Life Update: The Treatment Edition

So, its been a while.

Since we last spoke I have stuck to my diet (so proud of myself), lost 15kg and had about 10 weeks of UVB therapy. I felt like posting today because I actually had my treatment changed. I went from UVB therapy which has seen most of the eczema gone but certain patches still active.

The next step is something which translates from dutch as ‘day care’, like I’m going to nursery! I go to the hospital for 9am to have a bath with special oils, I then have a shower and then i have the light therapy and then the nurses put cream on me. It all sounds very exciting and I will report back after my first treatment tomorrow.

The UVB was horrible at first, it made it so much worse and I was in some of the worst pain I’ve had in a while. Though once it started to work, it really worked. I stopped itching at night, I because less scratchy day to day and I felt relief for the first time in a long time. As someone who has felt itchy for as long as I can remember, this was such a relief.

So, fingers crossed for the treatment change and I hope everyone is well.

P xx

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Stress Scratching and Meditation

When people used to tell me that eczema was stress related, I would dismiss them, saying that I didn’t see fluctuations in my skin when I felt stressed, it was just bad all the time, not just when I was stressed. But recently I’ve been thinking about how I react to a frustrating or stressful situation, and in turn, how this affects my eczema.

I noticed, whilst dealing with a bit of a stressful group project at uni with some, interesting, team members, that when I was frustrated I was scratching to relieve the stress. When I loose control of a situation, I gain some of that control back through scratching. And as much as I’m told not to scratch, it feels nice to scratch, its a release and even if it hurts later, it always feels good to begin with.

I was think about this when trying to find some eczema blogs the other day and found a couple of people who talked about controlling their scratching through the use of meditation. Its not something I have ever really considered before, but thinking about the benefits to your mind and body got me wondering about if it could help me. I spoke to my sister, my go-to for advice and problem solving and she said that meditation had helped her focus her mind and deal with some of the side effects of her own medical issues. So, I decided to give it a go.

Today I tried it for the first time. I sat cross legged on my bed and listened to the first relaxation music I could find on youtube. I took deep breaths and counted to 10, picturing each number in my mind. I found my mind wondering a couple of times, but managed to get through 10 minutes. Afterwards I felt very calm and relaxed, I can’t say if its helped my scratching yet, but only time will tell…

Until next time,

Philippa xxx

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The Eczema Diet

I spent a long time wondering about diet to control my eczema, asking advice from doctors who just told me to stay away from my allergies and I will be fine. I finally got to the point where I was in limbo, waiting to get treatment either in the UK or in the Netherlands. I just wanted some control, I wanted to be able to be in charge of something that could really help me.

After a few weeks of research, I came across this book , it seemed to have some pretty positive reviews and at this point I was desperate for anything. I downloaded it and started to prepare.

I started by taking some time to read the book thoroughly and taking note of everything that I could/couldn’t eat and really thinking about how I was going to take this on. The thing that was hardest in my preparation was trying to find the specialist foods here in the Netherlands. In the UK, the supermarkets have literally anything you could need, but here its just not the case, the local supermarket is very small and there just isn’t the range of products that could expect at your local Tescos.

Finally, it was time to start, I had prepared everything for the 3-day cleanse that starts the diet. I’m going to be honest, the first few days were hell. I felt weak and tired all day, I felt constantly sick and I was incredibly grumpy.

Since then its been getting easier, its all about finding interesting combinations of food, but trying to make sure I get enough of the things I need can be quite challenging, supplements have been my friend during this first month.

In terms of what I don’t eat, its a wheat, dairy and refined sugar free diet with a load of other things that I can’t eat, no corn products, no dark green vegetables, no tomatoes. The list goes on and on. If you have some specific questions about what you can and can’t eat, I have a more thorough list that I can send to you, but its a bit lengthy for this blog post!

So far, I have seen some progress and I’m loosing a lot of weight, but I’m starting to realise that my eczema is very much linked to my stress levels so at the moment its about finding a balance for that. Christmas is going to be tough and a real test of my will power, but if I have made it this far, I’m sure I can keep going!

Until next time,

Philippa xxx

Me and My Eczema

Here we are, a shiny new blog. Ready to release my thoughts into the internet…

I have already written a little bit about my story on the About Me page, but I figured I would go a little more into detail here.

My name is Philippa, I am 19 and I have eczema my entire life. Whilst I have had it for as long as I can remember, it has be particularly bad in the past 5 years. As you can imagine, have eczema, which is so visual made going through puberty a real treat. Unfortunately I had the misfortune to think that I suited short hair when I was younger which actually made me look like a boy, so when I finally grew out of my ‘looking like a boy phase’ I got to drive straight into my ‘eczema so bad I can’t sleep’ phase.

When my eczema first became a real problem, my local GP would just throw steroids and wet wraps at the problem. None of this worked so eventually (some 4 years later), we finally got a hospital referral. This is all well and good, but this was about 3 months before I was moving to the Netherlands for university. I managed to get an appointment for the night before I left, I was given some oral steroids and they took some of my blood and I was on my way.

The steroids were great, my eczema was almost gone, I could wear shorts for the first time in 4 years! Until the next flare up began, and the next, and the next. The dermatologist just threw more steroid creams at the problem, none of which were helping. Finally we realised that I needed light treatment, but living between two different countries is making that a bit difficult.

So, in the meantime, I have decide to start a diet based on a book called ‘The Eczema Diet’ by Karen Fischer, its been a month since I started it and I’m going to be honest, it has been really hard. The menu is so limited, especially when my allergies are taken into account and being a student in a foreign country isn’t making anything easier…   I have lost weight, which is always nice, but the healing process is long and it could take up to 3/4 months. I will write a little more about this in another post as this one is already getting a bit long!

And thats all I have to say right now!

See you next time,
Philippa x

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