Without a Crystal Ball

Our Journey through Chronic Illness & Autism

Hi Friends,

The past few years, I have had the pleasure or maybe displeasure (I mean who wants a child that is chronically ill), to meet so many of you on Facebook support groups. We have cried together, laughed together, and we have been to the darkest places together. No one else knows better the path I am on than you, and I am so grateful for the love, understanding, grace, and help you give to our family.

When my son was diagnosed at 3 months old, I knew not a single person with his disease, and I had never heard of the disease. Our doctors pointed us to an organization that had a web page. On the web page, there was a link to their online support group. This was our first jump into the Medically fragile world. As more diagnosis popped up, I found more and more pages. Soon I was collecting “friends” I had never met in person, and many of these people were people I relied on in my most difficult times. They lived all over the world, and many of them had children as complex as my son, and sometimes their children dealt with more. However, no matter the differences, there has always been this authentic connection of really just wanting to help one another.

As the years have moved on, I am collecting more and more friends. Many of the friends have been with us since the very beginning of our journey. Our friendships are absolutely real. It is so hard to explain to anyone that isn’t in this world. We are so isolated from the real world. We are stuck in our houses, at hospitals, at clinics, or shuttling our children to therapy. There is not much time for socializing, and most of us have struggled to find friends in our community that get what we are going through.

I want you to know every single day that I can count on you, I know that it will be another easier day for me. When my son’s g-tube is misbehaving, he’s not tolerating feeds, he’s having trouble sleeping, his asthma is acting up, he is out of sorts from sensory overload, or he’s simply totally fatigued from chronic illness you are there. I know I can reach out to someone in each group that will hear me, understand me, and has been there in my shoes. There is an incredible peace of mind that comes over me knowing that I am not alone even if you are so far away from me.

I’ve learned how to vent my son’s g-tube, how to check his blood sugar, what to look for in an adrenal crisis, how to advocate for my child, and I’ve found services for my son I never knew existed. All of this is because of you. You have each provided me something that I have been able to use to help my son. This has helped me learn to advocate, given me a voice, and has taught me that our work is not to just help our own children but to help one another.

When we are new to this world, we have the mother’s with older children take us under their wings. We are taught the ins and outs about just about every single aspect of managing our child’s care. As our children grow, we use the skills provided to us by our mentors and help new mothers. This is a cycle, and we are all repeating it over and over. I think of how beautiful this is, and it actually brings a tear to my eye. None of our children came with instruction manuals, and most of our kids are medical mysteries. However, you never doubt me. You always make me feel sane and remind me that doctor’s don’t always know everything. I have learned our children are unique and their bodies don’t follow a blueprint.

I’ve seen your fight, strength, resilience and I’ve witnessed you all crumble to your knees. Yet, every single day I watch you all wake up and keep on fighting this battle. It’s exhausting, it’s overwhelming, and most days we all feel like giving up at some point. In my lowest moments, I know I can find one of you. I can pop you up on a chat and tell you what is going on. Instantly I am reminded that I am not alone, I am given advice on what I can do, and I find a way to pull up my big girl panties and quit crying. I don’t think there are adequate words that can be used to explain to each of you how important you are to me.

My journey would be cold and lonely if you weren’t there. I would have no one to talk to, relate to, and I would have no way of learning or understanding how to help my child. We are an elite group of mom’s that have actually been taken places most will never understand. Most of us could easily have medical degrees at this point with how much we know about the human body.  The fact that every day I am aware that there is someone that can help me makes this entire journey that much more bearable. I don’t leave my house a lot, and our life is really dictated by how my child is doing physically. Many of my only conversations with people these days are online. Sometimes my only interactions for weeks at a time are online due to his health.

I use to envy the mom’s I saw that went out and had a girls night out. I use to feel really sad that I was missing out on all of it. It pained me to think my social life would never be the same. Yet, all of you have changed that perspective. My mission and sole purpose in life right now is caring for my child, and I know that is your purpose too. We don’t have the ability to get out the way other families do, and instead of being angry or resentful, I am just grateful I have found my tribe of mom’s in the same place of life we are in. Thank you for always being there for me. Thank you for teaching me. Thank you for mentoring me. Thank you for laughing, crying, yelling, screaming and whining with me each and every day. Thank you for all the things you do for me that you don’t even realize. Thank you for being my tribe, my village, and my friend. We may never meet in person, but you will always be close to my heart. Thank you for being my person when no one else got it. Thank you for being here.

With Love,

Another Mom Fighting for Her Child’s Life

 

 

 

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Chug-a-chug-a-chug-a-chug-a-chug-a-chug. I can hear the click of the wheels on the steel tracks, and the horn is starting to get louder and louder. The wind is picking up in my hair, and I can feel the speed I hold on for dear life to the seat on my side. Suddenly, there is a large crash, a jolt forward, and I fall to the ground as everything around me falls and collapses. There is dust, debris, and carnage all around me. The smoke is thick, and it stinks like something is burning. I look everywhere to find the flame and find a way out. Yet, I realize there is no way out, I am stuck in this car that has derailed from the track. The exit doors are jammed tightly closed. The panic completely consumes me, and I find it hard to breathe. My flight or fight response is kicking in, and yet I can’t muster the strength to move my feet or legs forward. I am stuck inside this burning train car, and there is nowhere left to go. Fear races over me, my heart begins to pound, and I can feel the tears start to stream down my face. This cannot be how it ends. There is no possible way that this is the way it will be for the rest of my life.

Except I’m not on a train, I’m not stuck in a car, and nothing is burning around me. I am only living my life of a parent of a child that is medically complex. My life just feels like it has derailed from the tracks. I had created a life that was stable, there was money in the bank, cars in the garage, money invested for retirement, beautiful clothes in my closet, and as many shoes and bags a woman could need. My career had been my primary goal, and I had hoped upon hope that once I became a mom, I would find the balance of a child and a career. For several years I even chased that dream, and then one day I couldn’t do it any longer. My son needed to be seen so frequently at the doctor, and his development was stalling and falling further behind. Daycares wouldn’t take him because his health was a liability for the center. We attempted nannies, but over time he became too complicated and too high needs. Home care nurses were the next step. Then the shortage of nursing hit our family hard. It was then I realized the dream would end. My goals would change, and I would become a caregiver to my chronically ill child.

I wish I could say I’m a stay at home mom. I’m really not anything of the sort. I do make the beds, fold clothes, and try to run errands, but most of my day is chasing around a child that was born with an anatomy that isn’t always conducive to life. I don’t use these words lightly because using the phrase means I have to admit the magnitude of the diseases we face. Nearly every system of my child is affected in some way by his chronic illness. Of the 10 major systems of the boy, 8 of them are either not working at all or are significantly impaired or impeded by the DNA of my child. The only 2 we don’t have to worry about are his lymphatic system and his renal system. Cardiovascular, digestive, endocrine, exocrine, muscular/skeletal, nervous, reproductive, and respiratory systems are all impacted. It’s overwhelming to think about the total number of his diagnosis, and honestly I’ve lost track and at this point, it’s no longer a matter of how many but what are the most urgent needs. I can’t even remember the number of doctors we have, and even this past weekend when we spent four days inpatient, I left out two of our most prominent doctors when they asked me to give a list of all specialists. My brain has no more room left for all the knowledge I need to take care of him, and yet some things are added to my plate every single day.

My days I am filling out paperwork for doctors, calling insurance, ordering medical supplies for our medical equipment, ensuring he’s taken to and from all his appointments, coordinating and communicating the care decisions with all of his providers, and I’m doing everything in my power to keep him alive. I am a nurse, a doctor, a therapist, a social worker, an advocate, a teacher, an administrative assistant, a respiratory therapist, and a pharmacist. Then at the very end of that list – I am mom.

I had this sick feeling that came over me as I was driving in the car today. After spending four days at the hospital, my son came down with a horrible case of seasonal allergies. He’s coughing so hard he’s throwing up, he’s unable to keep his feeds tolerated in his belly via his g-tube, and he can’t sleep from coughing so hard. It hit me so freaking hard, I almost felt like I could not breathe. This is our life – for as long as he lives. He will never, ever get better. Every day he’s fed via a g-tube for nourishment and takes medications to keep his endocrine system working. We are sustaining his life with our interventions, and without the decisions, we made to help him – nature would have taken him away. He really shouldn’t be alive. We’ve made all these choices because he deserves to live, and he deserves a quality of life. His father and I will do everything in our power to help him learn to eat and develop the skills to have the most independence he can have. Yet, there is the very harsh reality that our son is likely never going to live entirely independent. Ever.

I know I am supposed to be grateful he’s here. I am. I love him with my entire heart, but on the days when he is suffering, the guilt of these choices weighs heavy on my heart. Are we pushing him too much, wanting him to go further than he’s capable, and then I think how long can this last? I never, ever want to go there but sometimes I go there, and dark thoughts enter my mind. My child has so many diseases and issues, he might not make it to adulthood. It’s a hard reality to live with, and yet I have to force myself to not look that reality in the face. We hope and pray for miracles to help him have the best quality of life, and we work hard to provide him all the resources, medical interventions, and accommodations to make him as comfortable as possible. We don’t have any idea how far his body will carry him, and there are days it feels like it’s all on borrowed time.

I want the best for him. I push hard to get these thoughts out of my head, to ignore the reality we face, but there are days the truth is so hard to bare. I crumble in a pile on the floor and cry. No parent should have to watch their child suffer. No parent should have to watch their child struggle to breathe, eat, or live. This is my reality nearly every day.

How can you help me or help another mom feeling like this? I have a straightforward message for you to take with you before I go today. The next time you see me or see a mom that is going through this journey with their child – promise me you will try to exercise some grace with them. We need love, we need understanding, and we need friends. This life is lonely, this life is scary, and this life is incredibly overwhelming in what we need to do for our children. Please help us by lending us a hand, giving us a hug, and telling us that no matter what we will be ok. Lie to us if you need to -just please don’t ask us how we do it or how we cope. We really don’t know. We just do.

 

Dear Moms,

You’ve been feeling pretty stressed lately, haven’t you? I know because I have too. You know what really sucks? When you are pregnant, no one tells you that you are going to be berated by opinions, shaming, guilt, and nasty looks or stares at your child and your parenting choices. It actually starts when you are pregnant because people want to know the most intrusive things about your body. They say the most god awful things to your face. One of my personal faves was being told: “You are HUGE.” Gee, thanks, I guess? Or how about, “You are eating lunch meat? No sushi too.” or “You shouldn’t take that medication it could hurt the baby.” For moms that are active and run don’t you dare think to lift weights, run or do any exercise either! We are pregnant blobs and a baby making factory. Our sole existence while pregnant is to sit like a bump on a log, not eat anything or take anything that could hurt our baby, and everyone gets a say in our choices. If we ONLY knew then, it would become 10x worse as a parent, I think most of us would have kept that little sucker in our stomach forever.

Then you have the baby, and OMG you would think the whole world of nasty and obtrusive opinions just vomited all over your milk saturated breasts. You can barely stay awake, and people want to know if you are breastfeeding, bottling, if you had a boy were they circumcised, are you co-sleeping, swaddling, what about blankets or toys in the crib, and is your child using a paci. Everyone has a damn opinion on all of the above topics, and in your postpartum state you often find yourself in fights with strangers online or astonished that a person you just met gave two shits about your son’s penis.

They often say bigger kids bring on bigger problems, and wow, they were not lying. Because then the cuddle bugs turn into tiny terrorist toddlers that scream, throw toys, have no patience, and love to remind us their favorite word is NO. The problems increase to potty training, why your child is still using a pacifier, why isn’t your child reading yet, are you doing a preschool curriculum, do you allow your children to get screen time, how dare you give your child sugar, soda, cake or eat any form of processed food, and finally you really are going to let your child go outside and not wear sunscreen? Seriously, people, this is exhausting and I’m frankly tired of hearing it.

Then God forbid, your child be sick, have any mental health issues, health issues, or developmental delays. For you moms, there are questions about what you did during pregnancy to cause this, why didn’t you just not allow your child more screen time, if you just paid more attention to them they wouldn’t act out, and of course had you known during pregnancy you were carrying a child that is chronically ill you would have terminated right? WRONG. These questions are inappropriate rude and they hurt.

So here it is, Moms, I have got something to tell you and it’s straight from my hip. Despite all the crappy things you read on Facebook from random strangers on random boards, the comments that you hear from well-meaning friends, family or strangers – the truth is – YOU ARE DOING A GREAT JOB. Anyone that questions you or makes you feel otherwise, well they can suck a big fat fart. There aren’t enough people out there that are lifting you up and telling you that you are doing well. Well, I’m here to say it.

First, nothing you ate or didn’t eat or drank or didn’t drink (unless it was copious amounts of drugs or alcohol) likely did any harm to your child. Stop blaming yourself or feeling guilty that you could have possibly done anything to harm them. Our kids are all going to grow up, and no matter what they are more than likely going to be screwed up in some way. It’s life! We are all humans and 99.9% of us are messy, screwed up and simply just doing the best we can. You don’t have to do it all. You don’t have to not use a screen, read every day, plan their entire day, or feel like you have to put together the most perfect party because some random stranger on Pinterest pinned it to their board. Do these things because you want to do it. If you love planning, do it! If you want to bum around and have no plans, do that too. Listen, we are all just trying to get by the 24 hours we have every day and not kill our children or ourselves from all the stress we feel. So do what you need to do within reason, to keep yourself and your child happy.

Stop listening to the outside voices because as I tell myself every day, “Those that mind DON’T matter and those that Matter don’t mind”. The people that know you the best and love you the most know you are doing everything you can to be the best parent you can be with the resources you have. Your true friends and family will not or should not condone your choices as a parent unless you are harming your child – like being seriously abusive, neglectful, or not present when you are with them. Otherwise, your choices on what your child eats, drinks, watches, don’t watch, plays with, activities they participate in, and strategies you use to help your child cope – are your choices to make and no one else – other than their father – but do they really make the rules with kids anyway?

I want to tell you this is not easy. Seriously, every day I feel myself wanting to pop off on yet another person telling me what I’m doing wrong. However, I remind myself every day they don’t matter. My child is loved, he is safe, he is fed, and he is happy. I am his keeper, his protector, and his decision maker until he turns 18 years old. Let’s all band together and stop shaming one another. The best thing you can do for another mom is to love them, help them and be there for them. As Mom’s we need to band together and unite that the minor things really don’t matter, and what works in one home doesn’t need to work in all homes. I know I’ve had my own moments where it’s been so easy to judge – but I’ll tell you what – I’m done. Even if your kid is running around like a lunatic at the grocery store, I’m not gonna care. I’ll probably give you a fist bump in solidarity and say “Right on”. Pick your battles, momma. Our time with our kids is short and goes fast. Don’t waste any more of that precious time feeling sad, guilty or shamed. You are worthy, you are doing your best, and you are a damn good mom. Screw the haters!

Love,

Another mom that’s losing her mind on the daily

 

Recently I went to the doctor because I wasn’t feeling very good. It wasn’t physical or anything of the sort. My brain didn’t feel right. I had spinning thoughts that I could not control, I found myself constantly sucked into the drama, I over-reacted to every single situation, my rage was at an all time high, I couldn’t fall asleep or stay asleep, and my anxiety was creating panic attacks almost daily. Then there were the choices I was making, and they were doozies. Despite my need for order and cleanliness, I could not keep my home clean. I forgot appointments for myself and my child. When I was given instructions by my son’s therapists, I had trouble listening and implementing the strategies in our home. If my husband tried to start a conversation with me, I would listen for a moment and then zoom off because something was distracting me. There was in an incessant need for me to be online and updating my facebook status with little to no regard of who it affected or what it said. I felt like I had no control of any of my actions, thoughts or feelings.

As I took inventory of what was going on around me, I noticed I was pushing everyone away. When a conflict would arise between a friend and me, I would avoid the issue and the person because I didn’t know know what words to use. Any form of confrontation made my hands sweat and my heart race. It became easier for me to shut people out than it did to actually deal with the feelings I had or the anxiety it gave me. Soon I found myself completely alone because I couldn’t handle being around anyone. Interaction of any kind gave me so much anxiety and stress that I would be up at night panicking about what was going to happen. I had no faith in my mouth to have any control, and I always felt like I was just waiting to drop the next bomb on the people around me. I was drinking too much, overeating, spending too much, and seemed to have no control of any of my impulses. I just could not live this way anymore.

I scheduled an appointment with a therapist to discuss all the stress I was under. As I was chronicling my trouble with her, I mentioned to her that I have always felt like I had more than just anxiety. I had been diagnosed with anxiety in my mid-twenties, but it always felt like it was more than just anxiety. I told her I had no focus, and it was so hard to sit still because it made my skin crawl. She said that it sounded like I had ADHD. I had considered this in the past, but it never seemed to line up. Also, I was never honest enough with myself that every symptom did line up. As we talked through it more, we decided I should start testing for ADHD. Within a few weeks, I received the official diagnosis.

The first step of the process was identifying what was going on, and the next step was finding ways to treat the disorder. I was prescribed medication that would help stimulate dopamine production in my brain, and I was given anti-depressants and anti-anxiety med to manage the debilitating anxiety that accompanied the ADHD. It took a few weeks for the medication to regulate my brain, and it took some time to adjust to the stimulants in my body.

I will never forget the very first day that my brain was utterly void of thoughts that would not shut up. I found myself interacting with my son in an entirely different way. It didn’t feel impossible to play with him. I felt joy when he wanted me to read to him, and it was fun to help him make shapes out of play-doh. At his therapy, I could hear what his therapists were saying. Implementing the treatment strategies at home no longer felt like a task. My house was organized top to bottom. When I woke up, the beds were made. My son’s feeding tube and pump were always cleaned after his overnight use. I was actually getting things done. Everyday tasks no longer felt painful and taxing.

My drinking almost completely halted, my eating improved, and my spending ceased. All of the morals that I have always believed were becoming manageable and a reality in my life. The anxiety I felt on a daily basis about interacting with people completely disappeared. My incessant need to be a part of drama completely evaporated. In fact, I was finally interested in establishing healthy boundaries with friends. I no longer found myself upset about minor events, and anxiety no longer filled my day. Confrontation no longer felt impossible, and it actually felt empowering to be direct with my needs, wants and concerns. I had lived a very passive/aggressive life when I was in the thick of the disorder. I would pretend nothing ever bothered me, and then I would lash out in a complete rage with very little explanation. The differences I felt on a daily basis were completely overwhelming as I itemized the damage and the debris the ADHD had created in my life.

It has been difficult to not feel shame or guilt for the actions I have taken in the past. My therapist reminds me it was not me behaving in those ways, but my ADHD was completely out of control. As I begin this journey with my new self, I realize I cannot change my past and can only move forward. I could apologize to everyone, but it feels impossible and overwhelming. Instead, I will request friends and family to exercise grace with me, and I hope they will see the person I am becoming instead of the person I was in the past.

Now getting to the point of this entire blog – and it’s going to be difficult for some to hear. I am saying this with love and with the best interests of anyone dealing with ADHD. First, ADHD is not a disorder that everyone has, and it is not over-diagnosed. In fact, it is incredibly hard to be diagnosed with ADHD. A child or adult has to go through extensive testing, interviews with licensed practitioners, and they have to take tests to measure their attention span. Second, ADHD is not just a minor mental health disorder, if someone is diagnosed with ADHD it is generally because the disease has become disruptive in their life. People usually seek help when they have reached a point where they feel helpless, alone and very, very shameful and full of guilt.

Third, in my experience, the only effective means of treatment for ADHD is medication and cognitive therapy.  I tried absolutely everything in my life to control the impulse control, the rambling thoughts, and the horrible anxiety.  I tried yoga, essential oils, meditation, journaling, exercise, diet, and elimination of dyes in foods. Nothing ever made me feel better for more than a few moments. The actual way this disorder is treated is by increasing dopamine production in the brain and stimulating the brain to get the chemicals it needs. It is not something that is mind over matter, it is a chemical imbalance in the brain. If you had another organ that was failing or lacking its chemical make-up, most of you would treat it with medication and ADHD should be no different. Medication doesn’t mean you are broken or horrible, it means your brain needs it to function properly. Finally, try to remember that there are two parts of a person with ADHD, the person, and the ADHD. When behaviors seem completely out of sync of the person you know and love, it is likely it is not the person but the disorder taking over.  Being friends or loving a person with ADHD will never be easy because they can do some things that will be not only upsetting but at times downright destructive. Helping your friend or family member is the most loving thing you can do.

Getting an ADHD diagnosis can feel absolutely terrifying and overwhelming, but with the diagnosis comes treatment. I can tell you that in my short time being treated, the person I am becoming is the person I always felt like I was on the inside. I am so excited to see what I will continue to do and accomplish. If you know someone that is struggling, if you are struggling, please seek help from a licensed clinical psychologist. Taking the first step is the hardest part. Once you are in the door, the rest is a cake walk.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Let’s talk about vaccines.  I haven’t written about vaccines ever because of all the controversy that surrounds this topic. Over the years, I have gotten into some heated debates with parents that chose not to vaccinate. I understand that everyone has a choice to vaccinate or not, and until there is a law that mandates vaccination, it is a regrettable reality that my son experiences. Before I dive into the reasons why I find it imperative to vaccinate your child, I want to share an experience I went through with my son when he was an infant.

My son was born prematurely.  He arrived in the world 5 weeks early. When he arrived, it was clear to doctors that something was off about his health. The moment he was delivered he didn’t cry, and he his coloring was off. The doctors whisked him away to a nursery to stabilize him, and I was unable to hold him for more than 6 hours after I delivered. We went through a lot in the first few months of his life. He spent thirty-eight days in the NICU. When we came home, he was still very, very weak and unwell. It wasn’t clear to any of the doctors what was going on, but there was no reason to keep him in the hospital because he was no longer dependent on oxygen and was eating on his own. At 3 months old, he stopped breathing in our home. We took him to the clinic where he had another apneic spell and went limp. He was rushed to the hospital.

Within hours at the hospital, my son was on full life support. He was in cardiac arrest, respiratory failure, his blood sugar was 7, and his organs were beginning to shut down. After several days on life support, the doctors identified he had a very rare disease called PanHypoPituitarism (PHP). He was born without a pituitary gland, and he had no working glands or hormones in his body. We were educated by the Endocrinology team about the disease and what we would need to do for treatment. The disease has no cure, and he will be on medications for the rest of his life. One gland that does not work is the Adrenal Glands, and unfortunately, this is a life-threatening component of his PHP.

My son at 3 months old was diagnosed with a disease that would have to be monitored closely for the rest of his life. The disease could cut his life short at any time due to how quickly an adrenal crisis can occur and the rapid speed it can shut organs down. We were also faced with a child that had premature lungs and had just been through a severe respiratory experience. His lungs were shot at this point, and breathing was very, very hard for him. Due to the magnitude of this incident, his doctors recommended we delay almost all vaccinations because his body was too fragile for them. We started to vaccinate very, very slowly. His pediatrician developed a plan that would spread them out and reduce the impact and stress on his system.

Due to the magnitude of this incident, his doctors recommended we delay almost all vaccinations because his body was too fragile for them. We started to vaccinate very, very slowly. His pediatrician developed a plan that would spread them out and reduce the impact and stress on his system. We knew there was a risk with this method, but it was the only way we could keep his body safe and give it time to recover from near death. By the time he was a year old, he was at the vaccination level of about a 6-month-old. The chart our pediatrician laid out had him fully caught up on vaccines by the time he would be 18 months. The older he got, the stronger his lungs were becoming.

At 13 months, my child was exposed to another child that was coughing and had a horrible cold. A few weeks later, we found out that the child actually didn’t have a cold but had pertussis (whooping cough). I was not upset with the parent for exposure because their child had been vaccinated. They had zero reasons to believe that their child’s cough was anything more than a terrible cold. Unfortunately, the vaccine had lost its effectiveness as the child was seven at the time, and it is now why pediatricians are recommending additional vaccinations for pertussis around this age. The child had contracted the virus from exposure to the virus from another child that had not been vaccinated. However, we knew based on his exposure and the fact that he was not fully vaccinated for the virus, he was likely to get pertussis. I made a frantic call to my son’s pediatrician. She told us to stay at home, and she immediately prescribed us a strong antibiotic.

My son started meds, but he did end up getting the virus. At times he was coughing so hard he was vomiting, he ran a high fever, and he was absolutely miserable. His doctor was adamant we do our best to keep him out of the hospital because of how many other diseases were rampant in the hospital at that time. Eventually, he recovered from pertussis, but at this point, his already very fragile lungs were further damaged. That following winter he contracted RSV only months after recovering from pertussis. This set the stage for my son developing childhood asthma. This is a disease I would wish on no parent. In addition to his adrenal insufficiency, we were now forced to deal with a child with a serious lung condition. It was at this time our pediatrician sat us down and told us the severity of what we were facing. The combined asthma and adrenal insufficiency at his young age could mean certain death if our child was left in the wrong hands. She forced us to pull our child from daycare, and we began our journey of trying to find in-home care.

As my son has grown, we have been able to stabilize asthma, but it still affects him to this day. His care team has determined that his premature lungs combined with exposure to pertussis likely spiraled his lungs to a point where they could not recover. While his lungs are easier to treat now, we still deal with it at almost age 5. All of this could have been avoided had children been properly vaccinated for the virus. The reason the child that exposed my son got the virus was that an unvaccinated child brought it to school. This child that was unvaccinated indirectly set off a course for my son that completely altered his life. He went from only having meds to managing hormones, to daily nebulizer treatments, more than a dozen visits to the Emergency Department, and admissions for asthma.

Now I want to throw a curveball into this entire story. Not only does my son have two life-threatening diseases, but recently he was also diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder.  I can look back at his infancy and his toddler years, and all of the signs were there. I was so caught up in helping him stay alive I didn’t have time to focus on his development. However, he was showing early signs of autism at 9 months old. He would fixate on light fixtures and fans. The only way he would fall asleep was by being in a swing. Many, many nights he slept all night in a swing while I slept on the couch. When all of this was going on, he hadn’t even been vaccinated. He was still very, very early in the plan our pediatrician set up. He actually had words at age one, and they were gone by 15 months. He didn’t have the “suspected” vaccination MMR that people blame on autism until he was almost 2 years old. By this time he was well delayed, non-verbal, and my husband and I talked about how he lived in his own world.

As a parent that has a child that is both medically fragile and has ASD, I can assure you that vaccines played no role in his Autism. He wasn’t even vaccinated when he started regressing. It has been proven over and over that vaccines play no role in the cause of Autism, and all previous research has been completely discredited. Vaccines are critical for children like my son. There are thousands of people in our country that cannot be vaccinated due to allergies, being immunocompromised, illness, and numerous other reasons. We have to keep these populations safe by vaccinating our children so we do not bring back diseases that have been essentially eradicated in the United States. Vaccines are designed to help prevent the spread of viruses that can kill vulnerable populations like the elderly and the chronically ill. These populations are counting on you to make the choice to help them. We cannot look at this as a personal choice any longer as a society. This isn’t just about your family. This is about millions of people. My son was lucky. He had 2 of the 3 vaccinations of pertussis. The choice of a parent to not vaccinate their child completely altered my son’s life.

My son was lucky. He had 2 of the 3 vaccinations of pertussis. The choice of a parent to not vaccinate their child completely altered my son’s life. However had he had none of the vaccinations the doctors told us it could have easily killed him. While my son did not die, his lungs took years to recover, and we are still dealing with asthma to this day. Please think of this choice from the perspective of the entire population rather than just your family. Please don’t hate the pharmaceutical companies for developing the vaccines or working with the government to get the vaccines out to the masses. These are necessary vaccines that keep people safe of viruses that can and do kill. I am pleading with you to make a choice to help everyone and not just yourself. Thank you.

Not only am I a woman, mother, and wife, but I am also a parent of a child with a severe feeding disorder. I have seen the spectrum of weight fluctuations from this disorder, and I have learned a ton about food sensitivities, oral aversion, and sensory processing disorder. This experience has made me realize something kind of funny about our society that I have been thinking about a lot lately. We focus so much time and energy on weight loss, and less time on who we are as people. It’s everywhere. It is on the next fad diet of no carbs, no dairy, no gluten, no sugar, no salt and no fun. I see products all over my Facebook feed being sold for weight loss from shakes, to supplements, to greens, and to exercise products. Every single day we are bombarded in our society to feel we need to lose more, eat less, be better, be more perfect and look a particular size and shape.

I admit I’ve gotten sucked into some of the products. I’ve wrapped myself to reduce belly fat – it didn’t work. I have tried supplements that are supposed to block carbs and sugar, and those didn’t work either. I have tried exercise products, and all the latest fads in exercise from personal training, boot camps, cross fit and yoga. I have realized something about myself in all of this that no matter what I try, and no matter what I do with my diet I am still the same person on the inside. Whether I’m skinny or overweight, I am still the same person who has a feisty attitude, loves to be active and enjoys a good debate.

After watching my son go through struggles with severe oral aversion and oral dysphagia, I have also realized that being thin isn’t always an indication of overall health. He was starving his brain of nutrients and was unable to manage fundamental things from speaking to gross and fine motor skills. His nutrition was very poor and he was severely delayed in almost all development categories. The only  way we could help him was by placing a feeding tube. As soon as we put a feeding tube in, he gained weight, and he caught up in most areas. Now his BMI is on the high end of normal, and he is far more healthy than when he had a normal or low BMI.

When I look at my own life, I can distinctly think of a time in my mid-twenties. My weight plummeted due to severe anxiety. I had gone through a horrible break-up, and my job was incredibly stressful. The stress of managing the break up along with the demands of my work put my anxiety into overdrive, and I completely lost my appetite. I didn’t even think of food because I was consumed with my grief and pain. My weight went down to levels that I hadn’t seen since I was a child of 15 years old. When I was out and about, the compliments I got for my weight loss was unbelievable. You would have thought I had just won a Nobel prize for all the accolades I was receiving from people on how I looked. Inside I was screaming, “I might look great, but I don’t feel great!”

This period was when my whole idea of what looked good took shape, and I was fearful of gaining the weight back. I did gain the weight back and then some, and I have gained more through the years. I have bounced all over the place between twenty pounds, and it all depends on what is going on in my life. Being thin does not always equate being healthy in my life, and being thin for my son did not equate being healthy for my child. Conversely, I know plenty of people that are deemed “overweight” by BMI standards that have a healthier diet than I do and work out daily.

Most recently I ended up with a “High BMI” according to my doctor. The “High BMI” happened after suffering a knee injury and being unable to long distance run. I gained about ten pounds, and I didn’t even feel horrible. I was eating right, I was practicing yoga 5-6 days a week, and I was chasing around a 4.5-year-old. My husband complimented me on my curves, and for the first time I didn’t care about having a “High BMI.” It wasn’t until I went to the doctor for help with medications for anxiety, and for help with the injury to my knee that I realized that I needed to lose a little bit of weight. My orthopedic doctor diagnosed me with early onset arthritis in my knee. For my knee to have the best possible outcome for the rest of my life – he said it pretty clearly “Don’t gain any weight. Losing some weight will help.”

I started a new diet plan and started resting and caring for my knee. My activity has plummeted over the past five weeks since the diagnosis. However, with careful monitoring of my diet, I have been able to shed a bit of the weight I need to be in a more healthy range for my height. My end goal has never been to be thinner or look better; it has always been about helping the long-term health of my knee. I would love to be able to get back into activity, but I know rehab will take time.

Which gets me to this point, the weight I’ve lost has been for health-related reasons, so please don’t compliment me on how I look. I am still the same person on the inside. I am as great today as I was five weeks ago when I was 10 pounds heavier. My heart and soul have not changed one inch since losing the weight. I promise if you don’t compliment me on my weight loss, I will not compliment you on yours. How you look has very little to do with who they are within.  So if you are reading this and you are on a weight loss journey, for whatever reason, I applaud you for taking steps to do so – but don’t get false self-esteem from accolades of losing weight – it doesn’t change you as a person – and this hasn’t changed me. I will applaud you for taking steps to improve your health and wellness because we only have one body to carry us through this life. Please don’t compliment me on my physical appearance, and I won’t compliment you – Deal? Deal!

Not only am I a woman, mother, and wife, but I am also a parent of a child with a severe feeding disorder. I have seen the spectrum of weight fluctuations from this disorder, and I have learned a ton about food sensitivities, oral aversion, and sensory processing disorder. This experience has made me realize something kind of funny about our society that I have been thinking about a lot lately. We focus so much time and energy on weight loss, and less time on who we are as people. It’s everywhere. It is on the next fad diet of no carbs, no dairy, no gluten, no sugar, no salt and no fun. I see products all over my Facebook feed being sold for weight loss from shakes, to supplements, to greens, and to exercise products. Every single day we are bombarded in our society to feel we need to lose more, eat less, be better, be more perfect and look a particular size and shape.

I admit I’ve gotten sucked into some of the products. I’ve wrapped myself to reduce belly fat – it didn’t work. I have tried supplements that are supposed to block carbs and sugar, and those didn’t work either. I have tried exercise products, and all the latest fads in exercise from personal training, boot camps, cross fit and yoga. I have realized something about myself in all of this that no matter what I try, and no matter what I do with my diet I am still the same person on the inside. Whether I’m skinny or overweight, I am still the same person who has a feisty attitude, loves to be active and enjoys a good debate.

After watching my son go through struggles with severe oral aversion and oral dysphagia, I have also realized that being thin isn’t always an indication of overall health. He was starving his brain of nutrients and was unable to manage fundamental things from speaking to gross and fine motor skills. His nutrition was very poor and he was severely delayed in almost all development categories. The only we could help him was by placing a feeding tube. As soon as we put a feeding tube and he gained weight, he caught up in most areas. Now his BMI is on the high end of normal, and he is far more healthy than when he had a normal or low BMI.

When I look at my own life, I can distinctly think of a time in my mid-twenties. My weight plummeted due to severe anxiety. I had gone through a horrible break-up, and my job was incredibly stressful. The stress of managing the break up along with the demands of my work put my anxiety into overdrive, and I completely lost my appetite. I didn’t even think of food because I was consumed with my grief and pain. My weight went down to levels that I hadn’t seen since I was a child of 15 years old. When I was out and about, the compliments I got for my weight loss was unbelievable. You would have thought I had just won a Nobel prize for all the accolades I was receiving from people on how I looked. Inside I was screaming, “I might look great, but I don’t feel great!”

This period was when my whole idea of what looked good took shape, and I was fearful of gaining the weight back. I did gain the weight back and then some, and I have gained more through the years. I have bounced all over the place between twenty pounds, and it all depends on what is going on in my life. Being thin does not always equate being healthy in my life, and being thin for my son did not equate being healthy for my child. Conversely, I know plenty of people that are deemed “overweight” by BMI standards that have a healthier diet than I do and work out daily.

Most recently I ended up with a “High BMI” according to my doctor. The “High BMI” happened after suffering a knee injury and being unable to long distance run. I gained about ten pounds, and I didn’t even feel horrible. I was eating right, I was practicing yoga 5-6 days a week, and I was chasing around a 4.5-year-old. My husband complimented me on my curves, and for the first time I didn’t care about having a “High BMI.” It wasn’t until I went to the doctor for help with medications for anxiety, and for help with the injury to my knee that I realized that I need to lose a little bit of weight. My orthopedic doctor diagnosed me with early onset arthritis in my knee. For my knee to have the best possible outcome for the rest of my life – he said it pretty clearly “Don’t gain any weight. Losing some weight will help.”

I started a new diet plan and started resting and caring for my knee. My activity has plummeted over the past five weeks since the diagnosis. However, with careful monitoring of my diet, I have been able to shed a bit of the weight I need to be in a more healthy range for my height. My end goal has never been to be thinner or look better; it has always been about helping the long-term health of my knee. I would love to be able to get back into activity, but I know rehab will take time.

Which gets me to this point, the weight I’ve lost has been for health-related reasons, so please don’t compliment me on how I look. I am still the same person on the inside. I am as great today as I was five weeks ago when I was 10 pounds heavier. My heart and soul have not changed one inch since losing the weight. I promise if you don’t compliment me on my weight loss, I will not compliment you on yours. How you look has very little to do with who they are within.  So if you are reading this and you are on a weight loss journey, for whatever reason, I applaud you for taking steps to do so – but don’t get false self-esteem from accolades of losing weight – it doesn’t change you as a person – and this hasn’t changed me. I will applaud you for taking steps to improve your health and wellness because we only have one body to carry us through this life. Please don’t compliment me on my physical appearance, and I won’t compliment you – Deal? Deal!

Grieving is an inevitable part of parenting. All of our children were born their OWN person. Before their birth, all parents have dreams of what they see in their future with their kids. Most of us imagine the child growing up, having common experiences in adolescence, learning to drive, attending their prom, and going off to college. This is what most children do as they grow up, but there exists a population of parents that end up having their dreams dramatically changed. I would gather most parents have their dreams turned because life never goes as you plan. However, sometimes life goes so far off track, you cannot even fathom the reality you live in. I live in this world with my child. I live in a community of other parents that also live in this world. We have kids with disabilities and developmental delays. I am not talking about minor health issues or learning disabilities, but I am talking about kids that are medically fragile, and many have severe developmental delays.

In this world, our dreams have been altered so dramatically it is hard to imagine a future where we won’t be a part of our children’s care. Envisioning independence for our children is hard. Most of our kids will not have childhoods that resemble anything normal to the masses. It is hard for most of us to find a way to accept this place in the world. There is tremendous grief that comes along with raising a child with so many needs, but there is also, even more, joy and love. I have struggled over the years trying to find the balance of accepting the journey I am on, allowing my son to be who he is, and trying to not prevent my grief from giving him the life and childhood he deserves.

So how do we find ways to cope with our situation? I often think about this for myself and how I would help a new mother that comes into the world of raising a child that is medically fragile. Here are some things I do that help me avoid feelings of loss and grief.

  1. Stay Focused on The Present  – the best thing you can do for yourself is to not think about what is coming in the future. If you were to look back on your own life, I am confident many things that have happened you could have never anticipated have occurred. Life has a way of throwing curve balls, and it takes us in directions we didn’t know possible. Focus your time and energy on each and every day. Some days you will need to concentrate on each minute, others each hour, but don’t stay out of the day you are in. You have no idea what will happen in the future, and worrying about it will only make your anxiety and grief feel worse.
  2. Focus on the Positives of your child – As your child grows you will frequently hear what deficits they have, but this is only a snapshot of who they are as a person. You will be bombarded with developmental charts, therapy evaluations, and have reports from school that will remind you where your child is at compared to his peers. I use to look at these reports and feel really sad. However, I now look at these reports and see how far he has come. Our children will meet milestones in their own time, and every single inch stone is worth celebrating. Focus on the all the milestones they hit, and try not to compare your child to same-aged peers. The minute I realized his path was different it was easier to accept our place
  3. Stop the Comparison game – Our kids have been through a lot more in their short lives than most adults will deal with in their lifetime. We must have grace and realize due to the magnitude of their illnesses that life for them will look and feel different. I spent many days early on comparing him to peers that were typical, and it would eat me up. Over time, I realized that his journey has been his own, and I have to respect that he will learn everything at his own pace. In that time, I have been able to see his strengths. He won’t do many of the things that a typical child will do, but he also gets to do things an average child will never do. He got a trip to Disney World, he was a special guest in a parade, he gets gifts and cards from people all over the world, and he is able to participate in programs especially for children that are medically fragile. None of that would have ever happened had he not been given the life he had. Yes, our life is different, but it’s also provided us amazing gifts and opportunities.
  4. Find outlets to manage your stress – Raising a child with medical complexities is exhausting both emotionally and physically. It is important you find the time to take care of yourself. I scoffed at this notion in the early years. I had no idea how to fit in all his needs and my own. I found myself spiritually empty, emotionally drained, mentally sick, and physically exhausted. I have never had the best respite care for my son, but I have now found ways to take care of myself. Easy things you can do for yourself: Eating a balanced diet, exercising, meditating, reading, journaling, and getting out of the house to spend time with friends. If you can’t manage the stress or anxiety on your own, find a professional to talk to about your feelings and help you navigate the stress of your life. There is genuine trauma that is faced in this world, and it is important you find a way to communicate the stress and find ways to reduce the stress.
  5. Ask for help – If you are struggling at home to get it all done, ask for help. It’s hard for me to take care of all the needs of my child, his appointments and maintain a home that is free of clutter and clean for his medical equipment. I was able to find a way to hire a cleaning agency via his county social worker to help us with the housework. I have been able to ask my parents to watch him at least once a month so my husband and I can have a night out together. If I have appointments that I can’t bring him to, I try to find a trusted friend that he can be with for a few hours. We cannot do it all, and we are not designed to do it all. Use the resources you have been given and find help in the people that want to help. Most people want to help, but they don’t know how to help. Give them direction and tell them what you need. It was the best thing I did for my family.

Grief will and does happen. It is important to recognize what you feel, give the feeling the time it deserves, but it’s important you not stay stuck in grief. Our children need us to be positive, help guide them, assist them to learn, and they need us to love them unconditionally. I know all too well how hard it is to feel stuck in grief, but the sooner you find your way out of the grief the happier you will become and the better parent you will be.

Tell us how do you manage your grief? Are there things you would add to the list? Comment below.

For the past several years, I have written and shared about my experience of raising my son who is medically fragile. What I haven’t shared is what the diagnosis has done to me and my mental health. I think it has been touched on in a few blogs, but today I want to get into the nitty gritty of how debilitated I became by anxiety. It also helped me reach out for help, get the proper diagnosis, and medication to help improve my overall mental function.

My son came into the world on October 11, 2012. He had the coolest birth date 10/11/12. I was so excited to be a mom. His labor was painful, and he was sick when he arrived. We stayed in the hospital for 38 days. Living in the NICU was very challenging, and my anxiety was through the roof. I had a difficult time understanding what was going on, the words doctors were using, and the gravity of the situation. I ended up persuading the physicians to let us go home. In retrospect, this was a mistake. He should have stayed in the hospital longer. They were just beginning to identify his issues, and I was so tired of the hospital I forced their hand. We came home, and we were back in the hospital within seven weeks. This time he was near death. He spent days on life support and almost died a few times. He was bagged back to life more than one time. We finally received the diagnosis, and we had a plan for how to manage his care at home.

I was naive about the magnitude of the disease. The doctors said as long as he got his medication, he would grow, learn and hopefully thrive. They did expect him to have delays due to the severity of the illness, but they expected him to recover. He didn’t recover though. He wasn’t a good eater, he missed his milestones, he was sick all the time, and I became a mess. I was trying to work and care for him. It was very hard. He could not be in daycare due to his medical status. We had trouble finding consistent care for him at home. We hired a few nannies, but we couldn’t keep one longer than a year. We were constantly in and out of the hospital, adding doctors to our list, and he was falling further and further behind. I couldn’t keep up with the demands of his health and my job. I worked, but could not focus on anything but him. Eventually, I abruptly quit my job, when I could no longer manage the stress of it all. At night I would cry, stay awake in a panic, and find any way to make the pain I was going through to disappear. I tried everything to make myself feel better. I ran, I worked out, read books, journaled, blogged, sought to connect with other people going through it, but nothing seemed to work.

It was impossible for me to make friends with parents of other children. I could not identify in any way with a parent of a typical child. I angered easily, I lashed out, and I got frustrated at any mention of another child’s success. I found it impossible to talk about anything but my son because our entire life felt completely out of control. Every single day I was fighting a new battle. There was always a new diagnosis on the horizon. We rarely went to appointments and received good news. Every evaluation he had, he was further and further behind his peers. I started to blame myself. I thought it was the antidepressants I took, or maybe something I ate when I was pregnant. I figured it was because I forced him out of the NICU too early. I lived with the massive guilt every day that I had created all of his issues. My anxiety was through the roof caring for him. I wasn’t sleeping or eating properly.

In the midst of all of this, we moved to a new home, to a new town and a place that was a unique world. We moved from the city to a small town on the outskirts of the metro area. It was beautiful with rolling hills, and farms all around us. We had dirt roads near us, lakes, and wildlife everywhere. We felt it would be the ideal place to raise our child. I was eager to start fresh. I wanted to make friends, but I found it extremely challenging to find people I had things in common with or understood my quick tongue, quirky jokes, and short attention span. In the city, it had never been a problem to find like minded people. I felt almost stuck when we moved. As I navigated the social circles, I realized very quickly I did not fit in. It wasn’t for lack of trying on my end. However, anytime I’m forced into a place I don’t belong I always find ways to blow it up. My tongue gets the better of me, my words can be harsh and mean, and I isolate and find the means to push people away.

I sabotaged and destroyed relationships with so many people. I started to realize it wasn’t them but it had to be me. I felt isolated by being a parent to a medically fragile child, and I felt more isolated by being a square peg in a round hole of the community. Over time I did meet people that understood me. I met friends through a church that accepted me in my messiness and accepted that I made mistakes. They supported our family, were there for us in times of stress and doubt, and they checked in with me to make sure I was doing ok.  A friend reached out one day. It was out of the blue. I remember it distinctly because I wasn’t expecting it. It was a long message about how she felt connected to my heart, my soul and that she could tell we had much in common. She extended her heart and friendship to me, and she has never let go of me since.

It was through this friendship that I was able to unload my pain, my anxiety and the depth of my feelings I had experienced. I was able to share my heart, and I was able to have someone validate my experience, listen to me, and it made me realize I wasn’t alone. I started to have confidence in my ability. I joined a Yoga studio, I started meditating, I cut back on drinking and poor eating, and I began to look inward. I realized that even though we were in a very stressful situation with my son, my reactions to everything around me were inappropriate. I reacted to people with a hair trigger response. I said things as soon as they entered my mind. I had anxiety about being around anyone. More and more I isolated myself from everyone around me. With encouragement from my husband and friend, I sought out professional help. I had been through therapy in the past, and I enjoyed the experience. I was terrified this time though. I walked in the door and dumped my feelings on the floor.

I had expected for this just to be talk therapy. The doctor looked at me and said, “I don’t think you just have anxiety. Everything you describe sounds like ADHD.” I thought to myself, “No way.” I cataloged through my life and I realized I have been dealing with the effects of ADHD since childhood. I was socially awkward, I was hyperactive, and as a teen I had horrible self esteem.  My whole life I was impulsive, I spoke without thinking, I was self-involved due to high anxiety, I could not focus on anything, I regularly lost my keys, my clothes, my water bottle, and I could never turn off the rambling noise in my brain. I self-sabotaged relationships. I constantly angered people around me with my verbal impulsivity, and nothing in my house ever seemed to get done. I had a revolving door of friendships because the anxiety of getting close to anyone and admitting my messiness terrified me. I hated being in groups of any kind. I had trust issues and lacked the ability to keep my cool with people that thought differently than me. It finally became apparent. I did have ADHD.

Through extensive testing, my therapist diagnosed me with combined type ADHD. I was prescribed medication for the anxiety, and I will start doing therapy to work through behavior modification. It has been an eye-opening experience for me. As the medication is beginning to work, I am starting to see the litter of damage my choices and mouth have created. I am starting to see all the people along the way I hurt, but more than anything the individual I hurt the most was myself. My self-doubt, myself talk, my impulsive choices, and my inability to behave appropriately has ruined my self-worth and self-esteem. I have destroyed relationships, and I have been hardest on myself.  While I cannot change the past, I now feel like I have the power to improve my inner peace. I think by improving my behavior, I will, in turn, improve how I treat others and how I deal with myself. I’m hopeful I’ll be able to manage the care of my son with more organization and clearer thinking. He needs me at his best. His life is always going to need someone to assist in his care, and until he’s 18 years old, that person is me.

While it took me 38 years for my diagnosis to come to fruition, I credit my self-destruction and my son’s illness and moving to a small town for truly making it all come to light. I would never wish what I’ve gone through on anyone, but somehow all this destruction has created the opportunity for me to have a more fruitful and bright life. I use to look at my son’s life and feel paralyzed in fear. Today after starting medication, I no longer feel paralyzed. It will never be easy raising a child with a life-threatening disease and autism. However, with drugs, professional therapy, and support of my friends and family I believe I can do anything.

In closing, if you have found yourself to the end if you are struggling with mental health issues. Please seek professional help. I did everything but ask for help. I tried everything on my own. Listen to your body and your mind. Try to take inventory of what is going on around you. If you find a lot of chaos in your life, typically there is one cause of the mess – that is you. It’s ok to admit you need help. I am so glad I did. I finally feel free and clear. I hope you can too!

There are 4 seasons in the fine state of Minnesota, Winter, Spring, Mosquito, and Fall. It’s June, and we are officially in Mosquito season in the state of MN. It has been exceptionally wet this spring, and we have had several storms this month. The mosquitos are plentiful, and so are their bites. My mom always said, “Mosquitos love your blood” because I was always bitten more than my brother. As I have become and Adult, this has been no exception. Last weekend my husband and I sat on our patio and had a fire. The following morning I was awoken by a terrible itch on my foot. I looked down in horror, and I hate bites all over my ankles, toes, feet and the soles of my feet. I was in agony trying to relieve the itch. I quickly googled remedies for “what essential oils calm bug bites.” There were several options, and I tried a few of them until I landed on a combination that worked. It occurred to me that instead of wasting oil by mixing it with my hand,  I could conserve the oil by making a salve that I could rub onto bug bites.

I created my own “anti-Itch” balm and recipe based on a mix of recommendations from online. For this combination, I used the following oils

IMG_0014.jpg

Eucalyptus, Basil, Lavender, Rosemary, and Peppermint was the blend that seemed to be most effective in easing the itch and burn from bug bites.

If you follow the directions from this blog:

How to make balm with essential oils for basic wound care

The steps are exactly the same. Here is the recipe

No More Itchy Balm

2 Tablespoons Organic Coconut Oil

2 teaspoons organic beeswax

2 drops Eucalyptus

2 drops Basil

2 drops Lavender

2 drops Rosemary

2 drops Peppermint

2 – 1 oz tin for storage

This recipe will fill about 2 1 ounce tins. You will heat the coconut oil and beeswax in either a double boiler or you can use a saucepan and glass measuring cup. Once melted, remove the oil from the stove – please be careful as the glass will be hot. Add the drops of essential oils and stir. Pour the oil into the tins and place in the refrigerator. Allow cooling for 1-2 hours.

Apply the balm to bug bites and itchy rashes as needed.

*please consult your doctor if you are worried about any potential interactions between essential oils and medication. This is for informational purposes only. Always use caution when handling essential oils, and never apply to the skin without a carrier oil. Always make sure to research any oils you wish to use on a child before application.