6.1.10: Right after I found out what was going on with my skin

So, back in the day (on June first, 2010) I was in the throws of my skin exploding like never before and the doctors had been scrambling, trying to figure out what was going on with me. I wrote this after I found out that I have Allergic Contact Dermatitis AKA Eczema (and my doctors also think I have Atopic Dermatitis because it seems my skin has just "given up"). I used to have a blog which was based on being frugal and eco-friendly. On this particular day, I vented about my newly developed skin issues. I remember feeling completely helpless and not knowing WHERE my life was headed... Two and a half years later, I'm kiiiind of used to my allergies. It's a day-to-day thing, sometimes. It can get frustrating. Some days I feel like I've got it completely together though! Looking back on this has made me realized how much further I've come in this journey :-)

Here's how I was feeling on June 1st, 2010:

freak_show

Well, hello there.

Usually, I don't get to sit here at the computer on a Tuesday. I do have these things called bills and a full-time job that takes care of that. However, per the doctor's advice, I'm not to go to work today. *sigh.

What's going on is this: I've developed severe eczema (atopic dermatitis) and right now it is wreaking havoc on my entire body... To the point that I don't even want to go out in public. It's not pretty, folks. Plus, the sun also hurts it. I'm not posting a photo because I'm not at a point where I'd be comfortable with that. Instead, I put that photo of a freak show because it suits me right now. I guess I also find the whole "freak show" thing interesting - ever since I heard about them as a little girl. And really, if I had a horn growing out of my head that I couldn't remove, I think I might like to be around other people who wouldn't judge me and I could also make a living at the same time. It's better than some of the other options.

Anyhow. It's on my whole body, but concentrated on my elbows with even more on my arms and legs. Just google "eczema". Welcome to my world. It burns, hurts to move and itches at night. It's at the point where it's infected no matter how clean I've kept it, so I went to the doctor today and he prescribed me steroids and antibiotics.

The thing about eczema is that it's triggered (for me) by certain allergens. For some people, dry skin leads to it, but for me it's all about the allergens. Here's a definition of Atopic Dermatitis from Wikipedia: "a type of eczema, an inflammatory, chronically relapsing, non-contagious and pruritic skin disorder".

So, back to the allergens - which one sets it off? I don't know - I have a lot of allergies I just found out about. Most people use a triple antibiotic ointment for any irritations, but I can't. I'm allergic to Neomyecin which is in those ointments. Finding the right topical solution has been tough. I think I might just stick with aloe and witch hazel (I avoid aloe, now, because of the nickel and I avoid witch hazel because of the gallates). They honestly work the best. My aloe plant was having issues until the other day though and I didn't find out the witch hazel thing until pretty much the same time. At this point, It's too late for those remedies alone.

It seems to get triggered mostly in the spring or warm weather - I'm also allergic to ragweed and tree pollen, so that doesn't help. Once my skin calms down, I'm planning on getting tested for food allergies (lets hope these meds work!) and hopefully that will help me find out all of my triggers. The whole thing is pretty aggravating... it's really hard to figure out which one specific allergen it is when you have a bunch of allergies. Being allergic to ointments doesn't help any of this either. The rest of my allergies are things like dust, cats, cockroaches, blah blah blah...

I never knew about how awful eczema could be... I really feel for anyone else out there with it. It's a rough time... it really is... and it's scary because you feel like you never know how bad it's going to get. Who wants to be covered in that stuff? Not me. It can really bring you down. It's bad enough that it looks awful, but for it to hurt as well... not fun. I've read the eczema boards on the internet where people are desperately looking for solutions... ever wanted to truly appreciate your normal skin? Go read those boards. The problem is that there is no cure (that we're told of). Granted, it could be worse - I could have cancer or be dead, so I'm grateful.

To anyone else out there dealing with severe eczema, I give you a big **HUG**. Hang in there.