Okay, I think its time for some pictures of my eczema adventure. I haven’t posted many but I know seeing eczema like yours is therapeutic as it is generally something we hide and deal with alone. I am done with being in the closet about this so….
Since my hands seem to be the largest target for my eczema here they are in March 2011 on the day I started tanning (as you can see I started with a 6 minute session):
So here are the humble beginnings when I said enough and took matters into my our hand (ha, no pun intended). I didn’t think at the time that I would be continuing tanning past the original few minutes that I bought. ( I am not sure why the pictures are slightly yellow but I assume poor lighting.)
These pictures are hard for me to look at as I was in a tremendous amount of pain and discomfort. I was wearing cotton gloves 24/7 just to feel somewhat normal. I couldn’t help my children wash themselves in the bath tub and even wore nitrile gloves on top of my cotton gloves to use the bathroom (as washing these raw hands was excruciating). In case you were wondering I washed the gloves like I would my hands so I could reuse them on the next visit.
Here are my hands 7 days later on March 30, 2011. I took these with my phone so they are small (even at full size). I could barely move them at work enough to type and was pretty sure tanning wasn’t helping.
Some days my hands were so sore and raw that in order to keep them moving I would have to wear cotton and nitrile gloves to keep the moist. This of course isn’t particularly recommended as its really easy to get bacteria trapped in the gloves and since they don’t breath well you can get an infection really fast. However, desperate times call for desperate acts sometimes.
So, I took the next pictures on April 1, 2011. The photo at the top of this page of my arm was taken that day as well. It really shows how bad my eczema was in 2011.
You will see that my hands look a bit better (less raw?), I probably used some steroid cream the night before to take the edge off (a very desperate measure for me). But take a look at the extent of the condition. Yup, all the way up to my elbow. I wore lots of long sleeve shirts to cover up this nastiness. I think I took these pictures as a “hey look its getting better” picture, yikes!
Believe it or not during this time my arm wasn’t particularly itchy but my hand were exceptionally itchy. Perhaps I was just focusing on my hands as having the most integral part of your body hurting was horrible. I was also pregnant at the time in these pictures but have had my eczema flare this bad while not pregnant as well. (Some people still like to tell me that this was ALL due to the pregnancy hormones which I find rather interesting as I wasn’t pregnant in high school when it was equally as bad. Food for thought.)
Just for fun here is a picture of the back of my leg/knee. Now this was itchy. Being in the crease of my knee really sucked as once it was oozy it was very uncomfortable.
I didn’t take many other pictures after this as my skin began to clear up as soon as I went into the tanning bed for 8 minutes. Yup, that was my magic number.
Okay, so lets take a look at now. I’ve had my baby and I continue to tan (once or twice a week now).
It’s been about 9.5 months since I started tanning. I use my steroid cream very rarely, try to wear my cotton gloves when my hand start to act up (to keep moisture in) and always wear cotton gloves and nitrile gloves when cleaning and washing dishes. (That’s right these hands never soak in water, ever. The most they get is the shower and washing after a trip to the bathroom)
You’ll notice that my arm is quite tanned now with freckles and scars as reminders of the eczema battle I face from time to time. My hands are dry but I have to keep them that way in order to keep my eczema under control. Of course not too dry as that causes cracking and other issues.
So there you have it my last 10 months or so in picture form. They say a picture is worth a thousand words. There are many words for all of this but thankful that I took a risk and tried something considered unconventional which resulted in getting my tactile life back has no words, its priceless. Not a cure but definitely a good management strategy for me right now.