Some of the strongest memories that I have dealing with severe eczema is my lack of sleep. I can't sleep when I'm really itchy, or your skin feels like it's burning. It's really, really hot. You don't want to sweat because your sweat has salt and so that hurts. Being out in the sun, getting into the water, going to the pool, going into the ocean or the beach, if you're flared up you don't want to do any of those things. Work-wise it's been tough walking down the hallways and having your skin flare up and having to go and talk to your CEO. If it's pretty severe, you might not want to go into the office. You might want to take phone calls instead, and that's not ideal. I don't want to be held back by my eczema.
A really big struggle with having eczema and atopic dermatitis is not knowing why your body is reacting that way. I wanted to address it. I mean that point I'm in my early 20s. This is not how I want to live my life. So I go to an allergist, and I go to a dermatologist, and the dermatologist does my first patch testing. They basically put the allergies directly onto your skin on your back, it's always on your back, and then they remove it two days later, and then they go and see what has reacted.
I get the call that I'm allergic to basically everything. I'm allergic to the fragrance ingredient, which is in all the makeups, all the soaps, laundry detergent, metals. So that affects jewelry, and then I'm allergic to a ton of food tomatoes, wheat, dust mites, so many plants, and trees. I'm allergic to a lot of woods. I'm allergic to band-aids. The list is so long it's-- the allergist actually told me let me tell you what you're not allergic to.
I cut all of it out within a week my face cleared up. It was just eye-opening I was like, I have been just putting these allergens directly on my body, and I could have stopped it all along, and I had no idea. Knowing that my eczema is mainly attributed to skin allergies that's helped me be able to take control of my life, which includes my work, my family, my relationships. So I can avoid these allergens and hopefully not have flare-ups or at least control them so that I just keep it at mild to moderate.
I've always written in journals since I was a little child, and I needed to write about it. So I started a blog five years ago, and I wrote it with the objective of providing empathy to others even if it's digitally and they don't know who I am. When you're going through severe eczema, I can't imagine you not needing the support of other people that are going through something similar or have gone through something similar.
I tell myself that it will all be easier if I could just live in a bubble but then what if I'm allergic to the plastic of the bubble. The reality is that I don't want to live in a bubble. I want to experience life with my family and my friends and if I pay attention to my body, avoid my triggers and my allergens as much as possible, then I think that I can live here just fine without having to be in a bubble.