Taryn was maybe around 4 months old the first time she got horrible eczema. The kind that would bleed from her cheeks, chap over, look painful and never really go away. We were given cream after cream after cream yet none of them ever seemed to really work, much less solve anything. Over time, her eczema and skin issues would flare up, die down, flare up, you get the routine right? Not once, did any of her pediatricians suggest that the eczema could be related to a food allergy,sensitivity or gut issue. That bug was never put in our ears, we had no idea. We believed she just had very, very sensitive skin. She was almost 4 before we could put her clothes in the wash with even regular sensitive soap. We had to be very careful of what we washed her with. We truly believed it was a skin issue, not a gut issue.
We were wrong.
While we were in the throws of research and trying to stop the regression that had hit Teagan hard, I was reading online, I was reading books, I bought a Nook so that I could download books and research without having to drag Teagan out of the house and out in to public. One night, at about 3 am, I was reading a chapter in a book about gut issues (Teagan was loosing weight due to having horrible diarrhea). As I sat there reading word after word, my heart sank and leapt all at the same time, I was confused and overwhelmed and when I got to the end of the chapter I ran to Jason, pointed at the words and made him stop right then and read them. We read out loud together, horrified, relieved, shocked, because every single thing in that chapter described our daughter. Not the sick little boy we were doing research for, but our daughter. When I got done reading out loud, Jason asked me if Taryn’s picture was included in that chapter, it was her. Without a doubt. It was like someone had flipped on a lightbulb and we finally understood. Candida. Taryn had a yeast overgrowth in her gut. That was it, that is what we didn’t understand, that is why we had so many problems with her. Her behavior, the strange laughter at nothing at all and while she sleeps, the chewing on her clothing, thrush as a baby, the eczema, the rashes, the bumps, the constant craving of sweets and carbs, headaches, hyperactivity, unreasonable and difficult to please, bellyaches, sensitive to perfumes and other chemicals, and the kicker, multiple rounds of antibiotics. In fact, she was given multiple shots of rocephin to try and keep her well for surgery a few years ago. Antibiotics, without probiotics, created a prime environment for yeast overgrowth in her gut. As a result, it leached on to the walls of her intestines and created a leaky gut. Here is the crazy thing, Teagan also had a significant overgrowth yet the only symptom he ever showed prior to his vaccine reaction, was ear problems. Taryn on the other hand had all the symptoms and could be categorized as a yeast beast.
It made sense. It made so much sense. So we brought her in for testing at our local wellness center. We did a stool test for both Taryn and Teagan and both came back with yeast overgrowth in their guts. Taryn’s numbers were alarmingly high and she also had high numbers of E-Coli in her gut. With the help of our doctor we immediately started both of them on probiotics. This was still fairly early on in our journey, but it was the beginning of us treating both Taryn and Teagan. Our plate felt full. We felt overwhelmed and exhausted and in that one chapter we went from treating one child to two. Much of our focus was still on Teagan as each new day brought us something new, but we also needed to make sure that Taryn was as healthy as she could possibly be. We’d already taken her off cows milk but when we started to treat her for candida, it was a big challenge. We had to not only give her a lot of kick butt probiotics but we had to really alter her diet to deny the yeast what it wanted to thrive and grow in her gut. No sugar, very low carbs and let me tell you, she was ticked off. She was craving it and addicted to it. It was not pretty. And like I said, we were exhausted at this point and had very full plates, there were days I just felt like we were facing too much. The die off for Taryn was rough. We had to be careful not to kill off too much of the yeast all at one time, which is hard to do. You have to get the probiotics just right or else the die off is worse than the initial symptoms. It took some time…we thought it would be weeks for her…but it was more like months. These snapshots were taken in early August and you can see the die off was hard on her, she had huge bags under her eyes. She’d always had dark circles under her eyes, shame on us for not seeing the signs of food allergies and gut issues, but not this bad. Yes, the die off reactions were tough but she was eating healthy, getting good quality probiotics and the yeast was not happy….
Looking back through other snapshots, it was really October before we started to see her getting much better, less defined dark circles, and our doctor was right, once her gut started to heal, she started to gain weight! Her body could once again use the food and nourishment to grow instead of it leaking and causing an immune response through her gut. Yes, we cleared up the candida! We tested again, and she was clear, but as we were warned, getting rid of the candida would likely create an environment in her gut that would allow other things to pop up and become more prevalent. Her doctor was right because we started to see reactions we’d never seen before. It was crazy to us that at 5, our daughter could have food allergies. Of course, the candida didn’t cause them, those sensitivities were always there, but we were messing with a delicate balance and healing. She was reacting to something, we went through every soap, every exposure….but nothing fit. In fact, one day during OT, while she was being treated for Candida, she got bit by a few mosquitoes and the whelps blew up the size of pancakes all over her. That had never happened before and it scared us. We were eating healthier, she was growing, she was still taking probiotics (the candida comes and goes but she’s been good for awhile now), but her skin was a constant worry. Red bumps and rashes on her legs, bottom, chest and back. White bumps on her arms (that I later discovered is a nutritional vitamin deficiency that is easily solved when her gut is in check). At first I thought yeast, but it started to become more and more clear that we were dealing with food allergies. We’d already taken her off cows milk when Teagan got sick. She got in to some food with dyes in it at her class Christmas party and oh my word, the child freaked out. Four days, FOUR DAYS, of screeching and screaming. I thought we were all going to loose our minds. Jason and I swore she’d never ingest red dyes again, never. And then one day she put a grape stem in her mouth in carpool and by the time we got home she was covered in purple bumps/hives on her face and chest. So…we finally had her tested for food allergies and sensitivities. I’ll be back tomorrow to post about that in more detail.
This is a good place to add that traditional medicine rarely acknowledges candida overgrowth as “real”. Our pedi at that point in treatment laughed and said no, he wouldn’t test it. They say we all have it in us. Yes, we do. But some have too much and when you have too much, it can be bad for your body. I was a skeptic, until we faced it and saw all the wonderful changes in our daughter after killing off the yeast overgrowth. Her very first day of treatment (we snuck the probiotics in to her applesauce and she didn’t know yet at that point) she ran up to me and said “Mommy, my belly doesn’t hurt anymore!” I asked her if it hurt her before and she said yes, but that she was used to it. That moment broke my heart. I am so glad I followed my gut on this one too. I realized once again, that Teagan took one for the team, because of him, we are all on a road to better health. The symptoms listed above, have all gone away as we healed her gut (except the skin issues obviously). She is much more calm, her behavior is much better, she is happy and without pain. Still her spunky little self though too.
If you want more info on candida, symptoms, risks and even a free at home and easy test, go here. I’ve never tried their products so I can’t specifically recommend them but we did try the free spit test and it came back with results exactly as the clinical testing did. Pretty interesting stuff.
Next post….food allergies…..