Friday, 26 April 2013

Topical Steroid Addiction & Allergies to Animals

Hope everyone's eczema isn't too bad? Mine is actually brilliant today. It's still there, and most prominent on my arms with scabs left all over my face, neck and chest but today has been the first day in such a long, long time where I haven't had a shower and I don't feel horrendous for skipping it. It's quite a big step given how my eczema has been manifesting itself recently, to the extent that without a shower I don't feel life is worth living so this is a MASSIVE development as it isn't often at all that I'm able to appreciate this luxury.

Today I had an appointment with my GP who I very seldom see as I usually just go straight to the dermatology department at the hospital as they're more understanding of my needs. I came out with an Epi-pen in the hope that it will be an added reassurance for when I go to see my Mum next week. I have severe allergies to fur bearing animals but have never gone into anaphylactic shock so wasn't sure if I would qualify, but my reactions are so severe that I warrant immediate hospital attention. My entire face swells, with my eyes swelling shut; I become incredibly itchy from head to foot, with a very prominent red rash; my skin begins to weep even if I don't scratch it and I have a severe asthma attack (and this is without even touching the animal!). It's gotten worse and worse every time I've been back there but I need to look through my belongings in my old bedroom to see what can be chucked and what kept. I'm just frightened that one day I will have an anaphylactic fit, so at least I now have a necessary precaution if it was to occur.

I was quite annoyed by the doctor's attitude to the situation. He told me I shouldn't enter a person's house where there will be a fur bearing animal, yet surely there will be a time where I will unknowingly and unwillingly go into someone's home who does have a fur bearing pet. What on earth do I do then? I mean I obviously understand why he said it, as it's my health that needs to be kept in check at the end of the day, but still, I can't completely avoid animals when the majority of people I come into contact with on a daily basis do own fur bearing pets.

It's hard enough as it is at work accepting returned clothing where you can visibly see it is completely covered in animal fur. Obviously I go and wash my hands directly after I have dealt with the customer for fear of touching my face and having a bad reaction, but it's not an unavoidable thing for me to actively do. Even friends and family end up being covered in animal fur and it isn't as though I can wear a bubble suit whilst acquainting them. It's a bloody annoying allergy to have and it makes me despise my body. I love animals a huge amount but my body has decided that it doesn't. So sad.

Do you have severe animal allergies? How do you deal with them?

My Mum's gruesome twosome!

Cats are my favourite animal ever :( My life is shit.

Wednesday, 24 April 2013

Eczema & Staying With Others

Having severe eczema can be really, really frustrating and tedious when divulging in social events. Strict routine is necessary in ensuring that your condition remains manageable so staying at someone else's place can certainly be a chaotic experience.

I've mentioned before on here that my morning routine literally takes me hours. On a good day I can probably decant my routine into around 2 hours or so, but on a bad day... well it can take me basically half the day!

I always find myself getting super frustrated when staying with other people because although they understand my condition, they don't necessarily understand exactly what it entails for me to get my skin preened to a comfortable state. For example, say we have to be ready to leave at 9am I would need to get up at 6am whilst the rest of the party wouldn't even contemplate getting out of bed until at LEAST 7am. However when there are a lot of you,  then they often spill over into your time and if you're not quick and fast thinking enough you can easily see yourself getting to the back of the queue which then causes more distress and panic because you know you won't be getting ready in time.

This weekend just past saw a similar state of affairs, though fortunately there were 2 bathrooms so no one struggled with time-keeping. I was slightly panicky that I was to spend the night in the living room/ kitchen area on an airbed because I knew people would want to use the space first thing in the morning for breakfast and such. With me needing to moisturise, which in itself is the most time consuming part of my routine, I wasn't sure what I would do as you can't exactly walk around in the nude in a house full of people. We came to the conclusion that I would book out the main bathroom for as long as it took me to get dressed and everyone else would fight over the other shower room.

Staying with friends in student places is the most difficult as you can't hog their bathroom but at the same time you don't really have any where else to go and carry out your routine.

I just find that eczema is such a demanding condition, turning people into selfish beings, because I know that if I didn't follow out my routine to a T I would be uncomfortable for the rest of the day and wouldn't feel like I could enjoy myself because the necessity to pander to my skins needs would be too much to bear.

I hate that it has so much control over my life in this way, but the only way to get it to a manageable state is to preen it to perfection so that it can get better and easier to control. Vicious circle. It also makes me feel so guilty that I do have to be selfish but rather that than getting unbearably ill.

Monday, 22 April 2013

The London Marathon - Raising Money For Eczema

This weekend saw my other half, Shane run the greatly prestigious London Marathon, his first EVER marathon! He did extremely well, running it in 3 hours and 47 minutes and for that alone I reckon is a major commendable achievement. After all, he isn't doing it for himself, he's doing it in order to raise money and awareness for those who suffer from this awful skin complaint in the hope of providing the National Eczema Society with the much needed capital to fund necessary research to finding the cure.

Despite not being in the best shape for this big run; lack of quality sleep and eating far too much rubbish due to his birthday being earlier this week, he's done amazingly and I am so proud of him. Next weekend he will be running the half marathon in Stratford though does have the option of running the full marathon if he wishes. It's probably for the best if he recovers though!

Please, please sponsor him >>>

Photo after he'd crossed the finishing line.

Shane & I before the run. We weren't allowed to walk through into his area so this was goodbye until after the race.

After the race. The weather got out really sunny. It's hard to see here as my face is shaded but I'm actually very sunburnt.

Unfortunately because I take immunosuppressants I am much more susceptible to sun burn. It's my own stupid fault for not having sun cream to hand, but I'm yet to find one that doesn't irritate my eczema. I find that sun cream tends to have a drying out effect on the skin, so need to moisturise directly after application but this then defeats the object of wearing sun cream as the moisturiser acts as a grease, thus heating up and causing a cooking effect. Rubbish! Looks like I need to shop for a big floppy hat in the near future!

I will write up a separate post relating to some other issues I've thought up this weekend so keep your eyes peeled for those.

Friday, 19 April 2013


So this Sunday my other half will be running the London Marathon which makes up a tiny 4-5% of his overall 1000km Challenge. He is running to help raise money and awareness for the National Eczema Society in order to pave a way into finding the inevitable cure for this horrible, and often debilitating condition.

1000km is one hell of a challenge! Many people run one 10k or one marathon NOT 1000KM!!! That's the equivalent of 621.37 miles which is around the equivalent of going from Plymouth (South of England) to Inverness (Scottish Highlands)! That is one hell of a way really isn't it?! Not to mention it would take 209 hours which is basically over 8 days of running non-stop. MIND BLOWING?!

Every weekend, come rain or shine, and even snow, he is lacing up his trainers and running anything from a 10k (worth 1%) or a half marathon or full marathon. He is now over 1/4 of the way there with 285.94km under his belt. However despite his best efforts has only raised a measley 22% of his £6000 target. Imagine how much research can be carried out with £6000?

In order to sponsor Shane you can donate as much or little as you feel appropriate to or alternatively you can text "RACE55 £x" (£1-£10) to 70070.

Please help to spread his mighty, epic challenge. Thank you :)

Much love to any of you who do sponsor, it really is a worthy cause!

Wednesday, 17 April 2013

Don't Let Them Bring You Down

I must say that I have reached a stage in my life where I have managed to come to some kind of terms with the fact that I suffer from severe eczema. I've stopped giving a damn about how I look without make-up if I need to leave the house and I know I will never be able to wear or even do some of the things that I used to. This does not however mean that I have become completely immune to some of the comments and looks that people give when I'm having a bad flare.

Working within retail can be really difficult sometimes. You are faced each day with a plethora of customers, some kind, some not so kind. I get quite a few inquisitive remarks asking if it is eczema that I have, alongside some downright filthy looks when they see my hands and arms as I'm packing away their precious new items of clothing.

When this happens, you just have to think that we as people are ignorant and will judge by appearance. Everyone does it. Hell, even me. It's just within our nature as human beings to see something outside of the norm and to not completely understand it. However, it's what you do with your initial judgement that really counts. Some people will look away, some will be rude and stare and even comment, some will look at you sympathetically and others will ask you why you're different.

I don't mind explaining my condition to others, as you can see from the fact I've made a blog to promote awareness, I am more than happy to talk about it. I'm not embarrassed at the fact that I can't control my body, I just become agitated more than anything as I know that when I do flare I will get comments and questions that I know I will no doubt have to answer. A lot of other people I speak to are embarrassed about their eczema but they shouldn't be. You can't help that you're having a flare, it just happens. Sure, it's annoying as hell having to walk around with a blotchy red face but don't be embarrassed, you are you, you're much more than just the way you look.

Happiness is one of the key ingredients to living a less stressful life, and can even help to regulate your condition, and so it is paramount to not let people belittle you just because you have an illness that is difficult to control. If you are bullied because of your eczema then these people just aren't worth an ounce of your time. These people promote toxicity and need to be severed from your life else they will no doubt allow you to feel terrible about yourself. You don't need that. At the end of the day looks are just looks and don't really matter in the grand scheme of things if you are just able to alter your perception of life; beauty is in the eye of the beholder after all.

Basically, don't let people get you down about the fact that you're living with eczema. You're already going through enough of a battle with your condition to let these added extras bring you down. You are more than your condition. You are you and you can succeed.

I really hope this helps, not just eczema sufferers, but anyone who is facing a hard time with their appearance. :)

Sunday, 14 April 2013

Eczema Herpeticum & Being Given Wrong Medical Advice

Wow, again sorry for being so quiet. I can't believe it's the middle of April and I still haven't put that month of photos up. I will - it's just finding the time and motivation to sort all the photos out and actually make the post as I know it will be a long winded process. I might try and do it later on today when I'm home from work.

An update on me; last Sunday my eczema herpeticum came with vengeance, despite taking a dosage of 800mg of Aciclovir. The reason it was still raging is because my dermatologist had wrongly advised me to apply steroid cream to my inflamed face when I had recently had some cold sores on my chin. In all fairness both of us did think that had cleared up but obviously it hadn't.

You can see that there is a pimpled surface without the typical crusting characteristics associated with a cold sore. I'm putting this down to the fact that I was taking the Aciclovir but it wasn't a strong enough dosage to do its job.

On the Monday morning I left the hospital a message to say I would be turning up because I have herpeticum again and was seen to immediately. The staff at Lincoln County Hospital are fantastic at squeezing me in in my hours of need. I am so incredibly grateful that they do willingly accept to treat me. A lot of other places would just turn me away without an appointment and tell me to go to A&E or the walk-in centre so it is good to know they are there for me.

My dosage of Aciclovir was upped to 5 400mg tablets a day for 5 days, and appears to have done the trick. However on Thursday evening my urticaria decided to rear its ugly head when I did some cooking, and since has turned into eczema. This morning I have applied steroid cream to the affected areas of my body; my face, neck, chest, arms and backs of knees; in the hope that the herpeticum was truly gone and isn't going to spread like wildfire. 

Only time will tell I suppose.

Sunday, 7 April 2013

Learning To Focus On Positives : Life With Eczema

Sorry for the absence on my front. I know I owe a month in pictures and I will get round to it, really I will, it's just that it seems like a monumental task right now so I've been putting it off.

I've been thinking more and more about jobs. I'm an ambitious individual with the want to succeed but obviously my stupid condition dominates my life and so my dreams of a career in all things crafty are dwindling into the abyss.

I've decided to take a more rational approach with what I can do with my life whilst acknowledging my limitations but nodding towards more realistic possibilities. So, I'm not too shabby with my computing skills; most recently I've started up a little shop so am learning the very basics of business; I'm here in the blogging world and am getting to grips with getting my little spaces on the internet noticed.

I think I can have a life, albeit with limitations, where I can return to some form of normalcy. Hell I need it. As I said before, I'm an ambitious individual, I have ideas and I want to make a difference. Why on earth should I allow my condition to rule over me? I've worked so hard to have what I have now, why should I stop? I deserve to be happy! Happiness is paramount to leading a healthy lifestyle - surely it couldn't hurt to explore my other career options, even if they aren't exactly what I had planned to do.

A new era, a new approach to life, a new Jenny.