A Year in the Life of Allergies & Eczema

Guys, let’s be frank. 2017 has been terribly difficult on our family. I cannot remember the last time I have been through this much stress, heartache, and physical toll.  And seriously, thinking back to 2015, we had a baby, moved & we both changed careers all in one month. Now, that seems like a cake walk compared to 2017.

I use this space to be transparent, to share with others that may endure similar paths and hardships and want to preface that I do not look for pity in these blogs. I just want you to know I see you. If you are in a similar place, there is always hope. I also want to be real so you can take a glimpse at what things might really be under the surface.

peterson-88.jpgAlthough I look back at 2017 and understand it was a tougher year, there has been so much blessing this year as well. Our careers are really starting to flourish and we have been a resource to so many and I’m truly grateful for that.  Not only did I surpass my goals, but so did my husband. We took on the task of homeschooling our pre-schooler and we have an incredible daughter that has been a major blessing. God knew I needed a child of peace in our current state.

From the outside in, it could appear we have a lot together. It could seem that we have enjoyed the entirety of 2017 but in this last month I cannot deflect that illusion any longer because of the lies it holds. Our son Maverick is a bright and wonderful 2.5 year old but already has endured more than any child truly should. I have a hard time writing that statement because I know so many families and children endure far worse which is why I feel I have a hard time admitting our year was hard too. Allergies and eczema should not have made this year that hard, should it? There are simple avoidances and treatments one could take that walk down that path, right? Such a minor issue couldn’t cause that much pain, could it? Unfortunately every single one of these doubts and questions have sat heavy with us this year. We are in a constant state of wonder to what is going to help our child. It’s treacherous to face the reality that just when you think you have found the answer, you are faced with 3 new options or paths to potentially take.

To start the year we just knew Maverick had 6 known major food allergies: pistachios, cashews, dairy, egg whites, peanuts & almonds. We decided to try sublingual immunotherapy which is a tiny dose of allergen given under the tongue 3x a day. The process isn’t intended to be an overnight success but in time, he could outgrow and tolerate his allergens. A while into the year we realized there had to be more to his health and allergies so we had him tested for environmental allergies, and also tested stool & urine samples for a variety of things. We learned he had a high allergy to dust, dogs and cats…. WE HAVE TWO DOGS! Talk about a tugging at the heart strings… Would we have to re-home our dogs? Can he outgrow this? If they just stay outside, is that enough? Maverick lived through a southern California summer in long sleeves and pants because his skin had spiraled so out of control. This was no quality of life so we took it a step further to see a naturopath. See photo’s below of the extremes we have faced in regards to eczema over the past year from slight to full blown…

So let’s bring it back to why was this year so truly difficult?

I have never felt so judged when I have had to ask what ingredients are in food provided. With all of the allergies and intolerances that currently exist, people are [let’s be honest] ANNOYED. The options at the grocery store leave the true allergies feeling like there isn’t much option. Individuals that claim intolerances as allergies have created stigma in restaurants that allergies are not that “important”. I have seen eye rolls, individuals try to usurp my requests and not understand what a true allergy is. I feel for those with intolerances and I’m glad you are finding peace in a diet that works for you, but please, SERIOUSLY please, do not call it an allergy in the name of the children and adults that can be hospitalized or die from a fleck of an allergen being in their dish.

A look into the allergy reactions…

People wonder why I am home so often now, why I don’t get out or say I can’t meet them elsewhere besides my residence. The truth? Do you know what it’s like to pack up your house just to go be somewhere for a few hours. And the worry that comes from surroundings you’re not in control of? The more I could eliminate from Maverick’s environment would lessen the discomfort of his redness, itchiness and inflammation. People often don’t understand the true difficulty of laying by your son all night as he cries, whines and moans in pain because he is itchy and hot and does not understand why. I have cried with him in the wee hours of the night, I have sat and rubbed his skin just to get him to stop aggravating his skin to the point it bleeds. Plus a child needs to sleep in order to grow! He was being robbed of the nourishment his body so craved to be able to heal.

The most difficult part of our 2017 journey is the hurt we experience from those we are closest too. It breaks my heart to be asked the same question multiple times… To be questioned if I have tried a certain remedy… Many times this is all done with good intention but when one hears the same doubt over and over it inflicts a personal wound of wondering if you’re truly doing everything right as a mother to help your child. I have these three photos shown below to show how extreme Maverick’s skin can go from terrible to amazing to flaring all in the matter of one week in time…

I look to 2018 in hopes that we are turning a corner. Our dogs have been out of our house for 6 days… and while Maverick’s legs have been the clearest they have been in a year,  his face is the worst it has ever been.  Two days ago he slept in until 8am this morning. He’s never done that in his entire life! It’s no wonder he has been in pain for the whole year. His body so overrun with discomfort. I always knew this would be a journey, working to heal our son, working to find answers to what inflicted the most pain and discomfort. I never knew it would take such an emotional toll but I want to provide a safe place and hope for those that sit in that difficulty.  If you are looking to offer help to an individual in a situation like ours, it’s likely they have tried everything so offering another quick fix is usually something we’ve done. It’s not that we neglect the healing of our children, it’s that we haven’t found out what that looks like for us yet. If you want to offer help, offer help in other ways.  Help rid their environment of what’s inflicting pain, is that helping them cook some food from scratch to alleviate some of the non-stop work we do in the kitchen? Is that offering to clean their home or yard to eliminate allergens? Is that meeting them in their place to ensure that child’s safety? You will have to be the judge. Please, just be conscious of statements or questions that might inflict more harm than good. We are really doing everything we can in our power to help our son and we believe we can heal him. Wether you think you can or think you can’t. You’re right.

Cheers to an incredible 2018!

-Essentially an Allergy & Eczema fighting Mom

PS… One area I can use help is a sneaky way of feeding my child fish, sweet potatoes and lamb. Show me your secrets in the comments!