Eczema is something nearly everyone is familiar with. Mention it to any mom and most likely you will hear a story of their baby having a bit of it at some point in their young lives. And they will likely tell you what lotion or cream worked for them. Maybe this will help your child too. Or maybe it will make you feel like someone is sticking a knife in your heart because you have tried every lotion and cream that exists and you would do anything to solve the problem with some miracle potion. I had a lot of well meaning friends, teachers, family members and acquaintances give me advice on Lucas’ rash over the years. I did my best to appreciate it. But I don’t think any of them actually knew how bad it really was. How much he suffered and how much we suffered watching him. How many internet searches and books I read, hoping for an answer. There were nights I held back tears as I rubbed cream on his red and inflamed body, trying to keep a cheerful face because I did not want him associating any negative feelings with his condition. When I look back at the pictures below, I feel sick to my stomach over how he looked, and how I know he was feeling.
In April of this year we took Lucas to a naturopathic doctor in Santa Barbara. She took one look at him and guessed food allergies and inflamed gut. She also found it interesting that the eczema was triggered after a vaccine. The first step was IgG testing for a huge range of foods and environmental allergies. Lucas was a champ for the blood test. Didn’t even cry. I couldn’t believe that kid, he never ceases to amaze me. 🙂 We waited for two weeks and got our results. As expected, he was basically allergic to everything. Dairy, eggs, soy, corn, rice, beans, garlic, pork, beef, turkey, and about 80 other random fruits, vegetables, grains, nuts, and meats. What this meant was that he had a leaky gut. It was inflamed and everything he was eating was causing a reaction. And there was no way to know what was causing the rash, or even if any of the foods were causing the rash. So we cut them all out for two weeks. We ate buffalo meat, duck, chicken, bananas, sauerkraut, millet, quinoa, sunflower seeds, and well… that’s about it for two weeks. But nothing got better. In fact, the eczema just got worse. We had stopped using the meds before seeing this doctor, and now even with the new diet, he was getting redder and redder. I called the doctor and we agreed to put a few foods back in like rice and almonds so that I could make him some bread and a few other snacks. She recommended L-glutamine and Quercitin, so we started on those supplements as well. Four weeks went by and I had nearly lost it. It wasn’t getting better. Lucas was confused and irritable all the time. He was miserable. Every time we went out, strangers would ask me what was wrong with him, wondering if he had had a reaction to a drug or something. And then came the advice. The last straw was the morning Lucas got up and looked like he was covered in the measles. I called the pediatrician because I needed someone else to see this in person, and I wasn’t going to drive 40 miles to the naturopath.
I took Lucas in to his pediatricians office that morning and she told me it was the worst case of eczema she had ever seen. She told me she couldn’t do anything more than she had, and it was time for us to try the dermatology clinic at Children’s Hospital LA. She gave me a number to call. As we were about to leave, her assistant for the day (a high school student hoping to become a doctor one day) asked me if I had tried hypoallergenic laundry detergent. I was annoyed at first, because, well, DUH… of course I had. I had tried about 4 different 100% natural, fragrance and chemical free detergents – the best ones you could buy. I also knew that Lucas was highly allergic to all conventional laundry detergents because he broke out much worse if he wore hand me down clothes before I washed them several times. Since he didn’t get those reactions when I used my natural detergents, I assumed they were fine. But now, I was on to something. I had tried a ton of different soaps, lotions, shampoos, laundry detergents, and sunscreens and nothing ever changed. What if he was allergic to ALL of them?!
I started testing out that theory immediately and I also called Children’s Hospital to set up his appointment. I started to feel hopeful. With a team of the best doctors around, I was sure to find an answer, right!?