This blog is to capture my journey with eczema. It has been with me all my life, with periods of control and flare-up. This is the background. I will go into greater depth in further posts plus capture the inevitable highs, lows, self-esteem fluctuations, mental, physical and emotional successes and struggles as I go.
The early years were predominantly asthma and eczema. While the eczema was still being treated, asthma won the attention as someone decided breathing was more important. Once the asthma was largely under control my skin was allowed a chance to be the focus. This involved all sorts of doctor, dermatologist, 20 odd hospital visits etc. For the last 10 years my skin has largely been controlled. That was until a change of house and it flared up big time from May - September 2015. I am still fighting the tail end of it with it refusing to completely die back down to controlled.
This recent incident reminded me how debilitating eczema can be. My hands and my mind was consumed with it. My self-esteem and confidence was shot. I was irritable, short-tempered, struggling to sleep or see past the next hour. It was horrible. It resulted in trips to after hours because I eventually could not take my skin deteriorating the way it was.
In previous years when trying to find a solution to my skin issues, I developed some gloves with my very good friend, Helen. I needed the gloves to protect me from myself when sleeping. I would work really hard to get my skin in good condition. Then one night of itching and I would wake up with cat-like scratches, rough raw wounds where I had scratched the top of a rash or created weeping rubbed raw skin like carpet burn. This would then need to heal but would be a lot more vulnerable to being torn up again and infection while it did.
During this latest bout of flare-ups, I have again reached for these gloves and they have been a lifesaver. It was also really nice to have the sense of control in what seems a frustrating and powerless situation.
When in a flare-up you reach for any solution. Any chance at some reprieve. I also analyse everything to look for a cause or trigger. This is the old needle in the haystack, and I am allergic to the haystack. I will use myself as a human experiment as I try to get to the bottom of what causes my scratching, plus try out the many options recommended for a solution.
I will update this blog regularly as I continue to work my way back to the stable skin I remember. If you have any thoughts, comments, advice along the way, please share as it would be greatly appreciated.
My thoughts to all the other scratchers out there. Though I hate this condition and wish it on no one, it is also comforting to know we are not alone. Thank you for all the support.
Mike, u may not realise, but u are true inspiration. Writing a blog is something I’ve been wanting to do for years. To the point where I even bought a laptop which Ben currently uses! Therefore no blog. That’s my excuse anyway. However, that’s not actually why I wholly believe u are in inspiration. U have supported me, mostly without u knowing I’m sure, on a journey that can b so individualised. I would love to thank u. If we can talk one day soon I’d b thrilled to connect with u again. Keep up the magnificent work. U will support many more people with ur openness and willingness to understand an issue that many people suffer from. X
great read. so many people will relate and for unsuffers it’s a great reminder and to learn abt how others struggle daily with what we take for granted and don’t really even think abt… our skin.
Good on you Mike for raising the awareness of this mate. It is tough especially as a teenager dealing with these type of issues so commend you on the frankness of the blog. Hope the cuddly claws proves to provide the right relief and management.
This sounds like a daily nightmare! Good on you for, not only for taking action for yourself, but for helping so many others find a sense of control and comfort. Cuddly claws – brilliant!
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October 18, 2017
Well done Mike for creating this. I am sure it is going to help many people. I have some family who suffer from eczema as well, so I will be regularly reading your blog. Out of interest, have you ever looked at whether manuka honey creams relieve the itch, or improve the skin condition?