From bloody itch to just a stitch: One parent’s eczema story (part 1)

by amanda
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When the severity of Corey’s condition finally hit home, I realised how lonely our healing journey was. Which ever way I looked I could not find an appropriate support group. So I decided to form my own. And boy am I glad I did.

There is certain comfort in speaking the same lingo. And sometimes, strong friendships are forged as our children come together without being singled out for their allergic conditions.

Today we have a guest post from fellow eczema mama and dear friend, Danielle. Our friendship started out of necessity, but over time it is clear we share very similar views on how to raise our allergic children.

Here is Danielle’s and Casper’s story:

From bloody itch to just a stitch: One parent’s eczema story (part 1)

My son turns 16 months old today. Like any parent, my smartphone is filled with photos and videos documenting his life – 5,501 photos, to be exact – from the moment he was born until just yesterday. Unlike some, however, I scroll a little too fast when I’m reminiscing, skipping a month or two because it hurts to look at some photos.

He has eczema. Not a little rash on his upper lip, but the kind that crusts over and oozes, obscuring his features; the kind that draws blood when he claws at it in the dark of night, howling his anguish inconsolably.

For over a year, his skin condition was as changeable as weather. Volatile and terrifying to behold, it ruled the rhythms of our lives. On a good day, we slept soundly. On a bad day, we would suffer endless days of short sleep, punctuated at regular intervals by scratching, screams then wailing. Life became unbearable.

Like some fanatical adherent to a wrathful deity, every shelf in his room was adorned with creams, lotions and sprays – offerings to mollify the god of eczema. We must have spent thousands.

WE DID SO MUCH – AND YET NO IMPROVEMENTS

We did allergy tests; we saw experts. We heard conflicting advice. Breastfeed. Don’t breastfeed (I breastfed him anyway). We packed away our rugs. Rehomed our cat. Fermented probiotics. Washed our laundry with soap nuts (don’t ask). Googled desperately at 4 am. Often. Hired people to test the toxicity of our flat. Consulted a dietitian. But still, his skin did not improve.

Casper’s bad flare days

 MELTDOWN

Around the time that he turned one, I had a meltdown of sorts. I had hired a photographer to document the occasion, but the only photo I liked was one in black and white. In every other photo, I could see the telltale redness around his mouth and limbs, and it made me feel defeated. Depression gnawed at me. I wanted out.

eczema on my face doesn’t take away my cuteness!

I knew we had to take measures. I knew I needed support.

AND THEN HOPE

I met Amanda, virtually at first, and I felt, for the first time, a glimmer of hope. I simplified, and it worked. Not entirely – there wouldn’t be a longer story otherwise – but sanity, long departed from our household, began to creep in gradually.

I no longer felt defensive when I took my son out. Well-meaning strangers offering skin advice no longer approached us. It wasn’t a miracle by any stretch, but it felt like a truce had been struck between the eczema gods and us. At least for now, his photos looked great.

This story will appear in two parts. Follow us at @projectsimplicitysg to stay updated!

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