Beauty to me is being comfortable in your own skin. That or a kick ass red lipstick! Gwyneth Paltrow
My ex-husband, Louis, and I adopted our daughter, Chloe, from China when she was 10 months old. Louis fell in love with her immediately. However, when the Chinese adoption officials placed her in my arms,I did not feel the same degree of love that I had felt four years before when the nurses laid my sleepy first born son on my chest. I felt a responsibility to take care of her like you would a puppy or kitten, I thought, "there must be something wrong with me", until the night, I literally felt my love for her bloom inside my chest.
This is how it happened. One evening, after dinner, I took Chloe for a walk by myself. I was feeling overwhelmed, sad and homesick and couldn't bear one more night hanging out in our lonely hotel room. I loaded her into a front baby carrier, facing out, and set off on a walk through the hilly neighborhoods of Chongquing. Her tiny bare feet kick-drummed my hip bones and she kept up a constant babbling dialogue with herself and every passersby who stopped to ask in broken English "Is it a boy or girl?" and "What is her name?" I would mispronounce "nu" (female in Mandarin) and her Chinese name, "Aihua". My reply would always elicit a huge smile and nod and they would reach out to still her kicking feet, saying "ni hao Aihua". I could feel my heart with each interaction grow one additional size. By the time I walked back into the hotel lobby that night, my love for her was as strong as any mother's love could be.
In Chinese, Aihua means "love flower". This name fits Chloe to a "T". She is full of love, kindness and joie de vivre and with her dark brown hair, doe-shaped eyes and tea-stained skin (the opposite of my freckled complexion), she is more beautiful than any flower. Unfortunately, her beauty is marred by painful, red, itchy patches of inflamed skin - Chloe has been plagued by chronic eczema since almost the moment we stepped off the plane in America. Her eczema keeps her awake at night, forces her to wear socks on her hands to keep from scratching in her sleep, and makes her dress in long sleeves and pants in even the hottest weather in order to hide her red and irritated skin from the world.
I have no idea what it feels like to have eczema. I know it drives her mad. Recently, I showed her a news article I had found that told the tragic story of a girl in China who killed her parents and blamed it on her eczema. I jokingly showed Chloe the article, asking, "you would never do this to us, would you?" To which she replied, "I don't know. Would I?". Did I mention she's funny?
Chloe has tried every sensitive skin lotion available. She has fallen asleep wearing long tube socks, dampened with water on her arms to hydrate her skin overnight. She has taken antihistamines and has used cortizone cream and antibiotic lotion. She has smeared the inside of an aloe plant all over her skin. She takes a nightly shower before bed to rinse away environmental allergens. One doctor inexplicably recommended bleach baths. This did not heal her eczema, though it did keep my tub shiny clean! Her bedroom door is always closed so her room is cat-free and we wash our clothes with detergent that has no artificial colors or scents. Nothing really has helped.
This past year, we finally found an allergist who correctly diagnosed her condition. She has an oral allergy syndrome where proteins in specific fruits, vegetables and tree nuts cause a cross reaction,and she has an over growth of yeast in her gut. Chloe had to change her diet. No more common fruits such as apples, nectarines or plums, no more hazelnuts or almonds, and she had to limit her sugar and gluten intake and other foods that feed yeast.
She started taking a daily probiotic (She takes Plexus's Probio 5) to combat the yeast in her gut and Vitamin D which reduces inflammation and strengthens skin barriers.
The combination of her new diet, Probio5 and Vitamin D have finally worked! When she cheats on her diet, or forgets to take her Vitamin D and/or Probio5, she immediately suffers the results. When on her diet, her skin is clear and itch free. It is almost miraculous how much this new diet has helped. She also uses Plexus Body Cream which has activated charcoal. Unlike a lot of lotions made for eczema, it doesn't contain colloidal oatmeal which she is extremely allergic to.
She sleeps much better at night, without an annoying itch keeping her awake. And so do I - the news story about the girl driven to murder by eczema is now only a distant memory Thank God.