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Mental Health

Eczema fighter Traciee Thomas: “You’re more worthy than you feel”

51-year-old Traciee Thomas from Gary, Indiana was born with eczema. With her eczema now under control, Traciee shared with us her struggles and triumphs while living with this chronic condition. Growing up with eczema I was raised in Gary, Indiana before moving to West Linn, Oregon. As a baby I had eczema flare-ups on my arms, legs, neck and scalp. But I was not really diagnosed with the condition until the second grade. The eczema spread over my whole body when we moved to Oregon – that’s when my mother decided to take me to the doctor and I was diagnosed with atopic dermatitis. I remember the sun irritated my skin, especially when I was sweating, so in the summertime I simply didn’t want to go outside. I’ve always worn long sleeves and high collars and I hated wearing dresses without stockings – I never wanted to show…

The eczema dilemma: How sleepless nights can turn your day upside down

Anyone who has a child with eczema will know, the itching always becomes much worse at night. This is because the body’s natural defence hormone, cortisol, is at its lowest level of production at night, and at its highest in the morning. Cortisol is an anti-inflammatory hormone produced by the adrenal gland. It is also known as the “stress” hormone because it helps the body respond to stress. When your own child is having to go through periods of stressful itching at night times, due to chronic eczema, you make it your business to find out exactly what is happening to them. It also helps to better understand the condition and your child’s discomfort. Night time therapy and medication Learning about the problems associated with eczema is one thing, but actually dealing with the problem first hand is something very different entirely. When our son was young we spent…

The 5 biggest frustrations of parents to a young child with eczema

When our son was diagnosed with eczema at just 14 weeks, it came as a kind of relief to discover that his worrying skin condition was relatively common and not life threatening, as we had at first feared. At such a tender age, we immediately thought the worst when red patches appeared on his face and arms. However, doctors reassured us that many babies can display symptoms of eczema, and in some cases the condition can just disappear as the child grows older. At the time, we could never have imagined the kind of frustration, stress and anxiety we were going to have to experience before we would finally accept the fact that this was a condition we were all going to have to live with, and somehow manage. However, nothing could have prepared us for what was about to unfold over the coming months and years. What could…

Staying positive when your eczema child is unhappy

Having a child who suffers from eczema is a constant worry but it’s important to stay positive for the sake of the child and your own sanity. As my son grew older, sleepless nights became much less frequent as he was able to apply creams and lotions by himself and whenever the need arose. However, on occasion, when he had a particularly bad flare-up, either my wife or myself would have to stay up and tend to him. What did become more evident, as he grew older, were the cycles of stress and flare-ups. The more stressed he became the worse the eczema seemed to be, and the worse it became the more stressed he was. Staying mentally positive Staying mentally positive has helped in many ways and to reinforce this state of mind we found that being active and creative helped us all to focus on something other than…

The worst experience I’ve had as a parent to a child with eczema

If ever I’m asked, “what is the worst experience you’ve had as a parent to a child with eczema”, my mind immediately focuses on the years my child was at school. Between the ages of 10 and 15 my son went through a barrage of torment, abuse and bullying at school, which I’m sure still affects him to this day. At first he would tell us about his days at school and what other children were saying about him but then he stopped telling us. As parents we encouraged him to speak openly with us so we could explain why the other children were being so cruel and heartless. We tried to find reasons for everything but the reality was we were only making excuses for other people’s children and their ignorance. The worst and most memorable time Of all the incidents that have happened to our son at school…

What my child with eczema taught me about happiness

When you have a child with eczema it’s not always easy to do the things other families might take for granted. For example, there have not been many times when we have been able to go away from home, as a family, for anything other than a few days at a time. We have never even considered going abroad. During school holidays we would just go out on day trips, but always aware that the summer sun and pollen could pose a real problem and cut our daytrip short. Like any parents we just wanted our son to have as many happy experiences as possible, and so we took him to places like the zoo, the cinema and play parks. Anywhere where we could go too, would be up for consideration, just so that we could be close by in case he needed us. Why we have to sometimes…