You are about to read a story about a very fortunate, ordinary family who were picked at random and cursed with a special illness which most people know little or nothing about. The story begins with our beautiful son, Michael, who is aged 5years. He has suffered with cyclical vomiting syndrome for approximately 14 months. He has been admitted to hospital seven times in this period where he suffered with endless bouts of vomiting, headaches and nausea – and what about the constant vigil, the tissuing and re-siting of the canular for the intravenous drip!! All sounds very familiar doesn’t it? There is so much baggage that comes with this illness; sometimes you feel you’re in a vortex with yet another explanation of the condition to a non- sufferer (employer/work colleague or family member). It continually seems an arduous task.

We attended our first CVS meeting this year that was held at The Children’s Hospital in Birmingham. I thought the day was run very professionally. The organisers afforded us a well-structured and informative day, as well as offering understanding and sensitivity to the willing participants. The day left me with mixed feelings about CVS and I was confused as to how many variables there were with each story that I listened to. It seemed that whilst there was a common thread and purpose amongst the parents, each family was pursuing its own way forward. The consultant speakers were very helpful and well informed, but I found that they were also at odds with each other on some issues. CVS is like one of those old Russian dolls where you peel off one layer only to find a smaller doll inside. The frustration of a never-ending search for a drug that can help is wrapped heavily in emotion and the way forward in not always as clear as one thinks.

I was keen to find a natural remedy for our son and one that would not have any side effects. Typically those on the market have weight gain or drowsiness attached to them. We asked our consultant for a referral to a homeopathic doctor and were delighted when our appointment was made for November 2003. Michael was given a three-day course of phosphorous, which consisted of three very small tablets (half the size of a tic tac). Here enters the lucky family – we have experienced no bouts of sickness since this time and its worthy of note that before this medicine Michael was sick every 6-8 weeks. Also worth a mention is the abdominal pains that he previously suffered with have been reduced by 95%. I am not a Wild West carpetbagger selling fake medicines to vulnerable people. I am a parent of a child sufferer who is desperate and looking, like everyone else, for a little respite for his son. If this helps you in any way – then brilliant – and if it does not, please don’t give up.

One of the things that make us all very fortunate is the courage and fortitude of our own special children who never complain and who constantly endure. Yes we are lucky and yes we had a wonderful Christmas. I’m sure we will inherit ulcers in the future with the sleepless nights and constant worry. But I would trade any of this for another three months freedom.