Traveling and Eczema Struggles
Traveling can be exhausting and time-consuming, but also amazing and rewarding. I recently went on a 7-day backpacking trip around 3 countries. It was an amazing experience. I was able to meet some of the most amazing people, try some of the most amazing dishes and do some of the most awesome things I've ever done in my life.
Chronic conditions in the way
Although I had an amazing time and I certainly wouldn't change it for the world, my skin did less than "amazing." At times I get frustrated. On top of dealing with symptoms and complications of inflammatory bowel disease, I struggle with atopic eczema. Traveling doesn't make either of these conditions any easier.
IBD vs. eczema
Over the past seven days, my inflammatory bowel disease has actually been the lightest of the load. My symptoms are being managed and my medication is working pretty well. My eczema is quite the opposite.
Struggles of eczema
Since I was little, I haven't seemed to be able to find a medication or anything that works too well for my eczema. I've tried many different things, but all of my efforts have always seemed to be in vain. My skin hasn't been the best lately, but it also could be worse. I try to appreciate the decent days my skin has because there are occasions where those days are few and far between.
Determining eczema triggers
When I'm doing a lot it can be hard to pinpoint exactly what is causing my skin to flare. But I know a few things it could be!
Location and climate
One major factor is location. Different locations, humidity, etc., definitely cause my skin some irritation (to say the least).
I also think fabrics may play a role. As someone with extra sensitive skin, I'm always concerned about where I'll be sleeping and what I'll be sleeping on (while traveling). This trip I stayed in a few different hotels and hostels, some fabrics being nicer than others. I can tell when a certain fabric will cause me trouble almost immediately. I'll begin to notice redness on my foot, which is usually the first sign. Partnered with the occasional itchy eyes and skin - not sure why things affect my eyes as much as they do, but it's frustrating.
It's not "just" eczema
It's frustrating that I have to deal with so many issues that most people seem to "grow out of." It's annoying that people don't understand and it's also annoying that I can't talk to people about these issues without it being blown off or related to an unrelated issue. I wish things like traveling were easier for people who live with atopic dermatitis / atopic eczema. A "skin condition" may not seem like a big deal to those unaffected, but it is. It changes the way we think, live and deal with everyday life.
Even with my skin in a mini-flare, I think the trip was still a major success. I don't ever want to allow atopic eczema, inflammatory bowel disease, or anything else, hold me back from living the life I've always dreamed of.
Did you know October is eczema awareness month?