Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Pediatric Pyogenic Granuloma Alternative Treatment

Normally, I aim to be more creative with my titles, but this is something I want people to find. So the keywords "pediatric pyogenic granuloma", "alternative", and "treatment" are all used intentionally. 
Pediatric pyogenic granulomas are defined here on eMedicine by Brian Keene, DO, as benign vascular lesions on the face. 

June 2017

My son was 22 months at the first sign of this growth under his left eye, just to the side of the bridge of his nose. It started as a red mark, kind of like a freckle. At first, I attributed it to a scratch he may have gotten while playing outside in the backyard and didn't do much more than put a bit of shea butter or calendula cream on it to help heal. It continued to grow beyond the skin like a bright red pimple. At a late night doctor visit in July for a persistent fever, the doctor quickly identified it as a pyogenic granuloma and said he would need to see a dermatologist to cut it off. My instinct always is to start with simple and natural solutions to support the body's already capable and amazing immunity and design. This is when the search began. I spent a solid 4 weeks trying to find as much information about the causes, related illnesses, potential treatments and their side effects. Everything I read pointed to surgically removing it and cauterizing the wound to prevent it from growing back. I also read in multiple places that these growths more than likely return and need a second or possibly third procedure. 

August 1, 2017 
On the eve of his second birthday, my husband and I decorated his doorway with balloons and streamers and went to bed late. After falling asleep, I heard Max cry out to me. By the time, I got out of bed, he was standing calmly in his doorway with a face full of blood. The pyogenic granuloma had grown so big that it was now larger than the size of a pencil eraser and full of blood. He had somehow ruptured it while sleeping and now we stood in the bathroom with rolls of toilet paper and turmeric powder trying to create a clot to stop the constant flow. It was a bummer that he had to discover his awesome birthday balloon doorway in the middle of the night, all sleepy and confused. 
It took a few weeks for us to find and then get an appointment with a pediatric dermatologist that was covered by my insurance. I have a vivid memory of being on the plane (I work as a flight attendant and was on call the day of the appointment) on the phone with the nurse at the dermatologist office trying to discuss alternatives from what they told by husband was the only way to go, slice and burn. The nurse argued with me until she knew I was unrelenting. Once the doctor was on the phone, I told him of a study I had found that recommended a topical application of Timolol gel. I sent him a copy and he agreed we could try it. He prescribed Timolol in a eyedrop application. I asked about it, and so did the pharmacy, but he insisted that is what he wanted to prescribe. So, we gave it a go and it kept growing and breaking and bleeding and growing and breaking and bleeding...till I felt so heartbroken for this strong, patient little boy who stood still while I put the drops on with fresh Cars bandaids. 

September 2017
The first surgical procedure was in September. My son acted like all of it was no big deal, didn't shed a single tear and watched Elmo's World the whole time. The adults in the room were far more worked up than him. It bled so much that the doctor had a hard time cauterizing it. After the surgery, we kept it covered in Neosporin, following the doctor's suggestion. It started to grow back after a few weeks. My heart sunk realizing that this growth was not going away. At the follow up appointment, doctor had us a schedule a second surgical procedure. So, in November we went back. This time we were armed with Elmo's World and a blanket from home. My husband and I were still nervous, though not very much. We thought it would be easy and simpler because it was smaller. On the contrary, Max was vividly aware of every step of the procedure and put up an intensely raw struggle. I had to hold him still with my arms, legs, and body. I remember looking at the wall because I couldn't bear to look into his eyes, holding him with the arms I protect him with, feeling like I betrayed him. Once it was over, he was okay. I was not. I knew that this was not the answer. 
And, then, yes, it grew back a third time. Even after applying Imiquimod topically for weeks. When I followed up with the doctor and asked him what alternatives he had, he took out his phone and looked it up, reading out a variety of additional invasive procedures from a list he found. Please know, this whole time, I'm still searching for answers in online forums, Facebook groups, and medical journals. I felt that I was more informed than him, or that at least I was actively trying to find a better solution while he was methodically applying the same old. 
This next part is the important part for you, the human, who is looking for a better answer. I remembered that I had choices and I listened to my gut. This is a tough step. It's so simple, it's hard. 
March 2018
Some of my sweet friends recommended applying frankincense oil and I started keeping it consistently covered, six to eight times a day. Thanks to a recommendation from a fellow mom on the Las Vegas Very Natural Mamas Facebook group, I contacted Dr. Angela Stueber at True Health Acupuncture. She admitted that she had never dealt with a pyogenic granuloma and wanted to research and contact her mentor. Yes! She got back to me within the week and agreed to work with us. At this time, the PG was the size of a chia seed and the scar from the second cauterization was raw and had never properly healed because of the Imiquimod treatment. Six weeks later, the PG is gone and his scar is healing beautifully. I won't be naive enough to assume this is the end. I keep a watchful eye on it every day and continue to apply frankincense and helichrysum oils to it directly.
I hope this story helps you. 

Infinite gratitude to my first born for being a teacher in strength and patience. It was scary it times, but you always kept calm and trusted me to take care of you. I have no choice but to live up to your trust. You are so loved. 

Monday, April 18, 2016

Thoughts on Grandparents Part II

My sleeping bag, ukelele, camera, and the baby's diaper bag are by the door ready for tomorrow morning. We'll rise with the sun and while Max hums his morning tune, I'll brush my teeth and remember to bring my pillow. Seven hours later, after long thoughtful Nevada spaces, we'll arrive at St. Mary's, the place where I was born, to see you.
You're not sure if it's worth it anymore; you may have even made up your mind that it is not, but this morning, while they loaded you into the ambulance, cussing and fighting, GranD told you that it wasn't your time yet, Sammy's on his way. We'll be there this time tomorrow. Max will make you smile and maybe breathe a little easier.
I've heard the whispers from your sister, brothers, your daughter, reassuring me that they are there for you with strength and freedom. Thank you for preserving your point of view through numerous angles and lenses. You are loved in an infinite sense.

Saturday, May 9, 2015

Generations of Thought - Or, Reflections on How to Talk to the Elderly

Letter to My Grandparents:

What I understand about you and your view on the world is as useful as your interpretation of mine. Sure, you've been here before, but you're not here now. And, yes, I'll be there one day too, but I'm not there yet. As your grandchild and future great-grandchild, we come as a package right now, I know how important it is for me to be with you at this time. No matter how much time has passed between then and now or between the two (three) of us, Life is universal. This kicking and punching fetus is as alive in me as my mother and father were in my grandmothers. Making that connection with you is so important to me. I am grateful for the years between us because they are what make this bond stronger and even more important. I hope that this kid has the privilege of growing up around you, just like I did. Thank you for your time, your lessons, and your love.

Letter to Self When I Find Out I'm A Great-Grandparent:
Don't remind your grandchild and future great-grandchild about how close you are to death every 10 minutes. This is a fact, a reality, that I am sure they are aware of, perhaps not as painfully as you, but they know it.
Your stuff is not important to your grandchild, you are. Whoever gets what after you die is irrelevant.
Try not to reveal too much information about your bathroom habits. It's true that it may become the most anticipated event of the day, but it's also true that it can be too much information.
When you say "I love you", really really feel it and mean it. Hanging baggage on those three words negates them.
Share stories about your babies and grand babies. That's the gift you have to offer.
Eat good food, go for walks every day, take care of yourself so you can share your time, your lessons, and your love as long as you are able.

Sunday, May 26, 2013

I'd like a Manhattan, please.

I can't find a picture of us together. I have pictures of her birthday cake and the balloons. I have blurry quick snaps of her with friends.
I want to know if she would have liked listening to Nina Simone, or what her favorite dessert was. What was her middle name? What did she want to be when she was 10?
I know she feels amazing right now. I know she knows she's loved.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Knowledge is power

I am an educator. Therefore, it is inherent that I believe knowledge is power, because I've seen it and experienced and nurtured it. While wasting my knowledge points on my FB feed, I came across the following three posts. They all rang that deep internal teacher gong:

"Yes, books not bombs please," says the reasonable adult. 

I finished reading Half Asleep in Frog Pajamas by Tom Robbins yesterday, which coincidentally waxes poetic about the mysterious knowledges of Timbuktu. Then, after reading this article the sensitive librarian in me sputtered with dignified outrage and then, immediately, drink a bottle of wine. 

"New fears for the city's historical treasures emerged Monday as Malian soldiers reentered Timbuktu. The mayor told the Associated Press that as extremists fled, they torched the main library stocked with ancient manuscripts, sending “the history of Timbuktu” up in flames.",0,2853548.story

And, this:

Thank you children. 

Friday, January 4, 2013

Home is...

...where you hang your hat, where your heart is...
Yesterday, I stretched my mind out so far that I felt like bursting out of my skin. I made the journey to Red Rock and as I walked among the giant bones of my ancestors, I felt at home. When I remembered what the place I call home most often felt and looked like, all I wanted was to be there. So, I left the Rocks of Red to get to the place I call home. The place with my leather couch, our coffee cups, my stash of socks, and Lou's encyclopedia set.

...where you make it, on the range...
I love it here. Las Vegas. I'm a true blue Nevadan to the core, though I've always affliated myself with the more granola Northern Nevadans being a native of Reno. I lived in Reno for the first 6 years of life. Presently, I have been a resident of Las Vegas for 16 years, going on 17 this July. Henderson was the hometime I thought I'd never find again. Whatever my mixed emotions are about the two, today I know that I could be happy here for a long time and that's an excellent feeling.
10 Jaw-Dropping Sights You Can Only See in Nevada

...Nevada, su casa...
Reading my mind in the paper this morning wherein other Las Vegans reflect on the year of Downtown 2012 and what 2013 will be the year of. All of the suggestions are equally viable and deserving. I wonder if this is the year I plant a bean seed on Water Street. 
The Year After Year of Downtown

Tuesday, January 1, 2013


Good morning 2013. Resolution #1 - Send birthday cards 
Resolution #2 - Fly more
Resolution #3 - Less screen time
So, I read this morning.

Quotes from Terrance McKenna's Food of the Gods

Permaculture Permeates:

An Insight into the Male-Female Way of Thinking and Communicating OR Why Seed Saving is Sacred:

"Women, the gatherers in the Archaic hunter-gatherer equation, were under much greater pressure to develop language than were their male counterparts. Hunting, the prerogative of the larger male, placed a premium on strength, stealth, and stoic waiting. The hunter was able to function quite well on a very limited number of linguistic signals, as is still the case among hunting peoples such as the !Kung or the Maku.
For gatherers, the situation was different. Those women with the largest repertoire of communicable images of foods and their sources and secrets of preparation were unquestionably placed in a position of advantage. Language may well have arisen as a mysterious power possessed largely by women - women who spent much more of their waking time together - and, usually, talking - than did men, women who in all societies are seen as group-minded, in contrast to the lone male image, which is the romanticized version of the alpha male of the primate troop. 
The linguistic accomplishments of women were driven by a need to remember and describe to each other a variety of locations and landmarks as well as numerous taxonomic and structural details about plants to be sought or avoided. The complex morphology of the natural world propelled the evolution of language toward modeling of the world beheld. To this day a taxonomic description of a plant is a Joycean thrill to read: 'Shrub 2 to 6 feet in height, glabrous throughout. Leaves mostly opposite, some in threes or uppermost alternate, sessile, linear - lancoelate or lanceolate, acute or acuminate. Flowers solitary in axils, yellow, with aroma, pedicellate. Calyx campanulate, petals soon caducous, obovate...' and so on for many lines.
The linguistic depth women attained as gatherers eventually led to a momentous discovery: the discovery of agriculture. I call it momentous because of its consequences. Women realized that they could simply grow a restricted number of plants. As a result, they learned the needs of only those few plants, embraced a sedentary lifestyle, and began to forget the rest of nature they had once known so well. 
At that point the retreat from the natural world began, and the dualism of humanity versus nature was born. As we will soon see, one of the places where the old goddess culture died, Catar Huyuk (pronunciation emphasises not noted) in present-day Anatolian Turkey, is the very place where agriculture may have first arisen. At places like Catal Huyuk and Jericho, humans and their domesticated plants and animals became for the first time physically and psychologically separate from the life of untamed nature and the howling unknown. Use of hallucinogens can only be sanctioned in hunting and gathering societies. When agriculturists use the plants, they are unable to get up at dawn the morning after and go hoe the fields. At that point, corn and grain become gods - gods that symbolize domesticity and hard labor. These replace the old goddesses of plant-induced ecstasy.
Agriculture brings with it the potential for overproduction, which leads to excess wealth, hoarding, and trade. Trade leads to cities; cities isolate their inhabitants from the natural world. Paradoxically, more efficient utilization of plant resources through agriculture led to a breaking away from the symbiotic relationship that had bound human beings to nature. I do not mean this metaphorically. The ennui of modernity is the consequences of a disrupted quasi-symbiotic relationship between ourselves and Gaian nature. Only a restoration of this relationship in some form is capable of carrying us into a full appreciation of our birthright and sense of ourselves as complete human beings."

Why I Choose Fungi As My Key:

"I believe that a long history of shamanic usage is the first seal of approval that one must look for when selecting a substance for its possible effects on personal growth. And if a plant has been used for thousands of years, one can also be fairly confident that it does not cause tumors or miscarriages or carry other unacceptable physical risks."

Permaculture or Die:

"Go green or die"