My Life With Eczema

Hi, I’m Abigail. Although I’ve had eczema my entire life, it didn’t fully become an issue for me until 2 years ago. I used to get it all the time as an infant/toddler. At that time my doctor had my mom put me on a gluten-free and dairy-free diet. Then *poof* around the time I turned 4, it just went away. I was even able to resume eating gluten and dairy without problems. Then around December of 2016 a small patch of bumps appeared near the bottom of my palm, then another on the back of my left thigh. The bumps on my palm started getting itchier. I showed them to my mom, she looked at it and said “Ehhhhh, probably just another bug bite.” Geez thanks mom, it’s not like it was eczema or anything. In her defense, these bumps didn’t look like the eczema rashes I had when I was an infant/toddler. After a few months the bumps got bigger and a lot itchier and we started to realize that these weren’t bug bites. My doctor surprised us both and said it was eczema.

Searching for clues

We started trying different things to see what it was triggering it. First, we thought it was a reaction to wheat since I had eaten quite a bit of bread throughout the prior months. After a few experiments, we finally realized what was triggering the flare-ups. Believe it or not, it was fructose syrup! You may not know this, but fructose syrup is in pretty much everything! It’s in almost all fast food, sodas (real sugar sodas don’t have it) and about 90% of packaged food, including bread, canned products, cereal, drinks, ice cream, and more! It’s everywhere.

In plain sight

The hardest part of dealing with it, is that it is visible. Now that may sound strange as many people, like my mom, who have invisible illnesses wish their diseases were visible. However, unlike a cool scar, people see my rash and want to run instead of asking questions. Rather than having the opportunity to explain eczema, I spend my time reassuring people that I am not contagious. They also want to fix me by offering advice even though they know nothing about my condition. I am learning to deal with the assumptions and ridiculous advice that people make and give every time they see my rash, but sometimes it is just easier to hide it.

It is what it is

For the last 2 years, I’ve been doing my best to eat as healthy as I can so that my eczema doesn’t get worse. Honestly, I’m okay with my diet. While a bit challenging when I am away from home, I’m okay with not eating fast food. I’m okay with having to treat my wrist and other areas with creams to soothe the burning and itching. I’m beginning to accept my life with eczema, because without a cure it will most likely be with me for the rest of my life. What I really want is for people to take the time to listen and learn instead of passing judgment.

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