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Excerpted from Guided Imagery for Healing Children and Teens by Ellen Curran. Copyright © 2001 by Ellen Curran. Excerpted by permission of Beyond Words Publishing, Inc.  All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher. HTML and web pages copyright © by SpiritSite.com.

"I also began using guided imagery techniques, to relax her when she was agitated, in pain, or having difficulty falling to sleep."

  Ellen Curran, Guided Imagery, Part 1

One pediatrician called my two-year-old daughter Allison "the daycare baby" because she was always sick and I was a working mother. As a mother and a nurse, I felt that there was more to her clinical picture and that the physicians were missing something of importance. That day, I left the pediatricianís office vowing to find someone or some treatment that would help us.

Allison had two more years of continuous respiratory and viral illnesses. She had severe nasal congestion, cough, and recurring ear infections (which were affecting her hearing), always accompanied by high fevers. As our fear and worry escalated, we spent a great deal of time in many different physiciansí offices for examinations and laboratory work. Unfortunately, despite these measures, we could get no firm answers about why she was sick all the time and required antibiotics on almost a continuous basis. Allisonís fragile condition became more pronounced as she grew through her toddler years to pre-school age. Medications worked only for a short time or not at all.

Allisonís overall poor physical condition was affecting her emotionally -- making her tearful, shy, and fretful at three years old. At one point, the pediatrician advised that her adenoids should be removed. Out of sheer desperation, we allowed her to have this operation, in hopes that it would make her well. To our dismay, it did nothing to change her condition. Exasperated with her continuous illnesses and the ineffective surgical procedure, we insisted on further investigation by her new pediatrician. At four years old, Allison was diagnosed with profound, primary immune deficiency, meaning she was unable to mount any defense to infection. She had made no antibodies from her immunizations, and never would; there was no safety net. This was a very frightening revelation. With further extensive research, we found immune deficiency to be a murky diagnosis, with elusive treatment and an inadequate research program. And I vowed, as many other parents before me, "I will do anything I have to do to help my child." The initial plan of care was to place Allison on daily antibiotics, and if she "broke through" and became ill, a more potent antibiotic would be used.

At this point, I began to expand our avenues of treatment and implemented several dietary changes, homeopathic immunity boosters, and therapeutic touch. I also began using guided imagery techniques, to relax her when she was agitated, in pain, or having difficulty falling to sleep. We limped along in this way for quite a while, dealt with the acute episodes of illness when they occurred, and tried our best to give the emotional support she needed, all the while worrying about the possibility of a catastrophic illness.

Despite our best efforts, Allison continued to deteriorate physically and emotionally. By the second grade, she was immature for her age and was having difficulties at school. She stopped functioning by 1:00 pm every day, displaying no stamina or tolerance to noise or schoolwork. She cried easily and was always at the school nurseís office. She experienced three episodes of pneumonia within a short time and missed many days from school (which affects her still, two grades later). This is when we realized that we had to take her to the next level of care and start intravenous gamma globulin infusions. This medication would give her the antibodies she needed to fight infection, at least temporarily. Synthesized antibodies would need to be infused every three weeks. This process required a six-hour infusion that usually included a post-transfusion reaction, such as vomiting, headache, and fever. And so another phase of this disease process was affecting both Allison and all of us, as a family.

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