B-itch

I have eczema. It sucks. Most of the time, it lies dormant, just under the skin, which is fine. But then, when our dear friend stress raises its ugly head for a prolonged period of time, an eczema flare up is usually not far behind.
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To be fair, I have not had a really bad flare-up in a while. But they can happen at any time, and suddenly. And once it flares, getting it back under control is hell. I’ll give an example. One of the places where the eczema will flare up is on the outside of my right index finger. Odd place you might say. Yes, and completly inconvenient. Think of unscrewing a tube of toothpaste–the little ridges on the cap? Agony on eczematic skin. Water, detergent, cooking spices, any kind of perfume, bath soap, those are just a few of the things that can then keep the flare up going. What fun.
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Anyway. The last time I spoke to my first ex-husband was in 1994. I had moved to CO in 1993, right before the school year started, and daughter had been visiting him during the summers. Between then and spring 1994, I had found out from his next ex-wife that they had gotten divorced, and he had headed back to his native land of Kentucky (it so fitted him), apparently in the company of a 19 year old that he was going to marry. Naturally, I did not think I should send my 11-year-old daughter off into the void, not knowing where he actually was or who he was actually with. Of course, that did not sit well with him and he went off on one of his tirades. By the time I hung up the phone, my finger was broken out in tiny little, itchy, oozy blisters. Prior to the phone call, the skin had been completely clear. I now call that finger my “stress barometer”.
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And so it goes. If you have never had the pleasure of full-blown systemic itching all over your body, please, do not try this at home. It is NO FUN. It wakes me up at night, it keeps me from being able to concentrate on just about anything. I am constantly slathering myself in various concoctions, both store-bought and home made, to soothe this hyper-sensitive skin. The thought of being around anything that aggravates it makes me cringe. Rubber gloves long ago became a constant companion in the kitchen. Band-aids and cortisone cream are nightstand regulars. Any kind of product with any fragrance is a complete “no-no”.
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Right now, besides the finger, I have “spots” at my ankles (it loves to flare up where the skin “creases”, a couple on my calves, a nice one in the bend of my right knee, and a couple on the inside of my thigh. And of course, my eyelids. Yes, that’s the other place that loves to flare up. Eczema is the number 1 reason I quit wearing any kind of make up all together. I just don’t know what’s in it that might cause the itching to start. Plus, it being winter, the dry heat doesn’t help.
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A few years ago, right around the time that G and I met, and my 2nd husband died, a flare up turned into a full blown case of hives. I was taking 6 Benadryl a day and that didn’t touch it. I ended up in the ER, with a shot of epi, and a tapering dose of prednisone (shudder). It helped, and this is the first time it’s really flared since then, but I do not want it to get that far again.
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So, if anyone happens to read this in passing, and has a good, solid formula for helping this lovely condition (inherited, by the way), please don’t hesitate to comment, or send me an e-mail. My skin and I will be forever grateful!
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GG (aka “Itchy and Scratchy”)
PS – I’m also taking internal supplements that are supposed to help.
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