My Baby Has Eczema, This Is Our Journey
This is Charli's eczema journey, our eczema journey together through different lenses. I decided to write her story because throughout this crazy enduring road, I have come across so many stories and experiences from other mothers and parents going through exactly what we were and still are at times going through now, though it's much more manageable and night and day difference! Some really helped to give me the support and encouragement, that I was on the right path to her healing.
They helped me not feel so alone and lost in the despair and guilt. The guilt of seeing your baby's face and hands covered in blood because you turn your back for one moment too long and they got ahold of their delicate skin.
Even today, I feel more at ease when someone sits in the backseat with her when we are in the car just to make sure she doesn't have a bloody "itching episode."
I rarely went anywhere for several months because I was traumatized from a previous car ride alone with Charli. By the time I got home, she was all scratched up and a bloody mess. It was awful.
I remember reading one mom's words saying it was like their child was in a trance when they would start scratching and nothing could pull them from it. That was really what it was like for Charli too. For Christmas, we were gifted Scratch Sleeves.
They are little sleeves made of soft silk that cover your hands. Those sleeves have been a godsend on restless, itchy nights. She still wears them sometimes when I have to drive alone with her.
I am a nursing mama, so there were moments when I was so afraid to eat anything in fear that it could have an affect on her skin. I don't miss those moments at all. Some people when they see her now, they are so happy for her and say, "I knew she would grow out of it!"
I then have a moment of silence for Dr. Shon Goulding, laugh, and say "You have no idea!" Eczema is no joke and if you are trying to heal it as naturally as you can without the overuse of steroid creams and antibiotics, times can seem pretty hopeless. But I am here to assure you, you are not alone.
Going through her album over the past year to figure out which ones I wanted to share, I suddenly got a pit in my stomach and my eyes welled up. I forgot those feelings.
I forgot what it felt like to see her like that. Not a lot of people have seen these pictures, as a few of them are very sad. But they are a part of her story.
In sharing these personal photos and her story, my only goal is to at least have one mom or human out there say, Wow I thought I was the only one and just feel a tiny more comforted in that. I want to show my empathy but also my belief and passion that healing is always possible. (I hope she doesn't ever get upset at me in the far future for sharing this... Sorry baby, but we are the change! It starts with us.)
It was a year ago in October 2017, Charli was 3 months old. when we realized her red, bumpy, flaky, swollen cheeks were so much more than baby acne. The red flaky skin was beginning to weep and when it dried, it was crusty and yellow.
It just wasn't right. We took her to a dermatologist and he put our minds at ease by saying she had a moderate case of atopic dermatitis (eczema) and that this is common, she’ll grow out of it, just give her this topical steroid and these antibiotics (because she had an infection on her skin.)
Anxious and desperate to get her better, we followed the doctor's regimen and it worked and cleared her skin up for about a week.
It was the happiest, most short-lived week ever! Shortly after, she flared up again. I was so confused. Why was this happening? Throughout all of this I had changed my diet several times trying to see if I could narrow down the possibility of any food allergies or sensitivities.
I was driving myself mad. I made another follow up appointment in November with Charli's dermatologist and I voiced my concerns about it maybe being an allergy and that since I am still nursing, it could be something I'm eating that's affecting her? He assured me there is no way.
I remember thinking during and after the appointment, like.... how does he know it’s not an allergy? Truly. It didn’t make any sense to me. But I didn't question him because well, I didn't feel like I could. It sounds silly, but I didn't feel like I wouldn't be really heard.
I'll never know though because I didn't speak up and use my voice. So anyway, he upped the dosage in her topical steroid. I was hesitant because at this point, I was basically becoming an encyclopedia for random information on eczema; and I was beginning to question why we do, a lot of what we do in our healthcare system.
I have always leaned more towards an alternative approach, and so her doctor just wanting to prescribe medication after medication, saying that this would be the only way to rid her of it, just boggled my mind!
With some persuasion from our family members to give Charli some relief, we used the new steroid cream. After a couple of days, her skin cleared up again- this time for no more than a week.
The red, swollen patches of skin had now gone from her cheeks to her chest, her arms, ankles and back. Through all of these moments, I began to see a pattern and came to learn that her eczema came in stages. For Charli, it started when she would get little red bumps all over that almost looked like acne.
Her skin would get so itchy and she’d rub her face until the little bumps would begin to weep. This was probably the phase I hated the most. Her little face and skin would look so swollen, bright red and wet, like she was sunburnt or something. I found that daily Epsom salt baths were very soothing to her inflamed skin.
Bleach baths were also used once in a while. Yes, that's right, I said bleach baths. Sounds a little crazy, I know, but it's 1/4 cup in a big bathtub. Compare it to a swimming pool. Bleach baths help sooth irritated skin, but it also helps keep infection away since people with eczema are more prone to catching infections because of their already compromised immune system.
We also used tea tree oil in a spray bottle to fight infection along with Sovereign Silver spray and Sodium Ascorbate (Vitamin C) to help boost her immune system.
After baths, we immediately lathered her up to lock in the moisture, and clean her face every hour or two throughout the day. I feel like that helped Charli a little.
Once the weeping would go away, her skin would begin to get really flaky, almost as if she were a snake shedding her skin. Underneath the flaky skin, were rough, red, scaly patches of skin. Usually it would just continue in this cycle over and over. She would hardly have clear days and if she did they were short lived, but they were noteworthy and memorable. She was literally ALWAYS itchy and trying to scratch.
At this point in our itchy little journey, I was so determined to try and learn everything I could about skin inflammation, natural remedies, a healthy gut flora, healing yourself from the inside out, a weakened immune system, food allergies, the concerns revolving around the overuse of antibiotics, steroids and it leading to Red Skin Syndrome, and so much more.
I POURED myself into research, studies, blogs, personal experiences. I would read so many other eczema stories from mamas and their littles and what they are going through, what has worked for them, what is the progress.
To see another mom write how she walked into her son’s room to find a bloody scene of a mess because he had scratched at his skin too hard while he was sleeping and punctured the skin. I cannot tell you the feeling of seeing it first hand what that is like, but I know it all to well, and it's heart wrenching.
There was one mama who wrote about the hundreds and hundreds of dollars spent on trying EVERYTHING to help calm the eczema- from creams, to lotions and soaps, and oils, clothing, special detergents, the list goes on.
But knowing that if one of these things even soothes her just even a little bit, it's worth it. Oh and you better keep those nails cut around the clock, cause it definitely helps in those moments where you aren't able to catch the tiny hands.
Just the fact that other families were and are going through this same nightmare gave me a strange sense of comfort and deep urge to truly heal Charli from the inside out.
When I took this picture above, I remember the heaviness and sadness of this day all so clearly. I have added and removed this picture so many times while editing this story... It's hard for me to look at. I remember feeling like Something has got to give, this is not how this ends.
12 days later, we got a glimpse of light. Charli has been lucky, in that throughout a lot of this discomfort, I have always been able to see her happy spirit shining through. I know she was in pain, I know she was uncomfortable, but she was just so happy. But when those moments like above did happen, it felt crippling.
She is the reason I am on a healing journey of my own.
I feel like Charli's story truly began when I posted the main picture at the top of the page - on my Instagram and Facebook account - speaking on our experience with eczema. This was towards the middle of February and by the time the day ended, I had received so much love, so much support and so much personal insight from many people all around.
My cousin, Chanel, reached out to me and told me about this chiropractor who works in Layton who has helped her daughter, Lennen, with her eczema. She said Lennen’s eczema was caused from a milk allergy and that she is still getting treated by him, but that he is really helping Lennen and she definitely recommended him.
She told me a little about the process of muscle strength testing and what he does and how it's non-invasive (she's not going to be getting pricked with a bunch of needles to figure out what allergies she has.) After she explained in detail how their appointment went, she said "It was like magic!"
When she said that, I knew I had to try. Dr Goulding's reviews were out of this world and you know good reviews and experiences go a long way with me any probably every other person. After I spoke with Chanel, I got on the phone to make an appointment for Charli to see Dr. Goulding at National Allergy & Injury Clinic. There happened to be a cancellation that next day on February 21.
I was so anxious to meet him and talk to him and let my voice be heard. Before the day of our appointment, I made notes about what I wanted to ask him. I created a photo album of Charli's eczema regression over the past 4 months that this took over her skin.
He empathized with Charli, with us. He said with as severe as Charli's case was, we would need to practice patience because it would take time, but he showed no hesitation or doubt in his ability to be able to help her. He was confident.
I remember feeling so hopeful for the first time. With the formalities and stories out of the way, he began his unique testing using muscle strength to identify imbalances or "allergies" within her body. I believe this is called kinesiology - defined primarily as the use of muscle testing to identify imbalances in the body's structural, chemical, and emotional energy. (Definition taken from sokanu.com.)
Upon completion, we counted TWENTY ONE allergies! She was allergic to eggs, calcium, vitamin c, sugar, iron, yeast, grain, soy, corn, lactose, fragrance, to name a few... No wonder none of the elimination diets I did worked. She was allergic to everything!
The treatment technique Dr Goulding specializes in is called NAET (Nambudripad Allergy Elimination Technique.) That's right, you read that right- elimination.
He does his chiropractic juju on your spine and then 25 hours later and sometimes an awful boring diet later, the imbalance/allergy within the body is gone. Seems too good to be true, huh? We were told that it could sometimes take more than one treatment for the imbalance/allergy to rid your body, but of all of Charli's allergies, we only had one in particular that was more stubborn to leave (dang lactose.)
Before we left our first visit, Dr Goulding gave us his book titled, "Healing You from the Inside Out." We were in the right place. Finally. And like Dr Goulding told us in the beginning, this healing wasn't going to take place overnight, it was going to take some time.
There was one appointment that sticks out in my mind. We had already treated a handful of allergies and we could see a small change, but it was still pretty bad. I sat down and I started crying. "Do you really think she is going to get better?" He still remained confident and said we have to keep going. After we treated Corn, I feel like that was when we saw dramatic improvement.
Our experience with NAET has made me a believer. A believer that there really are people out there that want to help heal you from within. And hopefully a believer to anyone who may have doubts. (cough, cough, I know some of my family thinks I am "bogus," but I know the truth! :))
I have read other posts from parents with children with eczema, who have tried NAET treatments and didn't have the success that we had. Each person has their own bio chemical makeup, so what works for one person, may not work for another.
All I know is we lucked out when Dr Goulding and his team (the amazing angel ladies, Melanie and Mykelle) came into our lives. Dr Goulding helped change Charli's life. He helped change our life. I have so much gratitude in my hearts for National Allergy & Injury Clinic.
Submitted by mama Karli Pacheco