Updated: Sep 6
Thalia had her own health struggles too. After she was given antibiotics she would have severe outbreaks of an autoimmune disorder called psoriasis that would leave red, scaly blotches on her skin. She broke out head to toe in psoriasis no matter which antibiotic was prescribed. Research has shown there is a tie between the health of the gut microbiome and autoimmune dysfunctions like psoriasis. A recent study defined a clear difference between the makeup of the microbiome in subjects with psoriasis and those without psoriasis. Additional studies support a connection between the gut microbiome and the autoimmune responses that underlie many skin conditions including psoriasis. Knowing that dietary changes can alter the makeup of the microbiome, it stands to reason that the dietary changes we as a family were undertaking would help Thalia’s skin problems. The psoriasis would last for many months, and yet again, the pediatrician only prescribed topical creams—which did nothing. Along with the changes in diet, I started researching and found that sunlight could also help in the near term. Thalia endured teasing about her "skin pimples” and she would come home crying. It happened to be summer, so we immediately ushered her outdoors and made her play in our backyard—wearing only her underwear. After a few days, the psoriasis was gone! However, while I was happy the psoriasis spots were gone, I’ve learned that the sunlight treats only the spots (the symptom) and does not cure the root problem.
The following year Tula was prescribed antibiotics yet again. We had saved up enough credit card reward points to finance a trip to Disney World! We knew that we couldn’t skip the probiotics/fermented drinks even for one day. So whenever we traveled, we would pack a few bottles of coconut kefir, cultured veggie juice, and probiotic pills in an insulated cooler bag with an ice pack in our suitcase. When we left for a week, we would ship a cold container to the hotel. We would always stick to the diet while out of town as well. When we went to Disney, we packed food to bring into the park, then supplemented that by eating turkey legs and veggies.
Unfortunately, that greatly anticipated trip became a nightmare when Tula tripped over Thalia’s foot while walking in Tomorrowland. She smacked her forehead right on the concrete pavement. When she stood up with blood trickling down her face, I knew she would need stitches. Disney’s private ambulance rolled in and took her to the ER. The doctor said that since it was such a bad cut she should see a plastic surgeon the following day. When the doctor spoke with the surgeon, he prescribed antibiotics so the cut wouldn’t get infected while leaving the wound open for a day. No, no no no no. I asked the doctor if it was necessary and she said he wouldn’t do the stitches if Tula wasn’t on the antibiotics.
Mike and I took the prescription and gave each other a look, meaning, We’re going to try everything in our power to skip this. Were we confident about our decision? Hell no. I was once again a wreck for the next few days—a wreck for not knowing whether or not it was the right decision, but also due to Tula's crying. Our compromise was to put topical antibiotics on the cut instead, meaning we had to keep peeling off the Band-Aid to reapply it, which was not comfortable for Tula. When we arrived for the surgery, the surgeon asked us before he started stitching if Tula was on the antibiotic. We lied and Tula received the stitches. She never did get an infection.
Now you may be thinking that I’m anti-antibiotic. Not at all the case! I know, because of my own health struggles, that they can be life-saving. We learned to question the doctors, do our own research, and go with our gut. Years later she developed scarlet fever and I didn’t hesitate to put her on antibiotics. We knew how to restore her gut microbiome to a healthy state afterwards.
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