One Day at a Time

This has rapidly become a “TSW” (topical steroid withdrawal) blog.  I know, I know.  Just shy of three weeks ago we were thrust into this world we weren’t aware of.

Now I look back and I can see that at least 90% of Gabe’s “eczema” we’ve been treating for ages was, in fact, actually symptoms of damage and addiction from the creams we were using.  How horrible is that?

It is vindicating to me, in a way; as a more natural-minded type of person.  I never wanted to use steroids anyways.  I did when I felt like it was the only option.  Now I know there are so many natural ways to treat eczema.

It’s a difficult process to go through any sort of withdrawal.  Though topical steroid withdrawal is particularly brutal.  Many adults going through this have gotten to lows where they are suicidal.  Because the pain is that bad.  The itch is bone deep.  You can go days without more than a few hours of sleep. Your skin looks absolutely horrific to the point where you don’t want to leave your house.

I feel like we have been extremely fortunate in that Gabe is still sleeping relatively well.  He is doing very well emotionally.  He seemed ok to me but I wanted to make sure and I was asking him questions about how he was doing “on the inside” with all of this.  He didn’t know what I meant so I said, “does going through all of this make you feel sad?”  He looked at me like I had asked him an inane question, “of course not, why would it?”  He has had a good deal of pain and discomfort but he has taken it in a stride.  He is handling everything so well.

We’ve been doing everything we can to help his body heal.  He was on antibiotics because his skin had gotten “staphy” at one point early on.  He’s been drinking a lot of kombucha to help build up his good bacteria.  I’ve also made a couple pots of super healing soup.  The combo of bone broth, veggies, and spices is so good for him…and it tastes good too!

We did get great news from the dermatologist we saw last week.  She has swabbed Gabe to check for pathogenic bacteria.  I was actually shocked when it came back negative.  She said Gabe had normal skin flora and that the Doctor said she thought our regime is working well, and to keep it up.  That is huge because the main risk now would be from a serious secondary infection (from staph or step) until his skin is in better shape.

We were doing two baths a day when he was in really rough shape.  Now we just do one, at night, with warm water, sea salt, ACV, and lavender oil (we avoid soap cause it dries him out).  After his bath I put on coconut oil, Egyptian magic, clove oil (just two drops, heavily diluted) and silver gel as needed.  Our magic potion ingredients- 20170307_221256.jpg

I’ve read that there isn’t much you can do to speed up the process of withdrawal.  But I don’t think that’s true.  I’ve scoured so many blogs and articles and I really think that you can aid the process of healing along in many ways.

A huge way to hasten recovery is with positivity.  I’m a faith person so I believe 100% in the power of prayer.  I know Gabe has so many people praying for him and that has carried us through to this point.  I also believe that our faith has kept us positive and joyful, even during our worst moments.  We are looking for and celebrating every sign of improvement.  We are looking on the bright side.  We are practicing thankfulness.

He is showing improvement.  I don’t want to jump the gun, because I know that recovery is cyclical, but we are happy, nonetheless.

This was his back about ten days ago- 20170227_171250

This was him today- 20170307_134034.jpg

His neck and torso were initially the worst spots.  Now they are looking much less red and inflamed.  Though it seems to be working it’s way out, down to his legs and up to his face and his hands.  His legs are almost purplish as the blood vessels are very dilated.

“One day at a time” has been my mantra and that is how we will continue to handle this.  We will do everything we can but ultimately trust that we are doing the right thing and that God is sovereignly guiding this process.

The good that has come has been that we have drawn closer together as a family.  We now finally know the cause of Gabe’s ever-worsening “eczema” and more importantly, we know what to do.

Eczema Protocol

20150811_172331_resizedI’ve shared before about my six year old, Gabe’s battle with eczema.  It has gotten significantly better lately and I just want to share for the people who care about him or are looking for help with their eczema.

20141113_173742This picture here was from when he was recovering from a really bad staph infection when his eczema got really infected last winter.  I won’t post pics of it at it’s worst because it was pretty gruesome looking. 😦

On the right is what Gabe looks like now.  Just trust me when I say it is looking a lot better.

We have used topical steroids and mupirocin, which helped a lot at first but seemed to be losing their effectivness.

We have tried many creams and lotions, some that worked better than others.

I think the biggest thing in getting the eczema under control was doing nightly soaks in the tub with sea salt.  I’ve been using Trader Joe’s lavender salt scrub in his baths and that is helping a lot.  We let him play and soak in the tub for 20-30 minutes.  20150811_102855

We use a minimal amount of natural soap, because it dries out his skin and kids really don’t need tons of soap.

When we get him out we glob on a mix of honest company’s healing balm mixed with this natural calendula lotion.  I usually add in a few drops of myrrh or another essential oil.

We are still praying for the day that he doesn’t have to deal with this at all.  Thankfully though, it has gotten a lot better.  Thanks to everyone who prays for him.  We really appreciate it.

Queen Esther’s Beauty Elixir

Esther was a beautiful young woman chosen to be the Queen in the book of Esther.  The Bible actually records her ‘beauty secret’… “Before a young woman’s turn came to go in to King Xerxes, she had to complete twelve months of beauty treatments prescribed for the women, six months with oil of myrrh and six with perfumes and cosmetics.” Esther 2:12

myrrhMyrrh oil comes from the Commiphora myrrh tree in the horn of Africa and the Middle East.  It has literally been used for thousands of years to treat skin and oral problems.  Interestingly, myrrh is mentioned some 156 times in the Bible!

I definitely do not naturally have great skin.  I got my dad’s oily skin and large pores.  But I have gotten many compliments on my skin since I started using myrrh oil.

Myrrh is a powerful antioxidant and works with your body to repair damage, smooth fine lines, minimize age spots, and aid in cell renewal to get glowing skin.  There is even evidence that myrrh has strong anti-cancer properties.

I buy Now brands myrrh oil.  It is very reasonably prized and seems to stand up to more expensive brands I have tried.  The oil is very thick and will get ‘gunky’ if not diluted.  I recommend diluting in a larger bottle with a carrier oil.  Excellent carrier oils are carrot seed oil, castor oil, jojoba oil, fractionated coconut oil, or even extra virgin coconut oil.  I personally dilute it 50-50.  Myrrh is fairly gentle so you can use it at a stronger dilution.  You should only need a small, like pea sized, amount.  I apply it every night after I wash off my makeup. dreamstime_m_16597331

Your skin might break out initially as you get used to the carrier oil and possibly as toxins are ejected from your skin.  If you keep breaking out you may want to experiment with other carrier oils.  There are many good options out there.  You could even simply add you myrrh oil to your favorite natural lotion.

Myrrh has a tenacious smell, definitely an acquired taste.  I don’t mind it but you might if you have a sensitive nose.  You can also mix in more pleasing smelling oils (with their own healing properties!) such as lavender, rose, or geranium.

I love rose and have found it to be very effective as well.  Lavender is excellent as a quick remedy to soothe burns or diaper rash.  Geranium is much less expensive than rose oil but with a very similar chemical makeup and very similar properties (and aroma). 8080794_xl You also could replicate the nativity gift of gold, frankincense and myrrh with the essential oils of myrrh and frankincense along with a golden hued carrier oil.

Along with being 100% natural and time-tested (basically since recorded history!) you will save money over buying over priced creams which are also chock-full of harmful, unnatural ingredients.  Your body and skin will thank you!

Sunburn Cure

Yesterday was the first day of summer break for my kiddos.  I decided to take them to the zoo where they would fit in (haha 20150605_132844_resizedjust kidding…kind of).  My Dad gets our family a membership every year to the Minnesota Zoo, a really great place with lots of fun stuff for kids.  When we left it is was very overcast so I skipped sunscreen.  Within an hour of arriving the sun was out in full force.  Oops.  My kids just got a light tan but I got full on sunburnt on my neck, shoulders, and chest.  Sun exposure is good and really necessary for good health but it is easy to over-do it.  Like hours on end outside under the hot sun.

I tend to risk over-doing it vs. slathering myself in sunscreen or avoiding the sun because sun exposure is actually a preventative for all causes of mortality, even skin cancer.  http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24697969

The sunburn is gone this morning though because I treated it with my simple cure.  I took a spoonful of virgin coconut oil (yep that stuff again) and a few drops of lavender oil and massage it into the affected areas.  It smells amazing and takes away the heat, tenderness and stinging immediately.  It heals your skin overnight.  Awesomness.

Sunburn is inflammation so it is also helpful to supplement with anti-inflammatories like turmeric, fish oil, or green tea.  Also try to eat foods high in anti-oxidants (like blueberries) after a burn to speed healing.

Coconut oil actually has an SPF of 4-6 so it can be applied before moderate sun exposure to facilitate healthy sun exposure without burning.

Here are some fun pics from yesterday just because 🙂

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Shiloh went nuts for the goats!

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