Our Journey with Eczema

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We are so thankful to Joyce and Leah for both sharing their story about Leah's eczema.

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It was no surprise when Leah’s dry, flaky and red patches of skin were diagnosed as eczema.  I had several of the same patches on my face and arms when I was a kid.  Both of my boys had been diagnosed with eczema when they were babies.  They were both prescribed a mild steroid cream and their skin had cleared up within a year or so.

My mom had eczema and my brothers were born with eczema too.  They were lucky and grew out of it.  I didn’t grow out of mine.  My mom took me to a doctor when I was still a baby.

I already knew what the pediatrician was going to say.  We should switch to fragrance free soap, lotion and laundry detergent, apply a steroid cream as needed and just wait for her to outgrow it.  We did all those things with little success. She didn’t outgrow it and it became something so much worse than the eczema that we had dealt with in the past.   This was ECZEMA!!!  It was angry and loud.  It would not be ignored.  It covered her tiny body.  It would crack and bleed.  She wasn’t sleeping at night.  She was miserable.

When I was about 2 years old, my family knew that my eczema was staying.  The doctor would give my mom suggestions for lotions and creams.  They cost a lot of money and we all know that we should have been spending that money to add to my Barbie collection instead. The lotions worked for about a week.  I’d lather layers of lotion on my body and it would help for a little while and then it wouldn’t.  Of course, my mother didn’t hold back on telling this doctor that nothing was working, and he suggested that we see a dermatologist.

I received a referral from our pediatrician for a dermatologist.  We struggled through a few months while we waited for the first available appointment.

Then, I had a new doctor.  My old doctor was a pediatrician (a doctor for kids), but this new doctor was a dermatologist.  I started seeing him when I was about 3 years old. He worked with skin, but he mostly had adult patients, so I wasn’t sure he would be able to help me at all.

Our first appointment at the dermatologist felt rushed.  He took a quick look at Leah and talked to us for a few minutes.  He prescribed a few new creams and then we were on our way.  We would visit him several times over the next 4 years with little success.  He was still hoping that she would eventually outgrow it.  I started to feel that there was nothing else that we could do for Leah’ s skin.  We were trying home remedies, making our own creams, doing wet wraps and bleach baths.  As a mother, I felt hopeless.  During this time, I was working as a school nurse.  I attended a health service staff development day with speakers on different topics pertaining to school nursing.  One of our speakers was a pediatric dermatologist. I immediately wondered why had no one ever recommended a pediatric dermatologist to us for Leah? She spoke about several childhood skin conditions, including eczema.   I was taking notes of things to try for Leah and I knew that I needed to make an appointment to visit her office. I was so excited for Leah to visit a pediatric dermatologist!!

I had my first appointment with Dr. Bree when I was 7 years old.  My new dermatologist who worked just with kids was very nice, and her office was very cozy.  She talked to me and we discussed the problems that I was having with my skin.  She explained why my skin wouldn’t hold moisture and what I needed to do to fix it. She also told me about Camp Dermadillo and said that I would able to go that summer because I was about to turn 8 years old.  She went through all my lotions and creams and gave me new ones to try.

Our experience with a pediatric dermatologist was wonderful.  She sat and talked with us for a long time.  She asked questions to learn about Leah and her interests.  She explained eczema to Leah.  She looked through all the creams that we had been using and told us what to continue and what to discard.  She even invited Leah to camp for that summer.  It was a great visit and we left hopeful and excited.  At that moment, we became a part of the Children’s House family.  A few months later, Leah attended Camp Dermadillo for kids with chronic skin conditions.  She was gone for a week and loved every minute of it!  Leah met new friends and was taken care of by the amazing staff of counselors, nurses and doctors.

Camp Dermadillo was amazing!  I really loved going to camp and meeting new people who had similar skin conditions. Everyone at a Children’s House makes you feel like family and not just a customer.  A Children’s House for the Soul has fun events that you can go to with your family.  You get a lot of changes to be yourself and make new friends. 

Being part of a Children’s House for the Soul has changed our lives.  We are part of an amazing family that is constantly supporting and encouraging us on our journey with eczema.

I’m now 10 years old and I feel better about my eczema.  My skin is getting better, but it’s not perfect.  It’s getting better each year and if I have any problems, I know that A Children’s House will be there to help me!