My Experiences With Eczema: Eastern vs. Western Medicine
I'm lucky enough to not have dealt with eczema at the beginning of my healing journey when pharmaceuticals other than steroids were the popular drug of choice for Western dermatologists to prescribe.
Traditional Chinese medicine
When I had my first major flare, shortly before getting off steroids for the first time, it was in 2004. I was lucky enough to find a Chinese medicine doctor who was trained in dermatology and was able to heal me of my 15 years of suffering from eczema and steroid addiction. This happened over the course of 6 years with Chinese herbal decoctions, herbal ointments and diet, and lifestyle advice.
During that time she had never suggested I try any other healing modality because she had complete confidence that she could help me heal and she delivered on that promise.
Dupixent and topical steroids
This time around, with a new flare that I am dealing with for different reasons, I am seeing a Chinese doctor again who knows her stuff, who specializes in dermatology, and who has already made such a huge improvement in my skin in just one week. But what is different this time is that she has actually asked me a couple of times that if I wanted to try Western drugs like Dupixent or to try even try steroids (yikes!) to help me save money and get faster results. I won’t lie: Chinese medicine, GOOD Chinese medicine is pricy and is for those seeking to win the long game aka those who have patience. I think she only suggested them because she had heard about them, but didn’t actually work with them or know about the consequences of using them long-term.
Long-term eczema healing
This has been such an awkward and strange experience for me having completely converted to long-term, natural healing methods, and holistic health. Although these methods take longer I know that their effects also last longer and double-up to help strengthen my body and its functions for the long-haul. I have also surrounded myself with a network and communities of people who have similar stories of being disappointed or having their symptoms worsen with Western medicine. This network also prefers to prevent chronic illness or remedy it with more gentle methods like herbalism, diet, and lifestyle.
Topical steroid addiction
So it has been strange to actually have to explain to my Chinese doctor that I had been addicted to steroid creams and ointments for 15 years, blindly trusting Western dermatologists with NO healing results or improvement in my skin. Any relief was very short-lived - like maybe for the day or an hour tops depending on the day - and steroid ointments and creams were things that I needed to apply on a daily basis or my skin would go out of whack again.
What we don't know about Dupixent
The second time she asked me to try Dupixent was because I had huge blistering flares on my arms. So, I had to explain to her the consequences and side effects I had seen from other eczema warrior friends of mine online about how it also wasn't a complete cure-all. Plus that drug is still fairly new. There's just not enough information about its potential long-term effects on my immunity for me to feel safe enough to try it. (Though, I do commend those who are giving it a chance because it gives the rest of us more information from consensual human testing.)
What’s your story with difficult or strange interactions with your dermatologist? How did you deal with it?
Did you know October is eczema awareness month?