Happy fifth birthday, Boo Bear! I love the way you love me...you are so tender and sweet, picking me flowers, telling me I'm beautiful, noticing if I have a pretty outfit on, giving me hugs. Look out, ladies! You and I have come a long way since you were born. We've grown healthier in both mind and body. When I was pregnant with you and your brother and sister, your Heavenly Father gave me a single word for each of you. Yours was "compassion". I'm excited to see how He fulfills that promise as you grow.

Benji's Story

Shortly after Benji was born, my father-in-law was diagnosed with esphageal cancer. My pregnancy with Benji had been stressful also. I had had several bad colds, the flu, and a sinus infection. I was also working about 30 hours a week in a fast-paced job as a hairstylist.

As my father-in-law's cancer worsened, so did Benji's health. By 3 months he had open, weeping sores on 70% of his body. Our M.D. said he had eczema and referred us to a dermatologist who prescribed the typical steroid creams and promised a childhood of itchiness.
As soon as the cream would clear up a patch of skin, the eczema would flare back up worse than before.

We were putting socks on his hands to prevent him from scratching at his skin, and could hardly touch any part of his body, for fear of infecting the open sores. It was torture.

One night, I was sitting on the couch nursing Benji and I cried and screamed out to the Lord. "Why?? Why me, why my little baby?? What's wrong with him?" I was desperate and angry. The next morning I made a big, and what would be life-changing, decision.

My uncle is a Naturopath, a doctor that studies natural medicine. The natural medicine field looks at the human body as a working system instead of a series of symptoms, like conventional medicine often does. I knew that he had to have some answers for me, since our pediatrician and dermatologists didn't.

I took some time off from my job, packed Benji and Alec up in the car, took my mom, and headed out of state for an indefinite period of time. Marvin stayed home to work and be with his very ill father.

We learned so much on that trip about Benji's little body and what was causing his skin to malfunction. Through a series of tests using what is called Applied Kineseology (email me if you're curious) we discovered Benji's massive list of sensitivities. He was even sensitive to the arsenic and antibiotics that are fed to commercial chickens.

Disposable diapers, plastic, bleach, most laundry detergent, hair styling products, new carpet, fresh paint, silicone, corn, eggs, wheat, dairy, oats, apples, most nuts, and citrus were among others.

I was devastated and very relieved at the same time. We also learned that my body was extremely toxic from working in the hair salon for so many years and Benji's body was toxic because of it. The combination of him trying to rid himself of the toxins and being so sensitive to many things I was consuming and using, had sent his system into overload.
I truly believe that this is one child that was spared a life of severe illness or possibly death by our diligent research and choice to not vaccinate.

We made two trips to see my uncle and an associate of his, and we learned some acupressure routines to preform on Benji to help him detox more quickly.

During this time, Marvin and I grew farther and farther apart. I was totally consumed by my quest for health with Benji, and Marvin was totally consumed by his bedside vigilance with his dad. I remember one night, I had worked all day, picked up the boys and was playing with them on the floor. Marvin came in the door from work, changed and walked back out the door to drive the 40 minutes to the hospital where his dad was. "Please don't go tonight!", Alec and I pleaded tearfully. I'll never forget that feeling of total abandonment as the door shut behind Marvin. The feeling of being totally alone, that Marvin was choosing his dying father over his wife and two boys.

Since I was breastfeeding, I needed to stop eating all the foods that Benji was sensitive to. That meant a complete lifestyle change. Not that we didn't eat healthfully before, but this required an even more pristine diet. For months, I ate nothing but brown rice, beans, veggies, organic chicken, goat cheese, and fruit, and IT WORKED!!! Little by little, Benji's skin returned to normal.

As Benji's health improved, Marvin's dad went into hospice. I began an even harder phase of being overjoyed that Benji was healing and we had some answers, and greiving over the impending loss of my father-in-law and the crumbling of my marriage.

When my father-in-law went to be with Jesus, I went through the motions of being the supportive wife like a robot. I really had no feelings of my own for Marvin, only the choices that I made minute by minute to love him and pray for him.

They say time heals, and Benji healed in time, but my marriage did not. We grew farther and farther apart. Threats to sleep on the couch or go stay with our parents became more common. We were co-existing only. Like partners in a business deal. The business of parenting and running a household.

I wish I could tell you that there was some dramatic event that changed our course and threw us together, but I can't. What I can tell you is this: we prayed. We prayed and we were prayed for. We sought counsel from our church and began to recognize our faults. We began to pray for each other and had many nights of weeping and confessing hurts and forgiving.

In about a year's time, we went from plastic cake-topper spouses, back to real, flesh-and-blood soulmates, like we began. We have forgiven each other completely, our love has deepend and has a richness that only comes with time and the healing of hurts.
I know without a doubt that our Heavenly Father created Marvin and I to be together, and He honored our pleas and re-united us as one.

Benji is a daily reminder to us of what we've been through and how far we've come. He is so healthy and always has such a sweet, happy spirit about him. He continues to be sensitive to many of the things on the list, but we've been told that it's quite possible that he'll outgrow most of it. We're also praying for supernatural healing because we know that God is mighty and capeable!

3 readers took time to leave a thought:

Sara Kay January 23, 2009 at 10:45 PM  

Wow. what an incredible story. thanks for sharing it! we are praying for supernatural healing as well - been listening to lots of teaching about it, and my faith is great that we will eventually be healed.

Faith Hope Love Mama January 24, 2009 at 11:31 AM  

Thanks for sharing Shelly. Hope he had a wonderful birthday.

I have a dear friend that has a 6 yr old son that sounds like Benji. He still has to wear socks on his hands so he doesn't scratch himself raw. He's had some allergy testing but I'm trying to get her to go to my chiro. He uses applied kinesiology. That's what he used to test Ian and Mara. I so believe in this stuff. I've seen it work. I don't understand it all but it has changed us.

Again, thanks for sharing and the pic of you Ava is adorable!! Hope you have a great weekend.

4 Little Men and Girly Twins January 25, 2009 at 11:16 PM  

So glad you shared your story... i knew most of it but not all. It's so amazing to look back at the trials and hard times and see how it changed us and where we are now. God has such an amazing plan for each one of us.... it's just hard sometimes. :)


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