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When Your Child Has Severe Allergies


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 crazy stressed out mama.

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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12 comments :

  1. What an ordeal! I'm so happy to hear your daughter is feeling better now. I'm also "eyes swelling shut" allergic to cats. It took my parents forever to figure out because we didn't own cats. Maybe I need a bracelet too!

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  2. I can't imagine going through this!! I'm so thankful you learned what was making poor Phoebe sick. Allergies run in our family, and I am starting to think we are battling something similar. Where did you have Phoebe tested?

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  3. So glad she is on the mend. I wish we had these oils when I had our boys. My second son Peter, was born with an imperforate anus, first surgery at 24 hours, last surgery 2012, 15 total. He is married and gave us our grandson, but he still has to have an enema every night, gives it to himself thru his belly button. He is still very small and frail looking, has a hard time buying suits, but is a very strong man and a wonderful husband and father. Kids who grow up with adversity, with loving parents who don't 'baby' them but help them to heal and to grow, end up being beautiful, caring adults. You are doing a great job, I am sure! She looks wonderful! God bless you all!
    Joan Johnson

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  4. This post was really touching. As a Mom to a son who has struggled with allergies since he was 8 months old, I could relate all too well. I'm so happy to hear that Phoebe is doing well and that you've found some things to help her live more fully. I know it's so hard on Mama's to feel like we're on constant lookout for their allergies (especially food allergies). But I couldn't agree more, kids only want the cupcakes because we make a big deal out of it! Looking forward to checking out those bracelets!

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  5. Long-time lurker here :) Bless your heart and hers! We went through something similar (but much less serious sounding than you all) with my son for almost two years before we figured out that his eczema and hives were allergic reactions. He never had baby-smooth skin and we didn't know any different since he was our first. He would scratch his legs, face, and arms until they bled. No sooner than the scabs would heal it would start again. We found ourselves putting him in long-sleeved clothing just to keep him from clawing himself to pieces. It was awful. The pediatrician chalked it up to a bad case of eczema and recommended different creams and ointments that helped marginally. We were also administering breathing treatments about twice a month for wheezing and congestion. It wasn't until his little face swelled up after I gave him a bite of scrambled eggs that I FINALLY put two and two together. I called the pediatrician and requested a referral to a pediatric allergist right away. That was the worst (and best) doctor visit of my life as we learned that our son had multiple food and environmental allergies. We felt like fools for not making the correlation sooner. No wonder the poor kid was miserable! Six weeks after that initial visit his skin and general mood were so much better that we could hardly believe it. It was an answered prayer.

    I wish pediatricians were better educated on allergies in general so our kids wouldn't have suffered soooo long and I'm so thankful for allergists! Best wishes to you guys on your allergy adventure. It'll become second nature in no time and your sweet Phoebe won't even miss what she's had to give up.

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  6. No one knows how bad allergies can be until you're faced with them first hand. My husband is deathly allergic to penicillin and shellfish, and my son and I suffer from seasonal allergies. So when I had my daughter, I was just waiting to see what she would be allergic to. Never did I expect it to be eggs. The first time I introduced her to eggs, we had to rush her to the emergency room. It was terrifying. Her raspy breathing. I felt helpless. A couple weeks ago we had a RAST food allergy test done, and she has a moderate egg allergy. The scary thing is, so many products contain eggs. It's easy now that she's little, but I wonder how long this will last. Hopefully it'll be something that she outgrows. That's very common with egg allergies.
    What a struggle you have been through. And now you know what affects her the most and can be proactive. Best of luck.

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  7. Oh this just breaks my heart. That helpless feeling is the worst thing in the whole world. I'm so glad that you were able to advocate for her and to keep searching. Your sweet little Bee is so perfectly and wonderfully made.

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  8. goodness. my comment was deleted. :P i was just saying i feel your pain. phoebe's story and my daughter's story are similar. she's turning 10 this summer and has asthma issues since 3mos old - but only diagnosed at age 6. thankfully, we are now able to manage with essential oils and i am happy to share what we've learned - why else is would it be worthwhile to go through all of this!? so glad you're on the right track w/ your little angel.

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  9. Thank you so much for sharing this. I'm happy to hear Phoebe is doing better but I'm so sorry you all are going through this! My one year old was diagnosed with a peanut allergy a few months ago and it has been such a rough diagnosis to receive. You are so right about feeling alone when it comes to having a sick child. But reading posts like these make it all seem a little less lonely! Would you mind sharing the brand of probiotics you are using for her? I have tried a few that I'm not completely satisfied with and I'm always interested in learning more. Thank you again for sharing your story and your family! Prayers for your sweet girl and all the other families I'm reading about in these comments!

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  10. Oh Bee 💛 I want to give you and her a hug right now. So glad to have met you through the oil journey and SO SO happy she is better!

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  11. So sorry to read what poor Phoebe went through!! My little Violet started having severe allergic reactions seemingly out of the blue around 8 months. Her face would swell on one side and turn red and blotchy. Then she started having TERRIBLE bouts of eczema! The eczema got so bad that she would bleed, even with the medicated ointment we rubbed on her 3x a day. As it turns out, she was allergic to the detergent we were using and our sweet dog! We had to find a new home for our pup but within days she cleared right up! We recently got a little goldendoodle who doesn't shed at all and she is completely in love (with no eczema!). Glad your Phoebe is feeling better these days!

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  12. So sorry to read what poor Phoebe went through!! My little Violet started having severe allergic reactions seemingly out of the blue around 8 months. Her face would swell on one side and turn red and blotchy. Then she started having TERRIBLE bouts of eczema! The eczema got so bad that she would bleed, even with the medicated ointment we rubbed on her 3x a day. As it turns out, she was allergic to the detergent we were using and our sweet dog! We had to find a new home for our pup but within days she cleared right up! We recently got a little goldendoodle who doesn't shed at all and she is completely in love (with no eczema!). Glad your Phoebe is feeling better these days!

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