Thursday, November 7, 2013

My Family's Journey to Natural Medicine and Organic Living

Growing up, I'm pretty sure I didn't even know what the term "organic" meant. When I did learn about it in my adulthood, I specifically remembering saying, "All those 'Organic food' people are crazy! I grew up on Kool-Aid, fruit snacks, and fruity-pebbles, and I am doing just fine."

Now, mind you, my Mom did cook for the family.  I would say about 50% of the food we ate as kids came directly from a box. We had to eat at least two bites of everything Mom made. And, we only ate out as a family three times a year. But, we were an active family: dirt biking, swimming, camping, sports...etc.

I considered us a "Healthy Family." We all got the occasional cold/flu bug, my mom suffered from allergies, and I seemed to have a 'sensitive stomach,' but there didn't seem to be any major side-effects from our non-organic, GMO-filled diets... or was there?

Fast-forward my life- I got married, had our first daughter, started my career as a teacher, and everything was going smoothly (at least to the "naked-eye"). That is until our daughter started developing allergies...

It really started from her birth. My mother's instincts just told me there was something more going on with this precious baby who was never happy. She fussed all the time, always seemed to have gas no matter how much I burped her, and spit up after every feeding. I blamed it on myself, thinking I wasn't making enough milk and she was hungry. "She has colic. She will grow out of it," was the only advice offered by my family and my pediatrician. I wouldn't settle for that answer. I knew there had to be a reason and I was determined to try anything and everything to make my little girl feel better.

So, I started searching the Internet. I was just looking for someone, anyone, who had gone through this. I truly believe God led me to a blog by a mom that had went through the same thing with her child. (I wish I saved her blog so I could thank her now) Her suggestion- go dairy free!

After 3 weeks of no sleep and a baby that was never happy, I began for the first time paying attention to the food I put in my body. I read every label of everything that entered my body and made sure there were no dairy products in any of it.

Tears still fill my eyes when I go back to the day, 3 days into my "diet," when my sweet baby girl fell asleep on her back for the first time- not needing the pressure on her stomach to relieve the gas pains. I remember so clearly the first time I was able to feed her and she didn't spit it all back out on my shoulder.

This summarizes the story of the 7 months I spent nursing. I read every label and turned away everything that contained dairy. Yes, that meant NO CHOCOLATE, no butter, no raw dairy, nothing with dairy baked in it... absolutely nothing dairy! So, I could pretty much eat whole foods and oatmeal cooked in water. Just one bite of a food containing dairy would upset her for 3 days (that's how long dairy stays in your system). I remember I had to have just one Girl Scout Thin Mint cookie- Mistake! Eating out, eating at a family or friend's house... they became nearly impossible.

As my daughter weaned from nursing and onto table food, her allergy remained. Now, she couldn't have anything dairy, which wasn't quite as difficult because baby foods are mostly dairy free anyway.

Other than the dairy obstacle, we were a "normal" eating family that remained relatively healthy. As healthy as it gets for two school teachers and a full time day-care baby (or so I thought).

And then came the rashes! At just under one year old, our daughter began developing terrible rashes in the cracks of her body. After trying every over the counter cream I could find, which didn't even touch the itching and oozing, I decided to take her to the family doctor. We tried a handful of prescription drugs to no avail.

My mother's instincts kicked in again and I knew there had to be an answer for my little girl, who not only was covered in rashes, but had now lost her balance and ability to walk without falling every few steps. We started taking her to a ENT who specialized in allergies. After getting her blood tested for specific allergies (most horrific experience ever. small veins= screaming child on floor being held down by 3 nurses... yes that awful!) and through his recommendation, we had her adenoids removed, tubes put in her ears, and began a strict diet free from gluten, wheat, dairy, coconut, brown rice, eggs, and more! She gained the ability to walk and hear again immediately after surgery. The diet did help contain the rashes, but they never truly went away. We weren't sure if this would have to be her lifestyle, but it sure was taking its toll on us.

Sweet baby headed into surgery- I often wonder now whether there was a different way... read on!

As her 2nd birthday rolled around, we were able to cheat her diet every once and a while without much effect on her skin. We were all so excited she got to eat real ice cream for her birthday! Little did we know the WORST was yet to come...

Spring 2013 and we find the rashes on our sweet 2-year old getting worse quick. We went straight back to her diet. We went days being more strict then we had ever been; not letting her have a single bite off of "the allergy list." Nothing was working. In fact, her rashes continued to worsen. We were literally at the point where she wouldn't put on clothes. We couldn't hold her because it hurt. She would just stand in the middle of her room, naked, crying. We were at a point of complete desperation and hopelessness.

 This was her rash without the open sores even.

After she cried herself to sleep, I became a mother-on-a-mission. I was determined to find someone, anyone, who could help her. I knew any of the doctors we had seen up to this point would prescribe her a steroid cream, but I just didn't want to go that route again. And to this day I don't know what, other than God and the fact that we had exhausted so many other options, told me to start searching for a natural homeopathic doctor, but that's what I did. I spent hours finding and reading the websites of all the board certified doctors in Michigan that now practice natural medicine. I came across The Complete Wellness Center out of Grand Rapids and liked what I read. I saved their number in my phone (since it is now about 3 am) and went to bed, not that I really slept.

We went about our morning trying to comfort our daughter the best possible. The rashes did seem to ease through the night and were tolerable until about lunch time. I rearranged my day at school and got out of the classroom at exactly 9:00 to call Dr. Linda's Wellness Center. We took the first appointment available, which was two days out.

The family and friends that knew what was going on asked what we were going to do, and when I told them we were taking her to a Naturalist (not covered by our insurance), they often questioned me. Even my husband was leery of it. It seemed strange all this information about "Energy Therapy" that I read about. Supposedly, they planned on treating my daughter with lights, colors, and lasers. Honestly, I didn't know what to think but I was desperate. No amount of money, no opinion from another, nothing... nothing could keep me from trying any means possible to help my little girl (Not that that makes me any different any other loving parent out there).

So, at eight months pregnant, we packed up our daughter and set off on the three hour drive to Dr. Linda's. We spent three hours at her office going over our little one's story, muscle response testings, and energy therapy treatments. When we left the office we were all tired but hopeful.

We went home that night... put pajamas on our little girl, tucked her in bed, and sat amazed as she fell asleep without a single tear. After nearly three weeks of going to bed screaming every night, she went to bed that night without even the slightest fuss.

As the nights went on, the rashes continued to improve and we even returned to a normal diet. We did go back to Dr. Linda's for one more treatment after noticing a slight sensitivity to raw dairy still. But I tell you this... by the grace of God, Dr. Linda healed my daughter of her allergies.

We had tried endless traditional medicine fixes. We went against the recommendations of our family and friends. We had doubts, and we too thought that the homeopathic route was, dare I say, a little "hokey." But to this day, I stand firm on the belief that God led us to Natural Medicine to cure my daughter.

At this point, I stood looking at my medicine cabinet thinking, "What is this stuff? What good is it? If my daughter could be treated from one of the most severe list of allergies I have seen without a single drug or poke of the skin, why are we putting any of these drugs in our bodies?!"

By now, I have had my second daughter. Some co-workers at school put together a little gift bag for her arrival filled with some natural baby care soaps and lotions and a book on essential oils. Curiosity led me to attend my first "Oil Meeting" with my 6 day old baby and signed up for Young Living Essential Oils right then and there.

Young Living Essential Oils

Look at this beautiful skin!

Since this day, I have treated every single ailment our family has had with natural, essential oils. No drugs. No Side effects. Stomach aches, ear aches, head aches, teething, scrapes, cuts, burns, and even allergies!

I continue to attend as many of our Young Living Oil meetings as possible, where I have learned how to better use the oils, and just recently how to make healthier food choices. With my new career change as a Stay-at-home-mom, I am now able to begin diving into the Organic eating world. I know it is a journey worth making because what we put in and on our body, despite its approval by the FDA, or a doctor, or a family member, or even despite us knowing it, does effect our health. I know that my family is happier and healthier because of Natural Medicine, Essential Oils, Organic Foods, and, above it all, the God that has led us this far.

(Please note that laying in leaves was a huge "no-no" when she had allergies)

From here... onward to healthier living. It is my prayer that our story would inspire others to make natural choices for true and healthy living. Feel free to contact me with any questions or comments as we do this thing called life together!

to be continued...


  1. God is SO good!!! Your journey is long from over and will only get better as time goes on. With new ailments will come new discoveries, and most importantly, the ability to bless others with your story as it is being written. Blessings are sure to follow your family on this path and THANK YOU for sharing...other mothers need all the encouragement they can get!

  2. Hi Rachel - My Mom, Lynn Czap - referred me to your blog. My daughter has been having some allergic reactions to different foods for a while now, and I'm interested in Dr. Linda. Sarah (my daughter) just turned 1 and is showing some reactions to milk and the newest one is eggs. Would you mind emailing me so I can ask you some more questions? My email is Thanks! Glad I got to read your blog!