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Let's Talk About Eczema | Hello I'm Clo

Hello I'm Clo and I have Eczema.

What is eczema?
Where do you have it?

Eczema Is something I have battled with for most of my life. Come to think of it I can't actually remember a time I didn't have it.

My first memory of Eczema is from my early childhood, school years. The boys in my class called me "Eczema Girl" because my skin was different to everyone elses. Snake like, easily broken and often open and weeping. My hands were often bound or lathered up to high heaven in some so called 'Miracle Cream' that, unfortunately for me, never did work. This made me stick out like a sore thumb, pardon the pun, made me different.

Many people with skin conditions, or other obvious, visible medical conditions say their early childhood years were the worst dealing with their conditions because they were different and because of that, combined with the lack of understanding and the general curiosity of children, made things difficult and made them feel uncomfortable.

Often it is said that as you grow older, you grow out of your skin condition. That hormones kick in and over ride skin symptoms and in essence balance it all out. Unfortunately once more, that was not my case.

I never felt as a child that my skin condition effected me, my personality and what I could and couldn't do. However over the years, and now with calm reflection I realise just how much eczema has effected and in many ways controlled my life.

Those early day comments never really bothered me or irritated me to my recollection, however the fact I can remember them says something about my sub-conscious memory.
Early day Eczema was very much lived behind closed doors. Not in the sense of hidden beneath clothes. My Eczema has always been visible. In the sense that it didn't effect my time at school or have such drastic changes so quickly that it automatically caused havoc with what ever I may have been doing at the time, like it does now.
Nights were always the worst and how my parents coped with their child being in so much pain I just don't know, no parent should ever witness that. I will never forget their support throughout the many nights of pain I suffered as a child, as now I suffer them alone. I went through a faze when I was about 7 where the itchiness of my Ezcema would be too much and I would scratch, scratch, scratch. I would never have any nails, as that wasn't allowed and was counter productive to my skins healing plan.
Because of the constant itching to try and alleviate the pain It would crack the skin more and it would bleed, to stop the skin becoming infected and permanently damaged creme or ointment would be applied. So that would be the first middle of the night job Apply Ointment no more than two hours later I'd be literally crying out in pain. My skin was burning.

I've spent many 3 o'clocks in the bath, bathing in ice cold water, removing the ointment applied just hours previously because It had literally reacted with the skin and burnt. That's when my skin started to peel off.
I would cry and cry and even water would give the sensation of burning. Everything was so hot, never cold or cool my skin had one temperature. Hot. There was nothing that would cool me down.

I have tried every creme, potion, lotion, steroid and pill going to treat Eczema and in the last 10 years have tried over 18 different medical prescriptions that's without counting the countless diet changes, herbal remedies, au natural subtenants and generally trying to be more chilled, in order to calm my skin down. However, now 18 my patience is wearing thin and these products with 'Miracle clams' have no avail. Failier to materialise and live up to expectation is a re-occurring theme with my Eczema treatments.

So we come to now. Present day and it has honestly never been so bad. It's out of control and spreading like wildfire and there is nothing to tame the beast. I am loosing skin so rapidly that the skin can't grow back quick enough to replace its predecessor.

I can't touch plastic without aggravating it. Public transport, coffee shops or toilets are a simple no go area zone.  Supermarkets are the worst. I touch one things and my hands fire. You never can figure out what it is that's upset it as there is too many materials and germs in a supermarket in order to narrow it down.

It's not like I can go around though with a sign saying:

I'd love to wear white cotton gloves all day ever day but I have an Iphone and it simply isn't practical (Have you tried typing with gloves on!?)  Not only that but it is just a fashion sin. Of course I'm being faceicious and health comes way before fashion on my current list of priorities, but you have to see things from my point of view. I have to live like this, suffer the aggravation and pain all day every day. 

My current main concern is the change of hands. I now have it on both hands which I haven't had in a few years and have never had to this extent. Being truthful, my main concern is other people. I am very self conscious about it but I generally feel for other people more as after all it's something I've had to deal with a hell of a lot longer. Like the people on my Theatrical Make-Up classes, I have to literally be all up in their grill all day long, with my hands on their face.
The make-up may be burning my hands and making them swell, but they have to have contact with my hands and skin. 
If they don't fully understand what my condition is about then may not want to get close.
However I don't want to be like:
"Hello I'm Clo I Have bad, seriously off putting swelling oozing hands that I'm going to touch you with."

It's just one of those things I guess. Damned if I do. Damned if i don't

I'm more than happy to answer people's questions, however I really dislike it if someone singles me out in a group of people. That happened to me a few months ago by someone who is so insecure about herself and her body that she will actively dress you down, pick faults and highlight things to others about you, in front of your face. I felt like a piece of gum on someones shoe and one day I will discuss at length with this girl this particular incident. 
After all someone who isn't as strong willed or body confident as I am, could have taken it in a very bad way and the knock on effects are just unthinkable . With the highest rates ever of teen suicide you just never know when someone is going to be tipped over the edge. Always think before you speak.

Yesterday (This was written a while ago! About three weeks) I wore cotton gloves for the first time to college. My hands are in pain and the general germs and grime that is everywhere gets into the open cracks on my hands. Wearing them keeps the skin tight and the germs out.
It was whilst sat reading my issue of 'Glamour' magazine I popped my headphones in to cancel out the canteen noise. Nothing was playing in them and now I wish I had of had music. Once my headphones were in, a girl on an adjacent table started to discuss the gloves and potential reasons why I wore them. General curiosity is fine, and I appreciate that I am doing something different but the audacity of some people! Don't mind me love... Chat away!

I could have made things really awkward by looking their way, headphones still in, or gone over to them. I didn't as I thought about the other girl and how she would be really put on the spot. Because I'm nice like that, I treat others like i'd like to be treated.

Present day 10th October.

This post was originally written before my 18th Birthday, It is now the 10th October and I feel, I can once again type out my thoughts.

My hands look like Nicki Lauda. That is the best way to describe it. It's swelling, it's growing and it is damn firey. It has travelled to my thighs and the redness and throbbing is the most un sexiest thing in the world.

In the past week I've had it on my chest, my boobs and under my boobs on my stomach. This shit is just not on.

I'm wearing Latex free gloves now for about 15 hours a day, when I remove them germs get in and the outside temperature effects how my hands look and feel.

Last week after another trying session at college, applying make-up to someone with my gloves on (It's simply the only way) I'd had enough. I called my parents and off we went to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital. What an absolute waste of my god damn time.Hilariousi

Having Eczema can piss you off at the best of time but when someone in a medical role has no inclination to help that tips you over the edge.

Not only did the A&E doctor not show any empathy to the fact that this is now ruining my life, he also and frequently forgot my name. Not cool. Didn't build any rapport with me there.
His advice:

"Wait to see your specialist next week" 
Despite the fact my skin is burning, it's ruining my life and is spreading by the day. You just sit back and relax, whilst I go stress out and make it worse, as you Mr doctor, behaved catagorically appailingly.
We come to now. I am emotionally raw. Girlies, Imagine the worst period ever but it not going way, the attitude, the pain. As well as being visible on your skin for the world to see. That Is currently how I feel.

Words sometimes don't fully describe what I'm going through, so I'll compile a little video for you all of some of my video diary entries to show how aggressive the growth is.

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