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Facing Overwhelming Challenges of Atopic Dermatitis

Good morning everyone!

My name is Alicia Cheshier, I'll be turning 37 in two days on November 8. I've read some of your posts and I can definitely relate to some of you on how atopic dermatitis can really affect you.

Stress was triggering my skin reactions

In 2009, I was diagnosed with atopic dermatitis which is also known as eczema. I've had eczema since I was a baby, asthma, and bad allergies as well. I'm allergic to so many different types of foods, animals/pets, outdoor, indoor, you name it. If you have asthma and allergies then it's a possibility that you will get atopic dermatitis some time in the future. It's all relatable asthma, allergies and eczema.

Right before I was diagnosed with AD, I started stressing out really bad due to a family crisis. And; I started noticing how my skin would react to my emotions. It felt like "ants" were crawling around inside my body. My skin became very itchy and it was getting so bad that I could not lay down to sleep at night. I would stay up all night watching TV because I knew it was going to be very difficult for me to get any sleep.

My skin would not calm down not until around 6:30am in the morning and I would start dozing off around 7:00am in the morning. I would be wrapped up in my blanket and have my pillow put on the dining room table to trying to get some sleep. I felt more comfortable that way. And I used to tell my mother something is wrong, something is really off. My skin is going crazy on me and I cannot sleep at night. And I said, if there's an issue please don't tell me so that I won't worry; it causes my skin to react.

Getting diagnosed at the emergency room

I finally decided that I couldn't take dealing with my itchy skin. So, I went to the emergency room at a local hospital. The doctor ran some tests and he said the reason why my skin is so itchy is because I have a condition called 'atopic dermatitis'. He said it's another word for eczema. A year later, I was told by another doctor who ran some tests that I also have "Neurodermatitis." They never told me that it was considered a non contagious disease. So, I had to do my own research on the condition.

I've been tested for skin cancer, lupus, and one of my old dermatologists tried the ultraviolet light to try to lighten my skin, but no luck. Like most people who may have AD, I used to get skin infections pretty often "Cellulitis." I hate the flare-ups, bad scaly rashes, lesions, discoloration, lichen, dry skin, or your skin becomes real irritable when you're in a hot room or during the summer outdoors. We AD victims are not contagious; and we do suffer a lot.

Overcoming the obstacles of atopic dermatitis

I keep my arms, hands, legs and feet wrapped up because they are the most affected areas on my body. And yes, my skin is noticeable. A lot of times people take notice and either they sympathize for me or they tend to move away. Many people who have never had atopic dermatitis and do not know what it is and how it can affect you mentally and physically. I would never wish for anyone to get this disease because once you have it, you have to live with this for a lifetime since there's no cure.

But, I do have hopes of being cured one day and I want to see many other AD victims cured as well. I have a lot of faith of overcoming this obstacle that has once affected me tremendously while working and pursuing my college degree. I have not given up; and I hope that everyone who battles with AD will do the same. Even though; atopic dermatitis is in us. Do not let this disease take over your life by battling you out until you become mentally paralyzed. And you start to have many doubts about how you cannot leave your home, or work towards your goals. You can!! I can!! Know that you all have options because AD can have major effects. You can work from home, run your business from home or like myself take online college classes to obtain a college degree.

Triggered by weather changes and foods

There are certain things we do have to be very cautious of and aware of when it comes to the sensitive level of our skin. Such as wanting to go swimming or wanting to hang out at the beach. For me it's a no, no. Even though, I love the beach!! Bleach baths don't do too well for my skin so I won't take any bleach baths.

I am fully aware all of the most difficult challenges of AD, especially when the weather changes. Extreme heat, or the coldest weather can really damage your skin. Do what you know your skin can or cannot handle.

The main issue with AD is that it starts from within so try to stay stress free. Our foods we eat can affect us, especially with seasoning salts, for me. In order for special products to work for many of us AD victims on the outside, it has to start from within.

I truly sympathize for many children who've been diagnosed with atopic dermatitis as a child. Because, they may not be for certain of why they are going through this, children may feel alone, really sad that they cannot do what most of the other children can do. They are suffering a lot as well, cannot sleep at night or tend to lose their focus at times. Because as I said before, AD can really affect you mentally. Note: Parents please keep going with trying to find different sources who specialize in skin diseases for your child's sake. Help your child understand that having AD is not their fault at all. Throughout the difficult times try to keep them happy.

Of course; I'm sure some of you just like myself may have taken Prednisone for the skin infections and take hydroxyzine for the itching at night. Note: Prednisone is really not good to take every time you get a skin infection because it can damage your body immune cells. Sodas or any other thing you drink with acid can make it worse.

What has helped me manage my atopic dermatitis

Here are some sources/tips for other AD victims like myself.

My skin is about 50% cleared because I started using different products and I went to different sources that help people like myself with skin diseases online.

Merry Clinic- Dr. Li Merry is a Chinese dermatologist who helps treat many people with all skin disorders. She specializes in dermatitis, eczema, psoriasis, and other similar skin disorders as well. I told her about my condition and she recommended some products of hers to purchase. You can email Dr. Li once you've checked out her website and she'll help you from there. Her products do work. She has products for children, too. So, if you have a child or know a child who is severely suffering from AD eczema or something else similar, you can look up Merry Clinic.

Other tips

I've been anointed and prayed for from a few different pastors in churches. The pastor would also anoint the water I would drink throughout the week. I started really noticing some changes in my skin within a week. Half of my left leg is completely healed and cleared up back to normal after drinking the anointed water for a whole week and being prayed for healing. I was amazed!! You must believe and have faith in your journey to healing and being cured from AD.

I also like to wear Unna boot wraps because they keep my skin moist, and help prevent the itching. They're drenched in calamine and other ingredients. I sleep with them on and keep them on throughout the day. I'm not itchy at night while sleeping. You must put another wrap over the unna boot wraps. You can either asks your dermatologist about it or order it online. Look up "Unna Boot Wraps" and it's kind of pinkish. Hydroxyzine helps the itching too with the wraps.

Becoming stronger and sharing my story

I used to cry a lot when I was first diagnosed with atopic dermatitis. But, I became a lot more stronger over the years of dealing with this condition. I learned a lot of the do's and the don'ts to comfort my skin. I feel confident enough to want to help others, share my story, give some great advice or tips to help other AD victims. This is why I've wanted to become an atopic dermatitis advocate almost a decade ago.

Ps. In case anyone is wondering. Ushera is my middle name and Alicia is my first.

Alicia Cheshier

What challenges have you faced because of atopic dermatitis?

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