“The last weeks of July 2010, I was feeling burned out. I was wearing a lot of hats; wife, mother, volunteer, preparing for a vacation, taking the kids to lessons & summer camps – we had a lot going on, but I still pushed through the fatigue.
I let my 2 year commitment to breast feed my youngest son extend an extra couple of months past his 2nd birthday & most likely put extra pressure on my body making that tiny little bit of milk. I had some emotional stress that I was dealing with as well.
August 1st, I burnt my forearm on a frying pan & a few days later, the thick scab that had accumulated rubbed off by accident…in order keep it clean, I covered it & mistakenly used adhesive tape that wasn’t hypo-allergenic (which I’ve reacted to in the past). In turn, I got a horrible reaction surrounding the burn & thus, a cascading effect…
I started getting a rash , first showing up on my arms & lower legs. It would start to itch & if I gave in to scratch, the bumps would elevate/swell for a period of time & then come back down & turn red afterwards, often bleeding. After a month, it had spread to 75% of my body – my arms from wrists to shoulders, my legs from ankle to buttocks, my ears, jawline & neck. Later on, it moved to my stomach & sides. The itching it caused was enough to make me lose my mind – there would be small time periods of relief during the day & then insatiable itching that seemed to come from deep underneath my skin. Because of intense itching that could not be ignored, I couldn’t shave my legs for 10 weeks because I had hundreds of scabs all over them. The itching was the worst when I woke in the morning & in the evening after dinner & through the evening. I was beginning to lose sleep over it.
The first time I sought medical help, I went to a clinic & was told that that rash wasn’t anything, perhaps a minor allergic reaction. By the day, things were getting worse.The second time I went to same medical clinic, I was told to take Benedryl for a week, every 4 hours – not an easy thing to do while taking care of young children, but I was starting to feel a bit desperate, so I took the Benedryl and drowsily made my way through the week, but still…things were steadily getting worse. I felt like my body was being taken over by this reaction & I was so frustrated.
I tried a number of things at home – epsom salts & baking soda/oatmeal bath with scalding water to try to ‘burn’ the itch out. I poured calamine lotion all over my body…none of these things seemed to help. The only method I found that gave me some temporary relief was to pour baking soda in my hands, sprinkle a bit of water over it & harshly exfoliate my arms and legs. It stung like crazy & left me pasty & bleeding, but it was the only thing I could do to make the itch leave at night so I could try & sleep for a little while. By this time, there were a few hours in the night where I couldn’t sleep, although I was exhausted & I was starting to bruise from itching so deeply.
I went to the clinic of my Western family doctor, who amazingly addressed that what I was experiencing, was a problem on the inside of my body coming out. I was told I had “Adrenal Fatigue”, (the body/immunity was weakened & couldn’t deal with normal stresses properly). I was given a prescription for 30 days of Prednisone. I had researched enough about this drug for a family member in the past, to know that it might take away the skin problem, but would leave my immunity out of balance, which was already the issue? – so not very logical… but on the other hand, a life-saving drug for many other things.I wanted a second opinion, so the same day, I went to my Naturopath. I was diagnosed with the same condition. I decided to go the Naturopathic route & take the adrenal/thyroid/histamine blocker approach that they prescribed for 2 weeks, to see if anything improved & externally, it did not. My Naturopath did mention that acupuncture might help me, so I wrote down their reference to Acubalance Health & Wellness Clinic in Langley.
I felt so defeated. I was a mess. It had been almost 5 weeks of dealing with all of this. The sleep that I was losing at night was compacting. I had been proactive in making appointments & second opinions, but not getting any answers. My husband & I had spent almost $500 on Benedryl, supplements, topical agents, appointments, etc. In my heart I knew how lucky we are as Canadians to have so many medical luxuries & I didn’t want to forget that, but I was exhausted on the other hand of being my own doctor & trying to find someone who would take the time & look past selling products & services! My final step before giving in to the Prednisone prescription was going to see someone at Acubalance & looking back, I am so incredibly grateful for having been given the referral.
I initially came in for an assessment with Ryan Funk & I was blown away at how thorough he was in his questions about my medical history & his interest in putting together all of the pieces to my puzzling issue. I had acupuncture for the first time & felt a great block of relief for my itching. Upon leaving, Dr. Ryan let me know that his colleague Trevor Erikson specialized in dermatological issues & thought it best to share my case with him for my following appointment. I felt a glimmer of hope when I left, that my overall health was being considered at Acubalance.
I met with Dr. Erikson shortly after my first appointment at Acubalance. I was so emotional from my ordeal & he was genuinely sympathetic, both listening & asking fantastic questions – really endeavoring to get to the bottom of my reaction. He agreed that my body was under stress & immunity imbalanced. He let me know that because of my history of allergic skin reactions, my body might actually be having an allergic reaction to my allergic reaction!
My body was seeping histamines at an incredible rate, under my skin & it was worse in higher body temperatures. And finally, someone with a solid diagnosis! Papular Urticaria. It had already been close to 6 weeks of having this reaction & he knew that we had to get a handle on everything as there was possibility of developing a chronic condition. I felt no pressure whatsoever to take Dr. Erikson’s recommendation of prescription Chinese Medicine, which was so refreshing. He gave me all the information on both sides of treatment that I needed to make my decision.
I knew that with my particular condition, the Chinese Medicine could take 6 weeks to 6 months (worst case scenario) to see my body fully recovered. I was given the cost information up front and it was reasonable. I knew what the commitment would be for cooking the medicine… Everything I needed to know was right in front me, nothing hidden and I appreciated it so much.
I decided to give Chinese Medicine a try. With my particular tea prescription, the taste could only be described as watered-down tar – like stale cigarettes in water, aging in a barrel for a long, long time…It definitely blew “Buckley’s” out of the water! It was like nothing I’d ever experienced before, but it was working! I am very happy to say that not even 2 months into taking it, my itching & bumps were gone. (And with each period of improvement, ingredient tweaks changed the taste considerably, for the better!)
I can honestly say that I have never received medical support & treatment better than what I have had with Dr. Erikson.
Through the last few months, I’ve felt that my overall health & wellness has been the focus in all my interactions there. Dr. Erikson has kept a photographic journal of my skin reactions and shared it (with my permission) with colleagues in Europe & around the world. So not only was I getting his expertise, but also that of other trusted professionals.
In a recent monthly visit to follow up on my progress, I was shown a picture of my skin the first time it was photographed. I was amazed to see the incredible external progress – it was night & day in comparison.I receive numerous follow-up emails asking “How is your skin doing this week?” or “Do you need me to get your next dosage put together?” I have never experienced that before.
I truly feel that I am getting better care than what I am paying for. It’s fantastic that I have the option of having my tea herbs delivered right to my doorstep.I feel like I have gained a wealth of knowledge in having dialogue & having my questions answered in my appointments. I have felt respected & heard. I have been able to count on Dr. Erikson’s knowledge & honesty. I have been treated with professionalism & like family, really – I can’t say enough about how I have felt cared for.
Currently, I am slowly being weaned off the ingredients dealing with Papular Urticaria. I am confident that in a short time, I will be healed from all of this completely. I am so grateful for the gifts & proficiency of this staff in helping me achieve health & wellness.”