My Essential Oil Journey
My journey with essential oils began for my son, Danny. Like most moms, I focused all of my energy on my kids when they were young, and really stopped taking care of myself – other than my basic needs. When you have a child with special needs who is also chronically sick – the effect multiplies!
My Danny was sick often and hard when he was little; however, the biggest challenge was getting him to eat enough to sustain himself. We used to distract him with light-up musical toys and spoon food into his mouth. It was a time-consuming process and he ate every two hours. My older son, Jacob, began to resent how much time and attention it took to feed Danny, and he began acting out when I fed him. We went to a “feeding counselor” for Danny, and she suggested we begin counseling for Jake also – to help him deal with his resentment/behavior.
Special Needs Parenting
Danny was originally diagnosed “failure to thrive” as an infant, and that label tore at my heart. Failure to thrive should not be a label that doctors use! Danny was also not a great sleeper. We saw a sleep specialist at Children’s Hospital in St. Paul, who was extremely helpful. Danny only slept about 8 hours at night with frequent awakenings, and took two 20 minute naps during the day from about 9 months.
I am not complaining, simply painting a picture of what our life was like. I was sleep-deprived and tired from the physical and emotional demands of caring for my boys. The hardest part was not feeling like an adequate mom, because I couldn’t help my son eat and be healthy – and I knew this was affecting my older son.
We got Danny’s diagnosis when he was 11, and it changed our world. Learning he had Cohen Syndrome opened up a network of amazing people who soon became our second family. Learning he had neutropenia and a low white blood cell count gave us a problem we could seek solutions for.
Intro To Essential Oils
Essential oils were introduced to me by a friend from church whose daughter was going through treatments for leukemia. She learned about them in the integrative medicine department at the hospital. They were helpful for stomach upset, constipation, sleep and keeping her counts stable, so she could receive the chemo she needed to fight her cancer.
After much research, we decided to try doTERRA brand essential oils with Danny. We were doing weekly blood draws, to determine his WBC levels. We began using essential oils (especially DDR Prime and Frankincense), and his counts climbed to the bottom level of normal after 12 weeks! We were surprised and ecstatic!
Since then, Danny has also began taking a twice-weekly injection of Neupogen to specifically boost the neutrophil count in his white blood cells. We have also changed his diet to a “real-food” diet (for the most part). I am happy to report that Danny is now a happy and healthy 16 y.o. We are currently in the last week of school, and Danny has not missed a single day of his freshman year due to illness. That is incredible, because he used to miss an average of 6 weeks of school per year!!!
Danny is much happier when he feels good – like all of us! This has allowed me to begin taking time to focus on myself and take care of myself.
My Essential Oil Routine
Sleep: I first started using essential oils for sleep. A good night’s sleep had become something elusive to me, mainly due to my stress levels and constant busy-ness. I was also drinking way too much coffee to compensate for being tired. Diffusing Roman Chamomile, Copaiba and Vetiver essential oils at night has been a God-send for me. I also keep a rollerball of Lavender and Vetiver on my nightstand, and if I do waken during the night – I apply that to the bottoms of my feet. Getting enough quality sleep has been huge, and allowed me to begin working on some of my other issues.
Menopause: Menopause and hot flashes were the next thing I began to tackle. I went through early menopause due to the many fertility treatments I went through as a young woman. Early menopause can often be more severe, and I would say that was accurate for me. I experienced mood swings, intense irritability, difficulty sleeping (which I have begun to resolve) and frequent hot flashes. Dietary changes and essential oils have been huge in helping to get through these hormonal changes. I use a rollerball daily made up of Clary Sage, Ylang Ylang, Geranium, Lavender and Cedarwood diluted with FCO. I alternate this with using Neroli – a great hormone balancer by itself, and is also nice as a perfume. These two have been game-changers in balancing my hormones and my mood!
Emotional health: Going through infertility, adoption, having a child with special needs and high medical needs took a toll on my emotional well-being. Essential oils have helped me feel and deal with emotions I had kept buried for a long time. I use Balance, Passion, Forgive and a variety of citrus oils to balance my mood and keep me grounded. Forgive has really helped me release some negative emotions and allowed me to move forward. It’s almost been a grieving process, and I am happy to report I am on the other side! Do essential oils make me always happy or my mood always perfect? Of course not! However, I am much more in control of my emotions and much more in touch with my feelings and better able to deal with all of life’s ups and downs!
Immune Support/Seasonal Threats: When Danny was chronically sick, I was also often sick. I believe my immune system was compromised from lack of sleep, poor diet, stress and just not taking the time to take care of myself. I use a rollerball daily combined with OnGuard, Frankincense, Lemon and Melaleuca topped with FCO to support my immune system. I also suffer from seasonal threats, but the OTC medicines for that made me tired. I use a blend of lemon, lavender and peppermint internally and now notice no seasonal discomforts!
Damage From The Sun: I was super foolish when I was young and thought I could get tan despite my fair skin and strawberry blonde hair. I spent many hours in the sun and suffered many sunburns – often with blisters! I have had 7 bouts of skin cancer as a result. With the blessing of my dermatologist, I use Frankincense internally and in a rollerball on any suspicious spots to promote healthy cells and fight inflammation.
Citrus Oils: I drink citrus oils daily in my water (always out of glass containers) to help my body detox. Honestly, I drink a lot more water now, because I enjoy the taste.
Homemade cleaners: I am also trying to remove as many toxins from our home as possible – for my family and for myself. Having had skin cancer, it is important to me to not put anything in or on my body that contains toxins (if I can help it). I make most of my own personal care products (or use doTERRA’s clean products) and make all of my own cleaning products. You only need a few simple ingredients to get started – vinegar, castille soap, water and essential oils!
I have been surprised and almost shocked at how much essential oils have benefited my family and myself. To say I was skeptical in the beginning would be an understatement. We started out slow, and with having promising results we started using essential oils for more health goals and replacing more everyday products in our home with healthier options. Now, I can’t imagine my life without these precious oils. It would be my honor to guide you and your family with learning about and using essential oils in your home, and I hope you find them to be as much of a blessing as we have!
Hugs & Health – Michelle