by Kris Vaughan, CH
A mother's story of desperation and discovery
She was seven years old, a beautiful little girl with the most contagious smile and angelic giggle. She was mischievous; I had to follow her around the house cleaning her crayon artwork off the walls on a daily basis. She was a cuddle bug; hugs were in large supply and she would climb right in my lap like she had all the right in the world to be there at whatever moment she chose. Then she woke one morning and the bright and happy little girl was changed.
My daughter woke up with a tummy ache. I know, lots of children get tummy aches, but I sensed this one was different. I sent her to school and hoped for it to subside. Halfway through the school day I was called to come and pick her up. She didn’t feel like eating and she went to bed with her tummy ache. My little girl was tiny at seven years old; she only weighed about 35 pounds, so missing meals was not healthy for her. After 4 days of the stomach pain, no appetite, and each day missing more and more school, I took her to the pediatrician to figure out what was wrong.
The Doctor’s Way
The pediatrician’s answer was to place her on an antacid. I wasn’t pleased with this but the doctor knows best, right? After two weeks and no reduction in the tummy pain, we returned to the pediatrician. Now she ordered some blood tests to check for infections. Negative for everything. She then ordered a CT scan and an MRI of her belly. Nothing. Next was an Upper GI. Now, this is a nasty enough procedure for an adult, not to mention how hard it is for a small child. After a negative Upper GI we were then sent for an endoscopy which required general anesthesia. It is terrifying to watch your tiny little girl sink into the sleep of anesthesia. Guess what the results of this procedure showed… nothing. All that was found was inflammation in the stomach but no reason why. The prescription given after each of these tests was antacids and this entire ordeal lasted almost nine months.
NINE MONTHS! Imagine for a moment how you feel with a stomach ache that makes you not want to eat and unable to sleep. Imagine that you wake with it and you go to sleep with it and that there is no food or pill that makes it any better. Imagine watching your child in this pain and being helpless to do anything about it. I was terrified, I was angry, and I was desperate. I was terrified that something serious was going on and that the doctors were missing it. I was angry that the only answer the doctors could give me wasn’t helping, and I was desperate to find a way to help her once and for all.
Advice from a Friend
At this time, a friend who had been watching this process offered me some advice. She used a lot of natural medicines and she gave me a few suggestions of things to try. They were simple things, in my mind, and couldn’t possibly make a difference, but I opted to try them anyway. It couldn’t hurt and my other options weren’t working either, so what the heck. After three days of the things she recommended, my little girl woke up pain free. ZERO pain. NONE. She was bubbly, bright, and HUNGRY. I had to stop for a moment and admit to myself that there just might be something to this natural way. It obviously worked, but why? How? So I began my research.
The “simple” things that she recommended were foreign to me then, yet seem so normal to me now. Here is what we tried:
- Probiotics to rebuild beneficial bacteria in the gut
- Aloe Juice to reduce inflammation, help with constipation, and support normal bacteria in the gut
- Fish Oils to reduce inflammation and support the function of the cells in the digestive tract
- Marshmallow Capsules (the root of the marshmallow plant, not the white fluffy treat we eat in s’mores) to soothe the inflamed stomach tissue and assist in healing and rebuilding healthy tissue
The Life-Changing Shift
Of all these things, I was most drawn to the plants during my research and was amazed at the information I was finding on the long history of using plants as medicine and how effective it has been for centuries. I was amazed at how communities all over the world would know to use the same plants for the same health conditions even before there was written documentation of their uses. I was completely blown away by the significant change in my daughter in such a short period of time and I knew that this was where my next path would take me. So, I enrolled in a course to study western herbalism and my life, and that of my family, was completely changed.
I am happy to say that my little girl is now fifteen and doing awesome. She has not had a relapse of her tummy issue and she loves taking herbs when she needs them. After learning to use herbs, I now can care for 95% of the health issues that may happen in my family at home using herbs and we only see the doctor when it is a situation beyond my scope of knowledge or tools. We went from being at the doctor’s office several times a year to only visiting the doctor once every couple of years. We also do not contract the common colds and flu as often as we used to now that we use herbs and good nutrition for maintaining health.
I am eternally grateful for the advice of my friend on that day eight years ago; it forever changed the way I care for my family. I then went on to work as a clinical herbalist in private practice so that I could help others who were struggling to find their own answers to their chronic health conditions and who were losing hope in the contemporary medical system.
I have recently been called to teach and share what I know. This sharing empowers others to find their own answers and their own power to heal and care for their health by using herbs and natural remedies. Each student that comes to my classes has a story that is so similar to mine. They each have had an experience of feeling lost in a system that has no answers or being given pharmaceuticals that made their situation worse. They come to class seeking another way, a more effective way, a natural way, and they find this through herbalism.
A Change of Your Own
If you have a story like mine, if you know in your gut that there must be another way, then my classes are for you. In each class, you will discover the powerful healing that comes from plants and how you can access this yourself. You will find a simple, effective, sustainable system of health care that doesn’t require high premiums and co-pays or doctor referrals, it simply requires your desire to be open to the chemical, emotional, and spiritual medicine offered to us by plant medicine.
Learn more about herbalism classes HERE
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