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Marcie Mom – The early events of raising a child with eczema

Marcie Mom – The early events of raising a child with eczema

 

Mei, aka Marcie Mom, is writing to us from Singapore where she created a blog for parents with children diagnosed with eczema called Eczema Blues. She has published a children’s book this year (2011) titled “A to Z Animals are not scratching!” In this book children will “learn what the animals do instead of scratching”. She enjoys designing and cartooning, as well as, weekend outings with the family.

 

What do parents do when we find out that our child has eczema? Take a moment to read how Mei and her family are answering this very question.
Q: At what point did you see signs that your child might have a skin problem outside of the seemingly normal “dry skin” that children face?

Actually, my baby Marcie didn’t have dry skin when she was born. She had beautiful skin and looked lovely. At about two weeks old, red rashes started appearing on her face followed by thick cradle cap. Even then, we didn’t know that it was a problem since rashes was listed on the hospital’s guide to parents as normal. At her one month old check-up, the paediatrician diagnosed her with eczema.

Q: How did you first handle your concerns?

I did what was told by the paediatrician, applying topical steroid cream and changing to hypoallergenic milk formula. It didn’t help much though, and when I started her on solids at about six month old, I got really paranoid second-guessing what food triggered her eczema. Finally, I brought her to the children clinic in hospital, where she got her skin prick test – the result was that my baby Marcie was not allergic to anything. That really reduced a lot of stress as we needn’t worry about what to feed her.

Q: What were some of the things you felt as a parent? Was there anxiety?

Lots of feelings – from confusion to blaming my spouse (and learning not to) for the ‘eczema gene’. Anxiety definitely, anxious about her scratching, about her diet, about her getting enough sleep. Anger as well, angry with God for letting this happen to Marcie.

Q: How did you cope with your feelings and emotions?

I was stay-at-home mom, alone most of the time, with Marcie. Obviously, I wouldn’t take it out on her, but to some extent, did take it out on my husband when he got back from work. Most of the time though, ensuring that my baby didn’t scratch already took all my energy.

Q: Did your spouse cope in a different way? If so, how did that effect the way you dealt with it?

I think my spouse put up a strong front as on so many days, he came back home seeing me holding my baby’s hands (to not let her scratch) and already tired out with taking care of her the whole day and cooking a warm dinner for him. It was a difficult period, particularly, as we relocated back to Singapore, moved homes a few times within the year and my husband started a new challenging job. Sometimes, he’d lose it too, but fortunately, we had our bible study group to offer support and prayed for us.

Q: What success or milestones have you experienced with baby Marcie?

Taking the one-time oral steroid course really helped to manage her eczema. Before that, it would be whole body red within a few minutes for no reason. After the course, we are able to treat specific areas of her skin and keep Marcie’s eczema manageable.

Q: What’s one piece of advice can you give to our readers regarding raising a child with eczema?

I think it is taking a skin prick test, finding out what’s triggering the child’s eczema and what is not. It reduces a lot of stress when a parent knows what to look out for, rather than being worried about every possible trigger out there.

I am sure many of us can relate to these same feelings of helplessness, exhaustion and googling non-stop in the wee hours. Yet, it’s so encouraging to read Mei’s and her spouse were able to be encouraged and confide in people that love them.

A big thank you to Marcie Mom for being on our blog and for being so transparent with our readers. I want to also refer anyone who might be looking for a support group to check out Eczema Blues. Marcie’s mom has created an environment where we can talk candidly about what we have learned or might be going through.

About Mei

She loves to provide helpful information and suggestions on how to handle this eczema journey. Her cartoons even give us, stressed parents, some comic relief! Reminiscing about a day she gave a parent advise about baby eczema Mei writes: “…it really brought back memories of those nights that I googled incessantly and freaked myself out with all the info out there. That’s why I started my blog, to provide a light-hearted information source to stressed out parents. My friends have been asking me what’s the point of spending so much time to put blog posts out, but when I know my blog has brought some comfort to parents, it feels worthwhile.”

She’s very passionate about low-income families with eczema children, and setting up a fund to be administered by a non-profit to help these families.

6 comments

  1. Hello everyone, my name is Stefanie I have two boys. My youngest son is 4 1/2 months old and was diagnosed with eczema about two months ago. I have been in and out of the drs office and am struggling. It started with eczema ll over his body and so I took him in and they gave me a topical steroid ointment. nothing seemed to help so needless to say my son has been on oil steroids,topical steroids,oral steroids etc. i have tried just about every cream you can think of and nothing seems to keep it managed for longer than a day or two. His dr switched him to a hypoallergenic formula.. I was told to start doing bleach baths but dont know how comfortable I am with this yet. I use baby laundry soap and have done everything I can think of. What are some ways you have been able to manage your babies eczema? my poor little guy is always trying to scratch. i cannot keep socks on him for anything he pulls them right off his hands so then im forced to swaddle him and i just hate that he is so miserable. im reaching out to other mothers that are going through this or have been through it… look forward to hearing from you all..

  2. Hi Stephanie! Welcome aboard! Thanks for sharing and asking great questions. I see that you’ve gone to various doctors and I’ve had the same experience. Dermatologists and several pediatrician visits, yet all they mostly did was treat the symptoms instead
    of finding out what caused them. It seems to be a vicious cycle. At about 6 months, I got tired of just applying creams and not knowing what triggered my daughter’s eczema, so I took her to tan allergist to to run test and help me narrow down possibilities.
    Six months is kind of early as they usually suggest 1 year or older, but they were willing to see if anything would show up. It turned out that she was allergic to dairy and that was the BIG trigger of her eczema. Since I was nursing, I had to eliminate dairy
    from my diet and when she was weened, we started to give her hemp milk. Once we figured out the source, her eczema cleared up drastically. Although it took a few months for her skin to become smooth and full of color. She had eczema all over her face and all
    joints which was starting to become very discolored. I’m not against steroid treatments, as we used them and I am grateful. Yet, I tried to use it only when during a big flare up until it was under control. From there it was trial and error of using various
    natural creams for moisturizers. Testing natural detergents, and really taking note of her eating new foods and how her skin would respond. I took the 1 new food a week very seriously as eczema doesn’t always show up on day 1 or 2. I also gave her probiotics
    which really helped reduce flare ups in case she got a hold of her food allergens. I know this doesn’t sound exciting to go to yet Another doctor, but I would really suggest giving an allergist a call to see if they are willing see your son early. They can
    do a prick or blood test for food and/or environmental allergies. I hope this helps!!

  3. Hi all! My names Hanna and is Eczema a commonly used word in my house now? YES! I don’t even want to know how many hours I’ve spent googling Eczema trying to find answers because I know it’s alot! I have 2 boys, a 2 1/2 yr old who from the moment he was
    born has had skin like silk and a 7 month old who was diagnosed with Eczema also at around 2 months and since then we’ve done just about everything I can possibly think of! we started with the doctors a bunch of times, then the dermatologist a bunch of times
    who both kept prescribing steroid creams until we were given one so strong that the pharmacist didn’t even want me to take it home! I ended up taking him to the hospital in october because his flare ups were getting that bad as soon as he stopped the oral
    steroids that I had nowhere else to go! I have tried the bleach baths Stefanie, after weeks of refusing to do it when my dermatologist told me to, the hospital then explained it alot better and made me feel ok about doing it, the way they described it was
    ‘like a little swimming pool’ at home, and after making one up thats just what it smelt like too, (however I did burst into tears when in the laundry aisle of the supermarket shopping for my babies bath supplies) I think they did help to reduce the severity
    of the flare ups but thats about it, I’ve found a bath oil from the chemist which does the same thing tho, all the bleach baths are for is the anti-bacterial function. (not sure if I can mention products on here) Anyway without going on for too long and boring
    you all, we have had allergy testing done a month ago and found that Kai is allergic to eggs and peanuts but since I haven’t been eating them (still breastfeeding) since I first saw the dermatologist in october, those allergies only play a small role in his
    eczema. I’m now seeing a Naturopath who has me drinking all kinds of funky tasting herbal stuff and I can say that since seeing her, Kai’s itch level has definately decreased, however we are still flaring up as bad as before, It was great to get a few days
    with next to no itching in when I’ve spent so many months now spending every minute trying to stop/distract him from itching. I also had Kai’s hands in socks but found that he was just rubbing his cheeks red raw and they were becoming infected, since getting
    some scratchmenots this has made me relax a whole lot more because even though he still rubs he isnt doing any damage to his face. He is still swaddled most nights which is becoming quite difficult being 7 months and extremely irritated but its the only way
    he’ll sleep! I don’t think he’s slept longer than an hr and a half in over 4 months so I’m a walking zombie too! After being close to a nervous breakdown when his eczema was at its worst I’m feeling alot better about it now and just keep telling myself that
    he’ll grow out of it. Anyway, I’m not sure if we can name products etc.. on here but I could talk for hours about what i’ve tried/haven’t tried and what I’ve found the best so if anyone wants to keep in contact via email, I’d love to talk to anyone else who’s
    dealing with this as well and isn’t driven crazy by the topic, sometimes I feel like its all I talk about! My heart breaks for everyone out there dealing with this skin condition and even more so for the bubba’s that can’t help themselves and rely on us to
    ‘fix’ it! xx :-) Hope that all made sense! email is hanna.curtis@bigpond.com.au

  4. Great questions and seems like there’s lots of trial and error. If I were to summarize: 1. Get allergy test – skin prick test can be done at 6 months and accurate in eliminating what your child is not allergic to 2. Moisturize – stick to clinical tested
    creams – I use Physiogel, QV 3. Clean eczema patch with chlorhexidine before applying steroid cream by your doctor 4. If your child’s eczema is severe enough to be given oral steroids, stick to it – discontinuing halfway is worse. Take care and u can go to
    eczemablues.com to view more info. New info post every week :)

  5. Thank you Mei for a great article which is giving everyone an opportunity to express the highs and lows of eczema. Also thank you Hanna for being so open about your situation! It’s a crazy world we live in and I’m happy we have the internet to do it together!
    I do hope you figure out what is causing those big flares and even more happy that you are open to other avenues to figure this out (e.g. naturopath). I constantly try to update our social media pages with new tips, treatments and information dealing with
    eczema and itchy skin. Hopefully some of these items may give a little one relief. I really think there should be dermatologist that specialize in eczema and itchy skin, because apparently the answers providing are related to the skins surface rather than
    the cause. However, they have come a long way from what I’ve read when people had eczema 30 years ago. I won’t be too hard on them…today :) Stay encouraged!

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