A mother's story of hope

My son was recently diagnosed as having sickle cell anemia. He is two years old. I knew that I had the trait and a trait of thalassimia but I did not know that his father also had the trait.

The information that the hospital gave us to read before we received the test results explained that all the children diagnosed with sickle cell were given a daily dosage of antibiotics, a hepatitis B shot and a flu shot. That was to prevent infections. The material also explained about the various signs and symptoms of a crisis, infections and strokes. When I asked about alternative treatments, I was told that I could treat alternatively but that my son has to take antibiotics daily, even though I read that the antibiotics did not guarantee he would be infection free.

When I phoned the sickle cell association in another city, I was told not to antagonize the doctors at the Children's Hospital. We were just to go along with whatever they decided was good for our child.

My husband and I decided that we would not allow our child to have the hepatitis B shot or the flu shot and most importantly, not the antibiotics.

We are both aware that antibiotics impair the immune system and as they are no longer effective against the germs and viruses they were created to kill; stronger and stronger antibiotics have to be used. We did not want this for our child.

Before we took our child to see the haematologist at the hospital, we went to a homeopath that a friend had recommended to us. I brought along all the information that we had about sickle cell and gave it to him. He met with us for two and a half hours. He asked us many questions about our child, his eating habits, his personality, our family diet, medical history and then he gave us his suggested treatment.

My whole family's life has changed. We have radically changed our diet and life style as part of the treatment, to make things easier for our son. Our six year old drinks carrot and beet juice and also takes herbal tinctures for his immune system. We have explained to him the importance of a strong and healthy immune system in keeping both he and his brother well. We also told him that his brother had a blood disorder that we all have to take special care of him.

The most difficult part of this is making sure that I take care of myself as well instead of only caring for my son and the rest of the family.

At first I was scared and confused and also in a state of shock. I had heard of other people having sickle cell anemia but never met anyone with it. I knew my mother's friend's boyfriend smoked cannabis for the pain that he had with each crisis and that was it. I knew that I would give birth to a child with sickle. I decided that my son would be healthy and I would research as many natural treatments as I could find and afford.

Other people I speak to keep telling me that there is no cure and that he will have a crisis. I wonder if by cure they mean a traditional African herb that cures sickle cell or that there might be a herb that reduces the occurrences of the crisis by three-quarters. I have heard of someone being cured of sickle cell but not by an invasive therapy that is experimental in nature and that most people can afford. I have heard of parents being tired of the conventional treatment for sickle cell and going to their village in Africa and finding the traditional herbal treatment and bringing it back to America for their children.

I don't have a computer so I hired someone to search for natural treatments for sickle cell on the Internet. My finances are focused so I told her I could only afford two hours of research. Most of the information she found was about the conventional treatment of sickle cell and not much on alternative treatments. She found that in Cuba there is research being done on ozone therapy. A natural health practioner in the US uses prickly ash and gingko biloba, a treatment also used by the Nigerian Health Services. This reduces the number of crisis by seventy-five percent. I purchased both gingko biloba and the prickly ash bark and have included them as part of the treatment for my son.

Since we have started treating my son naturally, we see a noticeable difference in him. His appetite has increased and when I recently took him to the children's hospital he had gained three and a half pounds in one month. His eyes were once yellow and now they are completely clear; he has much more energy and he doesn't cry and cling to me as much. Before we started working with the homeopath, I thought the hospital wouldn't allow me to treat him holistically but I was wrong. They are not pleased with it because they have seen many children suffering without their treatment but they understand our position.

I am determined to keep my son healthy and also to share the information that I find with others. I have decided to start a newsletter as a way to share the information that I gather, to keep interested people updated on my son's progress and to publish other people's experiences, stories and information about alternative treatments. I have set up the African Children's Holistic Health Foundation which will research and gather information on alternative treatments for disorders and diseases that are common to children of African descent. If anyone is interested in taking the path we are using, I strongly recommend that you work with a practitioner of natural medicine. If you cannot afford the fee, you can ask if there is a sliding scale based on income. If you find the products they recommend too expensive, please contact us.

Maureen Henry

*Note: The information contained in this Web site is intended for educational pruposes only and is in no way intended for self-diagnosis or self-treatment. For health problems, consult a qualified health practitioner.
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