This post is part of a series produced by The Huffington Post and the Cancer Schmancer Movement. CSM, founded by Fran Drescher, is embarking on a major prevention program through healthy lifestyle.

My name is Tichina Arnold and on March 16, 2004, God blessed me with the most beautiful baby girl (Alijah Kai). She was perfect and as I sat gazing at her in the hospital, I wondered what had I gotten myself into.

An innocent little human being was solely dependent on me! I took all the CPR and breastfeeding classes and learned quite a bit.

I breast fed Alijah for the first four months as she thrived and grew into a healthy child … so I thought. However, I was a single mom and it was time to get back to work so I decided it was time to wean her to the bottle.

I tried my best to research baby formula and after much reading I knew that I did not want to feed her any form of animal’s milk.

I then began consulting with other moms as to alternatives. A very good friend suggested almond milk because it worked well for her two daughters because it had sufficient nutrients for healthy development. Thus, I started my baby on almond milk.

To my dismay and surprise, I was feeding her the almond milk not knowing that she washighly allergic to nuts of any kind!

Her face, arms, neck and back broke out with a horrible rash, and as tiny as she was, she was scratching fervidly. She literally looked like a monster! I took pictures to document it. Aside from the the shock that I had almost killed my baby, I quickly switched to rice milk and purified water also added the help of a topical cream. Her itching was alleviated and her skin began to slowly heal. I learned through trial and error all of the many things that my baby was allergic to… and she was only four months old.

I still had a nightmare ahead of me that I could not foresee: When she was 8 months old I was feeding her from my plate that happen to have shrimp on it. Just like mother birds feeding their young, I would chew pieces of different foods and feed them to Alijah as her taste buds grew. All of a sudden, I look down at Alijah only to see her eyes watering and her scratching at her neck while she grasped for air. I quickly picked her up and forced her to regurgitate the remains of the food. Truly, I did not know what was happening this was my first! You can only imagine my fear and panic at that moment.

After much testing, I was informed that my baby had “severe allergies” and was suffering with eczema and asthma in its severest form. Our lives immediately changed forever. I have done so much research trying my best to find a more holistic, organic and healthy way of dealing with her constant outbreaks due to eczema and asthma.

I hate the fact of Alijah having to put topical steroids in addition to ingesting them, but I am caught between the opposite worlds of holistic and western medicines.

Well here I am, nine years later still dealing with my daughter’s “severe allergies.” Even as I write this blog she is experiencing a major flare up!

Our daily morning regiment consists of her taking 1 pink pill (singular a.k.a Mounklast); 1 puffs of Advair in the morning, another puff at 5pm, 1 Zyrtec (preferable taken at night because it leaves her a bit groggy) and the applying of Desonide, Protopic, Elidel, vitamin E oil and a breathing treatment on her nebulizer containing Albuteral. Oh, did I mention that because of the eczema she scratches incessantly (sometimes with uncleaned hands) which causes major scaring and leaving her pores open to infection, which in turn causes her to suffer with boils as well? Oy Vey!

As a child, I never had any of these issues aside from allergies to dust and cats. It’s a lot to learn but I am fortunate that Alijah is a very smart, talented and happy little girl. She is loving and very affectionate and passionate about the arts. She is an amazing dancer & singer currently being trained by the best at the Debbie Allen Dance Academy and she is one of five children in a up and coming KIDZ CREWE.

I have been forced to teach her how to live with the burden of her illnesses but there are times such as this when her flare up seems uncontrollable, she constantly states, “Mom, will this ever go away? I just want to be normal.” This is very frustrating for any mother to hear her child say.

As frustrating as it is, we both have learned how to live with these dreadful illnesses and it’s nasty side effects.

I do my best to encourage Alijah by instilling in her that we must be cognizant of everything we put in and on our bodies. Oddly enough, her having eczema and asthma has forced us to be aware of living healthier lives.

I appreciate getting a plethora of information of HOW to live healthy from my friend Fran Drescher, who is fighting everyday to inform people that they can avoid so many ailments by clearing and cleaning out the many toxins that surrounds them in their work place, vehicles and homes.

If you do nothing else …Read Ingredient Labels!

If you can’t pronounce it, more than likely, you should not use it. More and more people are getting and succumbing to cancer and so many auto immune diseases. Why? We have a long road ahead of us, but I pray that we can combat every single health issue so that people can live full and healthy lives.

Source: Huffpost Healthy Living

Photo by RJL20

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