This has not been the easiest year in the Davison home. In April during our family spring break trip our 12-year-old son started having pain. We were ready with our normal pain regimen and knew that in a few days it would go away. Days went by, weeks, and even months. We tried soooooo many things over the months to help. He was complaining of sickle cell pain but also a new pain that felt like “fire going up and down” his legs, with the greatest pain in his thighs. Jason and I (as many parents and love ones do) went crazy trying to help our son. We purchased so many different supplements that I feel like we have our own little remedy store in our house now. We tried both traditional and alternative methods to address the pain.
We started with the traditional pain medications. Our sickle cell team was always accessible, answering our questions and making recommendations. This was when Endari was just coming out and we started the process of being approved through insurance. In the meantime, of course I went and purchased over the counter L-glutamine from the health store. One week and no results we moved on.
We came to learn about the Community Acupuncture Center in West Seattle. The staff is amazing, and they have a sliding scale fee between $21-35 per session. We started going 4 days a week. Our entire family would go because the kids loved the free tea. It was a very calming atmosphere, which honestly just helped us all have a bit of scheduled stillness during the chaos. Judah did seem to be more peaceful (lol) and maybe there was a bit less pain but after about 4 weeks we moved on.
My husband had heard about laser therapy for pain while listening to sports radio one day. I will never forget the day he called me and said we should consider it. I told him “absolutely not”! It felt scam-ish to me. There was no way we would send our son to some scam artist who is just trying to make some money. Three weeks later after no real progress and with a growing number of supplements in our cabinet that now even included CBD rubs, we were at Sound Pain Solutions in Fremont. The team was very supportive. Our son was the only child treated in the clinic and they were not familiar with Sickle Cell but wanted to learn and felt like laser therapy could help. They recommended 3 sessions a week for the next 12 weeks. The therapy included both high and low therapy, physical therapy, chiropractic therapy and a supplement regimen (MORE SUPPLIEMENTS YAY). It sounded great until we got to the cost. At this point our son could not even get out of bed on his own, we were desperate to see change so we decided to pull from our savings and talk with family and came up with the money. We did not see results in week one or two or even three. By week 5 we finally started to see some change.
During this same time, we also decided to add a naturopath to the team. We have always considered natural ways to care for the body but had never been able to afford seeing a naturopathic doctor regularly. However, I found out that Bastyr accepted our kids’ medical insurance, so we made an appointment. We met with the doctor and three students which is how the program is setup. I know some may not be comfortable with this and I will admit it takes more time but adding four new minds to our team was nothing but a welcomed addition. I really appreciated the additional support Bastyr offered. They gave us a diet plan, created a pain tincture and they recommended re-trying the L-glutamine. I told them we had already tried but our insurance denied it. He explained to us the importance of trying again and being sure to follow through with the paperwork. He also suggested that if we could afford purchasing it over the counter that we should start up again and we must give it at least 3 weeks. This was exactly what the Sickle Cell team had told us in April, but we were so frantic at that time and wanted quick results. So, we decided this time we were going to have to put on our scientist cape (because as parent I now have many capes in my closet) and try one or 2 things and stick with it long enough to see results. We decided to stick with the laser therapy and L-Glutamine.
I’ll never forget the day in September that I saw my son run for the first time since April with his friends. I felt tears run down my face and I wanted so badly to catch up with him and celebrate but he’s a 7th grader now so I had to resist. Instead I sat in my car and gave thanks.
We have learned so much during this time as a family. Lessons about how to sit with others in pain, how to be patient, how to advocate and find resources and how to stick it out long enough to see results.