how I became the crunchy, alternative-health-loving woman I am today – part 3

(Read part 1 of my story here, and read part 2 of my story here.)

When my second daughter was a mere six weeks old, she got a cold that went immediately to her lungs.  I took her to the pediatrician, who took one look at her at said, “If you don’t drive her to the hospital right now, I will call an ambulance to take her there.”  So, my baby and I spent 24 hours together in Children’s Hospital; it was my first of many experiences with Curious J and bronchiolitis.  (For the record, bronchiolitis is essentially baby bronchitis – it is not affected by vaccinating or by not vaccinating.  Even my vaccine-promoting pediatrician said that.)  For some reason, every cold that J got landed directly in her lungs and gave her bronchiolitis, and the treatment prescribed every time by her pediatrician was oral steroids and inhaled bronchio-dilating medications.  I was (and am) so grateful that there is treatment for her breathing problems because without them she would likely be dead by now, but I was troubled that there seemed to be no actual cure.  All the literature I read, both from my doctor and elsewhere, said that babies in her condition had a high risk of growing up to have asthma.  No one in my husband’s or my family had asthma, so I was eager to find a way to truly cure her problem before it turned into asthma.

The answer came to me in an unexpected way.  A member of our church won a gift certificate through the local mother’s club for a free homeopathic consultation.  She knew that she wouldn’t use it, and, knowing my interest in alternative medicine, she graciously gifted it to me.  I knew nothing about homeopathy, so I held onto it for a number of months, wondering if it was even worth using.  However, when my doula (who I had kept in contact with after my baby’s birth) mentioned that homeopathy might be useful for J’s bronchiolitis issues, I called the homeopath, found that she worked with children, and made an appointment for J.  It turned out to be a smart decision.  Thanks to the homeopathic remedies she prescribed, J was able to cross the important two-years-of-age threshold without being diagnosed as asthmatic!  She still gets breathing problems on occasion, but the homeopathy helps to hold that tendency at bay.  She’s even had a few colds that have remained just that – colds.  I’m glad to be able to keep the amount of medication she needs to a minimum, although I’m certainly grateful that the medicine is available for her when she needs it.  It’s scary when your child is struggling to breathe!  But I’m so thankful that I’ve discovered options that help keep that problem from occuring in the first place.

Our whole family has made use of various kinds of alternative medicine.  I’ve amazed ourselves as well as our doctors with the fantastic results we’ve gotten from alternative methods of healing.   And while I greatly respect what modern medicine can do, especially in crisis situations, I am now convinced that modern medicine is not at its best in the fields of wellness, prevention of illness, and chronic illnesses.  I’ve seen family and friends begin on a cycle of prescription drugs, with each drug causing side effects that eventually lead to needing another drug and another drug — until the end result is a daily dose of multiple pills.  I don’t think anyone would choose to live that way, and it’s certainly not a health-full way to live.  And while I know that no one’s health will be perfect this side of heaven and that death will claim each of us someday, I want to do my part for my family to help them be as healthy as they possibly can.

Alternative medicine is attractive to me because it attacks problems at their origin and attempts to fix them, rather than just attacking the symptoms.  Symptoms are signs of a problem, but they’re not the problem themselves.  Modern medicine treats symptoms, alternative medicine treats causes.  Modern medicine even does most of its research looking at symptoms.  Researchers are forever coming up with better ways to diagnose problems and treat problems, but they don’t seem to spend as much time focusing on why those problems occured in the first place.  Now don’t get me wrong: I’m not knocking finding new and better treatments for [name your disease], but my logical side says, “Would it make more sense to find out what caused the problem in the first place so that it doesn’t happen again?”

That’s also the approach I take to autism and vaccines.  Until we know what causes autism (and allergies, and asthma, and childhood cancer, and juvenille diabetes, and [name your disease] that never used to happen to children but now is increasing in frequency), I’m prepared to think twice and re-evaluate everything I’m putting into my child’s body.  Correlation is not causation, but there’s too much correlation between autism and vaccines to make me comfortable with the way our American society currently approaches childhood vaccinations.  There may be research that proves autism and vaccines have no connection, but I doubt that anyone will claim that their research is the Final Word on Vaccines and Autism.  In the world of science, there is ALWAYS more to discover, and just because it hasn’t been discovered yet doesn’t mean it won’t be.  Perhaps there IS no connection between vaccines and autism, but until we know for sure what causes autism, I’m not convinced that vaccines aren’t involved at least to some degree for some children.

And, now you know how I got to where I am today.  Moving to California sure made it easy to seek out and find alternative medicine practitioners, and life circumstances made finding those practitioners a priority.  Being on my own, away from family and friends I grew up with, also played a role in me branching out in this non-conventional way.  I’m grateful for this path that I’ve walked in my life so far, and I’ll be interested to see what other adventures God has in store for me in regards to this area.  However, if he wants to give me and my family excellent health with no need of doctors, that would be just fine with me, too! 🙂

(Stay tuned for my husband’s story about his alternative health experiences, some happening long before he met me!)

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4 thoughts on “how I became the crunchy, alternative-health-loving woman I am today – part 3

  1. Have you read “Nourishing Traditions” by Sally Fallon? It’s certainly interesting, if nothing else! I personally love it, and am cooking more and more from it every day.

  2. I have not read it yet, but I know you and Sarah like it. I paged through it once at Whole Foods. It seemed a little daunting for a cookbook, but it also seems that it’s much more than just a cookbook.

    I looked it up online in my library system tonight, and they do have it. So maybe I’ll reserve it and take a look at it that way. I probably should take a serious look at it one of these fine days… 😉

  3. I didn’t know I had to tell a story! But, parents, if your seventh-grade son is diagnosed with scoliosis as I was at that age, and if the doctors tell you that the cure is either a back brace or surgery as my parents were told, you might want to save your kid the embarrassment of the brace and the pain of surgery (on a middle schooler?!? – yikes!) and just take him to a good chiropractor. The mandated school tests one year later showed no more scoliosis. Oh, yeah, the county medical staff that did the school tests said that chiropractors were not the way to go. Whatever. I’m all for drugs when drugs help to solve the problem, but I’m also not going to drink the Kool Aide just because that’s the thing to do.

    And Em, as for your statement that studies have proven that vaccines don’t cause autism – I think it would be more accurate to say that studies have neither confirmed nor denied the link. From a logical standpoint, I don’t think we’ll ever be able to prove it either way, since these sorts of studies can only deal with possibility and probability, not absolute certainty, something only achievable in realms like mathematics and tautology. There I go again, gettin’ all logical.

  4. Emily – I should warn you, it is daunting! It took me over a year to read it cover to cover. I was borrowing my sister-in-law’s copy, and ended up having to buy her a new copy because I didn’t want to move all of the sticky notes bristling out of it of things I wanted to try. 😉

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