Sunday, January 18, 2009

And so we begin...

It’s been a year since I found out our “little canary” didn’t have a brain tumor after all. Instead, a condition brought on by the chemicals found in plastics. I had gradually been “growing green” since a few weeks before her birth. Although in retrospect, being green was just a part of my nature, ingrained in me from youth by two parents who were also concerned about the environment and frugal enough to keep life basic: home grown, cloth diapered and breastfed.

With our “little bug” we followed the main stream route of the new millennium… disposable diapers, plastic bottles of formula, working full time, day care, over processed convenience foods, plastic sippy cups and plates, etc… I never thought any of his health issues: food allergies, asthma, eczema etc… could be related to the cleaners or baby products I used or the foods that we consumed. I just assumed it was the luck of the draw, genetics. But, was it? Sure there are a few cousins and distant relatives that have asthma and allergies. Maybe though, it’s not. Maybe the fast paced growth of our society over the past two generations is the major contributor. Think about it. If you are 30 something then, you are possibly the first generation to have worn disposable diapers and likely to have had formula. Your mother’s were the first to use birth control pills, tampons, deodorant, dry cleaners, pacifiers and the first to be exposed to pesticides such as DDT and she may have been the first generation to have a mother who smoked or used many modern day cleaning solvents like bleach.

So, just in the past two generations, a significant amount of change has taken place. Our world has become quicker, more convenient, more efficient and more freeing. I am slowly realizing the “quick and convenient” are buzz words in my mind for “toxic and costly”. Let me explain…

Things were different with our “little canary” from the very beginning. She immediately reacted to her world. She came home from the hospital with a blistered bum, bright orange skin from jaundice and was covered in eczema that was so bad that she looked like she had been burned. I had planned weeks before she was born to try cloth diapering after the initial six weeks when she would grow the most. I had bought a few diapers online that were for 10-22 lbs. At four weeks and 9 lbs, I put her in them. I only had 5 diapers though and washed them twice a day. I was still using a few disposable diapers each day too. Almost as soon as I completely got rid of the disposable diapers, her bum healed. At four months, she had her first sip of formula and was instantly covered in hives. We were already well versed on food allergies and immediately knew she was having an anaphylactic reaction to the formula.

Fast forward two years later… we never leave the house without four epi-pens, a bottle of benedryl, benedryl chewables, a nebulizer and steroids for the lungs: albuterol, pulmicort and prednilisone. We constantly scrutinize every food and every situation and wonder if our kids will be safe. We are often asked, are either of you allergic to things too? Yes, daddy is allergic to a few things, yes mommy has a few sensitivities but, is that the reason these two little cuties suffer so? Is it genetics, our environment or both?

It’s been a year now, since we learned that the possible culprit to this new condition was plastic and chemicals. In the past year, we have replaced all of our cleaning supplies with safe, but powerful cleaners (thank you Shaklee), all of our food storage containers and tableware (thank you Pyrex and Corell), and we have almost completely revamped our food (thank you TimberCreek Organics!) and we have added some powerful vitamins, minerals and supplements (again, thank you Shaklee). It was definitely not an easy year. Despite many of our efforts, we still had eleven ER visits. We are slowly but surely healing. All of my symptoms from my health issues with Narcolepsy, Fibromyalgia and ADD are GONE! Our “little canary” has little to no issues with eczema, she’s gained weight nicely and is now in the 50th percentile for her height and weight (up from 15th percentile).

And through all of this, we have held much tighter to our faith in Jesus Christ. And so.., our story of “growing greener” begins.

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