Sunday, October 5, 2014

Skin Deep

People with chronic health problems get lots of advice. This advice is usually unsolicited and always well-intended, but often frustrating. Because chances are that for every minute the advice-giver has spent thinking about the problem, the person suffering has spent an hour. I've struggled with the common trifecta of allergies, eczema, and asthma my whole life. Sometimes it's a simple nuisance. Other times it's put me in the hospital. It ebbs and flows, but over time, it's gotten worse. I've given up on trying to find a cause or a cure. I've been to dermatologists, naturopaths, acupuncturists, allergists, online forums, and Chinese herbalists from Alaska to California to New York City and back. I've eliminated allergenic foods from my diet. I've taken herbal supplements. I've been on systemic immunosuppressants, antihistamines, and steroids, both topical and oral. I've tried every lotion, cream, and ointment on the market, both prescription and over-the-counter. There's not much left to do, say, or try. I've come to accept that my body is just sensitive to the world, and that like bad weather, I just need to hunker down through the squalls until they blow over. In the middle of these flareups, it feels like I'll never get better, and I start to despair. And when I'm in remission, it's hard to imagine feeling sick again. In the meantime, if you know someone with a chronic health problem, rest assured that no one is more motivated than they are to fix it, and understand that they need sympathy and empathy more than advice. And here is a photo of me doing the classic eczema wet wrap therapy (Google it if you're curious). And yes: ISIS totally jacked the style of people with chronic eczema.

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