Friday, 24 June 2011

Snake oil, and more.

 

Elodie was a beautiful baby. Her facial features were small, except for a pair of huge, blue eyes, fringed with Betty Boop lashes.  She reminded me of a baby bird. 

When she was about a month old, she developed eczema. It was worst on her face which she would scratch until the blood poured. In desperation I would restrain her hands, breastfeed her, sing to her, anything to distract from the itch which tortured her especially at night. 

Seeing her skin, strangers would recoil in horror. Once, a local shop owner peered into the pram.  

"What a pity," she gasped.  "I expect you want to take pictures of her, but you can't because of the way she looks."

We shopped elsewhere after that. 

I remember the final conversation I had with our GP about Elodie's skin. He shrugged, and said they had "nothing left" in their armoury to help her, and that we were just going to have to hope she grew out of it. Until then I had not considered althernative therapies, but from that point I was on a quest.

A friend from my NCT group suggested homeopathy, and cranial osteopathy.  We tried both.  The homeopathy had subtle effects, but the cranial osteopathy was dramatic. She slept better almost immeditately and her skin started to improve.  Within six months her complection was perfect.

I took Juliette to a herbalist when her leukaemia was diagnosed, and I think it helped with some of the effects of chemotherapy. For a while, we visited a healer every week.  Juliette liked the act of escaping our noisy house for a couple of hours and I did too. It was peaceful and nurturing, but she still died.

I'm aware that my reaction to Elodie's illness may be disproportionate.  Unfortunately, knowing this does not seem to help me loosen the wires that have sprung taut, taking me back to another time and another daughter. But this is now, and I can only move forward, not back. On Monday, I took Elodie for her first acupuncture appointment.  I'm not expecting miracles, but she really does seem a little better.  Still tired but perhaps not as acutely, and her mood has definitely been better.  She goes back again on Tuesday.

I'm know that to continue raging against the situation is futile. As when Juliette was ill, some moments difficult to avoid, but they sabotage positivity.  Elodie needs my strength and as there's little else on offer right now, I would be an odd sort of mother if I didn't do everything I could to make it available for her.

12 comments:

  1. She does need your strength which is why you have to take care of yourself too. She's not going to get better overnight but SHE WILL GET BETTER! I think the fear might be (even though you know it's irrational) that she won't. Make sure you look after yourself so that you can care for her in the best way possible. This might mean making clear that sometimes you won't be able to be there for her all the time.

    I feel like I'm coming across a bit agony aunty and bossy, sorry. I think it's cause I'm worried that you will make yourself ill.

    So - look after yourself is the bossy message.

    Love,

    Pxx

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  2. Geves,

    I've just sat and read your blog from start to finish. The StoryCollector has been urging me to do so for a while now and I'm glad I finally have. As well as being both heartbreaking and life affirming, it is also beautifully written. You are a very talented writer.

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  3. Dear Geves,
    I know exactly what you are going through with Elodie and her eczema. I am a fellow sufferer and so is my son Phillip. The only thing that helped us was Steroids in both tablet form and ointment.
    But unfortunately, in my case, the side effects were unknown at that time and as a consequence I now have other serious medical problems. With this in mind, we persued other remedies for Phillip, including all the alternatives of Homoeopathy etc. Nothing worked as well, all we could do was really watch and wait. He has grown out of the worst faze of the condition, but it still is there. What I am trying to say to you Geves is, treat it as a condition, not an illness and keep the hope that as she grows older the symptoms will get less and less. They say that the allergies change for the better every seven years, I'm sure that's true. As Storycollector said " Make sure you look after yourself so that you can care for her in the best way possible"

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  4. Thank you Storycollector, I know you're right. I need to take better care of myself.

    Gx

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  5. Gypsy King, thank you for saying all those lovely things.

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  6. Gypsy King - you are certainly right about Geves being a talented writer.

    Geves, so glad you have found something that helps Elodie a little. Just as the eczema went so will this, in time. A good point to move forward from. Take care xxxx

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  7. Geves
    So sorry Elodie is poorly. You are right - it is so unfair. Nothing bad should happen to us again - if there was any justice - instead we are just as vulnerable as the next guy, and worse, I think it is much harder to cope with illness and risk once you've lost a child.

    Glad the acupuncture is helping. Sending you a hug xx

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  8. Geves,

    Hoping Elodie is feeling better!

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  9. Gypsy King, thank you for asking. She had a second session of acupuncture this morning and today I can say, quite cautiously, that she has had a better couple of days. She sat on the beach yesterday and we went out shopping today (new clothes for college induction day tomorrow!), both of which would have been unthinkable last week. She's tired now and I'm not putting out the banners yet as I know these conditions are cyclical, but it's the best she's been in seven weeks.

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  10. ..and thank you Susan. Hope you're ok.

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  11. Geves - I am glad to hear that Elodie is a little better today and the acupuncture seems to be helping. After what we've gone through, I'm sure it must be normal to worry an extra amount. I know I would.
    Sally xxxx

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