And here we are now…present time…

It’s been awhile since my last post…I’ve been trying to slow down a wee bit and not try and have a million and one things on the go.  What I realised though, is that I miss writing.  Writing has been my therapy. Since starting this blog I have gained such greater clarity and perspective by pouring out the good the bad and the ugly from pen to paper (so to speak).  I have currently still got those million ‘things’ swirling around in my brain so I’m attempting to prioritise and re organise… starting with this post.

 Now where was I?…..

Last post I talked about the game changers.  Let me tell you how those have been working over the last six months: Let’s start with Summer.  You probably remember the horrific previous Summer experiences we had?  I was determined not to go into this Summer with feelings of dread and anxiety.  I’ve always been an optimist and the power of positive thinking was my tactic.  I ended the school year so much lighter than the beginning…the weight of the mountains that I had been carrying on my shoulders had been lifted.  The outlook for my family was bright and it was the ignited light from within me, invisible to you and I but it was blinding bright to my children.  In other words, they felt my presence, I was back, Mum was back!

Summer was wonderful.  Maia was basically bandage(less) for most of the Summer.  We even got her into the sea…result!!  🙂 She didn’t have the blood boiling thing going on.  Her inner was more balanced.  I continued to experiment with homemade potions and lotions.  My mission now was that everything that went in her and on her was made by me. The secret to all of this was actually to do with me.  Maia was happy and settled and consequently so was her skin…because I was happy and settled.  Sounds simple hey?  Sometimes it is really hard to see the wood for the trees!  I was happy  because the holidays gave me the time to do what I truly wanted to be doing and that is creating and experimenting with whole food recipes that provide my family with nourishment for mind, body and soul.  And most importantly be able to hang out with my kids. Don’t get me wrong, we certainly had our ups and downs.  Scratching was still Maia’s go too whenever she had any form of anxiety or she was upset.  There were still days when I couldn’t wait for the holidays to be over so I could get my fighting children out of my hair!!  (Then of course I would feel guilty for thinking like that).  That’s when I was inspired or perhaps ‘driven’ to write my post on ‘Mothers Guilt”.  This is an area I would like to explore more…another time…

The holidays were  over before I knew it and back to work/kindy we went.  We settled into the new pace which was much less hectic really well.  Maia and I now have Wednesdays off together.  This is the first time she has ever actually had one on one time!  Our first Wednesday we went down to the river for an “adventure”, we had so much fun exploring at her pace not at the usual whirlwind pace of her older brother!  When we got home, she was having her lunch and she turned to me and said; “thank you for taking me to the river Mummy”.  Talk about melt my heart!  Any doubt, guilt, reservations etc I had about having that day off  were all completely evaporated.  Those big brown eyes of hers, filled with gratitude,  were all the confirmation I needed to know that I was absolutely doing the right thing.

As Summer drew to an end her eczema started to flare up again.  (It had never actually gone away but was much more manageable).  The change of season brought with it dry, itchy skin and yep you guessed it…more bloody boils!  Rather than ‘throwing my toys’ I actually felt grateful that it wasn’t nearly as bad as it was this time last year.  We had definitely made progress.  Everything was still manageable.  Yes we had to be more vigilant and yes we still weren’t sleeping through the night!  (It’ll happen one day! 😉 )

The impact of my stress is clearly evident in Maia.  We seem to be each others mirrors.  I can see first hand the power of mindfulness.  It’s all very well to outwardly say everything is fine but if inwardly you are still a mess then those words you speak or actions you take are pointless.  When I stop, take a breath, and re focus then I can see her relax too.  This is over really little things such as rushing around in the morning telling the kids to hurry up because we are late.  One day we got in the car, I turned and looked at the kids, Jack said “what’s the time Mummy are we late today?”  Maia just sat there scratching expecting me to be ‘stressed’ that we were running late.  I did one of those lump in your throat swallows and replied “no we’re fine we’ve got lots of time to get to kindy today.”  They both visibly relaxed.  Such unnecessary pressure I had unintentionally put on them.  I guess some mornings when they insist on dressing the dog in tea towels and themselves in togs..just let it go…would a few more minutes of their dress up fun really have mattered?  Did mumzilla really need to grace them with her awful presence?  It’s definitely finding the balance and laughing is so much more fun than growling.  🙂

Smile and wave boys… just smile and wave!  🙂

This has been a very brief outline of our past six months.  From now on I would like to focus on what we are trying/experimenting with ‘today’.  I have realised that I have had quite a bit of resistance in getting up to date with the eczema diaries.  This is due to me actually ‘knowing’ that it is far more beneficial and most likely productive to be writing in present time…’today’.  Yesterday has been and gone and it cannot be changed.

My mission has always been to not mask, suppress or temporarily bandaid Maia’s eczema.  I want to meet it head on and eliminate it…for good…and for future generations!  In other words, I want to re-programme her genes so that eczema not only is eliminated from her DNA but that of her children and their children etc!   (I am having a wee chuckle at the reactions you are most likely having!)  As you have probably realised (as I have too) that along the way this journey is far more than just eczema; it encompasses health, nutrition, relationships and general well being.  I am mindful of the tangents I tend to go off on so I will endeavour to be more succinct.  🙂

Okey dokey…so subsequent posts will be current…hot off the press stuff!  😉

Arohanui

Maria

Advertisements

The Eczema Diaries – The Game Changer(s)

From the last post, you see that times were ‘slightly’ difficult!  We persevered with our herbal regime for six months.  The remedies were great, I know they were doing their job of eliminating toxins but holy crap…how many toxins did we have??  These constant skin infections were really getting all of us down.  We had tried everything to keep on top of them but it didn’t matter what we did, they always came back!  It seemed as though I was being tested…how far can we push her until she breaks?!!  Well being the Taurian that I am (stubborn) I was determined not to let this beat us and even though my treading water would often lapse into temporary episodes of underwater confusion, I still managed to mainly stay afloat!

You all probably know my ‘little voice’ by now?  Well it seemed to be getting me to change direction.  Homeopathy was one area that I hadn’t fully explored; I’m not entirely sure why as I had used this during my pregnancy with Maia and soon after she was born due to mastitis…and it was amazing.  I think I just had so many experiments underway that I needed to slow down and do one thing at a time.  Well now was apparently the time for another change and I literally had ‘signs’ for homeopathy popping up everywhere!  I started by attending an introductory to homeopathy class to see if this was right for us and then found my original homeopath and booked in to see her.  She took a very comprehensive background on Maia and prescribed a remedy for her.  Initially we had quite bad flare ups (to be expected) and we didn’t see big changes overnight (again, to be expected) but after a few months her skin did slowly start to settle down.  The infections were no longer ‘angry’ and the ones she did get were more manageable.  Still Kotuku and I suffered with them though.  I then decided to do an introductory course on homeopathy in the evenings ( yep that’s right…had nothing better to do he he!)  I found this to be invaluable, not necessarily for eczema or even boils it was helpful for basic first aid and general illnesses (haven’t been back to the doctor since!)  One of my friends now calls me Doctor Quinn 🙂  Right so reign me in I’m off on a tangent, my homeopathy adventures might need to be a separate post!

This next section is the ‘GAME CHANGER(S)’…This is when I started to see the light…this is where the stuff that I can’t always explain happened…basically this is when I started to really listen and really see and really be honest and true to myself… On reflection, learning a little bit of homeopathy opened a door for me in the way of thinking outside the square; personal empowerment, an ‘aha’ moment of maybe if I show my unwanted friend ‘self doubt’ the door, then perhaps I can actually do this myself!  I had a few little ‘chats’ with myself…time to up your game Maria…time to stop floundering around in a state of ‘fight or flight’, time to stop being the ‘yes man’ and time to start reclaiming your life!! Clearly I didn’t bounce out of bed one day with sudden energy and realisations, it was a journey and not an easy one but the decisions I made during this time were the best ones I have made so far.

From September last year (2014) my dear old little voice progressively got louder and louder; I tried very hard to ignore it but it is apparently more stubborn than I am!!

What happened:

  • Work was really busy; all consuming.  Which was ok until I was no longer teaching…I was now just managing ‘big’ people rather than the ‘little’ ones.  I really missed working with children, no matter how hard a day has been, when you work with children just one smile, just one shared sense of wonderment makes it all worthwhile.  I guess you could say it was all work and no ‘play’!
  • I was exhausted and could not fight infections.  All of my medical people (natural and conventional) started becoming more ‘frank ‘ with me about slowly down and looking after myself.  Chronic fatigue was what was predicted!
  • I have always found it hard to say no…to anyone but I was slowly but surely realising that this was not doing myself or my family any favours.
  • I was so worried about Summer approaching and having another one like last year…I was determined not to go through that again.

Then….

  • I went away on a three day retreat, first time begin away from the family; this gave me clarity and I could begin to see the wood for the trees.  I knew I need to be more present with my own children and to look after them I needed to look after myself… I needed  to put my own life jacket own first!  I realised I needed to have more ‘fun’ and enjoy the moment!  When I returned I saw my children with new eyes, particularly Maia.  I realised she was no longer my little baby that needed protecting at all costs…she was a little girl (two and half years old) who was becoming more independent.  She was growing up before my eyes and I was too busy mixing potions and lotions and researching or working (all of which was for her) but what use was it if I wasn’t actually ‘present’?  I  didn’t want to wake up one day and realise my children were no longer children and no longer needed me.  What was all the running around for…and for whom?

What did I do:

  • The first thing I did was  in the Term Three break…I did nothing!  Absolutely nothing, no playdates, no six hour drives down to see the family…nothing!  And guess what…we had the best time ever!  We just pottered around home.  I actually felt like a ‘Mum’… now I know that sounds really silly but you working mum’s will get what I mean.  I had time to experiment with new creams to make for Maia, I had time to prepare the  nutritious food that I needed to.  I had time to organise my garden, I had time to ‘play’ and to enjoy my children. 🙂
  • The holiday gave me a chance to see what is was that I needed to do.  I needed to slow down, take a breather and start doing what was best for my family.  This is the tricky part though… this meant having to either resign from my job or try and reduce my hours.  Not only did I feel guilty about letting work down, I was feeling guilty that I wouldn’t be contributing financially to the family…how would we survive?  We need my income!  All of these feelings over took what little voice was trying to tell me and as a result I put it aside…for awhile.
  • I resisted for about a month (more boils in the mean time!)

Then…

  •  I did my Reiki 2 course…more clarity, more awareness, more knowing of what I needed to do…I just needed to muster up a little more courage!
  • After I actually spoke my feelings honestly and openly to Kotuku and my Dad…I felt so much better!  Why had I been carrying this alone?  Why had I not fully shared my feelings sooner?  Both men are the most kind, supportive and generous people I know, who I respect more than anyone, yet I was holding a feeling inside that I would be letting them down if I wasn’t working!  I know it sounds utterly ridiculous but my head had a mind of it’s own during this period…auto pilot I think!  ‘Maria had left the building and fear based ego was in the drivers seat!’

Then…

  • I finally found the courage to talk to my boss…and she was amazing!  Really supportive and understanding. Within a few days she had found me a new role, with half the working hours and less responsibility!  Yay…I was so incredibly grateful 🙂

The sense of peace I felt after finally speaking my truth and taking action was one I had not felt in a very long time.  I felt lighter, it is difficult to describe, I didn’t really have a ‘plan’ (like I normally would) but it was ok, I felt ok and I knew everything was going to be…ok 🙂

I will post again soon about more details on Maia’s skin during this time and more specifics on what we used and how it worked (or didn’t). Thanks for reading (it’s a long post!)

Arohanui Maria

 

The Eczema Diaries – Bloody Boils!

We went to our friends daughters 5th birthday party over the weekend.  It was a lovely day, very relaxed and enjoyable.  I found myself reminiscing back to the previous year when we were pretty much at the same place, same time for the 4th birthday party.  And I had this overwhelming feeling of relief and gratitude for the difference a year makes… I remember all so vividly Kotuku and I arriving at the party with dark glasses on, arms covered due to the beginnings of a never-ending onslaught of boils.  Coffee was offered to us as soon as we arrived, we must have looked like junkies!!  We were both exhausted after an awful summer but little did we know things were about to get a whole lot worse!

So as I sat reflecting on the past year I realised I needed to get back on track and update the Eczema Diaries.  This next stage is a time when I felt like I was stripped down, exposed and left to flounder around at what felt like rock bottom; this was all in the shape of my inner turmoil, on the outside I stubbornly tried to appear grounded, in control and ‘ok’.  I wasn’t always very good at listening to ‘Little Voice’ during this time and as a result I was taught a good lesson or two!!

I mentioned the boils that I had on my arm back in March 2014.  Maia had just turned two years.  She herself wasn’t particularly well either and was struggling with skin infections too.  We were using herbal remedies which were basically drawing out all of the toxins in her body.  (Mine seemed to be acting out of sympathy and replicated the exact same symptoms!)  Over Easter I noticed a red bump under Maia’s arm, it continued to grow.  Within a few days it had grown to the size of a large marble…awful!  😦  I had to wait another day until I could get an appointment with my GP so in the meantime we went back to our herbalist.  She gave us some golden seal to make into a poultice along with manuka oil.  I made this up as soon as we got home, by that evening (bath time) it had drawn out a lot of the pus inside.  It was absolutely hideous…my poor little girl…gosh I felt so bad that she was going through this!  The next day I took her to my GP, he prescribed antibiotics without really thinking (it did look bad) but actually it wasn’t as bad as it had been and I realised that we had got through the worst of it and I trusted Little Voice saying we were ok.  (This was a really really hard decision to make, everyone around me couldn’t quite understand why I wouldn’t put her on antibiotics, I did fill the script but only wanted to use them if it got worse of re-infected).  Maia was happier once it had opened and the ‘contents’ were drawing out.  It was much less painful.  We kept it clean and sterile and within a few days it had nearly completely cleared.  I can’t tell you the relief I felt that it was ok.

Within a week, guess what?  I got a boil under my arm just like Maia (same arm too!)  It wasn’t just one though, I had 3, absolutely awful…very painful!  It didn’t stop there, I ended up with 11 boils under that same arm (not all at once) but usually at least two at a time.  This continued over a period of four months.  This is not something you can easily discuss with colleagues or anyone for that matter if they happen to ask “how are you?”  I was in constant pain and discomfort but what can you do?  I just carried on and pushed it aside…I was too busy at work and too tired in life in general to be wasting precious energy complaining about my ‘boils’!!  I did end up going to the GP at one point as one was the size of a golf ball but more internal and it sent shooting pains across my chest.  The GP said the usual spiel about needing to rest etc etc!!

At the end of April it was my birthday.  My parents came up for the weekend, with the intention of helping us out and giving us a ‘hand’.  We went out for brunch, as I was getting ready I noticed a pimple forming near my mouth.  Great timing I thought to myself and what am I doing getting pimples at my age?!!  Well it turns out it wasn’t a pimple at all, it was a ‘bloody boil’ and the damn thing grew and grew, it was ghastly and so so painful!  It is so embarrassing when you have the equivalent to a ‘growth’ on your face, I couldn’t hide it, couldn’t touch it.  You couldn’t help but notice it but most people are too polite to mention it…most people…a few smile and wave moments in amongst this whole ordeal but that’s another story!

Along with these more obvious and hideous boils both Kotuku and I were also getting them on our arms; mainly our forearms and the odd one or two on our legs.  They take a week to go away but the worst thing is, is that they scar…something terrible!  I was just grateful that we were going into winter and we were mainly covered up. Just when I thought things couldn’t really get any worse, Maia got the chicken pox!   Holy moly…eczema and chicken pox basically equals a recipe for disaster, share hell!!  She had the most scary temperatures she’d ever had.  Her and I spent 3 days on the couch with wet cloths and sips of water.  She wasn’t really coherent during this time, all  she wanted was me.  She lay sleeping on me for the duration.  Throughout the worst of it she was too unwell to even itch but when she came around the itch came back with a vengeance!  Her torso was completely covered in spots.  I tried so hard to prevent her from scratching but just the friction from her rubbing caused a lot of damage.  Her torso is still very scarred even a year later.

For the best part of 7 months we battled with constant skin infections.  It really was a tough time.  I was forever being torn between conventional medicine and the natural path.  We were prescribed seven courses of antibiotics for Maia over this time but only used one!

I ended up with another two boils on my face!!  It took me far too long to realise that I was being given a lesson and until I learnt it…the lesson would become more and more in my face (literally!)  The lesson was that I needed to look after myself!  Sounds simple hey?  But unfortunately easier said than done.

20140523_191715

I have taken very few photos of Maia’s skin. I am not sure what made me take this particular one. I think I was trying to keep a record of it, size etc as it started over a weekend and we hadn’t seen a doctor yet. This was a boil on Maia’s nipple. Probably a little difficult to make it out. It was quite heart-breaking…red, swollen and really sore. It got a wee bit bigger than this before it drained.

It is an automatic reaction when you hear the word ‘boils’ or skin infections, you conjure up thoughts of unclean and unhygienic.  But as I was assured by my GP (many times) in our case it was nothing to do with either of those; Maia has a compromised and weakened skin barrier function so therefore is prone to bacteria getting in and as for Kotuku and I, we were run down and more susceptible to infection.  (Jack was ok the entire time!) The following is an outline of our regime to try to be rid of the dreaded skin infections:

  • Added tea tree oil to each load of laundry.
  • Didn’t share bath water (kids)
  • Kept every new infection clean and covered
  • Vigilant in cleaning…everything!
  • Washed hands after each of Maia’s dressings (moisturising, bandaging etc)
  • Took high dose Vitamin C daily
  • Added Zinc drops to breakfast every morning
  • Used manuka oil on each new infection
  • Used golden  seal powder and manuka oil to make poultices’ for drawing (if necessary)
  • Covered all open infections
  • Washed all of Maia’s clothes separately
  • Did everything possible to ensure Maia got sufficient and good quality sleep (this was usually at the expense of ourselves; hence our lovely wee infections!)

This regime was tedious and the skin infections were relentless.  I was constantly second guessing myself, am I doing the right thing?  Am I doing too much or not enough?  I added to my list of potions through trial and error along the way.  I read lots, researched lots and listened to advice/experiences of others.

We were fairly unsocial during this period.  Usually I love having people around or visiting others but we were always exhausted…come the weekend we always had good intentions and a hugely unrealistic ‘to do list’ but we never had the energy to do a fraction of it which left us feeling unsatisfied, frustrated and hopeless!  So the thought of adding socialising into that mix was kind of laughable!!  However, in saying that I did have some girls nights out which I’m pretty sure spared me my sanity 🙂  (Many thanks to my wonderful friends who still love me boils and all!! 😉

This is Part One of the Boils saga; part two shows a glimmer of hope…stay tuned 🙂

Arohanui

Maria

The Unconventional Bogan!

20150217_214307[1]

Well clearly this topic is completely unrelated to anything to do with eczema, healthy living and the like.  But once again I have been inspired to write and this time it was from the concert I went to the other night…SLASH!  I have been a Guns and Roses fan forever.  I absolutely love ‘Sweet child O’ Mine’ my all time favourite song!  (kind of wee clue by the title of my blog… he he!)

So Unconventional Bogan…what is she on about now I hear you ask?  Well the thought did cross my mind when I was getting ready for the concert..hmm what to wear?  Mandatory black?  But who says it must be black?  Is that the unspoken dress code?  Jeans and a black top it was and funnily enough  Kotuku was wearing the exact same thing!!

What is a bogan anyway?  Some of my friends have called me a bogan for ages (in the most endearing way) not for the way I dressed, or what I drove or how I acted; purely because I love Rock music…I am in my happy place listening to wicked guitar riffs by the greats such as SLASH.

According to Wikipedia a bogan is: (this is quite hilarious!)…

Bogans generally reside in the outer suburbs of larger cities, have teeth that haven’t had braces or other orthodontia or dental care due to cost, have an anti-authoritarian stance, nationalistic pride, home-done tattoos, a love of classic rock and Peter Brock, hooning and drinking alcohol to excess.[10] A bogan attitude consists of a lack of pretense and a willingness to be very honest.[10] Certain types of clothing are stereotypically associated with bogans, including flannelette shirts, monkey hoodies, Stubbies shorts, King Gee workwear, thongs, ugg boots,[11] jeans and black leggings.[12] Vehicles such as the Holden Commodore and Ford Falcon, particularly modified or poorly maintained examples, also have similar associations.[13] A bogan, for various reasons, refuses to conform to middle-class standards of taste, dietary habits, leisure activities, styles of dress and ways of speaking.[14] Bogans are sometimes looked down upon by some groups due to their implicit biases.[15] These implicit biases can often make the lives of disadvantaged people much tougher.[15]

I have decided that perhaps I am an unconventional bogan…but can I actually claim to be a bogan if I:

  • Am a member of Greenpeace?
  • would rather cycle than drive a V8?
  • rarely drink (alcohol)?
  • am quite happy to listen to most other types of music too?
  • prefer to by organic food?
  • try to be ‘natural’ in all aspects of my life…eating, exercise, health etc?
  • Endeavour to live a peaceful and spiritual life?

I don’t really fit the bill do I?  Especially when I was in search for coffee rather than alcohol on arrival at the concert!  However, I didn’t feel out of place in amongst the sea of black clad bogans surrounding me.  I knew that ultimately we were all there for one purpose; to listen to some awesome music and whatever our ‘normal’ lives entailed was completely irrelevant.  There was a guy standing next to me; black jeans, metallica t-shirt, loads of tattoos, shaved head, hands in his pockets (looking quite staunch) his head ‘coolly’ bobbing up and down to the music.  I on the other hand was jumping around like an energiser bunny (especially when Sweet Child came on)!  He just looked over at me, gave me a nod and smiled…it was a ‘good on ya mate’ look, so even I, the unconventional bogan got approval from one of the most boganist of them all purely because we shared the one common thing…a love and appreciation of Rock music!

I find it interesting that as soon as you say what particular type of music you like, preconceived ideas of what/who you must be are conjured up.  I wonder if you just met me what your assumption of my music choice would be?  Heaven forbid it be Taylor Swift or the like!!  I also wonder if that person who may look to be rough on the exterior but in actual fact would prefer Taylor Swift as their music choice.  I guess preconceived ideas or assumptions are what I am getting at…

The next question I had to ask myself was this:  Is it wise for a sleep deprived mother of two young children to go out on a ‘School night’ and drink a double espresso which then gives you a false energy hit to then think it’s ok to have more than a few RTD’s and jump around the dance floor with the stamina of a 20 year old?  Would have hindsight played a part if I knew that I would only end up getting 3 hours sleep due to both kids having a rough night, if I knew that I would pull my calf muscle, if I knew that I would bruise the balls of my feet, if I knew I would experience my first hangover in well over 6 years (only a mild one but still a hangover…I think)?

The short answer is NO!!  Absolutely not!  Kotuku and I had the BNE (Best Night Ever).  For one night we felt like grown ups, for one night we allowed ourselves to re-live our previous lives before kids!  When we lived in London, apart from the obvious travelling, one of our favourite things to do was to go to concerts.  When we were out with our friends we all knew what each others ‘special songs’ were and there is something so magical about seeing someone instantaneously taken to their happy place by just hearing the first few seconds of their favourite song(s).

There is something about music, the music that resonates most with you, that takes you to a place of surrender and happiness.  Music truly is food for the soul; it doesn’t matter whether it is Rock or Opera; if it makes you want to get your groove on (in which ever way that may be…a simple tap of the foot or a shaking of the head) that it has to be good for you!

I’ll leave you with a wee bit of Sweet Child O’ Mine…..:)

Oh and by the way…we’re really breaking the rules…two concerts in one week…Foo Fighters here we come!  WOOHOO!!  (Many thanks to my fabulous sister in law for babysitting xo)

Arohanui Maria

 

Mothers Guilt – who’s to blame??

Who is to blame?  I am!  You are!  We Mum’s we are all to blame!

Apologies for the harsh intro…but seriously this topic has been really plaguing me of late.  Why is it that there is basically a term called Mothers Guilt in the first place?  We have all heard of it and as you read this you’ll be thinking oh yes that’s me or was me!

What I wonder is…was this even heard of in our own Mothers’ era?  Did our Mum’s experience ‘Mothers Guilt’?  If they did, would it be at the same level that it is today?

Maia has been really itchy over this past week…very little sleep in our household at the moment.  In the wee hours of trying to soothe her I have been lying there, mind racing with this Mothers Guilt thing.  I am not entirely sure why all of a sudden I am so passionate about it, but I tell you what, that little voice of mine is basically screaming at me to get myself to a computer and blurt it out! So here I go…

I really do believe that Mothers Guilt has sky rocketed over more recent years; there are many contributing factors:  societal, social media, financial pressures the list goes on.  It has almost come the ‘norm’ that we have this ‘super mum’ mentality.  “I can do it all”.  The expectations we put on ourselves have become so high that we believe that this is the ‘right’ way, we have rewired ourselves and each other that we must be super mums, anything short of this leaves us with a sense of failure or dissatisfaction.

This is an example of my guiltiness…I feel/felt guilty when:

  • Maia is itchy…is it something she ate? touched? My cooking? ….
  • Maia’s skin is worse than the day before
  • I tell Maia to stop scratching (for the 1000th time that day)
  • I tell Jack to stop annoying his sister (so that she won’t scratch)
  • I have a 10 minute power nap in the afternoon while the kids are asleep even though “there is so much to do”!
  • I growl at the kids
  • I go out for exercise and when I don’t exercise
  • I have a whole row of chocolate rather than one piece
  • I forget to put sunblock on the kids
  • I know the kids haven’t ticked each nutritional box in their daily food intake
  • I sit down and when I don’t sit down
  • Not having the time or energy to take my dog for a walk
  • The kids are too noisy and possibly annoying the neighbours
  • I would prefer to be sifting through recipe books or reading eczema articles rather than reading story books to my kids
  • I barely acknowledge my husband when he arrives home from work (right in the middle of I don’t want to eat my tea time!)
  • I forget to call my family to see how they all are
  • I forget that it is my friends birthday
  • I forget to reply to messages on my phone
  • I go to bed early or I go to bed too late
  • I am always tired

These are all an example of a typical day (not so typical now fortunately) but as I read back over this list, I’m laughing!  This is ridiculous right? All of these things are small and really irrelevant but combine them together…you get a very big pile of guilt!  That guilt is taking up far too much energy.  This needs to be replaced with a more positive thought pattern.  What that list tells me is that I was actually manifesting guilt by letting it consume me.  I was creating my own vicious cycle of:

GUILT – FRUSTRATION – RESENTMENT – WORRY – MORE GUILT…..MOTHERS GUILT!

For what purpose?  I thought I could do it all!  I had such high expectations on myself, of my idea or ideal of what a Mum should be?  Where did it come from?  I don’t really know to be sure.  All I know is that if I happen to feed my kids un-soaked rice and non organic broccoli then it’s not the end of the world!!! 😉

“Guilt isn’t always a rational thing…
Guilt is a weight that will crush you
whether you deserve it or not”
Maureen Johnson

My theory is that in order for this to change, we all need to first of all identify that this is happening and realise that it isn’t what ‘normal’ should be.  Then with a mass consciousness of a more realistic thought pattern, (that is, we are human, we do the best we can do but we aren’t always perfect and yes we do make mistakes and that is actually ok!), we can change.  You’ve all heard of the power of positive thinking?  This is the same kind of thing, but as a collective of like minded Mums, who all love their kids and their families but perhaps have forgotten to love themselves?   Let’s learn to let go of all of the silly things we feel guilty about and instead learn to be accepting of our efforts, see the funny side (we all know there is a funny side whilst raising kids!!), learn to be ‘present’ and live more in the actual moment…not planning for the future (within reason of course)…or worrying about yesterday.  We need to do this not just for our children and families…but for ourselves.

Bit out there maybe?

If you are feeling constantly guilty, like I was, where I felt like my children were growing up not before my eyes…before someone else’s eyes as I was never ‘present’ enough to see.  Everything I did was for my children but still I felt like the worst mother in the world.  I was (still am) completely consumed with finding a cure to eczema, I was trying to be this ‘green living’ natural mum, but my super mum expectations were way too high, completely unrealistic and I wasn’t doing anyone any favours; my children, husband, work and least of all myself.  With health scares and ‘gentle’ support from family and friends and some not so gentle from Little Voice, I was able to take a moment and ‘breathe’, to see what was actually happening around me.  I talked about asking yourself ‘the questions’ in my last post…when I asked myself what is it that I want right now?  My answer was I wanted to be a Mum (in other words I wanted to be more present for my children.)  In order for this to happen, I had to make changes.  The change I made was reducing my work load and the hours I worked.  I did think, that I would feel guilty for putting financial pressure on household and worry that we would struggle.  But you know what?  For the first time I didn’t feel guilty or worry because I knew it was the right decision, I actually didn’t have a  plan of how we would make ends meet (still don’t), but I know it’ll be fine 🙂

I realise, that I am lucky that I had the option of changing my work situation.  If you feel like you are in a similar predicament but changing your working situation is not an option, then it’s time to hang up your super mum cape and accept and or ask for help if needed.  For example, hire a cleaner?  Organise a babysitting swap with your friends, have some ‘you’ time (this is the hardest one believe me I know!), communicate how you are feeling, exercise, spend some time outside.  Sit down and ask yourself the questions.  Be honest!  We Mum’s are our own worst critics!  We need to stop judging ourselves and comparing ourselves to others.  It is so incredibly important  to surround yourselves with like minded positive, supportive people.  People who are your cheering squad.  (Thanks Kirst x)

I am truly blessed and feel very grateful to have some amazing friends who have been through the good the bad and the ugly with me throughout this parenting ‘thing’ so far!  I have never felt judged or inadequate, this support network is the thing that has kept me sane.  (Girls nights out are absolutely essential!!)

I look forward to your feedback on this.  This is not a research project it’s merely me just thinking out loud!  What do you think?

Arohanui

Maria xo

 

‘Fight or Flight’

This is for all of you busy Mum’s out there…and Dad’s too 🙂

Have any of you read Dr. Libby Weaver’s Book “Rushing Woman’s Syndrome’?  A friend gave this for me to read about a year a go.  I had only read the first page and I felt as though she had written the book for me!  How did she know all of this stuff…and so accurately?  I was that person…in a constant space of ‘fight or flight’.  I say ‘was’ but let’s be honest maybe I should rephrase to say ‘am’ I am that person…but I am also aware of it and therefore am trying to make changes!

The turning point for me was towards the end of last year when I was at the peak of tiredness, I was completely rundown, in complete denial about my inner state because on the outside I was ok…I could do it all!!  In my mind I was fine…I was positive, optimistic and was in the mind-set of ‘just get on and deal with it…because if you don’t no one else will’!  In reality I was actually just running around like a headless chicken trying to do a million things at once…achieving nothing!  My short term memory was so bad that I would constantly forget what I was doing or what I was talking about, which is kind of embarrassing when you are meeting with new prospective parents who are trying to choose the best place to send their child.  (Don’t worry I don’t think I scared anyone away!)

In a nutshell I was exhausted as was Kotuku and by default so too were Jack and Maia.  The joys of working parents with a child with a ‘disability’.  I had ‘little voice’ literally screaming in my ear…do something about this…this is not sustainable…what are you actually doing and who are you doing it for?

That voice and the constant feeling of twisted anxiety in my gut was so strong I could no longer deny it.  So I started asking myself the questions and this time I was truthful with myself, I stopped making excuses which were fuelled by my ego voice, which were basically all fear based due to the unknown….

  • Where am I at…right now?
  • What do I need…right now?
  • What do my family need…. right now?
  • Where do I find fun, joy and satisfaction?
  • Where is my ‘happy place?’
  • If I could have 3 wishes what would they be?
  • If I could change anything what would it be?

I’ll let you in on a little secret…just by asking myself these questions and answering them with absolute honesty, the anxiety that had been sitting deep down in my belly started to lift.  I felt lighter, empowered almost.  I still didn’t have all the answers but this is what I knew:

  • I wanted to be a ‘Mum’
  • I didn’t want to close my eyes only to wake up and find my children had grown up and were no longer children.
  • I didn’t want regrets
  • I didn’t want to be in a constant state of fight or flight
  • I wanted to have fun
  • I wanted to laugh
  • I wanted to find my inner child
  • I wanted to be the best person I could be

To achieve these things I needed to reset the balance in my life.  Prioritise what I was doing and for what purpose.  I have always worked, I have been teaching for nearly 18 years…I couldn’t possibly imagine letting the team down…they need me…right?  Wrong!  Nobody is indespensable.  It is not necessary to throw oneself under the bus purely because you think like a martyr! I have finally come to realise and appreciate the importance of putting on your own ‘life jacket’ before you attempt to put on that of another.  In other words (and you fix it people out there will appreciate this) once you sort yourself out and get yourself into balance then everyone around you and dependent on you will be better for it!

I totally appreciate that this is easier said than done at times.  I am walking proof of it!  To be honest I am just at the beginning of this little journey.  I still have little voice reminding me, on a regular basis, to stop trying to ‘fix’ everything or more accurately everyone!

I do feel though, if I can make changes and see the world and my own life through open eyes then you can too!!  Through taking time to ‘smell the roses’ I was able to gain the courage to speak to my work place and renegotiate my hours and responsibilities.  Which they were completely supportive of as I was speaking through true heart space.  No one is going to deny or begrudge you for speaking your truth.

With my weekly working hours halved it enables me to be more ‘present’ with my children and to have the time to experiment with new recipes and lotions and potions for not just eczema but for a range of ailments…using natural remedies.  I love that I have the time to help others too, for example my Mum rung me up the other day for advice on what to do for a spider bite and my sister in law needed help in treating her partners foot (he had stood on a nail.)  These are all little things but I love love love being able to use my random assortment of skills to help others.  (One of my happy places 🙂  )

I can’t really explain the purpose of writing this blog at this particular time…it’s quite random (as am I!)  But if this speaks to you at all or maybe or someone you know….then if there is one thing I can say it would be (actually more than one)…..

Find your happy place

Live in the present moment

Love

Dance

and most importantly…Breathe!

Arohanui Maria xoxo

The Eczema diaries: February – April 2014

Before I go into the sugar free trial I need to back track a little…

Just as a recap, up until this point Maia was:

FOOD:   Gluten, Dairy, Egg, Peanut and Citrus free.  She took a probiotic every morning, along with a mineral mix blend and cod liver oil.  At the beginning of February we started introducing Malcolm Harker’s General Tonic.  Most of the foods she ate were mainly natural (homemade without preservatives and artificial colourings).

SKIN CARE:  Hope’s relief Cream, cetamacrogol cream.  We hadn’t used any form of steroid cream since November (they were creating more heat in her body and not helping).  This moisturising regime happened 3 to 4 times per day.  Maia was once compliant during this time…she was now tired of it and resisted each time and tried to scratch at any opportunity before she was dressed.  It was quickly becoming a two person job!

BATH:  Luke warm water.  We didn’t use any soap at all.  Baking soda or organic rolled oats (inside a muslin cloth), we trialled pinetarsol for awhile but it didn’t seem to help.  We gently pat dried her and applied moisturisers straight away in order to lock in the moisture then bandaged.

SLEEP:  Maia needed to be fully bandaged along with sleep sleeves in order to go to bed without the risk of ripping herself to shreds.  This was obviously problematic due to the heat that all of this clothing generated.  We tried so many combinations but if we didn’t practically put her in a ‘straight jacket’ she would find a way out and just scratch!!  Countless times I would go and check on her and she would be sitting up silently scratching into a frenzy…blood everywhere…previous sores reopened!  It was so disheartening…thank goodness for comvita and their fabulous medical honey for wounds.  I am so grateful that this kept the skin infections at bay for as long as it did.  Whilst being thankful I must express my gratitude to my dear friend Holly (a talented, creative sewer among many other skills), who came up with the clever idea of sewing the bandages to create tights and the arms were sewn over too (just gave us another layer of protection from her nails!)

Maia would wake anywhere between 10pm and 11pm (after going to bed at about 7pm ish).  Sometimes she would cry or call out but more often than not she would just wake and scratch.  I could tell by the slight change of her breathing that she would be waking soon.  This is where the ‘night shift’ started.  It would usually take at least 2hours to resettle her (into a deep sleep in which she could block the itch!)  From then on it would be fairly restless.  She seemed to drift into her most sound deep sleep at around 4am (this is where I got my sleep…if only she then slept until 10am rather than 6.30am!!)  Night shift was generally my ‘duty’ but she was starting to allow Kotuku to go to her in the night too.
Right so…what happened next?

We started taking the herbal remedies and commenced the new diet which now excluded yeast, sugar, corn, preservatives and artificial colourings (as well as the other items foods mentioned above).  I had been making my own bread up until this point, which was actually really nice…the whole family were sold!  Back to the drawing board with no yeast though.  It actually took me months to find a suitable replacement, in the mean time I bought the ‘bricks’ of everything free bread from the supermarket…awful stuff…compulsory toasting required!!  No corn was an eye opener…we had been eating lots of fresh sweet corn (which Maia loved) and we often used corn as a wheat substitute, for example, in crackers, flour etc.  Preservatives and artificial colourings were easy to avoid…we very rarely had them anyway.  Which brings me to sugar!  Maia had never really had any refined sugar…however sugar in fruit, especially dried fruits, was another story!  I tried using stevia in my baking but it just wasn’t doing it!  I basically stopped baking full stop…I was feeling a little bit overwhelmed….

Work was really busy, my days were long and the kids were shattered by the end of the day.  The herbal remedy we were using for Maia was doing it’s job…drawing out the toxins in her body!  After a few weeks of using them she starting get spots of her lower back they very quickly multiplied to covering most of her back.  Terrible skin infection!  I couldn’t  control it.  I went back to the herbal shop they said it was a response to the remedy which is relatively normal but as this was quite severe, therefore they were supportive in using antibiotics to clear it up.  (This was a bit contradictory as the toxins coming out were partly due to the previous antibiotic use in the first place..one step forward two steps back!)  They also recommended that I use Manuka oil for her skin infections rather than the medihoney – due to the sugar content.  As it was the weekend we had to go to the Emergency clinic who looked in horror at her skin…they prescribed antibiotics along with chlorhexidine which was to add to her bath to help kill bacteria (both good and bad… it was fairly potent stuff!)  When I told my GP the next time I saw him even he was surprised at such a strong wash.  This seems to be the case when someone new meets us; it is so important to build a relationship with a doctor that knows your case inside out and supports you on your journey.  Thank you Dr. Parek 🙂

Somewhere amongst all this I put a spanner in the works by fracturing my rib!  I can’t even say it was from something exciting like bungy jumping…no…all I did was over twist when I was moisturising Maia!  I felt something ‘ping,’ it wasn’t a normal click of the back and good old little voice was very quick to ensure I didn’t try to self correct!  By the end of that day I was in unbearable pain, I was struggling to breathe let alone move.  My osteopath (who I had been seeing over the past year) basically told me that my body was too tired to do it’s job properly…the muscles were so fatigued that they were no longer supporting the bone….and as for recovery…unless I manage to get some proper rest it would potentially take months!  Bless him…no visit is complete without a lecture from him (in the most kind and caring way!!)  The first few weeks were really tough as I couldn’t lift anything, which of course included Maia and of course she didn’t understand this and was very quick to complain!  Jack was my big helper carrying the bags and helping chase runaway Maia!

Maia’s skin infection healed fairly well.  She did continue to get spots quite regularly but they were a few at a time and therefore manageable.  I acquired two bite like ‘things’ on my forearm which started out small and got bigger and very painful.  I thought they were spider bites.  My whole arm was really swollen and so incredibly sore…I gave in and went to my GP who told me I had staphylococcus aureus aka staph aka skin infections!  So here’s me fractured rib and staph infections on my arm…I felt like such a leper!!  I was taking herbal remedies too which were drawing toxins out and also just by being in close proximity to Maia and dressing her daily it was inevitable that I would succumb too!

In amongst all of this little Missy Moo turned two!  We had a small party at home for her…all ‘everything’ free food.  She tried to be a happy chappy but the spark wasn’t in her eyes.  Her poor little body was busy fighting skin infections and other flu like viruses that were going around her centre.

Tricky times.  We stuck to the 3 month sugar elimination but to be honest I can’t even tell you what we ate.  I know I spent a fortune on buying stuff as I just didn’t have the energy or time to research/prepare it myself.

Next post is well…you’ll probably laugh, as I can now, but at the time it was bloody awful!  What am I talking about?  Bloody boils!!  I can’t avoid writing about them as they consumed our household for months…some nice light hearted reading to look forward too!  lol

Arohanui Maria

Ps Check out Holly’s fabulous creations…she is amazing!!  ‘Little Laneway Design’ on facebook.

The Eczema Diaries – 22 – 23 months (Jan to February 2014)

We continued to muddle through Summer as best we could.  One weekend we decided to stay with friends at the Mount (our happy place).  We thought some warm sea air might do us all wonders.  Well that couldn’t have been further from the truth.  Maia’s ankles looked like they were covered in reptile skin.  They were thick and scaly looking and were constantly bleeding.  Don’t ask me what I was thinking but all I wanted to do was get her in the sea water.  I had images of the amazing healing waters of the sea in Galilee – Israel (you’d be surprised at the randomness sleep deprivation can do to you!!)  I so desperately wanted the salt water to aid in the healing process and give Maia some reprieve.  Holy Mary mother of god you should have heard the screams as soon as I put her legs in the water.  I have never heard sounds like that from any child…and I’m a teacher and I have heard a few!!  I scooped her up and raced her back home to the bath where I could rinse off the salt and sand.  I can’t explain the absolute burden of guilt that permeated me to the core.  To the onlooker it would have sounded like we were torturing this poor child and I wondered if she herself felt as though she was being punished?  Needless to say, sleep was not on the menu that night.  Our poor friends they didn’t know what to make of it all…but to their credit were nothing but supportive…and even invited us back!! After that disaster of a mission we decided to  stay close to home.

We had another appointment with the skin clinic, I was honest with them and said I was struggling…I needed to get  some more sleep.  I was due to go back to work within the next few weeks and instead of feeling rested and full of energy and enthusiasm, I was struggling to remember my own name!  And so what is it that I do in these situations?  Well apparently I take on more responsibility and take on a new supervisor role as well as teacher…this is my learning…I find it hard to say no…ever!  Even when I actually ‘know’ it isn’t the right thing to do…even though it means a sacrifice on mine and my families part.  I am just saying this because if this sounds like any of you reading don’t take forever to learn the lesson by throwing yourself under the  bus time and time again…drive the bus yourself!  (Keep reading, a year later I finally learn this lesson!)

Back to the hospital visit…they agreed that we all desperately needed sleep, they shook their heads when I said I had bought some ‘sleep drops’ from the health food shop, “none of these will work, it’s just a ploy to take your money”  they told me.  Their solution was Phenergan which is an antihistamine with a sedative in it.  Parents often resort to using this when they are flying long haul with young children (basically to knock them out for the flight!)  I felt very uneasy about using it, especially since it wasn’t really recommended for the use of children under 2 years of age and also due to the very conflicting feedback that it has received.  Some GPs are very reluctant to prescribe this to children.  They had no other solutions, they reiterated that the first 5 years of living with eczema can be “hell” and there is no cure and quick fix but it can be managed through steroid creams, keeping the skin hydrated and using bandages; yep I know this, have tried this and it isn’t working for us!  Don’t get me wrong, these aren’t bad people, they’re just doing their job.  They did say it was unfortunate that Summer gave us no reprieve as it often does for other eczema sufferers.  I filled the script, against little voice’s wishes, and went home feeling quite despondent.

We resisted using the phenergan for a few days but you know the saying that sleep deprivation is the worst form of torture?  Well that is so true.  I am writing this now shuddering at the memory of it.  I was tired of saying “I’m tired”!  I just wanted to close my eyes and wake up and life would be  ‘normal’!  Yeah I know what the heck is normal anyway??!!  We gave in and trialled it for a week…absolutely no difference…at all…:(  At this point ‘little voice’ took on a wee ‘intervention’ and all of a sudden I felt totally driven to understand and research about the internal heat that had completely consumed Maia’s body.   Yes, she was hot firstly because it was Summer and secondly because she had to be covered up but it was more than that (I actually think I have already mentioned this?)  Hmm I have a tendency to repeat myself…my short term memory leaves a lot to be desired…more on that later!

My research led me to Malcolm Harker  who is a well known master herbalist in New Zealand.  He contacted me personally after my enquires and asked me to email him Maia’s complete eczema history to date.  This was a really good exercise, it helped me put some things into perspective and identify patterns that were beginning to emerge.  I typed for more than two hours (very long email!)  He replied back confirming that yes my questions around internal heat are valid, and very typical in eczema sufferers due to the build up of toxins in the blood stream that need to be cleansed.  He recommended that I try his General Tonic and he sent me two different types of moisturisers to trial.  As was expected she reacted to these, her body was trying to detoxify.

I discovered a herbal shop in Hamilton and went to seek their advice on what to expect from the use of herbal remedies.  They were fantastic, they genuinely wanted to help us.  They took a hair sample from Maia, which they would test for any intolerances she might have.  (I also took in a sample of our pet dog Axel’s hair to see if that might be a trigger too.)  When the results came back they were able to tweak the general tonic that she was using to be more specific to her needs.

The results:  As she had never eaten gluten, dairy, eggs or peanuts these didn’t come up but they recommended that we continue to eliminate them for now.  What did come up was a moderate risk to sugar, yeast and corn…yep things just got trickier!!  It showed that she had candida overgrowth in her gut, most likely due to antibiotic use.  But the good news was that Axel was in the clear…yay!!!

I went away armed with new recipe ideas, a herbal brew for every one in our household and the promise of ongoing support as we were recommended to embark on a 3 month zero sugar regime!

great quotes about strength

I must admit, not the most cohesive of blog posts.  I am looking forward to getting up to date (currently a year behind) and start writing about what we are doing today!  Best I get writing then!  😉   The following websites I found useful and informative:

Arohanui Maria

http://www.malcolmharker.com/

http://www.herbalshop.co.nz/hair-test.html

http://www.webmd.com/skin-problems-and-treatments/eczema/news/20090317/can-chinese-herbs-relieve-eczema

http://www.eczema-natural-healing.com/causes-of-eczema.html

 

The Eczema Diaries – Summer – 21 – 22 months

It was a ‘funny’ old time after my Reiki course.  We were told that for 21 days proceeding the course, we would most likely experience a period of ‘dissonance’ whereby life can seem to be more chaotic than usual due to people and the world around you adjusting to our higher vibrational frequency.  Quite honestly I think my period of ‘dissonance’ far exceeded 21 days…there are days when I wonder if I have ever come out of it!  (Slightly exaggerating 🙂  ).

One of the reiki precepts taught us that we should count our many blessings every day.  It was this and maintaining the attitude of gratitude that got me through ‘Summer’.  I apologise in advance if I end up getting a bit ‘low’ throughout this post.  Just know that I did get through it and I am still smiling 🙂  I think it is important to just tell it how it really was.  Some of you will relate to it, some of you know it as you were there along the way, for others…just know that there is always light at the end of the tunnel, sometimes it appears to be rather faint…but it is always there.

Summer:  Now what does this word mean for you?  Automatically we may see images of sun, water, bbq’s, fun, family, friends and many other wonderful experiences.  For me, for that Summer, I saw it as light not at the end of the tunnel but within it and shining brighter than it was during Winter and it warmed me with hope.  I saw sun which is Vitamin D which is good for the skin.  I saw sea water which is therapeutic for the skin.  I saw holidays which meant time to spend with my family and time to kick this eczema in the butt!  However, this idyllic ideal was clearly not our reality; Summer I am afraid to say…was hell!

I couldn’t wait for the warmer weather and to have the kids at home with me so that they could run around, with little or even no clothes on, soak up some vitamin D, play under the sprinklers and be rid of those horrid bandages.  I tried this many times but try as I might, it never worked; every time any part of Maia’s skin was exposed, she would just literally rip herself to shreds.  It was awful.  I had to constantly shadow her.  Jack (nearly 4years) became like a sergeant major calling out “SCRATCHING” every time I happened to be out of eye shot and couldn’t see her scratch.  This obviously distressed Maia even more which made her want to scratch more and so went the vicious cycle!

We went to a market day at the beginning of Summer.  It was a glorious sunny December Sunday.  Maia was in her buggy wearing light clothing that covered her limbs (along with her bandages).  We went in the morning hoping to avoid the mid day heat but it was an exceptionally hot day.  Very quickly we realised that this was perhaps not the best of ideas and off we went to find some shade under the trees.  As we were leaving I had my first real feel sorry for myself moment:  There lots of children running around, similar age to our kids and they were completely care free.  The little girls looked so cute and happy with their beautiful ‘cool’ summer dresses on.  The realisation crashed down on me that Maia will never experience that…she can’t wear those lovely dresses; she needs to be covered which of course means battling a constant battle with the heat and over heating.  Tears welled up in my eyes, I realised that my being ever hopeful is not always helpful; I needed to be realistic and accept that Summer might be a little more tricky than I anticipated.

Hot days in Summer inevitabitly means hot nights.  Maia’s sleeping went from bad to worse.  Previously she would wake several times in the night but could usually be resettled fairly quickly.  Now when she woke she was clearly irritated and distressed from the dreaded itch which was exacerbated by the heat.  Her only comfort (that she thought would help her) was me.  She wanted to be as close to me as possible, I could feel her pleading with me to take it away.  Obviously her literally lying on top of me just made the problem worse but how do you explain that to a not even two year old?  I spent my nights shushing, singing, rocking, patting her back to sleep and then with one hand I would hold her arm (away from her other arm) and my other arm I used to hold onto one of her feet and keep it away from the other.  This is the only way I could ensure she wouldn’t scratch herself into a frenzy and create loads more friction which is more heat.  Some nights I would be lucky to get an hours sleep others, if I was lucky, 3 or 4 hrs (half hour here, 45 minutes there and so on).  Her quality of sleep was obviously terrible, not that of a young toddler.  But to her credit, she woke up every day anew and was generally a happy little chappy.  Lots of people said to me “you should just leave her and let her scratch…you need to sleep”.  Well yes of course I needed sleep…but so did she and by me doing my night time thing with her, enabled her to have a lot more sleep than she would normally, yes it was broken but better than it could be.  She was a little girl who needed to grow and develop in every which way…I didn’t want to stunt her in anyway.  A little sacrifice on my part was a small price to pay if it meant her overall wellbeing long term.  This is not mayrtr stuff by the way,  I know it sounds crazy, but when you are a parent you would move heaven and earth for your children.  I didn’t really think about consequences or long term effects on myself, I was just living day by day doing the best I could for my little girl…who after all was suffering way more than me!

So what was her skin like…and what were you using on it I can hear you asking?  Maia’s skin was constantly red and inflamed, it felt as though she was on fire, especially her torso.  I felt that it was an internal heat and I was on a mission to get to the core of the problem rather than just mucking around with ‘buckets with holes in them’ to temporarily bandaid the problem.  Like I have said before, when you’re desperate you’ll try anything and that includes steroids but for Maia these do not work…they actually create more heat and they seem to make her eczema spread.  Try explaining this to my ‘friends’ at the hospital.  Their solution is to try an even stronger steroid cream.  Smile and wave!  I did try to engage in discussion on managing this internal heat with her specialist…I didn’t get very far…so yet again I was off on my researcher mission.

My research partner in crime was (actually still is) Kirsty.  So here we were: me sleep deprived Mum wanting to equally rid the world of eczema and take away Kirsty’s pain.  Kirsty…grieving widow throwing herself into projects to try  just for one second not to be blinded by the reality of grief!  Both of us being the ‘fix it’ people we are were trying to kind of do the impossible.  However, through all of this it has brought us even closer together…back to the time when we were kids and completely inseparable!  Kirsty’s ideas and desire to rid Maia of her eczema kept me motivated; I counted my blessings everyday and she was always at the top!

After researching the internal heat concept I was opened up to a world of natural remedies these have been known for ‘ever in a day’!  I decided to experiment with herbal remedies.  There were several modalities that would have been fine as well but I just wanted to try one and stick with it for a decent amount of time and see where it took us.  For too long I was trying too many things at once, confusing myself and most likely Maia’s body.  It was my impatience that caused this, I ‘didn’t have time’ to trial something for months on end.  I just wanted a solution…pronto!  I guess that’s why they say …’patience is a virtue’!  One of my many lessons I have learned (learning) along the way!

Next post I will go into more details of our herbal journey.

Arohanui

Maria 🙂

 

The Eczema Diaries 21 – 22 months

I have been procrastinating writing this post.  It’ a bit of mixed bag…some good and some horribly sad…

We continued on the natural path. We still hadn’t found the ‘miracle’ cream but had found a few that Maia’s skin didn’t react badly too so we continued with those.  During this time Kotuku discovered that he too was dairy and gluten intolerant.  Buying gluten and dairy free was becoming very expensive so I decided to attend a gluten free cooking course to learn how to make a variety of recipes…that actually tasted nice!  It was such an invaluable day…I learnt loads, the facilitators were so knowledgeable and passionate about making life easier for families with food intolerances.  I went home fully inspired.  I made a list (I’m renowned for my lists!) and wrote down every ingredient I needed for the recipes I wanted to try.  Splurged on a cake mixer (never in my wildest dreams did I ever think that “I” would be as domesticated as such to even contemplate owning such a machine!!  But there I was…cake mixer, recipes, ingredients (most of which I had never really heard of before) and even the apron!!  I got in the routine of making Sunday the ‘baking’ day where I made bread, muffins and experimented with pasta and various other goodies.  The results were a hit…no one could really tell the difference between ‘normal’ baking and GF.  My only dilema, as it always is, was my good old friend ‘time’ or lack of!

Maia was doing ok.  There had been no more skin infections which was a blessing but her skin was still much the same.  I decided that it was time to begin the weaning process with Maia.  I had continued breast feeding more for my own peace of mind knowing (hoping) that between her diet and the breast milk, she would be getting all of the required nutrients and I also wanted to help support her immunity.  Good intentions perhaps, but in hindsight I don’t know how necessary it was.  Maia was a thriving well covered wee lass!  I on the other hand, was losing way too much weight and was constantly exhausted.  Would it have been different if I stopped feeding earlier?  I don’t know.  Unfortunately I didn’t suddenly start running marathons with my envisaged ‘renewed’ energy!  My marathon was living day to day trying to do the best for our little Missy Moo!

Speaking of Energy, I had been back to see Jehanne for a Reiki session.  I knew nothing about this but completely open to anything new.  I came out feeling energised and invigorated, my body felt lighter and my head clearer.  Wow that was pretty unexplainably amazing I thought to myself.  I wondered if this would be helpful to use on Maia and before I knew it I had signed up to learn Reiki for myself (2 day course).

A brief description of what Reiki is, for those saying what is this Reiki all about….                           Reiki is the term given to a natural, non-invasive Japanese energy healing system that restores and balances the body’s ‘ki’ energy centres.  Balancing the body’s energy centres to a natural healthy state allows toxins and existing conflicts within the mind, body and spirit to be cleansed and balanced, resulting in health and wellness.  This hands-on or soft touch technique involves the transference of Universal Life Force energy through an attuned channel to a recipient.  The human body has a natural ability to heal itself and Reiki enhances this ability.  (Jehanne Thomas).

I was quite excited about this course.  I can’t really explain why.  I had the happy butterfly feeling in my stomach and little voice was loving it!  The course was held in a beautiful old villa that had the most amazing feel to it…I just wanted to move in!  Day one was fantastic, I was absorbing all of this new found knowledge like a sponge.  It really resonated with me and I couldn’t wait to begin practising….

But…. “in a New York minute…everything can change…”  I don’t know if I have ever felt such extremes of emotions as I did on ‘that day’.  When I got home from the course that evening I found out that one of our very dear friends Scotty, the husband to my soul sister Kirsty, had died in a motorcycle accident.  As I write this post it is almost a year to the day that it happened but it is though it only happened yesterday, the memory and emotions and still very vivid and raw.  I haven’t got the words to describe and I probably don’t need too…

Day Two of the course I was a basket case had LES (leaky eye syndrome) for most of the day.  I very nearly didn’t go but as it turns out, it was the best place for me to be.  By the afternoon I had pulled myself together, put everything into perspective(ish).  I had asked Jehanne what happens when people pass?  How do we know if Scotty is ok?  Her answers and explanations put me at ease and I was able to focus and put all my attentions on my Kirsty!  You’ll learn more about Kirsty as we go along, she is a huge part of our journey.  She is probably one of the most inspiring and remarkable people I know.

I am going to sign out now.  Words becoming blurred with too many emotions.

Arohanui

‘Now I lay thee down to sleep

I pray the lord my soul to take

If I die before I wake…

I pray the lord my soul to take..’

You’re still the biggest, brightest star in the sky Scotty…we love you xoxo