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
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!!