Everyone’s experience with eczema is different. Flare-ups can be a lifelong battle, or you may develop it in adulthood out of seemingly nowhere. For me, my symptoms started when I was a child. While I don’t remember this, my mom told me that on my fourth birthday I was running around with eczema over nearly my whole body. My parents thought I was allergic to oak trees because logically to them I would have little outbreaks of eczema only during the fall. This demonstrates not only how confusing eczema is to the person with it but also to their loved ones. When I was six I was diagnosed with dyshidrotic eczema and was prescribed bactroban, a cortisol topical steroid. In school I remember being so embarrassed by rashes on my hands that would crack and bleed, because the other kids and teachers couldn’t understand why it happened to me.
GRAPHIC CONTENT AHEAD, for those with severe eczema I know you understand. Years later in middle school I had the worst of the worst, and managing my eczema was a daily battle. My legs were absolutely covered. I used to itch them in my sleep which led to oozing bleeding spores all over.I have this very vivid memory of being in gym class and having to change into my gym shorts. I wasn’t a very self-conscious kid so when people would ask me what was on my legs, I would just explain it was eczema. But! During this particular day, I could feel the infected areas oozing down my legs. I couldn’t stand it anymore and I didn’t feel as though other people should have to look at my legs so I changed and sat out of gym class that day. This was also the time in my life that I would wake up with my legs stuck to the sheets waiting for me to peel them off the dried blood and ooze. The only way I knew how to treat this was by applying a topical steroid then wrapping my legs in saran wrap while I slept. It was incredibly uncomfortable... but worked. I was very lucky to not go through TSW (topical steroid withdrawal) and this is because I used the cream pretty sparingly.
In the years since then I have got a few patches on my legs and arms but flare-ups were always temporary and didn’t cause me much harm. In college I started a paleo-based eating regimen which made my body feel great, and even completed the Whole30 diet in June 2017. Nothing could beat Fall 2017, though, which I am calling “the unravelling of my careful eating.” I am setting the scene for how most people end up with a horrible eczema flare up:. Poor eating habits + Stress = Eczema. I had just gone through a pretty emotional time in my life and coped the way I usually do, by emotionally eating. We’re talking a pint of ice cream a week, plus eating cheese and bagels and all sorts of things that were very unlike me. Despite recently completing the Whole30 and how good it had felt, I quickly relapsed into bad habits because of how rebellious I felt. In August I made a pretty huge move to another state.
Cue a horrible eczema flare-up. By December of 2017 my flare-up grew from a few patches on my arms to taking over my arms, reaching my hands, and breakouts on my legs. I have honestly never been in more pain in my whole life. The worst part was healthy foods like berries and spinach were causing me the most pain! Through tons of trial and error with what I ate and reading the science behind why my favorite foods were causing me pain, I was able to find foods that allowed me to control my eczema symptoms. By March 2018, I had control over my skin again, and I finally felt like myself! In the end, this flare-up was a huge blessing and I learned so much. In the process of managing my eczema I started helping a few girls that found my story on the internet and guess what, they healed too. After seeing their skin transform, it dawned on me that I was really helping people. I knew for a fact that becoming a health coach would let me reach more people. I want nothing more than to guide people through transitioning to healthy lifestyles that result in less pain, and more living.