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NEVER EVER GIVE UP! One Mom’s Struggle to Help Her Son

by Megan Pringle (see bio below)

THE HISTORY

Logan Dec 2012

Logan Dec 2012

We don’t come from a family of allergic people, although there is a history of family members (on both sides) with autoimmune diseases. So, when my Logan, at age 2 developed mild seasonal eczema as well as seasonal allergic rhinitis, we were able to manage it fairly easily with nasal sprays, antihistamines, moisturizer, emollients and the very odd application of topical cortisone.

Fast forward to 3.5 years old. Suddenly Logan’s skin took a massive turn for the worse. Full body bright red welts, weeping skin, intense itching. And nothing helped. It could not be kept under control. We suspected everything from the washing powder, to the carpets, to the fact that certain times of the year birds used to nest in our roof. I cleaned the house like a maniac on a daily basis worried the dust was affecting him. He ended up with a severe staph infection, which saw him covered in pimples from head to toe, even in his scalp. His skin was flaring up all year round. More visits to the same GP who told me ‘there is nothing we can do – just accept he has eczema’. Another GP I saw told me I was neurotic for keeping a detailed diary trying to find some kind of link to why he was so sick. I left there in tears, completely devastated that we were not getting the help we needed. Skin prick tests showed that he was allergic to cats, pollen, grass and dust mites. No food allergies presented.

The next 3 years were extremely difficult. Skin issues on and off. The itch and the scratch was uncontrollable and intense. I would constantly get phone calls from the school asking me to fetch him as he had been scratching until he bled. I was getting very little sleep and trying to balance being a single mother, who worked full time with a son who needed care, and expensive medical attention. We moved house in a desperate attempt to see if that made any difference.

August 2012 again in desperation we visited a different university allergy diagnostics centre. I wanted a complete allergy blood test done on him but they pushed me into another skin prick test – telling me ‘it isn’t necessary’ and will yield the same results as a blood test. The test showed the same results as before – AGAIN we were no further to a solution. He suggested an elimination diet – cutting out wheat (but we could still have rye!) – dairy – and many more things. We struggled on with this diet for many months with no effect. In fact over Nov/Dec/Jan 2013 things took a turn for the worse, if that was even possible. I got married in November and Logan was so sick he had to leave the wedding early with my mother, as his body was so sore he couldn’t stand up. I find it hard to look at our wedding photos for this reason.

Logan Jan 2013

Logan Jan 2013

He was fading in front of my eyes. Face pinched, drawn and gaunt, dark rings around eyes, getting skinnier and skinner every day. He was also getting terrible large painful boils all over his body. I made the decision in January to take Logan out of school for a few months to recover.

At this stage – I again requested full allergy blood tests, blood count, thyroid test – from our pediatrician. I was terrified my child was dying and had some terrible illness like cancer, that was being undiagnosed. Again, I was told, it’s unnecessary and expensive – and was offered more oral cortisone to clear his skin, and antibiotics to clear repeated scalp and skin infections, stronger antihistamines, tranquilizers to help him sleep. Regardless of the fact that I kept telling them ‘this is not just eczema’ nobody would listen.

Here there we were with 7 GP’s, 2 allergy specialists, 1 pediatrician and 2 dermatologists (not to mention the myriad of well-meaning strangers who stop you in shopping malls and offer advice of teabags in bath, and all kinds of weird and wonderful homemade concoctions).

Then: earlier this year, we were referred to a professor of immunology who did a stool sample test on Logan.  The Professor took one look at my son the day we walked in and was absolutely horrified that nobody was taking this seriously enough. ‘This is not just eczema’, he said, ‘This is a systemic inflammation and infection problem’ leading to failure to thrive. My son has always been small, but at 6.5 years old he weighed just 15.6 kg (34lbs) and stands only 108cm (42 in.) tall!!! Frightening! But this still had not been enough to spur the previous doctors into action.

THE DIAGNOSIS

Jan 2013 - legsThe results of stool sample showed severe inflammation of the gut, as well as candida levels 1000 times higher than normal. It also showed positive results for Celiac disease. He told me that the many years of strong medication to fix his skin, had destroyed Logan’s natural gut flora, which had led to a leaky gut, inflammation and the inability to absorb nutrients. Not to mention the effects the untreated celiac had been having on his digestive system. Up until now, he had a bloated, hard, distended stomach, often complaining of stomach pain, lack of appetite, irregular hard pellet shaped bowel movements. His muscles were wasting away – there was loss of weight and hair loss. Wounds would take very long to heal… Excessively dry, skin and constant uncontrollable skin flareups with no apparent trigger. For the last 5 months he was extremely tired, depressed and lethargic, and could not summon the energy to get out of bed much at all. It was frightening to see my child like that. It didn’t matter what Logan ate, he would react to everything. His skin would literally break out ‘for everything’ and we wracked our brains trying to figure out what we could give him and what we should stay away from.

THE TREATMENT

The professor told us to use a turmeric based supplement powder to heal the stomach, as well as grapefruit seed extract drops to kill off the candida. Twice daily doses of a good probiotic, as well as a daily multivitamin supplement, a zinc supplement, omega oil capsules, and L-Glutamine. The professor gave us a time frame of 4 months until ‘we would have our son back’.

THE DIET

Food wise – we needed to cut out gluten of course due to him having celiac disease. Potatoes, rice, chicken, meat and fish were all fine. Dairy I was nervous of, as he seemed to react to dairy in the past, so we are keeping off it for now. Same for corn. Veggies of all kinds he can eat, which is fantastic, but we were told to stay completely away from sugar, from fruit juices, and fruits that ferment – namely grapes, mangoes and pineapples. Preservatives and additives are a no no. So basically what he is eating now is an extremely HEALTHY diet, one that anyone could actually live on indefinitely, not nearly as limiting as a food elimination diet. As time goes and we see improvement, we can try adding certain things into his diet, and seeing the results. The aim right now is to HEAL THE GUT so it is able to handle and (most importantly) ABSORB the nutrients he needs to grow and thrive. The idea is: healing the reaction and inflammation inside – will heal the reaction and inflammation outside.

(I just would like to add that I am still consulting with the professor, alongside Logan’s pediatrician and our family GP – keeping them all in the loop with his treatment and progress. For once I can say we have a good TEAM. I am able to email each of them at any time and send them regular updates of how he is doing. It makes such a huge difference having the RIGHT people on your side.)

THE RESULTS

On the Road to Recovery

On the Road to Recovery

As far as results go – after one month of this treatment…here is what we have noticed.

  • Energy levels are back (and then some!) he is playing, acting silly, laughing and running around, instead of being confined to the bed, unhappy and depressed.
  • No more complaints of a sore stomach & swollen distended belly has gone down.
  • Regular daily bowel movements.
  • Massively increased appetite. (He is eating us out of house and home!!)
  • Drastic improvement in skin. We are still seeing redness and flareups – but they are isolated to one part of his body at a time, they take place far less often, and tend to subside very fast. His skin is well moisturized and completely clear in places. At the moment we are still struggling with feet, hands and head, but even these are not ‘open and weeping’. The intense uncontrollable itch is under control.
  • Our use of cortisone has drastically reduced, as has our use of antihistamines. We still use them as needed, as instructed by the professor, and we still continue with our skin care regime of regular moisturizing with a good cream, and emollients in the bath. Even the wet wraps we used to use (which are a wonder) we no longer need.

We are looking forward to even more improvement as time goes on…

WHAT I‘VE LEARNED

I’ve learned that as a parent or a patient, YOU have to be the one that pushes for treatment and investigation. You have to be firm with the doctors and demand referrals if you feel they are not listening to you or helping you. You need to read up as much as you can to find out more about your condition. You also have to be able to distinguish between the millions of ‘miracle cures’ out there and something which is valid and could work for you. You also need to take help and advice from the right people, and ignore the rest. Sometimes it’s okay to fall down, and let people catch you but NEVER EVER GIVE UP!

Megan and Logan

Megan and Logan

Bio: Megan Pringle, mom to Logan (age 6), and works in fundraising for a non-profit hospice organization in Cape Town, South Africa.

 

29 Comments Post a comment
  1. Thank you for sharing this amazing story! I agree with you 100% that we need to take control of our own health. I have suffered for many years with insanely itchy skin and bumps and all sorts of stomach issues. Seems like I’m always in the bathroom. I’m 39 and have seen a ton of doctors, taking all sorts of weird things, cutting out all dairy, gluten, red meat and sugar…it lessens the symptoms but never go away entirely. I’m following your blog now so I can learn more. I’ve always felt I had candida, even as a small child I recall similar symptoms like the ones I’m having now.

    The worst part is that I see symptoms in both my kids. My daughter (age 7) is always complaining of itchy skin and hives that pop up for no reason at all. My son (age 5) is complaining too about itching and he has small bumps on his torso identical to mine.

    I’m excited now that there is hope for my whole family! Thanks so much for all the info! You are an amazing mom! Love and blessings!!!!
    Nicole

    Like

    October 15, 2015
  2. mylymejournal #

    These pictures look like Mastocytosis. Has the child been evaluated?

    Like

    July 1, 2014
  3. Nina #

    Wow, this seems like the life story of my 3.5 yr old son and I am going through the same issues with his whole body covered in eczema. I am extremely happy for you and your son. Words cannot describe the joy and hope I feel after reading your story. I have also broken down at night, rethinking my plans or doubting ,my execution because it’s only getting worse!

    It’s good to know that there is hope. If you dont mind, can you please tell me which tumeric supplement was recommended by your advisor?

    Wishing you the best and hoping to hear good news on your son’s progress.

    Nina

    Like

    May 12, 2014
  4. Hello Megan,
    I am very glad to see that after all the trials, the story of your son’s health and well-being took a turn for the better. This is a prime example of how much a parent should communicate to his or her doctor regarding the current health of their child. When speaking with your doctor, you should always ask questions and provide as much detail as possible on your child’s medical history, especially when supposed treatments simply do not work or help.

    Like

    September 23, 2013
  5. Dan #

    Hi Megan
    My son too has very severe head-to toe eczema . He stopped responding to topical steroids + antibiotics long back.We have done all the standard things like elemination diet, tests, moving away from current home etc name it and we have done it. Except the stool analysis. He has severe swelling suring infection so did a complete kidney and liver function test, all fine.
    So we are surviving on alternative medicines. I have send you an email, kindly respond.

    Like

    September 5, 2013
  6. Angela #

    Dear Megan,
    My daughter (4.5 months) has many of the same symptoms you are describing and her pictures look like your son in December of 2012. I have been to 1 allergist, 3 pediatricians, 2 ER visits, 1 Medclinic and they all look at me like “why dont you just use the cortizone cream/benedryl/selson blue we told you to?” Im not going to spend the next who knows how long chasing the symptoms of this poor angels problem. I want to get to the cause. Bottom line is, here is what I want to know from you!
    1. What brand of Tumeric based supplement did you use for your son? Do you think I could I just put the tiniest pinch in her milk?
    2. Secondly, how many drops of GSO did you give him and how did he ingest it? (capsule, in water etc. )
    3. Do you have the name of the professor of immunology who did this for you? I was hoping to ask him how to help a tinier version of Logan! 🙂 with the same issues?
    Thanks so much for sharing your story. It really helpful to see the pictures and relate to other mommas! Good job staying diligent and stopping at nothing. I cannot even believe you did this as a single, working mother. I am beyond impressed. Take care.
    Angie

    Like

    August 14, 2013
    • Megan #

      Hi Angie, whereabouts are you? We are in South Africa Cape Town. Not sure if the products will be the same for you?
      Please pop me a mail meegie at gmail dot com 🙂 would love to chat further xxxxxx

      Like

      August 15, 2013
      • Angela #

        Hey Megan!
        I just emailed you at meegie@gmail.com!!! I am super excited to hear about your son and chat more with you!! Let me know if the email does not get to you!
        Angie

        Like

        August 20, 2013
  7. Megan, this is a truly moving piece.

    I absolutely understand your journey, I’ve been going to numerous of doctors and have received the same response over and over again, just in different words. Even my parents lost hope with my eczema.

    I really admire the fact you persist with this moral “YOU have to be the one that pushes for treatment and investigation.”

    Great to hear that Logan is improving by a great lot, wish him all the best.

    By the way, do you have twitter or an email that I can contact you? I have some questions to ask.

    Like

    August 10, 2013
  8. Megan,
    First, I cried. How I would love to give you a big hug and tell you what a wonderful mom you are!!! My son is 7, and although he does not have the same issues as your son (he does have failure to thrive), I have walked in your shoes. I can’t tell you how many times the doctors have told me that there wasn’t anything they could do, or that they thought my ideas were ‘out there’. But I wouldn’t give up. There had to be a reason why my son wasn’t growing (along with is sensory issues, vomiting multiple times daily, speech apraxia and other smaller issues). With some alternate therapies we got him on the right track, and then just last year, after over 5 years of searching, crying, praying, fretting, etc…we found out he had a growth hormone deficiency. I commend you for listening to your mommy instincts and stopping at nothing to help your son. I feel like crying when I have other people tell me that they probably wouldn’t have noticed some of the things I did, or brought certain issues up with doctors. What? How could I not? Who else is going to do it if I don’t? It breaks my heart when other parents just accept their child’s suffering and leave the child’s care in the hands of doctors who can do nothing more than give some meds. So sad. Your story was so encouraging and inspirational. I hope there are other parents out there who will read it and take your message to heart. WE MUST be our childrens’ advocate! Blessings to you and your family!

    Like

    August 4, 2013
    • Megan #

      Hello Kerri – I cried when i read YOUR comment 🙂 thanks so much for such kind words.. Im so so sorry your boy had to go through all that… and being made to feel paranoid and neurotic when seeing your child suffer every day makes you want to do very bad things!! lol. I hope your little one is on the road to recovery as well… it makes them so wise, mature and empathetic to deal with these things at such a young age. All the best to you and your family ((hugs))

      Like

      August 7, 2013
  9. For the past year I’ve been reading Dr. Mark Hyman’s books and subscribe to his newsletter. I’ve developed a totally different relationship with my food. Your wonderful piece echos so much of what Dr. Hyman has to say and how he has healed people with so many different health issues. As he says, “All the medicine you need is on the tip of your fork.” What a nice story! Congratulations to Megan and Logan for their incredible strength and love.

    Like

    August 1, 2013
    • Megan #

      Hello Annie – thanks so much for your reply…
      yes years ago before having children, I would have been one of the first to scoff at all this airy fairy eating organically, allergic to everything nonsense.. but I see now how we are all slowly damaging our bodies by eating things we shouldn’t be eating. Not just the bad stuff like preservatives and GMO food and all that, but also how heavily we rely on gluten and wheat in all our foods. How much sugar we consume on a daily basis – all hidden in convenience foods… We aren’t eating whole unprocessed things anymore. Over time this can wreak havoc with an immune system in ways that doctors don’t fully understand.
      All the best and thanks so much for such sweet encouragement x

      Like

      August 7, 2013
  10. Tammy Szumowski #

    Wow, thank you so much for sharing this, some of this sounds like my daughter who is 5 this year and has been suffering like this since she was 3 weeks old, I will be printing this off and heading back to the doctor, thanks again 🙂

    Like

    July 31, 2013
    • Megan #

      Hi Tammy… my goodness your poor little girl.. i dont wish it on anyone… i hope that you get some results from your doctor.. If you would like to chat – please pop me a mail – maybe we can help each other?? wishing you love and support from SA… I hope you get to the bottom of it.

      Like

      August 7, 2013
  11. Micahel #

    Yay you figured out the mystery. Wow… I have MCS and it took the longest time and numerous doctors before my sister suggested the chemical connection. Now am almost normal, living a safe clean life style. Thank you for sharing.

    Like

    July 31, 2013
    • Megan #

      Wow – sometimes it just takes one person to steer you in the right direction after years of listening to ‘professionals’. That’s also what happened to me – a mother of a little boy with the same issues was our angel from heaven – sent to help us!
      So glad to hear you are much recovered. Well done!

      Like

      August 7, 2013
  12. The Allergista #

    Wow…. I get so angry when I hear about doctors not taking things seriously! They should always be up for a challenge! I’m glad she found someone who helped. I hope the little guy keeps improving! xoxo

    Like

    July 31, 2013
    • Megan #

      Hi there – you would think so wouldn’t you? But its all too easy to prescribe strong drugs and say ‘there is nothing that can be done’.
      He is doing even better since this post. We still have our ups and downs with regards to the skin.. but nowhere near what it used to be like… and its just the skin. He is putting on weight and growing taller.. his first little tooth is wobbly! He also went back to school for the first time yesterday 🙂 I can only give thanks to my friends and family who carried us through. Not sure where we would be without them.
      thanks for your support 🙂

      Like

      August 7, 2013
  13. Good for you momma! I could have written half of this post, my story on my blog is very similar! Nothing is more maddening than KNOWING something is not right and being made to feel a fool by western doctors. Been there. We are also working on some gut healing…..we took out the foods ages ago, but still haven’t been able to clear the hurdles, so first we are trying to reduce the inflammation, then we’ll start with the glutamine too.

    Like

    July 30, 2013
    • Megan #

      Wow I think I need to go read your blog now!
      It does take a long while.. and its easy to get discouraged…We saw major improvement at first, then improvement kind of slowed down, and we had some hiccups again.. but looking back I HAVE to say that the improvement is vast. its just that each day kind of melds into the other, so you don’t realize how far you’ve come until you look back and remember how bad things used to be.
      looking forward to reading your story…
      sending love and healthy vibes.. xxx megan & logan

      Like

      August 7, 2013
  14. MapleMouseMama #

    Wow, I am wiping away the tears now. God bless you little Logan and thank the heavens a “cure” or “Fix” was found, primarily due to your Warrior Mama and her unwavering love for you. I will pray for continued healing for this sweet little boy. God bless!

    Suz

    Like

    July 30, 2013
    • Megan #

      thank you so much for your kindness xxxxx megan & Logan ❤

      Like

      August 7, 2013
  15. So so proud of my sister Megan & our Logi. A brave, strong boy I am glad to know. xx

    Like

    July 30, 2013
    • Megan #

      mwah x

      Like

      August 7, 2013
  16. Thank you for sharing this story!
    Megan, I’m so sorry you and Logan had to go through so much. My son has allergies but thankfully they didn’t progress quite as far as Logan’s. I do understand the frustration and desperation you feel as a mother with a sick child.
    You can see our story here http://myplantbasedfamily.com/2013/05/17/adventures-in-allergies/
    My son still has flare-ups too. Often we don’t know the cause but I’m still thankful the he is better that he was.

    Like

    July 30, 2013
    • Megan #

      Hi holly – thanks I went to visit your blog.. what a cute little munchkin he is!
      its always so beneficial and uplifting to read and share with others who understand.. I also feel sometimes the grocery shops are like minefields! I hope things have improved since that blog post and you are a bit further on and settling into your routine on shopping/cooking/snacking etc. Please drop me a mail if you would like to chat 🙂 maybe we can be of some help to each other???
      all the best to your lovely family
      xxxx
      megan and logan

      Like

      August 7, 2013
  17. Wow, what an ordeal. I’m so glad you have found something that is working. It’s so amazing what food and do for us: both good and bad. It is horrifying though how many Drs. could not help and how much suffering your family has had to deal with. thank you for sharing your story.

    Like

    July 30, 2013
    • Megan #

      hi robyn – thanks a lot for your kindness and support 🙂

      Like

      August 7, 2013

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