I am a strong believer in the benefits of alternative or Eastern medicine. I wasn’t always this way, but in 2009 I contracted viral meningitis while traveling in Southeast Asia and for the following year battled debilitating migraines, body pain, and extreme fatigue. In the end what cured me was not the dozens of pills or shots prescribed by seemingly puzzled Western doctors, but instead a holistic approach to healing which included acupuncture, chiropractic treatment, nutrition, and supplements. For me, Eastern medicine treated the source of my problems– not the symptoms, and made me a strong believer in its potential.
When I had children, I wanted to treat their ailments with a similar alternative approach, but I found it difficult to find a pediatrician that thought in this way. With our first son, I was able to negotiate with pediatricians for a prolonged vaccination schedule and other “alternative” approaches, but I found their agreement was largely unenthusiastic and lined with criticism or judgment.
Ultimately, my comfort reached a tipping point, when our pediatrician wanted to prescribe steroids to treat my two-month-old son’s eczema. It terrified me to put my infants body under the stress of vaccines and steroids when he was already clearly fighting something. I decided to make a change.
I reached out to two Dr. Sears recommended pediatricians in Texas: Dr. Deborah Bain at Healthy Kids Pediatrics in Frisco and Dr. Randy Naidoo at Shine Pediatrics in Richardson.Both practice something called Functional Medicine, which seeks to address the underlying causes of disease, and focus on prevention vs. the treatment of an isolated set of symptoms.
Functional medicine also integrates traditional Western medical practices, using the latest laboratory testing and other diagnostic techniques, and prescribed combinations of drugs and botanical medicines, supplements, therapeutic diets, detoxification programs, or stress-management techniques.
When I took Fulton to see Dr. Bain she immediately agreed that vaccinating him while he was suffering from an immune system compromise like eczema could be dangerous. She even showed me the vaccine box which states “Do not vaccinate if child is ill or suffering from an immune system compromise”.
She also shared that eczema starts in the gut from an imbalance of flora in the body. While steroids would treat the skin irritation, it would not address this underlying issue.
We traced the likely cause of Fulton’s deficiency to antibiotics I had taken for mastitis while breast feeding and agreed on a treatment plan to heal Fulton from the inside out naturally, including probiotics and topical treatment of coconut oil with one drop of lavender essential oil every night. I also had to make changes since I was breast-feeding, which included probiotics and an elimination diet to identify any foods he was sensitive to. Turns out that tomatoes were the culprit.
Under this treatment plan, Fulton showed drastic improvement and is now eczema free without the use of steroids.
At the same time my older son, Walker, was suffering from serious anxiety and having some behavioral problems with his school and babysitters. My doctor at the time chalked it up to him being three and having a new sibling, but I personally felt that something more was happening because he had changed so drastically very fast.
I took Walker, to see Dr. Naidoo to look deeper into his anxiety and behavior. I did not want my child to end up on Ritalin unnecessarily so I wanted to help him as much as I could before it got out of hand.
Dr. Naidoo met with us and recommended two alternative tests to look deeper into his body. He ran the OATS and the Urine Peptide tests on him. The results were shocking to me.
My son had a severe overgrowth of yeast in his body which can cause inflammation in the brain, behavior issues, anxiety and problems properly absorbing vital vitamins and minerals. His recommendation was to put Walker on a supplement plan that included probiotics, an anti-fungal and anti-inflammatory. He also put Walker on a Paleo diet (no sugar, carbs, processed food, beans, or dairy) to help detox his tiny body from this yeast build up.
Walker is in the third week of this treatment plan and I already see a difference in him. He is sleeping better, he has less anxiety and he seems genuinely calmer. I am hopeful for his future in school and am pleased that I didn’t listen to the standard “Oh, he is three.” comment.
I am forever grateful for these doctors for taking an interest in my children, hearing my concerns as their mother, listening to me and taking me seriously. I trusted my intuitions and feel like I am on the right path for my family. I want to convey that medicine is not black or white and that each person is different.
I encourage you parents out there that have questions or concerns to voice them and be your child’s health advocate because you know your children better than anyone. I highly recommend both Dr. Naidoo and Dr. Bain.