Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Going Green the Hard Way Part 1: The Purge!

Goodbye Stockpile, I'll miss you!

About two years ago my life changed forever when my son came into this world.  My life changed forever, so much for the better.  I looked forward to a life with my two children, playing and loving and just doing the best I could by them.  To be the best mom I could possibly be.

Then, when my son was two months old, my life got a bit more complicated.  I had to go to war.  With my son's skin.  Red blotchy patches started to break out all over his body to the point he looked sun burned.  He cried constantly and itched to the point he looked like he had gone into a battle with a raspberry bush.  My daughter had had sensitive skin when she was tiny, so I went through the same processes I'd gone through with my daughter.  Only one thing worked out differently.  Nothing I tried worked.  At seven months my son still had not had any vaccinations because his skin was so bad the doctor was worried it would result in an infection. 

I cut fabric softener back out of our laundry habits (my daughter's skin had gotten tough enough as she'd gotten older that I was able to go back to using some) right away, slathered him down with every moisturizer known to man (I think I spent about 2000.00 in moisturizers through the years I kid you not), I tried switching to another free and clear laundry detergent.  The pediatrician even put him on a special formula to try and see if he was allergic to milk products and to hopefully help clear up his skin and stop the horrible GERD he'd had since he was two days old.  The formula did work over the next two months.  To clear up a lot of his GERD issues.  His skin continued to get worse.  His skin started to crack and bleed.  Every time he'd stretch his hands out he'd re-open wounds and cry and I'd cringe in pain right along with him.  And nothing I tried to do to help him worked.

So we went to the dermatologist when he was almost 8 months old. They gave us steroid creams and sent us home, asking us to come back when we needed to with a list of instructions that we followed to the letter.  Less than a year later we were back with his skin breaking out from scalp to the bottom of his feet.  The dermatologist  gave us about five medications to slather on him every day and his skin cleared up for the most part.  Until about three months ago.  So, less than a year after we were last at the dermatologist I have to make an appointment for my son again because his hands and feet are cracking and bleeding.

And then there is my daugther, who was fine until literally the day my son came home from the hospital.  Her eye swelled up while with my mother-in-law.  Panicked that it might be meningitis (one of my sister-in-laws had the disease when she was small), my mother-in-law and husband rushed her to the ER.  After an epi-shot and some benadryl they sent her home. And the problem had persisted until every day the last couple of months my daughter needed Benadryl to keep her eyes from swelling every day.  So we went to an allergist, found out what she was allergic to just yesterday and we're trying to help her through that.

It was when Arm & Hammer changed their formula and I found out the hard way by having my son's and daughter's skins break out on me about a month ago that I decided I'd had enough.  I was tired of depending on companies to come up with products to help my children and keep those formulas the same so that their skin wouldn't break out.  I was tired of my son going to bed every night only to wake up in 45 minutes itching and crying.  Honestly, I was just frustrated, tired and determined to do SOMETHING.

So, I decided to "go green" and just purge ANYTHING out of my children's environment that I could that might hurt them.  I started using Heartsy hot and heavy to get soaps with ingredients I could pronounce and skin care products that were good for the skin (unscented if I could find it) off of different sellers on Etsy.  I ordered an all natural cleaning kit from one shop on Etsy (more on that stuff in later posts) and as soon as it came in I started the purge.  Above is the picture of the "beginning" of what I like to call "Operation:  Allergen Scorched Earth".  Anything with a commercial scent went in the box (the method hand soap did stay because that stuff is awesome and doesn't dry my daughter's skin out.  The laundry soap is out because it irritates her eyes).  Anything that I'd found to be the LEAST bit irritating to the kid's skin went in the box (well boxes).  Anything that I looked at and had caustic warnings on went in the box.  Anything that didn't HAVE an ingredient label on it went in the box.   And it goes on.

I never had any desire to live a "greener healthier lifestyle", but you know what?  For the sake of my children I'd walk through Hell barefoot without a second thought.  So, I figured, why was I using things that could potentially cause them pain to clean my house or wash our bodies?  For what excuse?  To save some money and maybe get my house a little cleaner?  That just didn't make good sense.  When the allergist and the dermatologist were thrilled to hear about my lifestyle changes, I knew I was doing the right thing.

And so the purging continues.

Stick with me on this roller coaster as I try and find good sources for more natural alternatives (or just plain BETTER) to what I'd previously thought of as "normal" and try to get into an all new way of life.  I hope that by sharing this I might help some others whose children (or themselves) suffer from eczema or allergies and maybe we can find some things that WORK to help us all.

To war, my comrades!  This one I'm going to win!


BEFFY! said... should have a little "cleaning" out garage sale! :)

Alaskan Bargain Hunter said...

You know, I would. Except between my neighbors (one of which runs an assisted living facility :) and my sister-in-law I'm pretty sure that 99.9% of everything is going to get used, so I'm happy with that. Between that and a friend who moved up here suddenly with her two kids, I'm thinking that I'm not going to need to sell anything and it'll go to people who will use it. It works for me :).