The Hell That is Eczema

I wasn’t going to write this entry, because it really seems kind of weird to complain about it. Eczema, while it is an autoimmune disease, is a mild one in the grand scheme of things. But that doesn’t change the fact that today is hell. Itchy, burning, painful hell. So screw it.

I’m having a pretty severe flare. Below are picture of (in order) my arm, my back (midback up, I had to take the picture myself from over my shoulder), my neck, and my hands.

All those bumps and red patches? Are itchy and painful as hell. Add to that, my hands are swollen thanks to the flare, so there’s double the pain there. Motrin takes the edge off, but dear god, it still hurts.

People hear eczema, they think “Oh, it’s not that bad.” That’s what I thought until I was diagnosed with it after about 3 months of living with a flare in my armpits that caused cracking, itchy skin so severe that I started bleeding from it. (My doctor misdiagnosed me with a fungal infection, despite the fact that all the antifungals she prescribed never took care of it. I’m STILL pretty miffed over that.)

I got a proper diagnosis from the doctor I’m with now (someone who listens to my concerns and actually doesn’t brush it off when I tell her something) and while I’m treating it with a steroid cream she prescribed me, it takes a while for it to work. I don’t know for certain what my flares are caused by, so I don’t know what to avoid to keep them from becoming so severe, but I do know that I’m likely not going to be able to keep skating by on just the cream. I may have to start taking something stronger for it, which means adding another medication to my list (Yay. :|)

And don’t get me started on the looks I’ve been getting. I went out today to a little craft show they hold in my town, where local artists and creators of all kinds of products come from around the state to sell their stuff. People were looking at the spots on my neck, my arms, and what was exposed of my back, and wincing, grimacing, or doing the ‘wide eyed stare and look away quick before they think they’re caught’ thing. Not exactly a fun day for someone looking to get their kid out for a walk and enjoy their day.

On top of all that, I have to worry about whether it’s worth trying to get a new medication in light of the current situation with health care. Mine is in danger. Typical treatments for eczema that affect the immune system are around $50K a year, which I can’t afford, and I don’t even know if I can use them due to being so susceptible to pneumonia (which I’m STILL fighting off the last remnants of).

Yeah. Today is itchy, burning, painful hell with a side of stress. The only plus side to all of this is that my (normally ‘it could be worse’ spouting) mother is being surprisingly sympathetic and helping me. I think it’s because she can see the physical signs of this and knows it’s driving me up a wall. But all in all, today’s shitty and I just wanna curl up into a ball and fall asleep until this all passes.

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