Specialist Says No!
Last evening, I got off the phone to my doctor feeling totally and utterly bewildered. Let's take a few steps back for some context. In February, I sent an email off to my doctor ostensibly saying that I was at the end of my tether with my skin. It kept me awake all night; the same old treatments - topical steroids, bath lotions, and creams were not dealing with the root cause. They were managing it to a certain degree. However, after forty-odd years of this hell, I wanted to try something new. I had read many great things about Dupixent and was curious to see if I could get access to it.
Submitting photo evidence of severity
They (my doctor) had photographic evidence of my skin; knees, neck, wrists, and arms. I could send in more, but this is quite hard for me to do if I am honest. I still feel very self-conscious. But that problem is easily solved. I will send more pictures to prove my case. The reason I mention this is because my doctor said the dermatologist had written to her to say I did not qualify for Dupixent.
A difficult process
She went on to explain that people who tend to get qualified to try these new treatments need to demonstrate that they are using "steroids all the time" - vague?? Before you can get to see a specialist. I asked what she meant by "all the time," but there was no clear response. I feel saddened that you almost have to be on your last legs, on the floor with this condition, before you are seen or treated by a dermatologist. In the UK anyhow. I'm not sure what the process is like in other countries. Actually, when I reflect, the only reason I was able to see a dermatologist twenty-odd years ago was because my work doctor (we had an on-site doctor when I worked at Kodak in the mid-90s) wrote to my GP suggesting I should see a specialist.
Refusing to damage my skin further
Don't get me wrong; I'm not bashing the frontline doctors for this, more the process. I was just disappointed that they had made this decision without even seeing me. I am not prepared to slap on the steroid ointments in the hope of showing that my condition worsens so that I can get an appointment with a more senior professional.
It's not all bad news
This has made me more determined to fight the good fight myself. I spent all night reading The Eczema Detox Book by Karen Fischer, and I have already learned things I never knew about food and nutrition and just making different choices. I am going off on a tangent here, but I have to keep reminding myself, I've done this before. And I will get there again!
I also watched a few inspirational podcasts with TSW sufferers, and I could relate to every single word that they uttered. I feel very positive about the future. There are many avenues I can try and experiment with. Weirdly, getting that call from my doctor was just what I needed.
On an average day, how would you rate your level of anxiety related to atopic dermatitis?