Trust Your Gut: How One Mother Healed Her Son
Guest blogger Christina Tibesar shares her experience and hope in helping her son deal with multiple allergies and eczema.
My son was born in 2009 and received an Apgar score of “9” at birth. As all new parents are, we were thrilled to bring home a healthy baby. I had trouble nursing, and after three months of combined formula/breastmilk feedings, we switched him over to feeding him a standard, name-brand formula exclusively. Other than losing a little weight initially, he was a sweet, chunky little baby by 12 weeks old.
My husband and I checked in with the pediatrician with regards to this. She said it looked like “classic baby eczema” and prescribed steroid cream for us to apply to his skin. My husband and I had full faith in all things that our pediatrician directed us to do –we grew up trusting western medicine, and had no reason to question things now. We began applying the steroid cream and saw positive results, but the flare ups continued.
I will always remember our son’s first ear infection at four months old. Again, without question, we administered the ten day antibiotic prescribed by an urgent care doctor. This resulted in a horrible diaper rash and a very unhappy baby with digestive issues. We found out only during the re-check that the doctor should have advised us to give him a probiotic, as well. We began administering a daily probiotic and more prescription creams, which cleared up the rash and temporarily cleared up the digestive irritation. Unfortunately, this cycle continued – illness, antibiotics, diaper rashes and eczema flares, periodic probiotics and creams to relieve the symptoms, and so on. As solid foods were introduced into his diet, the eczema became worse. Illness and digestive issues were frequent, as well. At ten months old, he was itching so much that it would distract him from play – sometimes he would itch until he bled.
We began to feel frustrated and uncertain about the path that we were on. Each visit with the pediatrician made me feel more uneasy – I began to question the status quo. My motherly instinct began to alarm me that something was not quite right. It was an internal battle – who was I to question our pediatrician’s advice? At the same time, I could not ignore my gut instinct – I needed more information.
I reached out to my network and met with Taiha Wagner, owner of Just One Biteand a registered nurse with a specialty and passion for pediatrics who also believes in a more holistic approach to wellness. She visited with our family, analyzed our son’s diet and agreed that there was something more going on. She helped us to change our son’s diet and motivated me to go back to my pediatrician and demand allergy testing. After some convincing, our pediatrician did the blood test and it came back positive for allergies to wheat, eggs, soy and peanuts. We eliminated these foods and saw 80% of our son’s eczema clear within one month.
Between 17 and 18 months, our son made two trips to the ER with asthma attacks and failed a hearing test due to fluid sitting behind his ear drums. Our pediatrician directed us to an ENT for tubes and put him on multiple prescriptions (to be administered on an ongoing basis) for his asthmatic symptoms. During this time, he was also put on two 5-day regimens of oral steroids, which caused some short term side effects that made both my husband and I very uneasy. These side effects included periods of hyperactivity for the few hours each day after administering the medication in addition to uncontrollable tremors/shuddering, even when he was sitting still and wrapped in our arms. Again, through all of this, my inner motherly instinct continued to nag at me – I knew deep down that there was more we could do to heal him as opposed to masking the symptoms over and over with prescription medications.
We began seeing Dr. Carrie Clark who also specializes in traditional foods, chiropractic care for children, and holistic wellness. We implemented more supplements, probiotics, homeopathic remedies and significant dietary changes into our son’s daily routine. We also found a pediatrician who supports a more integrative approach to medicine and began seeing her in place of our former pediatrician immediately.
As a result of all of this, we never even made a visit to the ENT, our son’s eczema is now 95% cleared and he is very healthy and happy. When he does get sick, he bounces back quickly. He only uses prescription nebulizers for acute breathing episodes and is off of all other prescription medications.
I am telling my story because I have learned so many lessons from our experience.
It is okay to question the status quo! The saying “it takes a village to raise a child” could not be more true whether or not your child faces health challenges in his or her early years. Building a team of medical professionals to work through your child’s health challenges is critical, especially if you find yourself with more questions than answers when leaving a doctor’s office!
YOU are the ultimate decision maker for your child’s health and well-being. Don’t be afraid to make a change! In our case, finding a pediatrician who was supportive of an integrative approach to our son’s wellness was critical. Western medicine is miraculous – without it, my son would be in grave danger during an asthma attack or an allergic reaction. However, we all have the responsibility to think big picture about our children’s health – how will certain treatments or medications impact them in the long run? What can we do to take a more well-rounded approach to their health care?
Trust your gut. A “mother’s intuition” is a powerful thing. You may not have a background in medicine, but you will need to sort out what is best for your child. Reach out to other parents (my network of moms and dads is invaluable), reach out to a variety of health care practitioners in your community for advice and treatment, read books and articles that help you to sort out the information. Trust that when you find that right combination of solutions, your instinct will tell you so! Be proactive and be ready to ask the tough questions. It isn’t the easiest route, but in the long run your entire family will benefit and your child will have the best opportunity to thrive.