I've written this post in my head a few times today. Phoebe's new allergy bracelet came in and my eyes teared up and I wanted to share a bit of her story with you in case that it could help someone else. This is one of the hardest posts to write because we've literally watched her go through hell over the past two years.
I think one of the hardest things about having a sick child is how alone you feel. I really didn't have anyone living through this that had the same thoughts on health and wellness and the doctors had no clue what was going on with her. I felt alone making life or death decisions while Sam was working hard for us. I felt like the majority of people I talked to dismissed how serious everything was. This was my baby, my life, my everything that I was worried for. The anxiety over her well being is like nothing I've ever experienced.
Let me back up a bit. When Phoebe was born she had tons of congestion and colds. I assumed this was the perk of having a pre-school aged sister. We moved in with my Dad (thanks, Daddy!) when she was five weeks old to begin renovating our current home. Add renovating with a newborn to living out of suit cases to babies getting sick and you have one
We moved into our house that May (three years ago!!) and continued to struggle with colds and the like. We survived the summer with multiple "can't leave the house for a week" "colds." At the end of the summer I began using oils to support our bodies and began to see some amazing changes. That winter we lost our beloved Guinness and had a terminally ill friend. It was a dark time. Phoebe however began to really blossom, she was happy, she didn't cry all the time, she was like a different child.
Exactly one year later we decided to adopt kittens from the Humane Society. They were the cutest. Around this time the "colds" returned, constant colds, coughs, struggling. A constant runny nose. Never once did I connect the dots. I thought animal allergies would be obvious and that we would know right away. That August we ended up in the emergency room. Twice. I've never had a child that sick. There is NOTHING on God's green earth than is worse than seeing your baby struggle in that way. I won't go into detail about it but I was afraid I wouldn't even make it to the hospital in time. Holding her limp body in the waiting room is something I will never forget. It wasn't until we were watching a video on asthma triggers (which she was diagnosed with at Children's) that I connected that the cats (and then our dog) had been making her sick. I went into full on panic attack trying to find them homes posting to all of our social media. There was someone on facebook that showed more concerns for the cats than Phoebe. I pray they never have to see their child like that and have to make the choice - an easy one in fact - to remove them from the home.
We were very fortunate to find an incredible family for the kitties and I am eternally grateful to you Amy, if you are reading this! Getting them in their carriers was *quite* the experience.
I forgot to mention that throughout the past two years that Phoebe had thrown up and had diarrhea more times than I can count. Daily I was changing her sheets or cleaning up a mess. I was hurting so much for her. Her personality, which is fun and sparkly and vivacious, would completely go away as she struggled to get through each day. The doctors told us, "maybe she's just a child who throws up." After everything I assumed it had been excess mucus from the cats and after they were removed she began to thrive again but was still having stomach issues. We finally got her tested for allergies and removed all gluten and wheat from her diet. She has been like a new child. My heart aches knowing what she has had to go through when I know better and should have removed them sooner. I share this to help anyone that is going through this. To say, "I know how you feel, I see you, I'm so sorry."
If you are a family member of a child with allergies or any sort of adult in their life, I urge you to support that child's family, to lift them up, to not make them feel bad if they can't do certain things because they will put their child in danger. They are so discouraged and hurting. Try and make that child feel as normal as possible, don't pity them or make a big deal of them missing out on cupcakes. Newsflash: kids care about cupcakes because adults make a big deal out of them. I am so excited to have found these Allermates bracelets because for young children especially, they can't advocate for themselves.
To support her body we are now using a probiotic daily, cut our dairy and gluten, avoid being around animals in closed spaces and are using essential oils. This has been AMAZING for us. She is thriving like nothing else! Please reach out if you want more info on oils or for any help with resources. Pray that this helps someone that reads this to feel hopeful and less alone. Thank you for reading this and sharing our story with us.
All glory to our heavenly Father who saw our tears, who heard our cries, who placed people in our life specifically to provide answers. Thank you!
photos by our dear friend Katie Oblinger
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