A doctor shows a lotion sample to his frustrated patient as she is speaking and tries to stop him

*itch Session: Sampled to Death with Eczema Treatments

“Here’s a sample!"
"Have you tried Protopic, hydrocortisone?”
“Have you tried this sample of Eucerin, eye cream?"
"Have you tried this lotion?"
“Facial cleanser in cataphile. Here’s a handful for you to try and let me know how this works."

These are the statements, comments, and suggestions made as my dermatologist and I were wrapping up our 15 minute session after waiting for 20 minutes to be seen.

How have doctors handled my eczema?

I’ve been to a plethora of dermatologists who have taken the time to understand my condition. I've seen many others who have treated me as if I was an experiment and wanted to see what my skin would react to.

When did I first see a dermatologist?

When my eczema began to spread, flare up, and flake while there weren't enough lotions or facial and body cleansers in the world that could stop my outbreak. My family decided to take me to my first dermatologist to see what the underlying issues were. During our first few appointments, we were not only seen for a short period of time, but we were given sample after sample after sample. During this time, I was introduced to a topical steroids and non-steroidal medications. Products such as triamcinolone and Protopic. While I was prescribed these products, I was not told the side effects, how the medication would impact my skin, or what the difference was of applying a cream versus an ointment.  

Did the treatments work for me?

I became overly frustrated with what I was being prescribed (specifically the steroids). Although my skin would clear up, there were distinct differences in the pigmentation of my skin and it would itch - though that’s the norm - but, I would cut, blister and bruise easily.

How did we change how we managed appointments?

The feeling of being treated in such a manner made my family realize that we had to do our own research, come with questions, and don't leave until we were satisfied. We were given so many samples, creams, and ointments, that we had to create our own list to ensure that what was once given to me (that didn’t effectively work) was not repeated again. The dermatologists (yes, multiple) that I was once desperately searching for answers from, no longer served my best interest. A friend of mine, who has psoriasis, experienced the same kind of treatment that I did.

How did I feel about the appointments?

While being sampled to death, I became frustrated, angered, hopeless to a point that I though, "Who deserves to be treated like an experiment to see what works for doctor's research purposes?" I was once told by a nurse, “You’re going to have this for the rest of your life, what’s the big deal?”

How should doctor's handle appointments?

As someone who has dealt with the trails and tribulations of eczema and continues to deal with them on a daily basis, I belive that dermatologists need to be more compassionate about our conditions. We are not experiments for them to see which product reacts to a particular skin type. We should be heard and not seen for less time than we waited for the appointment.

Please stop throwing the option of Dupixent in our faces. While giving us samples, ointments, or creams, please describe the intended immediate effects, potential side effects, and long-term affects of what you’re prescribing us. We’re more than just a copay, we are eczema warriors!

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