Dear Dermatologists: Highs & Lows (Part 2)
Dear Dermatologist: Thank you.
To every dermatologist who is seasoned in knowledge and dedicated to continuously learning about skin and making a change for patients who are suffering without real help, thank you! As patients, we do not always fully understand every scientific fact as you do. We aren't always able to connect the dots for what’s best for our skin and well-being. You fill in those gaps and, for many, give answers for those who have none.
We want your wisdom and understanding
When we find relief or new possible solutions because of your knowledge and experience, it is a true high for our lives. When you are humble and caring, it shows that you understand the actual pain of the disease and that in itself can leave a lasting impression for us to power through.
A dermatologist who understood
One dermatologist told me to "keep doing what I’m doing" when I came back to his office because my skin was much clearer than it had been during my first visit. He was the only dermatologist who told me a steroid cream would not help my seborrheic dermatitis flare-up. I needed to handle my problem differently with natural fungus killers. He knew this because he had seborrheic dermatitis. Did I wish he had a more immediate solution for me at the time? Yes, but he did not just prescribe me something that I’ve routinely been given for the sake of it. I appreciated that. That was the first and only time that I visited a clinic for answers. I was desperate for new answers and quick service. Who knew that I’d get someone who truly understood what I was going through.
What we need from our appointments
My good experiences with a dermatologist have been slim. And that's just in my local area at some of the best hospitals in the world. The only one that I can remember that was a bit above average is when a dermatologist told me not to put my topical steroid cream on my face. Others have been open to having me lab tested through many allergy tests and more, but only to give higher doses of steroids to calm my major flares as a result. I never received much information from dermatologists besides surface knowledge of what eczema is and the routine I needed to adopt to help it. This is all fine, but it didn’t warn my parents or me of the physical and psychological strain of eczema. Patients should be asked about their lifestyle choices and needs at their doctor's visits. They should not just be given basic information about their condition.
Research is not a threat
The National Eczema Association is one place where you find great resources and dermatologists that have a proven history working in-depth with eczema patients and ultimately having overarching care for the community. I’ve been happy to experience this through dermatologists who take the extra leap to build a real communicative atmosphere for their patients. They study different case studies to always be in the know, and they are also open to ways that a patient takes care of their skin that they may not have read in an accredited textbook of their own. They recognize that eczema is a disease of wonderment and is ever-changing. Therefore if new information arises, it is not a threat to their intelligence, but rather an opportunity to truly help people who are suffering without answers.
The highs of dermatology
These are high points of dermatology for me. When eczema is seen for what it is, a disease of the largest organ filtering system and not “just” skin. It does not just lack one or two quick fixes on the surface only to be treated cosmetically, rather multiple approaches are possible to gain relief. The idea of a one-size-fits-all with eczema is unlikely. All bodies are unique, and with the right open-minded dermatologist, who knows the places we could go!
How often do you downplay your eczema to other people?