Beware the Purple Potion

A few days after our Thanksgiving gathering and exposure to sickness my youngest son looked like this:

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A few more days and he looked like this:

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both eyes red

and after a couple weeks of misery that included goopey eyes that itched and burned,

his eyes look like this:

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and just days before Christmas,

his cough finally relented and he looked like this:

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Playing the part of Joseph

I’m so happy to be on the other side of this battle. I nourished and supported his little body and environment in every way that I knew how.  To see him still become so ill was really hard–especially because I work hard to nourish him and keep him healthy. I tried to see it as a positive, as an opportunity for his developing immune system to go to battle and come out stronger as a result. I told him to tell his body to fight and stay strong at heart.

To add to this, my husband also became very sick. Husband has been like man of steel. Seriously, the man never gets sick any more. For several years now, he has taken the vitamins I recommend, given up a lot of garbage (stuff you can’t really call food), and he eats what I cook from scratch. Since we’ve been married, his cholesterol levels have come down and returned to normal, he gave up the inhaler he has always used, he went from being lactose intolerant to being able to consume dairy without unpleasant side effects, and he stopped getting the nasty, blow a lung coughing kind of colds that he always got when we were dating. The man sounded like a barking seal reliably each year. But he hasn’t sounded like that or come down with anything like that in years.

As a result, he got really used to feeling good. I know because of how he reacted to becoming sick. He was not happy about the situation and everyone in the house knew it. It was rough-for both of us. His cough was unrelenting and his patience for it was slim. He consulted with a friend of his who is a doctor and this is one of the items that was recommended to him to help him get through the nighttime coughing:

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My husband went to the store and purchased this. I warned him beforehand it would be a bottle of poison, but he trusted the medical professional. He did not look at the label in the store and brought his purchase home. In addition to the sleep aid there are chemical preservatives, artificial colors, artificial sweeteners, and corn syrup in the mix. This is the solution when people are ill?

I’m not going to lie, it irritated me that my husband purchased and considered using a product like this after everything he has learned. Is it that worth it? My body reacts to the stuff in this purple formula like it is poison and you still want to chug it? And it definitely irritates me that this is what a well respected doctor has been taught to recommend. I told husband to consider having a glass of wine before bed instead and pointed out that his purple bottle of chemicals has 10% alcohol in it. He doesn’t drink, so I figured it wouldn’t be too tough to “knock him out” so he could sleep.

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I’ve mentioned that Red No. 40 is banned in Europe. Enough said. High fructose corn syrup suppresses the immune system and promotes inflammation among other things. According to the Cosmetics Database Polyoxyl 40 Stearate (listed as PEG – 40 Stearate) is a moderate to high hazard ingredient. It mentions cancer, developmental and reproductive toxicity, organ toxicity, and irritation concerns, and has been found to cause tumor formation at moderate doses in rabbits. (poor rabbits…) Sodium benzoate has the ability to deprive the cells of oxygen, break down the immune system and cause cancer. And saccharin showed up on a blood test of mine as antagonistic to my body, as did the colors. And did you catch the ingredient “flavor”? What in the world is flavor? What chemical concoction might that be? And shouldn’t it be required to be listed?

What is all of this doing in something people take when they are not feeling well and need some sleep? Why is a bottle of this even legal?

It was frustrating to see my little guy and husband get so sick despite my best efforts and back flips to get them well. But thankfully, I never felt a twinge of anything. I ramped up my own immune boosting protocol and ate lots of live food in the process because I was playing with snot and getting coughed and sneezed on by my little guy–and big guy–and hoped for the best! Christmas definitely came a little early for me in the way of wellness.

My response to my son and husband getting very ill was not so desirable to my husband. I went commando in my attempts to get them better. My husband already thinks I’m an extremist when it comes to eating well and taking care of my family food wise. (I beg to differ.) You can imagine my response to all this sickness. I was probably not the most compassionate wife to my husband during this display of sickness. Because I work hard at wellness, I have no tolerance for whining, complaining and laying around if you are not doing everything you can to be well. I realized how deep I have to dig lately to be compassionate to others when they are not feeling well if they are not being proactive, eating wisely and moving their bodies. Just being honest. The same goes for myself if I choose to indulge from time to time. If I feel like junk as a result, I have no one to blame but myself and try not to mope around and complain about it.

I would in my defense like to say that I threw the book at my husband in my efforts to get him well. I ramped up his vitamin C, D and zinc. I gave him fresh, live food,

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I made soups with vegetables and homemade stock, I had humidifiers and simmering pots of essential oils going, I tried to get him to neti pot his nose and clean it out, I suggested he get some fresh air, sunshine on his skin and encouraged him to walk barefoot on the earth. I knew the barefoot part wouldn’t happen, but the walk did. 🙂 I made him teas and homemade cough syrups that had everything from apple cider vinegar to thyme and honey, I kept the four kids occupied so he could rest for hours at a time, I encouraged him to get his spine adjusted (noticeable improvement in health after), and I showed him love and support (I promise, I did).

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After three weeks his cough finally subsided just in time for Christmas. He and I are getting to sleep through the night again and I am praising Jesus!

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I share all of this so you may be mindful of what is in those colorful bottles of cough syrup, sleep aids, etc. We have to be our own health advocates because unfortunately, the shelves are lined with bottles of toxic concoctions and well meaning doctors are not always recommending what is truly in our best interest.

Praying this finds you feeling well and staying well in the new year!

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Good Riddance

The words below were in my inbox today.  Max Lucado wrote them.  He is one of many people that has provided inspiration in my life.

To Be Saved By Grace

“God gives us a free gift—life forever in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 6:23  “One of the hardest things to do is to be saved by grace. There’s something in us that reacts to God’s free gift. We have some weird compulsion to create laws, systems, and regulations that will make us “worthy” of our gift. Why do we do that? The only reason I can figure is pride. To accept grace means to accept its necessity, and most folks don’t like to do that. To accept grace also means that one realizes his despair, and most people aren’t too keen on doing that either.”

I have been thinking a lot about the same thing in the past few days.  The idea that my pride gets in the way of the cross–which for me represents what God has done for us and what He is going to do.  I lose focus over things like pictures of babies with autoimmune rashes while looking for some semblance of my own rash, because I start to worry about my own children. Does anyone else worry that their children will have to deal with an autoimmune disease? And I read studies on pubmed that use words like mortality rate and RA, and I lose focus. But that’s where I get to see the pride because I realize–who am I to worry about what is in store for my children or when my time here is up? Am I so special that I should get to decide how long I stick around on this earth? You know? God loves me, but His ways and His plans are so much better.  One day at a time is how I have been living lately, and it has been much more enjoyable that way. I enjoy the little moments and the little things a little more lately. Things like singing silly songs and making animal noises with my one year old, a french pressed cup of freshly ground organic coffee (oh yeah), time alone with my husband. Silly to think that I have fretted over the fact that I might not live to be 100 like I always hoped I would. That my days feel a little more numbered right now. Of course, I am hoping for a cure and I’m checking up on the latest things scientists and doctors are doing. But at this stage of the game, living to be a 100 is not looking too good.  I would probably be such a mess anyway that I wouldn’t want to be alive!

As I drove somewhere this morning and was alone for the first time in the car in a while, I had a peace about exactly where I am at with my disease. My hands and my feet hurt terribly some days. But on other days, I get around ok.  I always tell my kids when they express frustration over the fact that I am battling something that it’s ok that I am. It is. It’s ok. And when I stray from feeling that it’s ok, I know at least that I still have a way back-His Word.  I am totally standing on His promise.  And I have to remind myself of what is really going on and what is yet to come sometimes.  It’s pretty exciting if you stop and think about it.  And boy what a relief to think about it.

My rash is spreading and changing colors.  Really need to take some pictures of it. Still doesn’t itch, but it is crazy looking. Discovering that skin rashes are common with JRA and Still’s disease.  Was not too familiar with Still’s disease until recently after digging around for pictures of other peoples’ rashes (which led to pictures of little ones).  Along with lots of digging and researching, I have been doing a lot of blog hopping. Thank you bloggers for having blog rolls.  I read  about Southern Gal with RA and her experience trying an antibiotic protocol.  I thought, hmmm, I’ve heard of this–why have I never really looked into it? I followed up with research about AP, and then with the Roadback Foundation. If I recall correctly, Southern Gal has to travel three hours to see a doctor that will prescribe an antibiotic protocol for her patients. That just stinks. I contacted the Roadback Foundation to obtain doctor references for my state and told them that I was willing to travel (they said to mention whether you were or not).  I got a reply the same day–this was yesterday.  There is one doctor in my city on the list.  The other doctors are hours away.  The e-mail said that I should contact the doctor to find out if they are still prescribing AP.  I quickly did a search on the doctor and discovered that he is 8 miles from my house. Wow.  Hello.  Feeling a God thing happening here. He is right under my nose.  Just down the street. I read reviews about him on various doctor rating sites and they are great.  (Love the internet for info.!) He is in his sixties and has his name on several research studies, and the reviewers said he was unhurried and his protocols worked for them.  Nice.

Today, I called my current rheumatology office to follow up with a call I made to the office manager two days ago.  I decided to call and speak with the office manager instead of writing a letter about switching doctors.  Thought it might prove quicker. I poured my heart out to this woman named Helen (while fighting tears–hate it when that happens) and explained how my doctor had basically been a big jerk and made my life more difficult and was there anything she could do to get me an appointment with the “nice” doctor. She thanked me for sharing my story and said she would talk with both doctors to see what she could do and would get back to me. Didn’t hear from her yesterday and since I am not getting better and it takes a while to get in with a new doctor, I decided to follow up and call her this morning. She said the “nice” doctor said he is sticking by the office policy and I won’t be able to switch doctors.  I asked her what my current doctor said in regard to not signing my handicap placard form. She said that the state is really coming down hard on physicians for disability claims and things like handicap placards. Are you kidding me? I said, “If you knew me, you would know I was once very active and have been healthy most of my life. And asking for a placard was not easy.”  She said, “I don’t doubt that, but the physicians have to be careful these days.” Then I asked her what I needed to do to get my records. I am going in tomorrow between noon and one PM to pick them up. What a pain. But can you believe that I just acquired the name of another rheumatologist that is right down the street? I was looking at rheumatologists online the other day and it was a bit overwhelming to think that I might have to narrow it down to one and start all over.

So, good riddance to my old rheumatologist. Feels good! Can’t wait to get my file and see everything my doctor has written about me. This is going to be great!  I wish my doctor the best, but I hope he at least learns a little something from this in regard to how you treat your patients. But as my husband pointed out–they aren’t hurting for business.

I then called the new rheumatology office. I know this place is older and does not have a fancy infusion center like my other doctor’s office. They don’t have a website either. The other office did. But the staff was much more pleasant and I was able to speak with the doctor’s nurse right away. Awesome. I told her that I was not an established patient and asked her if the doctor still prescribed AP. She asked who referred me and I told her that I was given his name by the Roadback Foundation.  She said, “It’s a foundation? And what is it–AT?” I’m thinking she is not aware of AP. She got back to me today. I told her that I never got a call back on the same day before and thanked her. She said that the doctor told her to tell me to keep my new appointment with him (first available was August 3—which stinks) and to bring everything with me that is part of my current protocol. I’m liking this guy already. My old doctor could have cared less about anything I’m taking because nothing I was taking regularly was a pharmaceutical. Whenever I would tell him about what I was doing or what type of exercise I was engaging in he would kind of smirk and type on his laptop.  I told my husband that I have between now and August 3 to really work on weaning my son. Cue the water works. I know it’s time. I want to be ready, or at least close to being ready to try the drug route when I see this new doctor.

Praying for my sisters and brothers.