A person walks in a worn down path around a large prescription medicine bottle.

Different Era, Different Doctor, Same Verdict

Imagine my eager anticipation. I had an appointment to see a skin specialist on Friday in the famous Harley Street, London. I was in a really bad way. Not quite rock bottom, but very close to it. The last dermatologist I saw was about twenty-five years or so ago. This time was exciting. A chance to really pin down what was happening to me and explain exactly how this disease was making me feel. Nearly three decades since I last saw a professional of this standard. Surely, there have been huge medical advancements since the late 90s?

How did I handle my 15 minute appointment?

It can be quite pressurizing to address something that has impacted your whole life in just fifteen minutes but that was the allocated time I was given and I had to strike while the iron was hot, as they say! As soon as I went in and sat down, I was glad the specialist just went straight into it..."So what can I do for you?" I gave it to him. I spoke of my sleepless nights, constant itching, and brain fog because of the sleepless nights, social anxiety, and general bad health including my asthma.

He seemed interested in why I had not seen a dermatologist in such a long time. I told him that apart from giving me a more sympathetic ear, which I am really grateful for, they did not offer me anything different from my GP.

What was I prescribed for my eczema?

After examining me he told me that I was not in good shape. He went on to talk about the various ways they treat eczema. The doc mentioned that they use immunosuppressant medications, biologics such as Dupixent, and others that are given once the steroid treatment has failed. He was adamant that the best way forward was prescribing me a load of powerful prednisolone and steroid ointment. I was gutted. I understood that I needed some vital intervention and I told him so. Feeling a tad deflated, I mentioned how I thought it was depressing.

How did I feel leaving the appointment?

I walked out of my dermatologist's office with basically the same medications over twenty-five years ago. To be fair, he said that we could look at different treatments if this does not work. It was the best thing he actually said and it was something I had not heard before. He gave me a spark of hope. According to him, most GPs prescribe short bursts of steroid ointment to people with eczema then suddenly stop the treatment. This is where they go wrong. He went on, saying, "You can safely use this ointment I am prescribing for you (Mometasone Furoate) after your treatment finishes. Twice a week only for your whole life." If any eczema advocates are reading this, what do you think about this? Has your primary carer ever said anything similar?

I am currently eczema-free and loving it, however! The steroids have well and truly kicked in. I am free. But for how long? And will I be worse off when I come off these meds? History suggests this will be the case.

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