By now in our story, Cookie is about a year and a half old. We are aware of her wheat/barley/rye, egg, tree nut, and peanut allergies. Her gut seems to be better but her skin is not. Over the next six months, I spent lots of time crying. I hated seeing my sweet little girl like that. She would go through screaming and crying fits too and I knew it was because she didn’t feel good. But I didn’t know why or what else I could do.
Right around her second birthday, my parents suggested I go see their naturopath doctor. I’ll be honest. Up to this point, I knew that the naturopath had helped my mom through some of her health problems but I really thought it was a lot of new age mumbo-jumbo. I didn’t really know what a naturopath was. But I was at my wit’s end and was willing to do anything to help Cookie. So I took her in.
First off, this doctor is the first one EVER who I really felt listened to me. He took a drop of blood from her finger and did a mouth swab. It was amazing what he could tell from those two things. He started Cookie on some supplements to help support her gut (which I found wasn’t really healed) and her overall health. The changes were slow. But she began to be a better eater (not that that was ever really a big problem) and she had fewer crying fits. Her bowels were more regular. And nothing about it was new-agey. We were simply fixing her body with things that it needed – not adding in other medications/chemicals to mask the problems.
As I said, the change was slow. It seemed that almost every week I would find something else that caused her to break out into hives. So I lost faith.
I went to yet another allergist who did the good old skin test (with the same results as the last allergist) but rolled his eyes when I talked about putting her on a gluten-free diet and trying not to use steroid creams. Clearly I’m the crazy person here, right?
I decided that I wasn’t going to get any real help from modern medicine as all I had gotten was increasingly stronger and stronger steroid creams (three levels up so far). The one helpful thing that I learned from the allergists (and interestingly is an old homeopathic technique according to my naturopath) is how to do wet-wraps. So once I found a cream/lotion that Cookie could tolerate, I would dampen her feet (that’s where her skin was the worst), coat them with the lotion, put a pair of wet (not dripping) cotton socks on her and then a pair of warmer dry socks over those. Thank goodness this was February or the poor kid might have overheated. That made an improvement on her skin but didn’t fix it completely. And after a few days of using one cream, I would discover that it would cause problems so I’d have to try another one and another one.
Cookie’s feet by now were feeling softer to the touch but were not healed. In fact the tops of her feet were beginning to get infected. At the urging of some family members, I took her to a dermatologist. Guess what she prescribed? Stronger steroids (another level up now – if you’re playing along at home that’s the fourth steroid prescription and stronger than the rest) and prescription strength lotion that I was foolish enough to try (the lotion not the steroid). The lotion caused her skin to turn bright red instantly.
I started searching online for some sort of natural antibiotic. I found Manuka honey. I plan to devote an entire post to this miraculous honey so I won’t get into it completely now. If you can’t wait, google it and be amazed (but do your research before buying and make sure that you’re getting the real thing). The short version is that this honey is made from the manuka plant found in New Zealand. I knew Cookie wasn’t allergic to honey so I figured it was worth a shot.
The honey doesn’t taste sweet like we’re used to. But I wasn’t having Cookie eat it anyway. I spread it on the tops of her feet and backs of her heels where the skin was red, infected and had open sores from scratching. Then I placed on a non-stick gauze pad and wrapped her feet and ankles with bandages before putting socks on top of it all to keep her from pulling the bandages off. I did this every morning when she got up and every night when she went to bed for at least two weeks.
(You can see her poor little bandaged feet in this picture – she wanted to play dress up and princesses don’t wear socks apparently.)
One morning I started on the honey routine when I really looked at her feet and realized that her skin was new! No red, irritated, infected, open wounds. Clear beautiful skin! From honey!
Another hurdle down! Cookie was still scratching periodically so, while I was done bandaging her feet, I still had to keep her legs mostly covered (she was leaving her arms alone). She was still randomly breaking out in hives. But I was now convinced that I had to continue to find natural ways to help her heal. More on that journey later.