*itch Session: The Day I Stopped Using Western Medicine For My Eczema

I remember the day I stopped believing in Western medicine to cure my eczema. I had been seeing several Western dermatologists for 15 years. I was consistently prescribed some form of steroid cream or ointment every year. Hydrocortisone and cortisone were the popular choices amongst the doctors I saw in the 1990s and 2000s. There wasn’t much variation from that in terms of prescriptions.

How did the passing of a loved one affect me?

In 2004, my godfather passed away and all hell broke loose with my eczema and literally nothing I was prescribed—no matter how strong the concentration of steroids was—worked for me at all. The stress and shock of experiencing my first death in the family of someone I knew well overtook any medication I was taking at the time. That’s when I knew that Western dermatology would never heal me. After 15 years, it continued to fail me and I had to face this very difficult and heartbreaking reality check.

How did the realization affect me?

When I came to this realization, I remember feeling very upset because I was sold a false narrative that at some point Western dermatology was going to save me from my agonizing pain. I remember at that moment feeling so frustrated and lied to. All the years (over a decade) I had spent trusting Western doctors was all a waste of time. I also remember feeling like I was nauseous and about to throw up because everything I was raised to believe in about handling health issues through going to the doctor had only proven to be untrustworthy. I felt helpless. At that moment, I promised myself I would find a way to heal myself without steroids. At this point I had given Western medicine and steroids more than enough chances to redeem themselves, but they didn't.

How have my doctors failed me?

What was really upsetting was in the process of trying to heal myself and follow the doctors’ orders, was how dismissive each doctor was of how much of a failure every steroid product had been for over a decade for me. I wondered why no doctor had ever questioned the product or the medication not working for the patient. They just saw rashes and, as if on default mode, prescribed one steroid product after another.

Why was I to blame for my eczema rashes?

When it came to accountability, it was always the patient, me, that constantly needed to be fixed, who wasn’t working properly. But I counter that assumption and dare one to consider that maybe it was both? Maybe the problem was with both the prescription and the patient. But unfortunately as the patient, I was given the judgment and the full burden of the failure of not only the medication, but of the doctor who prescribed it to me. Looking back, that was completely unfair to me because we were in it together. We're supposed to heal me together.

When did I finally give up?

What was even more disheartening was when I got my last prescription from the final Western doctor who gave me a lifetime supply of refills of steroid creams and ointments from the pharmacy. Basically, that doctor realized that they had nothing else they could prescribe to me and this was all they had. That's when I knew Western medicine had completely given up on me. They would never be my healers. They had no cure for me.

It was hard to accept that I at Western doctors had completely chosen to abandon me as a patient. But I still found my miracle.

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