Sunday, November 22, 2015

November 2015 Update

For those inquiring, Sam has been pretty much eczema free since December 2013.  He still has the disposition toward eczema and atopy, I don't think that ever goes away! So there are times I see those symptoms begin to emerge.  But its never more than a blip on our radar. The important thing to know is that using the website solveeczema.org we have done just that- solved his eczema. In other words, I've learned how to manage it so that if it looks like a scant rash is cropping up, I can snuff it out immediately by tweaking and balancing the aspects of his environment and diet which I know are triggers. No questioning or fretting- I know what to do now. I feel confident and in control of his skin.  He never gets more than a faint spot and has not had full blown eczema, night disturbances or any significant itch in these two years.   Here are some photos I took this past Spring (about 7 months ago): 






And, below, pictures of our September beach trip (2015, just a couple of months ago).  This was significant because in 2013 Sam's daddy and two siblings went on this trip without him and me. His skin was still unpredictable and very reactive at that time, and I was too nervous to take him to an unknown environment for an entire week where I would not feel in control of his skin.  This year, when the opportunity arose to travel, there was no question that his skin was stronger, less reactive, and had been clear long enough that I needn't worry. I carried my tools with me. And he did great! A few days in when he started to rash a tiny bit, I slathered on our secret weapon that I swear by (Aquaphor mixed with ACV) and he was clear again the next morning. 






I can scarcely remember what life was like for us when I started this blog in 2012. I do remember being in such a helpless place, where Sam's skin consumed my thoughts every single second of the day. That was tough.  Today, I rarely think in terms of eczema prevention. I might have had to think about it once or twice in the past year, but on the whole, he's a normal kid and we are a normal family. Sure we use pure, organic soap products, you won't find harsh chemicals in our home, and our diet is largely organic and minimally processed. But those things no longer stress me out- they are second nature.  

For those struggling- my heart goes out to you. You see Sam's photos at the top of this blog. How severe his eczema once was. He had nearly a full body yeast infection on top of that. This road to being eczema-free and truly FREE in general, was anything but easy at the start. Sometimes I thought we'd reached the end of the tunnel only to have another unexplained flare up that lasted months. But it will BECOME easy. The changes will become second nature, a way of life. You'll get to the point where you don't even have to think about it.  And one day you'll look up and realize your kid has clear skin and you'll have to pinch yourself- and pat yourself on the back for sticking with your gut and venturing outside the medical protocols.  When it comes to your child's health, trust your intuition!




17 comments:

  1. CJ, Our 23-month old has had a very similar experience as your son. I'm in the process of 'super-washing' everything in our house per AJ's SEO procedures. A couple of questions for you, how do you clean upholstered furniture? Also, have you tried the Branch Basics cleaning products? Thanks so much for sharing your journey!! Michele

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Michele! I remember that super washing process! Thank goodness we only had to do it once.

      We had some upholstered furniture for the first couple of months when we started this process. I couldn't figure how I'd wash it so I just vacuumed it really well several times over with a handheld attachment. I probably did that once a week. Another option would be buying some slip covers and superwashing those- or you could use double layers of flannel sheets superwashed and tuck those in. I couldn't afford the covers or sheets at the time and didn't want to fuss with it. So I just vacuumed the couches. For the first two years of this process, Sam was still VERY reactive to our carpet and any fabrics, so I basically had him in long sleeves, pants and socks all the time, even with all the other changes. It helped keep his skin clear. So I guess I'm saying, do what you can, then maybe just protect his (her?) skin protected by layers of clothing. If the child is still getting some rashes near the wrist and ankle openings, you can use a clear band of tape around those openings to keep detergent dust out. That helped as well.

      We did eventually buy some used leather furniture, which can be sponged clean with gentle liquid soap and water. Sometimes you can find good deals on craigslist on leather. We bought ours from a friend.

      I will tell you I am convinced that a HUGE puzzle piece/factor in Sam's healing was the Apple Cider Vinegar baths we gave him every day. I have learned ACV is truly a powerful healing agent. Plus so much of Sam's rash was infection that would take hold whenever he scratched and compromised the skin barrier. ACV is an incredibly effective remedy to knock out yeast. I have also learned that a much cheaper alternative to a bath with 1 cup ACV is to just mix a tsp or 2 with some Aquaphor in a rubbermaid container kept by the bath. After you wash your child each night, apply the ACV/aquaphor liberally wherever you see eczema and layer the child in clothing over top. I still use ACV on Sam to this day just for prevention, and on the rare ocassion he has a breakout this knocks it out visibly within days and sometimes hour.

      Delete
  2. Thanks for your reply, CJ! Right now we don't use much lotion on Cooper since he's so sensitive. But we do use coconut butter and a non-petroleum barrier lotion (during meals). As an alternative to bathing in water with ACV, I was thinking we could maybe spray a diluted solution of AVC on him and then apply the coconut butter? As for the upholstered furniture, I was thinking the same thing about covering them with slip covers. Fortunately we were able to remove most of the rugs from the main floor I our house, although we still have wall-to-wall carpet in the bedrooms on the upper level and rugs on the stairs. We noticed very early on that Cooper was highly allergic to the bleached jute rug we had, but didn't attribute it to detergent then so we left the other rugs in place...that is until I found AJ's website about detergent. Couple more questions for you...do you still dry clean your clothing? Or does dry cleaning use detergents too? Also, did you find that you had to stop wearing wool, or could you still wear it as long as it was detergent-free? Also, I have some photos of Cooper with his arms that are red & irritated just like Sammy's used to be. The rashy areas are such a contrast to his beautiful skin on his core where the detergent doesn't get to very easily. Speaking of which, I shared AJ's theory about detergent sensitivity with my pediatrician yesterday. She was initially dismissive since she didn't think it could explain ALL eczema, but when I pointed out the difference in Cooper's skin from his rashy arms to his rash-free face & core, she conceded that maybe it wasn’t all food allergies. I also went on to explain how the detergent gets into the dust and could eventually lead to asthma. That really got my pediatrician's attention, she said that she had not heard about the connection between detergent and asthma. But initially she really didn't think that the detergent could be the main factor in my son’s eczema. I gave her copies of AJ's journal articles too so hopefully she will read them and spread the word to other parents!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I have not used the spray method for ACV. I just feel like spraying a liquid on the skin is not as effective as mixing the healing agent with an ointment that sort of 'sits' on the skin and adheres for hours. But you could mix the ACV in with the coconut butter or non-petroleum barrier lotion. Maybe just try a little bit at first.

      (As a side note, I too looked for non-petroleum barrier alternatives in the beginning. I tried everything, and nothing worked as well as Aquaphor. Something about the consistency.)

      I do not dry clean and never have. I just use my own machine. I am not sure about the process of dry cleaning, whether it uses detergent. I would assume so, though. It is using some kind of chemical to clean so... I'd wager its something caustic though!

      I didn't have much wool but my husband had a bunch of wool sweaters. In the beginning, when I was super paranoid, I just bagged them up for a year and didn't let him wear them! After Sam's skin was healed up for awhile and he wasn't reacting so readily, the sweaters came back out. My husband also returned to his normal hair gel, shaving cream, and shampoo about a year in. I couldn't to much about that, but keeping Sam layered, vacuuming, and daily soap washing seemed to keep things at bay. Now I don't even have to wash him every day, maybe twice a week.


      I missed your previous question about Branch Basics. I've never used them! I found products I was happy with early on and just never felt the need to look further, though I'm sure there are hundreds of great gentle soap products out there. This process is a lot of trial and error. I kept a notebook (and blog!) and good notes. Write down the name of everything you try and observations on Cooper's skin in the days that follow. It can be slow going but eventually you'll figure out what he can tolerate and what he can't.

      The fact that your pediatrician even listened at all in wonderful. Our peds were all SO dismissive and outright critical of the concepts I shared with them. I got fed up and eventually stopped taking Sam altogether. It will take parents like us with success stories sharing that success to eventually get the attention of doctors.

      Delete
  3. Thanks again, CJ! One last thing that I wanted to share with you, we've been working with this nutritionist in Wisconsin who believes it is possible to heal many allergies (not that detergent sensitivity is an allergy per se). Her name is Karen Hurd (aka 'The Bean Queen') and her hypothesis is that once you get allergens out of the body via the bile (by consuming small amounts of soluble fiber on a frequent basis), then the immune system will stop reacting to the allergens, thus reducing histamine levels. It's a slow process, but many people start to see reduced IgE antibodies levels after 6 to 9 months of adding more soluble fiber to their diet. The foods with the highest amounts of soluble fiber are legumes (think soup beans), which is why Karen recommends eating them 3-6 times per day. For adults the serving size is 1/2 C, but only 2 TBL for little ones. We started adding beans to Cooper's diet in July so hopefully we will start to see his antibodies levels go down very soon and then ultimately he should not be so reactive to allergies on his skin, even with his detergent sensitivity. Wish us luck!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Good luck! We had huge success addressing histamines in Sam's diet, but via another method. I noticed he was having what seemed to be allergic reactions, but they weren't always reliable. I started keeping a journal of his diet and reactions, and came to realize through a sequence of research that the foods he reacted to most often were those naturally containing high levels of histamine, or combinations of high-histamine foods. I printed a huge list of food by histamine level and put it on my fridge, and we followed a low-histamine diet for Sam for about a year. Huge breakthrough! I believe it is all connected, removing detergents and chemicals is one way to lower the overall histamine load, attacking from a diet standpoint even further stabilizes histamines and allergic response in the body. So I definitely agree with the theory! I have not heard it approached in just that way - via increased fiber, but I think any way you can lower histamines will help!

      Delete
  4. Carrie can you contact me?? AJ gave me your blog address to get in touch with you about the seo chat room from awhile back. Thank you!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Alila! Sorry for the delay. I'm trying to check this every couple of days. I don't see an email or anything to contact you when I click on your name, but hopefully you will check back here. I shut down the forum about a year and a half ago. My other admin friend and I had good intentions to help others and have it be a place we could all help each other, but things got too crazy for us to keep up with, and some were veering off the path of detergent-removal. Which of course is fine, to think outside the box, its just that there got to be so much speculation on other methods that some became confused. I don't know if any of that makes sense, I just did not feel capable of moderating it anymore and we let everyone know we were closing it down. Sorry about that. I can't keep in touch with everyone but you may ask some questions here and I'll do my best to reply promptly. :)

      Delete
  5. Thanks for all of your info! My son's eczema started out of nowhere when he turned 4 months. It pretty much covers most of his body. It comes and goes. One day it seems so much better and 4 hours later he has blotchy red patches everywhere. I found the solve eczema website and am desperately trying to rid our home of detergents. Also trying to see if I can find any other triggers like with food, etc. How do you know if you're dealing with yeast eczema? My pedi did say he has yeast in the diaper area and neck, so we are on an anti fungal to try to clear that up. Is that a sign that probably all his eczema has yeast as well? Also, with your ACV and aquaphor treatment, how long until you see results? I think I give up too early with things - I'm still learning about all of this and how long the skin takes to heal. Thanks so much! Marianne

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Marianne. I have been laid out with a back injury so I apologize for the delay. What you describe is just what I remember seeing with Sam in the beginning of our journey. You know, I kind of had to figure out on my own that much of Sam's rashes were yeast based. I asked many doctors for help and all said there was no sure way to test as yeast is proliferate on everyone's skin, so any skin culture would show positive for yeast. Well it was obvious to me that with Sam's eczema and how he scratched, whenever he opened the skin by itching that yeast would embed itself and just start growing. I am pretty convinced of that because going detergent free did help so much but whenever we had that residual rash we needed that ACV cream to overcome it. With the ACV Aquaphor treatment, I'm sorry to say it is not instantaneous. You should see results within a couple of weeks, by results I mean the rash should improve and look a lot better! Just don't make the mistake I made so many times with Sam's skin, and my own persistent hand eczema. Yeast runs DEEP, down layers and you have to think of healing one layer at a time. You may no longer see the eczema or rash on the top skin, but you must treat long after you think you are healed to prevent the yeast from flaring up and taking hold again. So the first time we went detergent free, it took 10 weeks of daily ACV baths to see those first amazing results where he was clear head to toe and not really itchy. I thought he was good and stopped the ACV, it was August and by October his knees and hands were really flaring up again. A few weeks of ACV knocked that out, then I stopped. So ... sorry I'm rambling but long story short... deep fungal infections take a LONG time to overcome. If your child has eczema/yeast infection as severely as Sam did, you need to just settle in your mind that a gentle soap washing followed by ACV Aquaphor treatment and long layers at night should become a routine for you for at least the next year. It did take a consistent year of applying AFTER I saw that clear skin before I could stop the treatment for several weeks without backlash from the yeast. Now I don't have to apply often at all except maybe every other month he gets an itch and the start of a rash and I'll do a week of applications to knock it out.

      Delete
  6. CJ, I love reading Sammy's update. I started reading your blog about 3 years ago when my daughter was experiencing similar eczema flare ups. After about a year of hard work and a combo of methods, we were able to get her skin completely healed. She's 8 now and seems to be backtracking a little, as she's been having some flareups again (though not as bad as before). But I feel more empowered now that I know what I can do to reverse it and bring healing back to her skin. What a journey! Thanks for sharing. :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Sarah. I'm so glad you were able to see great results with your daughter. We do occasionally still see flare-ups as well, but as you pointed out it is empowering to be able to bring things back under control. Best wishes to you in keeping your daughter's skin soft and clear. And Happy New Year!

      Delete
  7. I'm hoping someone might be able to help me with this question. I am in the process of switching everything over from detergents to soaps to help my son's eczema. How wee, we use cloth diapers and with my switch to a homemade laundry soap (borax, washing soda, ivory soap flakes) I noticed his diapers would leak after less than 2 hours of wear at night. I was then reading about how borax and even soap can either create holes in the waterproof fabric of cloth diapers (we use the bum genius brand) or coat them in a layer that makes them less resistant to moisture. When I've looked to find soaps to use, I seem to come back with the answer that only detergents work on cloth diapers. I would really like to keep using the cloth diapers, as we bought them hoping to save money in the long run. Any help or advice is much appreciated!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm sorry hollykate, I only have experience with disposal diapers so unfortunately I do no have an answer for this question. I hope you were able to find a solution!

      Delete
  8. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  9. I have suffered with severe eczema my entire life. I am use to trying new product and am usually disappointed. I let foderma serum chill in the fridge before using and it felt amazing when I applied. Foderma serum helped stop the itching and inflammation.

    ReplyDelete

Thank you for your comment. I will do my best to reply as soon as possible, but there are often delays as this blog is only a side project to share what I have learned with others. Life goes on with three busy little ones and homeschooling so I ask for your patience. If you want to make sure you do not miss my reply, include your email in "emailaddress at dot com" form and I will email you directly.

Any product promotion or spam including business links are not permitted and will be deleted. Thanks and happy healing.