When I became a Mother I was 19 years old, fresh out of school, super excited and scared all at once. When my daughter was born I found out what true love felt like. She was my world, my everything. She has grown up in an adults world and is funny, caring, talented and amazing. She had eczema when she was little in the creases of her arms and legs. Steroids cleared it up and it never really came back again. This is what I thought eczema was.
My son was born when she was 8 so both of our worlds changed. She had to share me with her cute little baby brother and I now had to share my love.
My son developed eczema from a few months old, on his cheeks, a little behind his knees and in the creases of his arms. We took him off to the Doctors and they gave us some Hydrocortisone 1% steroids. We used the steroid cream and his eczema cleared up but a few days after we stopped, it returned. We were told to use it again and again AND AGAIN. His eczema would always go away after a few days of using the steroid cream but as soon as we stopped, it would return. His eczema became worse and worse as he grew older. It started spreading to other parts of his body, starting off with small patches and soon it was all over his little body. Doctors kept telling us that the steroids were completely safe and that we should most definitely keep using them. We used them non-stop for around 1 and 1/2 years.
We thought Lakyn reacted to eggs when we gave him a tiny amount at about 9 mths old. His eczema flared and his breathing was a little husky. I decided to wait until he was a year old to try eggs again and when I did he reacted again. This time hives appeared around his mouth and neck and Lakyn began itching uncontrollably. Off we went to the hospital and it was so horrible watching his little body covered in a rash, he was so uncomfortable. We were then given a referral and made our appointment with an allergist so he could be tested - we were put on a 9 month waiting list. On my birthday he got to the cake and this time the reaction was so much worse. His mouth swelled and he began vomiting - another trip to Emergency. I never connected his allergy and eczema.
Finally our appointment rolled around and yes Lakyn was allergic to eggs. He was tested for all nuts as well and thank goodness he only reacted to the egg. Lakyn was prescribed a stronger steroid cream and I was told by the allergist to apply more of the steroid cream to get his eczema under control. My world seemed to revolve around his eczema, food allergy, non-stop itching, and no sleep.
The eczema was still getting worse and worse. It was around Lakyn's eyes which it had never been before. His eyes were swollen all the time, he started wheezing at night. The doc’s said asthma. I didn’t want to believe them and I wanted more answers, thinking maybe he had seasonal allergies, or maybe something the allergist hadn’t tested for. I took him to the hospital hoping they would refer us to a specialist. The Doctor just said steroids, MORE steroids. I was so angry and upset driving home crying I knew there had to be something else going on in his little body.
I started researching how to heal him naturally & then our journey began, we found The International Topical Steroid Awareness Network (ITSAN). It was originally formed to raise awareness about a condition called Topical Steroid Addiction and Withdrawal, now known as Red Skin Syndrome (RSS). Since its founding in 2012, ITSAN has grown into a wide online community of RSS sufferers around the world contributing ideas, funds and inspiration. We now knew we were never going to use steroids again.
We saw a Naturopath and for once someone made sense. We were told to stop steroids as they only suppressed what was going on inside, which in turn would harm other organs resulting in things like asthma. We were also told to stop dairy for a few weeks, then grains, then test to see a reaction when introducing them back in to Lakyn’s diet. We saw little change with dairy but within two days of no wheat Lakyn’s asthma stopped, his runny nose cleared. This was amazing, but his eczema was still there and we thought maybe the allergist could test for more.
The allergist would not test for anything else, he prescribed us more steroids and told us we were not using enough after we told him we did not want to use them anymore. He was happy to charge us an arm and a leg and laughed when we mentioned the Naturopath and his asthma stopping after wheat and refused to believe that wheat could stop asthma.
We stopped steroids and put him on an elimination and gut healing diet plus a very strict low chemical natural food diet. What came next was the hardest thing we have ever had to deal with. His little body was red all over and he felt like sand paper, he's itching was crazy, watching him suffer, tears rolling silently down his cheeks while he scratched uncontrollably was so heartbreaking and I would cry along side him. He would scratch all night, he was not sleeping and some mornings my alarm would go off for work and I would still be holding him trying to stop him from scratching and put him to sleep. Not being able to help him and take his problems away was horrible. He went through a process of healing, he would be red, then scab, then flake. We had him covered in creams and ointments every minute of the day and in the morning when we took his pyjamas off, the dead skin would be everywhere.
Healing took a good year and in Lakyns 4 and a half years of life, he had only slept through the night 3 times. When we introduced foods back in we saw a reaction straight away. We found all his triggers and he can now tolerate all of those triggers except for his food allergy. His body is now completely free from eczema and asthma. He is doing so much better. I am so grateful we had the courage to stick it out, it’s the hardest thing I’ve ever done.
Doctors had told us not to stop any foods and the only option we were given was steroids. They thought we were crazy. I am so glad we went on the journey to help our boy and we now want to help others suffering or anyone who would like to live naturally.
I started my blog Naturally Thriving to share our journey and to help others who were struggling with eczema. At times I felt so alone and reading other peoples stories gave me hope. I am always happy to chat about this topic, so feel free to connect with me through email or social media.
Ali says: I love creating and enjoy any craft. Although I don't actually finish many craft projects.
Hood: The Bellarine Peninsula
Children: 2 Children - 12 yr old girl 4 yr old boy
Motherhood in 5 words: LOVING AMAZING HARD EMPOWERING MOTIVATING.
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Business: Naturally Thriving
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