This is Gwyneth with her doggie friend who also has the same illnesses as she does. Gwyneth is my 9 yr old. She was born with an incurable autoimmune disease called I.L.V.E.N., which is painful, and permanent. Unless you live with a child who has a serious illness there really is no way to describe what it is like and how it impacts the entire family. I want her story to be told so that it may help her and others who are going through this. Early this spring Gwyneth was diagnosed with a second autoimmune disease - Type One Diabetes "“ which, in Western Medical terms, means another 'incurable', managed by blood tests and insulin injections for life.
Every day of her life Gwyneth cries, sleeps for only hours at a time, spends huge amounts of time in baths, and uses a tube of cream daily in an attempt to get some relief. Her skin illness covers 1/4 of her body and is mostly visible to everyone. She receives comments such as "Oh my God that is revolting!" from children and adults, has been told to leave swimming pools, and misses school and activities due to the pain. When she was diagnosed with Diabetes Type One she was in shock. She asked "Why do I get everything bad?" One day she cried so long I thought she would never stop and she asked me "Why would God allow this?"
At Sick Kids she was told that she would live with this rare and incurable illness for life. Soon after, she received an update from her skin specialist, and told there had been no progress. The Dr.s were caring, but the message was not very hopeful and Gwyneth really took that in. She also heard some scary facts about Type One Diabetes - the dangers of lows and highs, coma, seizures, and other complications. I cannot answer her questions. It indeed is not 'fair'. It is heart wrenching.
Neither illness has a conventional cure, so I have been searching within the Holistic and Alternative medical world. I re-mortgaged my home to take Gwyneth to Iceland to receive Balneology (with Hot Mineral Springs) to help with her skin illness. She slept for five hours one night for the first time in her life! Gwyneth's condition is so serious that the springs could not cure her, but helped. I use homeopathic skin cream to give her some relief. This runs in the hundreds of dollars every month, as Gwyneth must use so much. And the costs go on. Each time I pursue an idea, I must pay the practitioners and supplements myself. This is leading into serious debt and I am a single parent.
Diabetes can lead to all sorts of other health complications. From the Mayo Clinic, "Type 1 diabetes can affect major organs in your body, including heart, blood vessels, nerves, eyes and kidneys. Keeping your blood sugar level close to normal most of the time can dramatically reduce the risk of many complications. Long-term complications of type 1 diabetes develop gradually, over years. The earlier you develop diabetes "” and the less controlled your blood sugar "” the higher the risk of complications. Eventually, diabetes complications may be disabling or even life-threatening." Some complications include amputations, heart disease and stroke, nerve damage, retinopathy, kidney disease, foot problems, sexual dysfunction, miscarriage and still-birth. This is not the path I wish any person to have to travel, and believe with holistic care we can improve a Diabetics odds of better health.
I need to take Gwyneth to a Medical Clinic in Arizona that Dr. Gabriel Cousens created. He is a Western MD and is Holistic. He created The Tree of Life centre in order to treat diabetes. He has been successfully treating Type Two Diabetes for some time and has recently started to take Type One patients - however, Gwyneth is on a waiting list and may not be seen for awhile. From The Tree: "Based on 35 years of experience of treating diabetes naturally, this program is masterfully designed for the comprehensive healing of this chronic, degenerative syndrome in which high blood sugar is just a symptom."
There is some funding for the western medical model, but none for Holistic treatments. Holistic Treatments can make such a difference for the quality of life to individuals suffering from 'Incurables' and I believe that the future needs to hold a space for an integrative approach to these tough cases. I have been astonished at the level of suffering that we experience as a family with autoimmune illness. Families need to have a support group, and greater accessibility to Holistic Care.
Gwyneth needs $25,000 for Dr. Cousen's treatment plan. She is 5th on the wait list! This amount would cover travel and accommodation, consultation, testing, some treatment, and education that I must receive. This education I can begin as soon as there is enough funding, and then I won't have to wait to start her treatment process. I can start applying the information and learning to Gwyneth immediately!
Please help my cause, my child and many more children in the future.
Sharon Oliver, Gwyneth's mother.
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