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 say “no”
Apart from the usual food and drinks, there have been many other things my son has missed out on because of his condition and that includes swimming. The chlorine they add to the water would only irritate his skin and so we stay well away from swimming pools. Activities like cycling and high energy sports are out of the question too, although we have played gentle football in the park during some of the cooler months. In fact any activity that could raise the body temperature or cause a sweat is best to be avoided. Certain types of clothing and even some air fresheners and candles can cause problems too. It’s because of all these limitations and restrictions my son, and also we as parents, have had to adapt to the lifestyle we have. However, despite all this my son understands why we have to sometimes say “no.”
Help and support is priceless
Despite everything, it’s not all been doom and gloom over the years. Thankfully we have close friends and relatives who have allowed us to take time out while they have looked after my son for the day. Their generosity has allowed my wife and I to spend some quality time together. We have been on shopping trips, been to the theatre and cinema, visited our favourite restaurant and met up with other friends for drinks. So it is possible to have a life and not always have to worry about managing eczema and its effects. Having people around you to offer help and support is priceless. These very same friends and family members have been there for us right from the beginning and will be part of our cherished memories forever.
A beautiful boy
Every birthday and every Christmas friends and family are always there to make the occasion feel special. They have always tried to make my son the centre of attraction, although we tried to discourage this. We just wanted our son to feel “normal” and be like other children and thankfully he has managed to do this all by himself. He has grown into a boy that shows gratitude to others. He is caring, polite and respectful. He loves to laugh and tell silly jokes. He tries not to get upset when other children tease him and he accepts that he has a condition that limits his activities. Nothing has ever stopped him from being a beautiful boy. If, and whenever my wife and I do go out for an evening, he always says, “Have a great time you guys, you deserve it”.
Happiness comes from within
Despite everything, he is quite content. He has written poems for us to express his love and he has written songs and plays guitar beautifully. If a child who has suffered so much all his life can express happiness through his own words, then we should all learn a lesson from this. Happiness comes from within and you only have to let it out.
Eczema Happiness Study explores how eczema affects happiness and well-being. Make your voice heard by taking our surveys about different aspects of living with eczema