Hello & welcome back, Mrs Itchy Scratchy Lady here!
I’ll pick up where I left off in my last blog because I never got around to explain how eczema not only affects the sufferer, but it affects all of those around them too!
Like the previous post its hard to know where to start, I guess it must be at the beginning – what is it like being a parent & dealing with eczema? Unfortunately, I can tell you 1st hand but of course I also have my parents experience & friends whose little ones have eczema too, so feel I’ve seen more than enough to write on this subject! It is why I feel the need to write about it too!
It is a heart breaking, frustrating & helpless place to be as a parent! Personally, I feel so much of this can be avoided if we could just get more awareness & help out there. Also, if our GP’s were more up on the topic…even if its learning to show some compassion! I know this is a sweeping statement about GP’s but it’s just a regular occurrence from so many people’s experience that I know. Maybe something to discuss another time?!
The first time you see your little one covered in a nasty red rash its shocking! Even to me, who in all honesty was just waiting for it to happen with my little man – I explained in a previous post that we had escaped it being passed onto my first child, but I just knew (gut feeling?!) I’d not be lucky enough to escape it with my second.
That day, that moment he had ‘the rash’ wow, it just broke me, the dreaded eczema was here! I cannot tell you how much I cried. Gutted I was! Deep breath… ‘Here we go’ I thought!
For others, it’s a huge worry, ‘what the heck is THAT?’ ‘What’s wrong with my baby?’ & those poor parents are just not prepared for the long hard slog, worry & frustration for dealing with & understanding eczema!
So, the first step…probably now a days, a photograph is popped up on social media saying, ‘look at my poor baby, help!’ etc… Of course, then what happens is a flurry of ‘miracle creams’ & ‘cures’ come flooding in – all are genuine offers to help & all posted out of love. In some ways I’m sure it gives hope to those parents that a lovely cream can just clear it up. In some mild cases I’m sure it does work & that is wonderful & pleases me. The thought of anyone, especially a little one suffering upsets me as I know all too well the feeling!
I digress. The first stop other than the social media post is of course the GP -the GP takes a quick look, maybe asks a few questions & diagnoses as eczema or ‘just eczema’ from experience & then a course of steroid creams & a thick greasy emollient is prescribed & the parents are sent away to deal with it. The parents come away with their white paper bag full of creams happy & relieved that they have something to help their child out!
Within a few days the creams have worked their magic & the skin is much clearer due to the steroids ‘suppressing’, yep I said it ‘suppressing’ the eczema NOT curing it & parents & baby/child are feeling great.
I too went down this route with my little boy after ALL the tears.
I just KNEW I didn’t want to do it but thought maybe things had moved on?! Although, I knew from various people this probably wasn’t the case. So, he was treated like all the rest…EVERYTHING within me did not want to apply these creams but I am aware that these things do have a place (a small one mind) & I was aware of the risk of infections etc so went with it JUST to ease his angry red skin. However, the fact I even felt I had to go this route made me so very determined that I wanted to change how he was treated!
I’ll say at this point the reason I didn’t want to treat my boy this way was because I KNEW it wasn’t the cure, I KNEW there had to be more to it & believed it could be done without drugs. I believe that of most things if I’m honest – mother nature is an incredible thing. That was then, just over a year ago & I believe it even more now. Those of you who follow my Instagram will know the journey I’m on & hear me rambling on daily about what I’m up to! For many years I’d had reasonable success with keeping on top of my skin without the use of these creams but always at times of desperation, & there have been many, I’ve resorted back to them. I know now I was dependant on them & know now that this is a thing!!! It makes so much sense looking back…Trying to stop these types of creams puts you into ‘Topical Steroid Withdrawal’ also referred to a lot on Instagram/social media as TSW. Believe me, I have been through it & its soooo unbelievably difficult. I’ll write about this another time!
The point of this post in particular was to share & explain how eczema affects so many people, not just the sufferer. My hope is to maybe just open the minds of those who may not know or realise what a big deal having eczema is.
For example, I can’t go to people’s houses if they have any pets as its one of my big ‘triggers’ – ALL of my besties have pets!!!! *insert lots of sad emojis* If I do go I’m usually put out of action for weeks if not months because of it (well, the old me anyway, I deal with most things much better now thanks to the ‘gut health’ journey I’m on) & that’s not because I’ve been playing with the pet, that’s when my friends have hoovered & dusted the place within an inch of its existence & taken the pet outside or upstairs away from me!
Visiting farms & zoos with the kids is difficult. Hugging my friends sometimes sets me off. It may or may not be the pet hair/skin, it may be their perfume, their deodorant, their dry shampoo, their wash powder…. All of these things make life pretty damn pants sometimes & not just for me, for them too!
Only the other day my mum in law recalled how, when Tom (my wonderful hubby) & I first got together, she’d got into his car & asked ‘what have you been doing in here?!’ She was referring to the car seat & surrounding area covered in tons of little white bits…yes, it was bits of me! My super dry skin was everywhere left behind! Yuk! What a catch I was NOT (is what I’d think) I honestly used to cringe, especially early in the relationship. At the end of the day if you like a guy then you want to make a good impression right?! Its just not fun or easy to relax when you’re constantly worried about how you look AND feeling mega itchy & sore the whole time.
I remember I used to make excuses not to go places because of how I looked & often, at the very last minute I’d just shut down & think ‘nope, not going’ ‘I cannot possibly go out looking like THIS,’ ‘I look ugly’, ‘I look like a tomato’, ‘I cant stop scratching, people will think I’ve got something’ (because yes, I’ve been asked many a time if I’ve got something & is it contagious?!!!) I’d be constantly brushing myself down to remove the incessant snowfall falling from my face!
It was easier to just not go…
Bless my Tom, he’s had to deal with all of this & it would upset him too, he HATES it when I put myself down & talk about myself that way so, when I’d have all these moments & terrible times of insecurities he’d have to try to coax me round or sometimes he’d just have to go out alone because as much as he’d have stayed with me had I ask, I’d have left it right until the last min to have a wobble & it just wouldn’t be right for us both not to go. My Tom, my rock…he has NO CLUE how he’s helped me become who I am right now! More on that later.
Those are obviously moments of events where I can specifically remember it really affecting us, those awful thoughts of myself still ring away in there! However, its day to day considerations that all add up to helping! For instance, if Tom has been somewhere where there has been a dog, at my worst (skin flare up) he’d have to pretty much strip of his clothes at the door & not even bring any part of that animal in the house. He’d shake them outside then they’d go straight in the wash. He’d have to spray his deodorant in another room to me. This was until we found one that seemed to suit us both – as in it does its job but also doesn’t make me turn bright red within a min of him spraying!
Until recently he pretty much washes every pot in the house because washing up liquid gives me THE most awful blisters on my fingers & gloves irritate me too!
He has spent pretty much 13 years tickling me just to ease or stop the evil itches! The list goes on & on. Having Eczema is a full-time thing & no matter how much you try to forget about it you can’t & it’s a full time consideration for all those around you too! My parents had to do all of this too of course whilst bringing me up, with much more limited resources too, & now, today I am doing the same with my little boy! Just a few things we consider…
• Food & Drink Choices
• Wash powder & fabric softener
• Places we can & can’t go down to allergies AND irritants
• Fabric of clothing (cotton is my best friend!)
• How we wash, what we wash with & how frequently
• Wash hair separately bent over the bath so no shampoo gets on my skin THEN jump in & have a shower.
• Constantly moisturising – always having a greasy fringe & edges of clothes
• If we stay away, we have to take our own bedding
• Visiting people – don’t sit on the carpet or fabric sofas – looking for the wooden (most uncomfortable) option because of dust mites
• No Teddies in bed
• Products used to clean the home! Seriously, watching the fabulous Mrs Hinch is painful because all those products are a no no for me! What I’d do to be able full on Hinch my home! I do love a bit of the old soda crystals & White vinegar tip though. Other than that, the steam cleaner is my friend!
• Hoover beds, toys curtains etc daily
• Keeps food diaries
• No fake tan
• No pamper sessions
• No foundation
• Most nail varnishes drive me nuts & you guys have probably seen I love my pretty nails!
• No plug in’s or fragrances around the home unless they’re natural
• Be wary of flowers
• Can’t get too hot
…To name a few!
Anyway, I just wanted to give you an insight into just some ways eczema affects those around us. That is only the practical stuff too, the emotional aspect is another story altogether!
Its at this point I just MUST take this opportunity to thank those around me who have been there for me along the way & I’m sure a lot of the times they have no clue how very much they’ve helped without realising!
Thank you to my wonderful best friend Josibellina & to all my fabulous girlfriends – you have ALWAYS made me feel pretty & loved despite feeling super low & downright ugly at times.
*A note to whoever is reading this*
Only surround yourself with like minded kind souls who love you for you & never expect anything other than your hugs, love & laughter!
Love you girls!
My mum is really the reason I am writing about this journey, she is the one who has always believed there was more to healing eczema than just finding creams to help & boy was she right! Both my parents have been my rock through life anyway but with regards to my skin they did everything they possibly could to help me, including having constant lists like the above of how they could possibly make my life more comfortable. My mum would spend hours upon hours reading books & articles about it. They paid privately for me to have allergy tests because it wasn’t really being offered on the NHS or certainly not quick enough because those creams were & still are the 1st port of call. They pushed & pushed & eventually got me an appointment with a dermatologist. Often mum would ask about certain options of treatment & they didn’t even know what she was talking about, her knowledge was greater that the so-called specialist! All because she took the time to study & research for her little girl! It turns out that so many of the things she learnt about back then like probiotics in ‘live yoghurt’ was a good move! ‘Go mum!!!!’
Lastly my husband Tom. He has the ability even at my ‘rock bottom’ moments to make me feel beautiful. He’s always thinking ahead about what may or may not bother my skin & of course now our little boys…
Now, here he is supporting & joining me on this ‘Gut health’ journey, making the whole process easier, we are a team! This is so very important, not just for me but with the kids too! His support & understanding of my NEED to take the time out of our lives to have my Instagram page so I can talk about our journey & if possible, help just one person.
Thank you babe, your support means everything xxx
Ok I know that all ended a little ‘sloppy’, but I felt it was a good time to say a quick thank you to those who have also suffered because of my eczema!
I’ll say bye bye for now…
Next up I’ll get talking about this journey I am on & what an impact it’s made on my life!