My Story Has Just Begun

I am so glad I found this site. My story is ongoing. I am 58. Every summer I have suffered with rashes, to the point of staying indoors to avoid a rash. They seemed to come on when I sweated. This past year (2015) it started in May and has not let up! I have had a chronic itchy rash since then. It moves from body part to body part. I have seen an allergist and two different dermatologists and two MDs. I have been taking allergy shots for 2 year - for molds, dust, cats, pollens, grasses. Seemed to help the nasal symptoms but this God awful rash. The first treatment was a shot of prednisone. It improved the itching and rash, but, when an RN told me it may come back, I thought positive that it wouldn’t. It did. The allergy doctor said he didn’t know what else to do with me, besides the prednisone.

The second appointment was with an MD. He thought it was excema, prescribed another shot and a mild cortisone cream (don’t remember the name). The cream made it worse. Shot helped, but yes, it came back. All over my body. Then saw a dermatologist. He said it was a fungal infection. Gave me Ketocanosol (sp..) shampoo and told me to use it every other day, along with the cream, every day. I broke out so bad I had open sores. I called the nurse, she said ‘it will get worse before it gets better. Give it 30 days’. After 3 weeks, I couldn’t take it, called and they asked me to come in. The next dermatologist said it was contact dermatitis and that I was allergic to the medication. She gave me a strong cortisone cream () and also Hydroxicine for the itching. She did not want to give me Prednisone in case she needed to do a biopsy.

Three weeks later (still breaking out) I have the biopsy. The diagnosis is contact dermatitis and yes, still breaking out with an itchy rash. EVERWHERE. She also told me to only use Vanicream as a moisturizer. She also old me she believes it is an allergy to PG. I am scheduled for testing in two weeks. I don’t know how I am going to get through having to give up the Cortizone cream and antihistamines prior to the tests. I will be tested on Monday/Wednesday and then on a Friday will find out results. Mostly chemical tests. I checked both cortisone creams I have used and both have it (PG) in them. So does Vanicream!

This has been my life for 9 months. It has been a living hell. Pray I do find out the allergies that are causing this madness. Also had to stop my other weekly allergy shots during this time. Luckily it is winter in Iowa so the nasal allergies are somewhat better. I just have not had a break in all of this. My friends worry why I don’t like going out. My husband it beside himself. My kids don’t understand......
— anonymous

Wow, your story reminds me so much of mine! Going from doctor to doctor, improving only to then slide further downhill, biopsies... it can be a really scary road. Once you find out what your allergens are, you can start avoiding them and your skin can start recovering. My doctors recommended oral Prednisone and it did make my skin get better, but I'd have to take it forever. Prednisone is a strong steroid with some pretty bad side effects, so I took a pass.

The extensive patch testing is a life-changer! I'm SO excited for you! Allergic contact dermatitis (aka eczema)  is a lot less intimidating once you know what to avoid. Researching your allergens is definitely something I'd recommend. I would have never known why laminate counter tops were making my skin flare up if I hadn't done some digging.

I really feel for you when you talk about how this skin condition has affected you and your family... My allergic contact dermatitis also put a strain on my relationships at times... and it absolutely has made me less social because there are a lot of x-factors out in public and it can be REALLY overwhelming. I get it! Your health comes first, though, so please don't push yourself into going out and make sure you're taking some restorative "Me Time" on a regular basis. Stress is known to be a bad thing for our skin. And I love that we've been able to share our stories with each other.

Please hang in there! Once you have your specific allergy diagnosis, you can start putting one foot in front of the other in the journey of repairing your health. I'm rooting for you!