I don't mean to brag in any way whatsoever but I feel truly blessed to have such an awesome man in my life, who understands the extent of my sufferings and despite all the disgusting habits and processes that coincide with having a skin condition, he still sticks by me and loves me for who I am. He has gone out of his way to selflessly raise both money and awareness to help not just me, but others who suffer horrifically from the umbrella heading of "eczema" of which so many skin conditions fall under.
At the time that we first met I had no idea that we would end up having a romantic relationship as I didn't think that anyone could possibly be interested in pursuing a relationship with me. Sure, I still had people that were vaguely interested in me, but if they had seen the extent of my sufferings and all the habits that tie in with it they'd run a mile, thinking I was disgusting and not quite understand why I did what I did.
When you have a condition such as this, you find ways to mask it and cover it up so that no one would know the extent of your sufferings; spending hours upon hours preening the skin to perfection, being told by professionals to use copious amounts of steroid cream to keep it at bay, and to literally remove the dead skin with a pair of tweezers and cover red, blotchy areas with tinted moisturiser in order to look "normal" and feel comfortable in your appearance. The cracks would show sometimes but for the majority of the time I was able to hide it well, (before it became exceptionally bad and make-up was no longer an option) and it wasn't until I created this blog that I was met with aberration from many friends who had no idea that eczema could be so cruel. They didn't realise that my skin would shed so profusely, nor the extent that I went through to hide it.
The year of 2009 was when the whole bravado kicked off and I was to have very little or no respite from the beast for the next 4 and a half years. Meeting Shane later that year was like a breath of fresh air. Despite him not really having a clue about eczema he didn't really question how abnormal my habits were, from the peeling of dead skin with the aid of tweezers, to the full body application of moisturisers at various intervals during the day that would take ages to sink in to allow me to dress, to the hours spent laying down in the shower for relaxation... he really didn't question any of it, he just accepted that this was my life and took it upon himself to work with it rather than against it.
As time went on and my skin got worse and worse, despite seeing a dermatologist on a frequent basis for help, Shane still stuck by me offering his love and support, cheering me up on the days where I felt utter despair and like life wasn't worth living. He made it worth living and gave me the strength to carry on going, to fight against my body and to see that I was worth more than I thought. In fact, it was his seed of an idea that got me into blogging and so earlier this year, this very blog was born so that I could help others like Shane has helped me.
As cheesy as it may sound everyone needs a rock like Shane in their life, whether they're battling with an illness or not it helps you knowing someone has your back and that you're not alone in this struggle that is life.
I love you Shane Nicholl.
(Shane & I, Sept 2010 for my 21st birthday in Paris. Was on Ciclosporin at that point, hence make-up, the ability to wear necklaces without causing reaction, wearing black, dyed hair and stretched ears!)
P.S. My humblest of apologies that this post is overflowing with cheese :p