And this is not the beginning of a bad joke, although the great deal of varying approaches to Ethan's eczema within conventional medicine is enough to make one stop and laugh (with a mild twitch in their eye!).
You guessed it, we met with the pediatric dermatologist on Wednesday... super nice gal who just came back from maternity leave. Her daughter is the same age as Anika and she also has a six month old son. I figured "hey, this is nice... maybe she'll be able to relate to us better than anyone else has so far."
She looked Ethan over, asked questions about his current protocol: hydroxizine (antihistamine), two wet wraps per day, two daily baths in tubs of Vaseline Creamy (ok, ok, not literally but just about!) & Protopic for his face. She looked at us and said, "let's get him OFF the meds and off the wet wraps."
Oh me oh my!! I could hear the angels sing... even if only for a second.
"We're going to get a STRONGER steroid cream and you're going to LATHER him in it for a week or two. And don't worry about the warnings on these creams saying to 'use sparingly'. I want you to lather him head to toe. There may be some thinning of the skin but you'll notice that he won't need to wear socks on his hands anymore because he won't be itchy."
I think my jaw dropped.
"And we'll keep up with the Protopic on his face because it's working so well. And just disregard the warnings on that one saying it can cause skin cancer."
I think I actually choked.
When she asked about what we were feeding him, we told her he was strictly breastfed and that I was on a restrictive diet. This next part made me lose all hope in our new-found-friend.
"Eczema has nothing to do with diet. Either you have it or you don't. I mean, tons of my kids come in and their parents say that they notice redness & swelling when their kids eat certain foods, but they keep eating it and are perfectly fine."
Um... anyone else see the not-so-smartness of that comment? She just admitted that nearly all of her clients claim to have an allergy... and yet eczema and skin issues have NOTHING to do with allergies? Hmmmm.
We told her about Ethan's blood test results and the success we've had in eliminating those foods from my diet. Her comment "yeah, but he's never even eaten any of those foods, so how can the blood tests be accurate? Just put him on this cream and you can eat whatever you want."
Oh me oh my... we just smiled and nodded, accepted the prescription for stronger cortizone creams for my son and a skin-cancer discosure prescription cream for his face and went along our merry way. $223 later, (oh yes, you read that right) we went home feeling deflated that once again we were told something completely different by another medical professional.
The good news is that Ethan's skin is PERFECTLY BEAUTIFUL; however, his stools are beginning to turn green again and he seems to have even more issues with sleeping. But we'll do this for the two weeks (although I am applying the cream sparingly) and see where we are at after that. We haven't needed to do a wet wrap with him for over 24 hrs (which is a HUGE relief considering it is a one-hour process each time). But the whole thing feels fake. Duane and I both know that the minute we stop using that stinky cream, we'll be right back at square one or worse!
So that's where we're at these days. Our son looks positively beautiful and I can't stop caressing his soft cheeks and kissing them or resting my head against his smooth scalp. He is much happier and laughing far more liberally (apprently I look funny to him... no comments please! LOL!). But we fear that we are training his body to create less cortisone.
We pray that short term use benefits will outweigh potential long-term damage. He is gaining weight at record speed and filling his diapers no problem. Surely this is a good thing, right?
So what's with the entry title refering to three blind men? Simply put, I have always had this opinion of TRUTH: there once were three blind men approaching an elephant. Each one reached out and tried to explain to the others what an elephant was. The first man said "an elephant is flimsy, flexible and paper thin" having reached out to feel the elephant's ear. The second man said "no, no, an elephant is hairy and wisps about from side to side" having reached out to feel the elephant's tail. The third man said "neither of you is right. An elephant is long like a flexible tube with a rough surface" having reached out to feel the elephant's trunk. Each was right regarding PARTS of the elephant, but together, they could have had a bigger, more accurate picture of what an elephant truly was.
We all approach TRUTH the same way from our own individual perspective. We feel around and use our own experiences & wisdom to hypothesize what is TRUTH. But the fact remains that no matter how far we reach, we are still limited. The only way to see TRUTH in its full dimension, is to HEAR one another whether it makes sense or not, and TRUST that eventually, the bigger picture will reveal itself into something that DOES make sense.
So even though we don't necessarily agree with all the opinions coming our way from the vaste specialists working to help our son, we trust that there is a common thread between all of them. And maybe if we continue to listen and look deep enough, TRUTH will be revealed thanks to each person who shared their understanding, and we won't have to be blind anymore.
The next time you listen to someone who seems out of their mind to you, just remember that they are revealing to you to the best of their ability, their understanding of what they have experienced as TRUTH. Then even in those strange moments, you can accept that in their own unique way, they are trying to GIFT you with more to see.
That is our challenge, that is our goal. To HEAR, to SEEK, and finally to SEE. God bless you all in this same journey!