Update

It has been a very long time since I have posted! I hope that there is still interest in following our quest to get some answers to why Ava suffers so with eczema.

I believe the last I wrote was about our first week on the GAPS diet. We continued the diet for about 8 weeks without any improvement. In fact there were periods when things were worse. HOWEVER, we have learned a lot since then, which explains why Ava may have been doing so poorly on GAPS.

1.) We have discovered that she is sensitive to onions, garlic and cabbage – all of which she was eating in abundance on GAPS. It could be an issue with FODMAPS.

2.) Her symptoms/reactions are consistent with histamine intolerance and GAPS is very high in histamine.

3.) Testing we have completed since doing GAPS has shown that Ava does have chronic colonic inflammation and digestion issues. Additionally, her liver function is not optimal.

I really needed a break and was just generally frustrated with thinking about food so much. I simply limited her diet to what she could eat, but didn’t stress about making special foods.

I was taking Ava to a TBM (total body modification) practitioner towards the end of last year. We did see some improvement. She had periods of clear skin (75% of her body) and she recovered from flare-ups much more quickly. Then it was Thanksgiving, Christmas and all of that…along with sickness, it was tough to get the schedule worked out. I was able to finally take Ava to an appointment this past week and hopefully we will be able to continue without a big break like that again.

The TBM has also shown that digestion, liver function and histamine are a problem for Ava. So, along with continuing with the TBM, I know that I also have to heal her gut and that means we go back to GAPS or some form of it. I will have to start with a low histamine, low FODMAPS version of GAPS, which will be challenging. Not to mention the other foods Ava needs to avoid that are GAPS foods (such as eggs and dairy). It will be limited at first, but I am really hoping with this new information and the right supplements, we will be able to see improvement.

Additionally, there is a doctor that has been recommended to us that does something called Low Dose Allergen Therapy. He is very expensive and a couple hours away, but the possibility is on my mind. I have heard that some very tough cases of eczema, like Ava’s, have been helped by this therapy when nothing else was working.

Finally, I am considering gene testing to determine if Ava has any gene mutations which might cause certain functions of the body to be impaired (for example, how quickly her cells are able to repair – this clearly seems to be a problem to my untrained eye).

I have always hoped that this blog could be helpful to others going through the same difficulties, even if it was just a new idea that might lead to some answers. I appreciate you reading and any feedback!

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The Next Step

We have been home from NJH for almost two months now. Although improved in general, Ava is still suffering with eczema, intense itching and sub par sleep. We have continued with daily baths, wet wrapping when necessary, creams several times per day and have avoid all the foods she showed sensitivity to: eggs, dairy, gluten, nuts, garlic and sesame. There are still flare-ups for no apparent reason. Something is still causing havoc within in our sweet little girl.

So, after a break, I am going to start blogging again about our next step: The GAPS Diet. For those unfamiliar, that is Gut and Psychology Syndrome. Very basically, Dr. McBride, the author, after treating many patients with the intention of healing their gut, has cured them of many different ailments and disorders. This includes eczema. The idea is that the state of our digestive system plays a huge role in our overall health. Her book is very interesting, but there are too many details to go into here. Please visit her web-site if you would like more information: http://www.gapsdiet.com/

I have read many success stories from people that have embarked on this intense diet. I have known about it for a long time, even before Ava’s issues. I have intended to start the diet for at least a month now, but for one reason or another, we were delayed. Tomorrow is the day, though.

I have prepared quarts upon quarts of broth from pastured chickens and beef. This broth will be the staple of our diet for a while. It is healing and easily digestible. We will also be eating well cooked vegetables, such as broccoli, butternut squash, zucchini…and also lots of fat. Animal fats and ghee (which is the first food introduced after Stage 1). If you are interested, I will update on our progress and what we have eaten for the day.

I am excited to get started, but I nervous at the same time. I will be disappointed if this does not help Ava, but I have to try. Either way, I think it will be good for all of us. Yes, all 6 of us will be doing the diet together!

Here are some pictures of the food I have been preparing:

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A very large beef heart.

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I did the chicken stock in the Crock Pot

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Ghee

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Beef stock

Thank you again for reading and if you continue to follow, I hope our experience is helpful!