Search for a Cure: The Daily Life of Treatment

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The Search For a Cure series is one in which I chronicle the decision we have made to pursue treatment in effort to resolve my son’s food allergies, asthma, and environmental allergies. This post will make most sense if you start at the beginning: The Fall I Gave Up on Food Allergies.

“How is your treatment going?”

“What does the treatment look like?”

“Is it working?”

We field these and other questions on a semi-regular basis by friends, family, acquaintances, and even strangers. At the outset, we knew this particular treatment would be pique some curiosities (I was told, “You’re sounding more granola all the time!” when I tried to first describe the herbal nature of the treatment), so we try to explain it, but it’s such a foreign concept to those of us used to western medicine, that I don’t really know how to describe it well.

One of the reasons we chose to work with Dr. Li is because it became very clear to us that she had a rare quality of possessing the scientific and research background to stand on her treatment, while also intuitively, almost artistically, filling in the gaps and creating an individual treatment for each of her patients. Her patients are people, complex and unique; her approach to treatment reflects her capability to fully understand these complexities accordingly.

Our protocol is different than probably any other patient’s. She treats each immune system like a snowflake: unique, complex, and exquisite. She willingly looks at each person through fresh lenses and creates a protocol to address the issues she sees with the building blocks she and her team have relentlessly researched.

The daily protocol is fairly mundane; there isn’t much to report on a regular basis. But since treatment for allergies and asthma is a newer concept in itself, I thought I’d give a little glimpse into what our treatment looks like right now.
Search for a Cure: The Daily Life of Treatment for AllergiesThe pills. There are pills. Lots of pills. Most of them are capsules, which Zachary doesn’t mind taking because they go down easily and are rather tasteless. The tablets, though, he says are bitter and he always saves them for last. He currently takes more than 40 pills each day (it took us several months to ramp up to this dosage) with each herb specifically focusing on a particular piece of the treatment. Some of the herbs are used to help lower IgE, some target internal inflammation.

The soaks. Dr. Li believes strongly that the body does not absorb all it can and should just through swallowing medications, so her patients absorb the herbs through the skin as well via herbal soaks in the tub each day.

The cream. Just as the herbal soaks expose the body to the healing properties of the herbs through the skin, the cream is meant to do the same. After his soak, we lather up to allow his body to absorb the herbs while he sleeps.

All of the above is a daily regimen that our entire family has committed to for at least three years. It’s easy to fantasize about resetting an immune system and resolving all allergic conditions. It’s another thing completely to commit to the cost of the treatment whole-heartedly.

We are coming up on a year in treatment and so far, Zachary has happily complied with all of the treatment requirements – but it also requires a single-mindedness out of each family member. Soon we will have annual labs drawn – we hope for the best and prepare for disappointment. One year in is still early yet to expect significant changes. Here’s hoping that Zachary’s daily determination is rewarded with good news.

In the meantime, you can read about our six-month blood draw results here.

Tiffany Self

Tiffany Self is a wife, mom to "Z", and a lover of words. In an ironic twist, she is an English class dropout who now writes for a living. Tiffany is a freelancer in the Chicago suburbs by way of Seattle and Southern Oregon. She writes about her journey of parenting a child with multiple severe food allergies, asthma, and environmental allergies. You can follow her on Twitter or Instagram.

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