We've drawn a line in the sand today.
I took these "before" pictures of Gabriel this afternoon.
|Right arm. He scratched so much during nap yesterday that there was blood on his shirt and sheet when he woke up.|
|Left arm, just above elbow|
|Right lower leg, just above ankle|
It slowly grew bigger.
And then a matching spot showed up on the opposite side of his belly.
Then a similar spot showed up on his arm, right above the elbow.
Then on the same spot on the other arm.
And all the spots started feeling rougher.
I thought it was dry skin and we started putting his lotion on him twice a day, instead of just once.
And we changed the detergent we used on his clothes.
Typing this out makes me sad (tearful)...and mad. WHY didn't I do something quicker? Why didn't I realize what was going on?
And then it hit me square in the face one day while I was reading messages on this yahoo group that I belong to: this was eczema.
From my reading I've learned **almost all** eczema is caused by food intolerances/sensitivities. The skin is just a symptom. Eczema is an internal issue, that is presenting externally.
But not everyone agrees with that thinking.
So I was very glad when I took G to the doctor that they brought up to me that eczema is "caused by an allergy." I was glad we were on the same page (we're not always on the same page). I told our ped. we had decided to eliminate citrus, strawberries, and avocados...and asked him what else we should do. He said to start there. (These were things he was eating daily, but are known to cause problems for some people.)
I so wish we had just jumped right from there and gone ahead and done a major elimination diet. Instead, we spent the next approximately 3-4 months taking things out one at a time seeing what would help.
When we got G down to having eliminated all of that plus eggs and dairy, (we never introduced wheat in the first place, based on other research I'd done) in June, his skin got much better. I was having to eliminate these things also, because I was still nursing him at the time. Then we did a challenge and **I** had some eggs and some dairy - and nursed him exactly TWICE...and I did a post about what it did to his little body. Remember - that was not even Gabriel eating dairy and eggs directly, he just got it through my breast milk.
And as bad as his skin is (oh, how it itches him!)...I can't imagine what is going on inside his little body!
So, an internal issue. Can't heal an internal issue by putting steroidal cream/oil on the skin (which is what his pediatrician prescribed for him. I didn't fill it. We have, however, used florasone to help relieve his itching when it is bothering him.)
So, how to actually heal this internal issue, and not just put a "bandaid" on the symptoms? I'd been hearing and reading about a book for years. I'd often thought that I needed to read it and follow the diet for my own issues, the major one being my auto-immune thyroid disorder. But I would (figuratively speaking) put my fingers in my ears and say "Nanananana" and move on quickly because there is no way that I could do a major elimination diet for months.
But what I (originally) wouldn't confront in me...I wouldn't dare not confront in my child.
So I ordered and have been reading this book I've heard about for years: Gut and Psychology Syndrome by Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride. The premise behind the book is that a number of physical, behavioral and psychological issues can all be linked back to a common cause: Gut Dysbiosis. That is fancy talk for an out-of-whack gut flora. And your gut can be so damaged that you have "leaky gut." Yes, partially digested bits of food leak right through the intestine walls and into the blood stream, where they are not supposed to be. The body recognizes the food as "foreign invaders" that are not supposed to be there...and mounts a defense (as it should do against a foreign invader), causing a reaction to what is normally a harmless food.
Bad bacteria can overtake the good bacteria in our gut and become out of whack through antibiotic use, other over-the-counter meds, the Standard American Diet (SAD), toxins we encounter in our daily lives, etc. This gut dysbiosis can manifest in physical symptoms (eczema for example), behavioral problems (ADD, ADHD), psychological issues (Autism, Depression, Bi-polar).
These sound like such high-fallutin' claims. I know myself and I know that I would have totally written all this off as a crock not too many years ago. But after all I've read and seen now - reading the explanations and science behind this - I'm a believer.
This book outlines a diet protocol that will "heal and seal" the gut. It eliminates foods that are harder to digest, and increases foods that are very soothing and nourishing...along with adding in plenty of probiotics (homemade and store-bought) to encourage the repopulation of healthy gut flora.
Notice that I said that I've been thinking for quite some time that I need to do this diet (it is called GAPS after the title of the book Gut and Psychology Syndrome). Then when we realized G's issue was eczema, it hit me that this is what we need to do for Gabriel. And as I read the book I recognized Jas and 3 other of my children in symptoms/issues that GAPS will help with (ranging from eczema, to digestive issues, to histamine allergic reactions, etc.).
So, we've been gathering supplies (and knowledge) and gearing up to start the protocol. Jas has been reading the book too and I can't even thank him enough...it is wonderful to be on the same page! And I've seen a new pediatrician for Gabriel, and she is totally behind us on all of this. The rest of us will be starting shortly...
But Gabriel's skin really seems to have taken a major turn for the worse just in the past week...and so we went ahead and started him this morning with his first meal.