Skin Deep - Life With Eczema

Updated: Jul 16, 2018

This blog idea came from me feeling helpless, I felt like that because my youngest son Freddie was 6 weeks into the most horrendous flare up he has had since being diagnosed with eczema and I didn't know what to do next. I felt helpless because I had been made to feel like a fussy mother when I had taken him to the doctors asking for help and what to do next but felt fobbed off, I had a shelf full of lotions and potions and nothing was working. I decided to ask for a guest bloggers on Instagram to write about this topic in the hope I would gain advice and support on how to help Freddie myself and to help others who may be in the same situation as me. Wow I got a whole lot more, I was inundated with messages of support, I was given so many ideas on what to try and it made me feel empowered and I realsied I wasn't alone. There were so many others that this horrible condition affected. I went back to the GP and demanded something to be done, lucky for me the lady I saw was very informative (4th time lucky) and Freddie was prescribed much stronger steriod creams and a new moisturiser, She also referred him to a dermatologist as urgent and that appointment came through today for August! Just 12 hours later his skin had gone down and I have managed his flairs when they come back since.

This blog is written in 2 parts, the first by the lovely Zoe with her account of living with eczema on a daily basis. The second part written by Sarah aka @mamaooooooh who is also setting up her own website to support people living with eczema. Sarah writes about how allergies can link to the condition and how the right diet can help.

Part 1 Owen's Story, Written by Zoe Read

**trigger warning** this post contains images that could be found disturbing or upsetting

Eczema... There's so many different types all with different medical names but what I want to write about doesn't really concern the what more the why, the impact, the struggles and how to try to cope. I'm a mum to four boys, 14, 7, 6 & 2, out of the four boy's two have eczema, one struggles with dry skin and one doesn't have any skin troubles. I've also had it myself since I was young.

My 7 year old is by far the worst case in the family. Since he was first diagnosed before he was a year old with atopic eczema (after months of being told it was just dry skin) my poor boy has suffered endlessly. We'd been to the doctors more times than you could shake a stick at, begging for a dermatologist referral, each time being assured it wasn't needed. I've lost count of the amount of lotions and potions we've tried, how many times he's been on antibiotics to clear us the internal infections but what sticks more is up until recently the sleepless nights, my son screaming in pain at night because once again his skin is cracked, sore, weeping and infected.

We've tried coconut oil, oats in the bath, seaweed baths, aloe, good bacteria drinks, live yogurt, we've tried pretty much every trick in the book, he's had wet wraps, steroids, different lotions, creams you name it we've probably tried it!

The final blow was last year, my poor boy could barely move through the pain, his skin looked like he was being eaten, it was horrifying. I demanded an emergency doctors appointment and I had to fight for it, we had a new young doctor who took one look at him and sent us straight to hospital, he was hospitalised for just over a week, I was home unable to drive or visit running the house, doing the school runs whilst my husband was in hospital with our boy. It was agonising being apart from them both, our 6 year old barely slept and when he did hear cried himself to sleep, they'd never been apart since he'd been born, my bed was unusually empty and knowing my son wasn't in the room next to me was awful, it broke my heart I've never spent that long away from my husband or any of my kids and holding everything together whilst they were away was beyond hard.

He did however recover well, he was now under the hospital dermatologist team who saw him monthly after that, we've since tried new things and discovered he's allergic to cat hair and orange in any form. We've been guided into making the right decisions on how to try things, how's he can still join in with things and protect his skin it's been invaluable. The impact the last 7 years has had on him does show, he struggled with mood swings and stress, his appetite goes through the roof when he has to have steroids, summer his skin is bad because of the heat and his pollen allergy, winter it's bad because of central heating, the family as a whole have had to learn to live in a cooler house, heating on just enough to take away the chill and layering up jumpers, to get used to sleepless nights which is difficult with 3 boy's in one room and to learn to be patient, if he's having a bad day every little thing will tip him over the edge, from cup colour to something not being done just right. Actually witnessing a parent telling their child to keep away from my boy when he was finally well enough to go back to school in case they caught what he had was horrendous, I actually felt my heart break, misinformed information like that does more damage to a child confidence than people realise and also wants to make mums like me smack said person in the mouth!

It really does have an impact on not just the child but a family as a whole, they are hopefull he'll outgrow it but it's not looking like it'll be anytime soon. Eczema isn't just about the diagnosis there's so much more too it, the pressures it creates, the mental turmoil it causes the actual suffering and heartache, the feeling of hopelessness when your child is suffering, aware their skin is different to other people's. He's currently on antihistamines twice a day, has 3 different strength steroids for different steps, 2 lotions, hand soap substitute, bath emollient, hydrocortisone cream and powder form antibiotics that I have to mix myself when he needs it. Sometimes every trick in the book only helps to manage it, there is no magic cure sadly, if you see a child with skin problems spare five minutes to think about how you react, how that reaction comes across and what that reaction does to that child and their family.

Part 2, Written by @mamaooooooh



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