Tag Archive: Eczema/Topical Steroid Withdrawal


Little pea just passed his 4th month. It was not an easy 4 months, but I know it could be worse. Somehow this little chubby pea’s existence makes me count my blessings every single good day more than ever. And on bad days, some real bad days, I just pray really hard.

One fine day, during one really bad period where everyone took turns to fall sick and little man’s skin condition was getting worse again, I was taking a break from all the housework. I was so tired and sad that I stared for a long while into blank air, and I took a good long look at my sick, sleeping baby. I started thinking about little man who was in school, and I started asking God why do my children have to suffer. Suddenly, I do not understand what really happened, but suddenly I felt at peace. I suddenly understand that God send these little angels to me for a reason. He wants me to take care of them to the best of my abilities and believe I can do that for them. I suddenly felt not so alone, worried and scared. I felt that I just need to try and do my best for them. And that everything will eventually fall into place.

I have never told anyone about this.

I was born into a family who believe in a mixture of Buddhism and Taoism, whichever works for them. I grew up a free-thinker. I studied Buddhism in my primary school and the bible in the first half of my secondary school. I was very put off by how the pastors in that school “hardsell” their religion to us non-believers and actually told us that all other religions are devils. Somehow, I went to a Catholic school in the later part of my secondary years. There, I was not forced to study or read any bibles. Then fate has it that I spent a good part of my working life in a Catholic school and I started to grow close to the religion. I have never attended Church, nor do I see myself as a Catholic, but I started to find out more about the religion.

What does that makes me? I have no idea. Why do I write this? I have no idea too.

Actually, this post is supposed to be about how well my baby is growing and sleeping through the night, and how loving my eldest is to his little baby brother. Sorry I digress.

There are just so many things on my mind right now, I want to relive that moment, that moment that I feel God speaks to me, that as long as I do my best, HE will be with us too, that whatever nasties will eventually come to an end, no matter how bad.

I am tired. Let me continue another day.

May we all have a blessed and well-rested night.

14 months Steroids Free

Hubby told me that there were many people who came to this blog while searching for information regarding eczema. He said that I should probably update little man’s progress more often as it might be helpful to others.

Often, I hesitated posting about little man’s skin progress as I do not want that to be the main focus our lives. This is especially so for little man. It is definitely unfortunate that this has to happen to little man who has never ever gotten eczema before, but other than that, there are greater and happier things happening in his life that we want to focus on. Although his condition has always been on my mind and in my prayers, I hide this concern at a corner of my heart and tried very hard not to make it an issue for him. He is still a positive and happy child despite what happened, and that is the way it should be.

Another reason why I did not post every single trial we went through while trying to find a “cure”, is that we actually went through a lot. Just going through all those trials, anticipation, disappointment and all sorts of emotions are tiring enough, I sometimes do not even want to relive them. I want to spend my remaining energy to find something that works for my little boy. What doesn’t work, doesn’t matter. I just want to move on. However, if these information can be helpful to anyone at all, I will try to update more often. This is a tough journey and we wouldn’t have come so far if we have not come across people who went through it and are willing to share their experiences in dealing with it.

First of all, I changed the tag from “Eczema” to “Eczema/Topical Steroid Withdrawal (TSW)”. Little man is not suffering from eczema. He never has been. His condition is caused by a strong steroid prescription by a pediatrician. You can read more about it here.

The last I updated here, we were still with a naturopath at City Osteopathy. At the recommendation of my brother-in-law, we decided to stop seeing her for a while and tried the TCM physician who managed to help improve his son eczema. Having seen his skin improvement, we decided to give it a try. We are also hoping that the physician can help to strengthen little man’s immune system as he was getting sick every month.

In mid-March, we started to see him. The physician is an experienced, kind man whom I would describe as 医者仁心. From the way he treated little man, we can feel that he truly sincerely hope for little man to get well. Unfortunately, little man’s skin did not agree with his treatment. It started to flare up and go back to square one after seeing him for more than a month. I was devastated, even though I know it is a risk we have to take when trying to see if something works. However, one good thing that comes out of his treatment is that little man seems to become stronger in immunity. When he did not fall sick for the 2nd month, hubby and I were so happy.

We figured out the few herbs he prescribed that are meant to improve immunity and do not cause any reaction to little man’s skin, and tried to tweak the remedy in hope to continue his strong immunity. Sadly, before anything is tried, he fell sick again.

Since this TCM physician is not able do anything for little man, I started searching for other ways. Coincidentally, I developed PUPPP during this period. It was extremely itchy and uncomfortable. Hence I decided to see this new naturopath from Back2Life who is highly-raved about in a nutritional and health FB group. Let me be the guinea pig this time, I thought to myself. Instead of letting little man go through the trial again, I wanted to try for myself if this naturopath is really that good. And so the story goes, she managed to treat my PUPPP within 2 weeks and has been treating little man’s skin since early May.

I wouldn’t say we are coming to the end of the journey, but little man has been getting much better after receiving her treatment. Below are some photos for my own reference. They do not reflect the exact condition of his skin as it can fluctuate depending on many factors, but they are good enough to remind us that we have come very far and should not lose hope.

3rd April 2016

4th May 2016

16th May 2016

25th May 2016

5th June 2016

6th August 2016

These photos do not show the true journey we have been through. There are many times my heart is just too weak to even have a proper look at little man’s foot, less to say take photos of it. Out of sight out of mind. It works the same way. However, no matter how bad it is, I force myself to examine his skin condition every single day to make sure that I am up to date with his skin progress. Still, there were many times I am still not strong enough to take photos of it.

I wish that no one has to go through what we went through. If unfortunately you are currently, do know that you are not alone. Hugs, and God bless.

26/27 weeks and 8 months

Hey there.

We have been away for a long time, mainly because the blog has been down for a while due to technical issues, and also because we have been very busy.

I don’t know where time has gone to, but we are now on our way into the 3rd trimester.

The first 2 trimesters have been really tiring. To top it up, little man caught a horrible bug from his Speech & Drama class, and has been very sick for an entire week just before Chinese New Year. Due to the hovering fever that wouldn’t come down, Hubby and I did not sleep well for the entire week. Being extremely lack of sleep but still dragging myself to work the entire time, I eventually broke down a couple of times. And having Chinese New Year so near and us so unprepared, did not make things any easier. But I was glad that we survived through it all.

Throughout this period, little pea grows well. Too well, in fact. In my last gynea visit, I was ordered to go on a low-carbs, low-sugar diet because little pea was bigger than most. Dr Tham was worried that I would not be able to pass my glucose test that is coming in 3 weeks’ time. This put quite a bit of stress on me, because on the contrary to what Dr Tham believed, I was already eating quite clean and healthy as compared to most. My only indulgence is a packet of Chrysanthemum Tea every evening after dinner. Although I have to admit, somehow I was constantly hungry when I was at work, and I had to snack because I was worried I might faint (which happened in my first pregnancy).

As I do more research on gestational diabetes, I understand better how to adjust my diet. Now, I will prepare a lunchbox full of vegetables so that I can snack on them in between breakfast (at about 7.45am) and lunch (at about 1.45pm). I also snack on mixed nuts whenever I had to. It is a pity I had to limit my fruits intake, because surprisingly, fruits and fruit juice are a no-no due to its sugar level. I am also ordering food delivery from “Food Matters” to my workplace so that I can eat better and cleaner. Perhaps another post for this another day. Now I am just praying that all will be well in my next gynea visit.

Here’s a clear ultrascan of chubby little pea. Not sure if you can see it, but it shows a clear image of his face.

Mama’s Original Weight: 44.8kg
Mama’s Weight at Week 25: 52.9kg
Little Pea’s Weight at Week 25: 986g

In other news, little man is now 8 months steroid-free.

His eczema is definitely spreading, although he is looking so much better now and his skin is feeling so much softer to touch as compared to the past 8 months.

Somehow, I feel we are at a bottle-neck again as his naturopath is back in Canada for maternity leave and I feel that her replacement is not as good. Naturopath is not cheap and I wonder if I should continue with the replacement, try another TCM practitioner or holistic doctor recommended by some, or just wait it out. Based on many successful stories, time plays a part too. The damaged gut and body need time to heal. But sometimes I am just too anxious for little man to be well before little pea comes into the picture. I am not sure if I can deal with too many things on my plate when that happens. Based on my previous pregnancy experience, postnatal blues is very real and can do things to your mind you never knew.

Anyway, I am too tired to think about this now. May God show us the right path as we slowly journey forward.

A few pictures to show his condition, although pictures often do not tell the whole story.

7th Dec 2015

7th Feb 2016

You know, actually work has been really shitty. No, let me correct that, some people at work has been really shitty. The most shitty part of it all is that, you have no full idea what exactly they have done or said behind your back to put you in the dire situation that you are in currently. And they do that based on one simple reason, they do not like you, so does their clique. It sounded so childish but at the same time, you know that it is such childish play that could land you in muddy waters.

But every time when I come home feeling tired of trying to be strong and hiding my anger, and I look at my little man who has been such a good boy, and so optimistic and happy despite his eczema discomfort, my Hubby who has been doing so much for us and our growing family despite his own tiring work and little pea who is getting so much stronger with his kicks, I feel like nothing else really matters. Because shitty work is just a very small part of my life. And putting that aside, I am grateful for everything good that has come to me, including good friends and colleagues who make the shit more bearable.

6 months Steroid Free

Many things have happened in this particular month.

Little man fell very sick twice. His eczema improved tremendously after our naturopath’s new treatment (and somehow him getting sick also helps to improve its outlook, if that make any sense at all). We are also starting him on partial Moisturiser Withdrawal (will talk more about it later). And then when we thought things are getting better, little man developed an eye sty and then subsequently his eczema worsen with some strange-looking bumps.

After reading up much online and based on the mother’s instinct, I felt that the worsening of his eczema is caused by the staphylococcus bacteria from his sty. He must have rubbed his infected eye, and then scratched his eczema patch. It looked very much like Staph Infection.

I had wanted to bring little man to Dr Oon and request for a skin test to confirm my suspicions, but Dr Oon is on leave and there were no pediatric dermatologist available for the next few days. Hence I decided to make an appointment with Dr Oon first, and then treat little man’s lesion as Staph Infection to see if it gets better.

We were given a tube of topical antibiotics on our visit to the pediatrician in Korea. He was the first doctor who strongly advised me to never use steroids as it will just make the condition worse. We never get to use the ointment then, and I kept the ointment till now. Thank God I kept it. After reading up much on the antibiotics given and weighing the pros and cons, I decided to give it a 3 days trial on little man. As of now, I see him getting much better than the first day of infection. Hopefully healing will continue where we left off.

Now, regarding Moisturiser Withdrawal (MW). An old friend whose daughter suffers in the hands of eczema, recently took the plunge and brought her to Osaka to visit a renown TSW doctor who believes in stopping steroids and letting the body heals. She has kindly allowed me to share her experience here.

May all our little sufferers heal soon. No child should have to suffer like them.

5 months Steroids Free

Sadly, this is not a “hurray-we-survived-the-eczema” post, but rather another one to remind ourselves that we have come real far, and we should not give up or lose hope now.

Many were puzzled when they read about little man’s eczema as the photos of him certainly do not paint a picture of a child suffering from eczema. After much thought to it, I decided to pull out all the photos that show how his condition deteriorated and worsen over these months. If you asked me, I personally feel that the raw and redness happened right after the flare when we stopped the steroids because they are not working anymore.

21st March 2015 – When a dry rough patch started to form. Suspected to be caused by a pair of pediped shoes, which was thrown away subsequently.

A close-up view

28th June 2015. About 1 month after stopping steroids. It started to grow and turn red.

4th July 2015

5th September 2015

25th September 2015

The FB Eczema support group has provided us a lot of information on what has worked for some members who have healed without using steroids. There are very inspiring. However, everyone’s condition is different, hence what worked for some, may not work for others.

So far, these are what we have tried and did not work out:

1. Accupuncture
2. Ginger soak for more than a week
3. Wet-wrapping

And these are what we are currently trying and going to try in the future:

1. Naturopath
2. TCM
3. Dead Sea Salt / ACV soak
4. Dairy, Gluten, Egg, Soy, Oats-free diet
5. Juicing
6. Filtered water

Because I have been feeling rather unwell lately, I sometimes just do not have the energy to carry certain routines and cooking religiously. It upsets me a lot and I feel extremely guilty whenever little man’s condition worsens.

There is a lot of unknown for his condition. Right now, I am still unsure if his is considered Red Skin Syndrome (RSS) and if he is going through Topical Steroids Withdrawal (TSW). Because he was applied a strong and potent steroid (NEODERM) for more than 2 weeks and the outlook of his skin looked so much like RSS and TSW, there is a high possibility that he is actually suffering from RSS and TSW.

On the other hand, even after looking through so many photos of eczema, RSS and TSW, I am not able to find a sufferer whose skin looks like his, a localised infected area, not spreading to the entire body. Most RSS and TSW sufferers experience full body flare-up.

Every time when my thoughts start to run wild and get the better of my emotions, I tell myself to count my blessings. At least, little man’s eczema is just a localised patch, not full body flare. Right now, I just pray hard every day for the patch to stop spreading and heal soon.

A turbulent journey

That is how I would describe the journey of getting rid of eczema with my baby boy.

Before this post, his eczema was looking really better and I was all “yeah, I am going to write on how I manage to get it look better”. Then one fine day, he stayed over at my Mother’s, and my concerned Mother applied some of the steroid creams given to her by a GP (which she described as a cure-all) on little man. And this cream was not even suitable to applied on young children. When I heard my Mother happy telling about what she has done, you cannot imagine how angry and upset I was. I was trying so hard that evening to not snap at her. Then sadness came over me, because I understand how concern my Mother was to do that without asking me, what little hope she held on to, when she applied the cream onto little man, because this is exactly how I feel every single time I try new creams and remedies on him.

From then on, little man’s eczema went downhill again. It flared up and became very red and raw. My mind and heart were thrown into another chaos.

I would not say that my Mother’s action caused this flare up, as there can be many other factors. But I do hope such things will not happen again.

It is tough to feel so lonely in this battle. At times, I do not feel emotionally and mentally strong enough to protect my son. Many nights, I will tell him, “Don’t worry. Mama will be here no matter what happen. We will find a solution to get rid of that eczema.” when it was me who was tearing so bad. I am so thankful for my husband who is always on the same page as I am.

I started doubting what I was doing. Am I going the right way? Should I just succumb to steroids (not that it really helps). Thank God for the online support group whose members provided sound and helpful thoughts and ideas.

Here is a checklist of why I should not go back to steroids. I should read this list again whenever I feel lost in this draining journey.

  1. If little man eczema can go away after using steroids, I wouldn’t mind trying again. But it does not. It come back again, with a vengeance, every time we stopped applying steroids.
  2. Long-term steroids use can cause serious side-effects. Little man is only coming to 3. How long does he have to continue applying steroids to prevent it from coming back?
  3. I have asked a lot of people who suffered from eczema and there is Not One skin doctor who provides a solution that does not involves steroids.
  4. I guess, somewhat it is like antibiotics. If you keep taking antibiotics when you are sick, you will just have to move on to stronger and stronger ones. Eventually, the superbug will come out to haunt you.
  5. This is something I suddenly remember. In my last Korea trip, I mentioned in my post that the Korean pediatrician that we saw, was shock that we were given steroids by our local pds for little man. He strongly advised us to steer clear of steroids and said that it will cause the rashes to get worse. Now I wonder why our Singapore doctors give out strong steroids so freely.

I guess, I would not say our journey is futile. I have learnt so much about what we can and cannot use on little man. In this search for a “cure”, one dog’s meat can be another dog’s poison. Everyone reacts differently to different things.

These are what we are have tried and will continue to do.

Eczema Diet.

I will dedicate a post just for this. But generally, my guide is Gluten-free, Dairy-free, Egg-free, as little sugar and msg as possible, and plenty of papayas, bananas and pears (the safe fruits in Stage 1 eczema diet). As much as it sounded hard. It really boils down to planning your weekly marketing and meals. I hope to be brewing more beef and chicken broth to build him up too.

Braggs Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV).

I was previously using Heinz ACV because it was most easily accessible and available. However, I learnt recently that Heinz’s AVC is really only good for making salads. For good grade ACV for health purposes, Braggs is the way to go. And I was surprised to only find Braggs in healthshops like Unity and GNC. And they are always out of stock. By the way, I soak little man in it, rather than consume it.

Dead Sea Salt

I was previously saying how dead sea salt caused the eczema on my boy to be itchy. But some members in the support group suggested for me to try again as I was at a bottle-neck. Some of them shown evidence of how much dead sea salt has helped them. Hence I am giving little man a try again. Surprisingly, he tolerated it well for the past week. His red raw patch seems to calm down a fair bit. Fingers crossed.

Moisturizer, creams and ointment

I am using a range, depending on how it felt to little man’s on that particular moment. Sometimes he can tolerate one well, sometimes he just needs another to soothe the itch. They are Cetaphil Shea Butter moisturizer, Physiogel Cream, Four Cow Farm (FCF) Tea Tree Remedy and FCF Calendula Remedy. I am also using Dr Mark (TCM)’s Ointment.

Disappointedly, the popular lemongrass balm from The Home Apothecary does not sit well with little man. Twice we applied on him, twice he itches like crazy. I have since sold the 2 tubs that I bought.

There are several new remedies I am also waiting to try. But I will always try one thing at a time so that I can know for sure, what is working and what is not.

  1. Ginger soak
  2. Alkalized water
  3. Accupuncture (Dr Mark)
  4. Some other balms from The Home Apothecary.

If other people can be healed, my baby boy can be healed. I cannot give up.

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