like your mommy instincts are right on track, continue to follow them and you can't go wrong!

Marianne Elixir said...

We're also 6 or 7 months in with my youngest. My experience was that the pediatrician's blood test was WAY more accurate than the allergist's scratch test. All of her skin irritation disappears if she avoids the foods on the blood test (though, due to sanity, we too break the "rules" with a few of the minor allergies).

Speaking of your gut - my theory and "gut feeling" is that most of these issues are rooted in the gut. Something is wrong with the way these little guys are processing the food they do take into their bodies. I am focusing on a probiotic approach to heal her gut, and hopefully speed the rate at which she grows out of these things.

Both our pediatrician and our allergist have said that when kids this little have allergies, that they almost always grow out of them.

Probiotics we're doing (since dairy isn't an option) - Beet Kvass, Kombucha, whey in water, and fermented Cod Liver Oil. I can give you tips on making/finding any of these if you are interested!

Marianne Elixir said...

I just noticed that someone commented about Nourishing Traditions while I was still typing the above comment out. That is the route we're taking with probiotics, etc. I love Nourishing Traditions!

Jenny said...

I'm thirding the Nourishing Traditions. I would not continue to give him foods he is allergic to, because it will further damage his gut and lead to more serious problems. You can get the book for $20 on Amazon.

leslie said...

overwhelmed is still where I am at! :) Thanks for the words of wisdom.

beca said...

Have you looked into fifths disease? I had that as a kid, its caused by a virus and usually goes away as a child gets older. I'm sure you have looked into it, but if not you should, it caused really itchy rashes and hives all over my body when I was very young.
Sorry that he's having to go through that, allergies are uncomfortable, even as an adult.

Lisa said...

You know, I hear you. Bean still has eczema and she hasn't had any of the foods she's allergic to for over a year. Though I still think she's definitely allergic to eggs. Oh and now Sprout has the eczema too. Fun. I don't know, maybe I'll try reintroducing the wheat and milk again because it really is a hassle sometimes. Besides she's coming up on the "magical" three year old mark when she's supposed to be able to be retested and outgrow these things.

I have found one thing that does help with the eczema is calendula lotion. We use the California Baby brand or Weleda. It usually clears the red patches up pretty quickly. I just have to actually remember to put it on them. I've never been one to really need lotion because I inherited my dad's oily Sicilian skin, so it just isn't something I think about.

lasyoung said...

Please forgive my "horning in" to your conversation(s)- I found your blog via Flo Paris' site & I found hers via my niece, Mary Beth Ely's friend-anyway, I'm enjoying browsing the blogs-so thanks. My daughter was sick for years with various ailments, including asthma & eczema, until one of her dr.s checked her antibodies for gluten.They were very high. She started on a gluten free diet almost 5 yrs. ago & she feels like a new person. The first 2 weeks were tough due to symptoms of detox but she felt sooo much better after that. I believe there's a simple blood test now, so if you haven't considered that, it would be worth a try. I feel your pain, and I want to encourage you to keep on keeping on. I wish you the best.
Another wonderful resource site for your research is it has been a Godsend for other health issues in the family. May peace be with you.

A.M.H. said...

My sister (and now my son, Landon) have many of the same symptoms at Myer at the same age. My sister did outgrow most of the eczema and asthma as she got older (it only flares occasionally) and I'm praying the same for Landon.

However, my sister will attest that she flares more when she has too much wheat and sugar in her diet. And it stays at bay when she eats really healthy.

Someone's mentioned a lotion with essential fatty acids which sounds awesome. I would also try to increase the number of essential fatty acids and vegetables in his diet. (SO much easier said than done with kiddos). And easy way I have found to increase Landon's veggies is to buy a green/vegetable powder from a heath food store and put it in a smoothie.

Oh and probiotics are AMAZING. I have my entire family on them. (Landon gets a powder from the health food store that I sprinkle in his yogurt.)

It is much easier to add to a diet rather than take away. I can't image how stressful it was trying to stick to that crazy diet. Keep listening to your Mommy Gut. You are doing a great job! He seems like a happy little tyke!

katie said...

i can't imagine your frustration, but it sounds like going with your gut is helping you more in this case than all the medications work. in addition to the naturopath -- if you need other options -- i'd consider looking up an osteopathic physician (a medical doctor with a DO degree rather than an MD). i'll admit my bias -- i'm studying to be one -- but a good pediatric DO should be able to at least help you clue in whether there are other skeletal or visceral things tied up with your kiddo's hypersensitivities, and may have suggestions for relief. also, i'm sure you've been told this by the docs you have seen, but eczema is really pretty common in kids, usually peaks around 2 or 3, and then recedes and (usually) is gone by the time they reach double digits (i'm referencing my immunology prof on that one). best of luck!

Em-Jae said...

Good for you!! I'm think it's great that you found something that works for him and that you're comfortable with all on your own.

Modern medicine is amazing, but the professionals are not always right.

Anonymous said... sounds to me like you are doing a fantastic job! I can only imagine how overwhelming that must be and all at once! I have 11 month old twin boys and one of my little munchkins has eczema. It's manageable right now; however, it's worse in the dry, cold months. I was one of those unfortunate cases where I developed eczema at a very early age and it never left. I have struggled with it all my life. It can be hereditary. And as you "learn" your sons skin, it will become more manageable. I reccomend a lotion called Cetephil. I personally use it on my son and myself, daily. Also, Aveeno baby bath. Everthing else you are doing sounds right; same thing we do here. I know it's hard as a momma to see your little ones go through the ordeals of life, especially so young. I wish you all the very best! And thank you for sharing...very inspiring!

Steph said...

Our allergist recommended Vanicream for our son's excema. You can find it behind the counter at the pharmacy (ask for the skin lotion; they also have bar soap and sunscreen). You don't need a prescription and it is reasonably priced. We slathered him in it a couple times a day and it worked beautifully. Also, we were told infrequent bathing is better. The skin gets less dried out. Good luck!

Marianne Elixir said...

I second Vanicream. It's what we use and it is virtually hypo-allergenic. Many of the other lotions have nut oils, and my eczema baby is allergic to nuts too.

Anonymous said...

You're so brave and SMART for not wanting to take the doctor route.

Sometimes they are absolutely full of themselves as well as hot air.

I was a kid with severe asthma who has taken countless meds, been poked with countless needles, allergy tested, tested for crazy lung diseases woken up with purple lips from lack of 02 while i slept and all of it SCARED me so bad as a kid. I was finally tired at age 16 (and maybe a bit rebellious?) and I quit everything. I discovered myself what worked and didn't work for me and my symptoms came under control very quickly because I BELIEVE the freak out factor from my parents and doctors went away. I felt calm and so did my insides.

Melissa said...

Omega fatty acids are supposed to be good for reducing inflammation in the body. We use the gummy-type supplements and my kids love them. Just thought that might be worth a mention.

Charel said...

Just a thought..I was talking to one of the teachers at my son's daycare and she has lime disease (when you get bit by a tic). She said the doctors tried and tried to diagnose her with numerous different things that I can't remember and she finally started doing her own research and figured it out and went to see a specialist. I don't remember if her symptoms were any like Myer's, but its worth a shot of research for it.

Barb Meyer said...

First of all, I read your blog regularly and you are a GREAT mom. It is just plain overwhelming from time to time to raise children...we live in a fallen, broken world that is slowly dying and the result is that there is disease, allergy, etc. IT IS NOT YOUR FAULT!!!! And as to your "gut" I think you are "listening to the help the Father gives", I think it is really "mothering by heart" : keep it up. I am a mom of 4 and my oldest is now 30 and my youngest is now 15. I have spent the last 30 years mothering by heart. it is hard and scary at times but I am here to tell you that you are doing a great job at the hardest job of all.
The only thing I didn't read in your blog or in the comments was enzymes and prebiotics, and probiotics. Research them on-line, or check for books. Sometimes what looks and acts like a "food allergy" is a food the body hasn't digested properly. It has helped our family and other families we know who have allergy issues like you are discribing. Enzymes are TOTALLY natural and in some cases virtually miraculous in their help. I will be praying for you.

Jeanette Sanders said...


I'm Jessica's cousin and she suggested I contact you with information on how we got my son, Ethan's, eczema under control.

It has been a LONG battle. He first showed symptoms when he was only a few months old. Weeping sores on his cheeks that wouldn't heal (regardless of what I did...topical steroids would help for a few days and then the sores would come back with a vengeance). And I didn't want to keep medicating him. He would cry and itch all night long. Eczema jammies to keep his nails away from his skin. His eczema eventually took over most of his body. It was like he had poison oak all the time. Anyway...

None of the doctors we took him to were very helpful. Their advice was to drug him up. More steroids. Drugs to make him sleepy and less inclined to itch. I wasn't comfortable using the stuff on him.

Eventually, the pediatrician suggested allergy tests. They came back with a very positive cat allergy (skin and blood tests came back positive) and wheat. So I cut everything out of my diet (I was still nursing) and his that could possibly cause an allergy. It didn't same to make a difference, at the time.

(end Part 1)

Jeanette Sanders said...

(part 2)

I also cut out all detergents. That DID seem to make a difference, but not enough to clear up his eczema.

We have sensitive skin in my family and we are all very happy to have gotten away from detergents. We use only pure soap products and even my husband is happier. Calben Pure Soap. If you are interested I can send you a link to their site. I use it for everything: laundry, dishes, hands, shampoo.

I tried topical things on Ethan's skin, but most seemed to make his eczema worse. I did lots of research online. I found natural herbs, acupuncture, new creams, you name it. Some seemed to help a little, but never enough.

Then I found a doctor who suggested stool sample testing. We found out Ethan isn't making enzymes to digest ANY carbohydrates. This new doctor gave me a list of supplements to try and foods to avoid. (He does in fact have a wheat sensitivity, as well as to soy, dairy, and eggs, but I couldn't pinpoint these sensitivities with any accuracy until the eczema was cleared up and we could detect a new flare-up when a food was introduced.) The main goal was to clear up the horrible inflammation in Ethan's intestines, get nutrients into his body, and let his immune system calm down so it didn't react to every possible thing in his diet and environment. Because his intestines were so inflamed, the bad bacteria in his gut had also taken over.

(end Part 2)

Jeanette Sanders said...

So, this is where I am with him now. He is nearly 3.5 and mostly eczema free. He will have the occasional flare-up (after visiting homes with cats, if he eats wheat or milk or soy or eggs...I keep testing to see if he is still sensitive to these foods and was surprised to find that he can now eat cheese again).

I think he would be completely eczema free if I cut out all offending foods, but he's ok with a VERY small amount of eczema on a few spots of his body that I just don't want to limit his diet completely. (When I cut all the foods he is sensitive to, completely, he is 100% eczema free, but this didn't happen until his intestines were first healed.)

All the research I've done, and based on my experiences with Ethan, the more I believe a healthy gut contributes to overall health.

Anyway, these are the supplements he is taking:

-Ther-Biotic Complete Powder by Klaire Labs (100+ billion CFUs multi-species probiotic). Every night with mashed banana.

-1/2 to 1 tsp of Nutiva Organic Hemp Oil every night. This has done wonders for his dry skin. When the skin barrier breaks down, it's more sensitive to external irritants. And when the skin is inflamed, the whole body is even more susceptible to allergens.

-Vital-zymes Chewable enzyme supplents by Klaire Labs. He takes one with every meal and snack.

-Alpha Sun - Energy for life. Blue-green microalgae packed with nutrients. When the intestines are inflamed and his gut so out of whack, his body cannot get the nutrients it needs. I've noticed an improvement in him from these supplements.

-Vitamin D3 liquid supplement. His vitamin D levels were very low.

It took a few months on the supplements but he started improving and sleeping through the night for the first time since he was an infant.

As for his skin:

I don't use soap on him. Well, rarely, and I always make sure it's pure soap. Detergents break down our skin barrier. Pure soap doesn't do that. I can direct you to some sites on detergent, if you are interested.

I give Ethan a bath every night and then immediately put the following on his skin (all have dramatically improved his skin):

-Miessence Probiotic Skin Brightener, organic. Liquid vinegar with probiotics, essentially. This cleans and nourishes his skin of bacteria and fungus without chemicals or making the bacteria and fungus stronger. I wouldn't have thought this product would help him, but it does. One of the many doctors I have seen said that often in eczema cases the body is hyper-sensitive to the bacteria and fungus in our skin and becomes more easily infected.

-Egyptian Magic. This stuff is fantastic. I can't rave enough about this. It's essentially honey and olive oil. A fully natural antibiotic and antifungal. It puts the bacteria and fungus in stasis so that the body's immune system can deal with the irritants on its own. Anyway, we all use this in my family instead of neosporin and the like. It's also a moisturizer.

-NutraBeautiful Daily Moisturing Lotion with Antioxidants. A fanastic lotion! Ethan's skin loves this. (So does mine.)

I use all 3 things on him. Fully natural. I haven't used any chemicals on his skin in ages now.

Also, in all the research I have been doing, I came across some things on diet. On cooked versus raw food and how this affects the gut. I have noticed that the more raw fruit and vegetables Ethan eats, the smaller and less frequent his flare-ups.

If you have any questions, feel free to email me:

Hope some of this is helpful!


Jeanette Sanders said...

I am so sorry for the extra posts. I got an error that even the divided comment was too big, so I assumed it hadn't posted and started posting smaller sections...


Andrea said...

hey, we made a few changes that really helped with our daughter's eczema

1) use a petroleum free detergent (like 7th generation, scent free)
2) stop using dryer sheets
3) switch to paraben free soap (california baby is what we use)
4) Instead of aquaphor or vaseline, try California Baby brand's "Calendula Cream"

It might seem like a lot at first, but once you switch those little things over you're taking care of most of the environmental toxins that he's exposed to. Hope it gets better soon!

lombrm said...

For the eczema, try popping Vitamin E capsules open and applying to affected areas - this has really helped me. I also use pure aloe vera gel, which is cool and soothing.

Elle said...

Coconut oil has really helped our daughter's eczema, and it's an all-natural anti-fungal, anti-viral moisturizer (not to mention it makes great fish tacos when you cook with it!).

There's a Christian naturopath in Edmond that has helped us a lot. Her vitamins and recommendations have been the only thing to ever help us. Her place is called Energetic Wellness, and she can do tests to see what foods Myer is sensitive to. Plus, her waiting list isn't as long. She has some interesting beliefs on health, and I don't know how much I agree with her premises, but I have to say, what she does WORKS!