Term has well an truly re-entered our lives this week. We're back in full flow for music lessons, clubs, parties, homework ad infinitum and tired kids.
Master Beehive the elder is suffering a lot at the moment with his eczema. In short, he suffered a lot as a baby, then appeared to grow out of it. It made a reappearance in year 7, two years ago and has remained ever since. It seems to crawl around his body, once we've got rid of it in one spot, it rears its ugly head elsewhere. I do think it is related to puberty and his body changing and believe it was triggered this time around by stress. As a baby he had a pretty stressful birth, so that could have been a big factor in its initial appearance. In year 7 he had all the stress of a new school, change of friends etc etc and he is an anxious child at times. Now of course it's clinging on to stay.
We have tried it all from a holistic angle: Chinese herbs, dairy free diets, vegetarian diets, he bathes in salt water, this gives him temporary relief, but after a couple of hours he dries again. The dryness isn't the problem, the problem for him is that in areas where he sweats, the skin gets so irritated that it rubs up sore against itself.
He has been through all the prescribed creams on the shelves. His current routine is Cetraben as a moisturiser and Elacon which is a mild hydrocortisone. We're also currently trying Salcura, both the zeoderm spray and the intensive repair. This has had some wonderful results for friends, but we're struggling to get on top of this particularly nasty flare up, thus the Salcura isn't touching the sides at the moment.
Before we went on holiday this summer he had to have a short course of oral steroids to remove the beginnings of an infection that was starting. This is something that I really hate the thought of having to do, but when your child can't see out of his eyes because they're so crusted and sore and his neck is sticking to his collar on his school shirt, there is no conversation.
If you have a child with such severe eczema, you weep to see the pain they're in and your inability to actually help. It's almost as if his body is rejecting the skin he's in.
He's lucky in so far as he has known his friends before his eczema got as bad as it is now, therefore they love him for who he is and however he sometimes looks, so he has a great support of pals. Strangers, on the otherhand, often stare, which is hard for him. I know people mean well, but when you have a condition that affects your appearance, staring is going to happen. I'm teaching him currently how to try to educate people that do ask questions. People are only curious and genuinely concerned for him. I, on the otherhand, feel more irritated when I'm shown a small patch of dried skin on someone's elbow and have to listen to how they have 'terrible eczema too'. Really, don't wish it on yourself. Skin conditions are the utter dogs bollocks.
Tomorrow I'm taking him to a salt cave. I've read some good reviews about the benefits of salt and perhaps this could give him some relief. He also sees the dermatologist again on Wednesday, so if the holistic approach needs a boost, hopefully we'll get one.
Mr Beehive and I are also going to do the Five Peaks in 12 hours challenge next Easter to raise money for the National Eczema society. It seems such a shame that with our expertise in medical science that there just isn't more understanding of the causes of, or successful cures for this condition. We will have a justgiving page up in the near future where we will be trying to raise sponsorship, watch this space.
In the meantime, if you have a child, in particular a teenager, who suffers from severe eczema, please get in touch as I'd love to know how you help them cope with it. You can leave me a note in the comments below.