Tag Archive: Building immunity

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.

Going with the (eczema) flow

Things that work now,
may not work later;
things that do not work now,
may work later.

This was what the Chinese physician, Dr Mark Chern wrote in our online consultation.

It is very true, after having going through this eczema journey with my little man for the past 4 months. Every time when something works and makes his eczema better, I am so happy and prayed for complete healing. But every time, this happiness is short-lived, because the eczema will somehow stop reacting to the current remedy and go back to square one, or worse.

As mentioned in my last eczema post, we brought little man to see a 谢雅应医师 at Chung Hwa Medical Institution. Little man and I have been seeing a regular tcm physician at the clinic for my acid reflux and when little man’s cough and flu does not go away. So far, little man has been reacting well to her prescription. However, she is not expert in treating eczema, hence she once suggested that perhaps we would like to try the specialist in the clinic.

In a desperation bid to rid little man’s eczema, we decided to give him a try, despite the really bad timing of his consultation. Truth to be told, I was really disappointed by the consultation. He probably did not even take a good look at my son and his eczema. And he was not even listening carefully when I try to tell him that little man was developing a bad cold. On top of that, when I asked if I should boil the medication to rid the alcohol in it, he nonchalantly mumbled that we can heat it up if we want it to be served warm. I started to be rather doubtful as every tcm physician we go to will always remind us to boil the medication before feeding little man. But Hubby said that we should give his medicine a chance, since we took the trouble to go down despite the bad timing. I agreed to give it a try, but will probably search for other physicians if his medication proves to be not suitable.

Anyway, he prescribed little man with oral medicine consisting 四物汤 and 防风通胜汤. I asked Dr Chern and my regular tcm physician, both advised me to not take his medicine for the time being because of little man’s cold.

We went to see Dr Chern again after that visit to get some ointment to relieve his eczema as Chung Hwa Medical Clinic does not give out topical ointment according to 谢医师. This time, we (both of us and Dr Chern) were wondering if we should give acupuncture a try. Hence, we tried to distract little man with Peppa Pig videos, while Dr Chern tried a needle on him. Little man was so sensitive and could immediately sense that something bad is about to happen. That needle lasted less than a minute on his leg. However, his skin looked so good the next morning, Hubby and I have been discussing how to convince little man to give it a try again. It is difficult, given he has been so dramatic and emotional about everything lately, but we will try.

The search for a good tcm physician whose medicine works, is tough. But I am not giving up, because from my experience when my acid reflux was at its worst and I look everywhere for help, there will be someone who can help you if you do not give up.

Apart from TCM, we have reintroduced magnesium flakes to little man’s bath time routine, because ACV suddenly does not work anymore. Somehow, little man seemed to be able to tolerate the magnesium flakes and his eczema reacted well to it. For about a week, during the long National holiday, little man’s eczema looks so much better. It was not as swollen and red as before. Pity, this is short-lived as well. And now, we are back to using ACV again.

In the midst of struggling with work, little man’s terrible two/three-phase and his eczema, I came across this blog. It was heartbreaking to read the little child’s eczema story, but it gave me hope that eventually, little man will be alright too. I must not give up.

Hence, I will probably be trying out the lemongrass balm mentioned in the blog and praying hard for full recovery.

Go away, eczema. You are truly not welcome.

One after another

First, it was some unusual-looking “acne-like” rashes around the forehead and nose on the first Sunday of the year. Then they went full-blown the following day. On Wednesday, little man developed a fever of about 38 degree celsius. The next day, at 3am to be exact, little man woke us up with his soiled diapers. Then his diarrhea went full-blown, accompanied by the fever. Went to see the pediatrician that day and learnt that all the above-mentioned symptoms were due to some viral infection.

Went again on Thursday morning because red streaks of stains was found on his diaper. I almost cried. Turned out it was the undigested colour of the anti-virin given. False alarm. That day, little man suddenly decided to quit his milk totally. Suddenly his favourite milk became the most disgusting drink on earth. He would rather take his yucky medication than drink milk.

His fever and diarrhea became much better on Saturday, and we decided to bring him out for dinner and a walk in town. Bad move. He suddenly started sneezing non-stop, the kind that every mother knows it will lead to something bad. So now, little man is officially down again with a serious flu, developing fever (again) and a recovering diarrhea. In total, he attended 3 days of school, missed 3 days of school and will be missing more school till he get better.

How happening can a life of parents be?

I mean, in my previous thirty years of life, I thought I have been through it all. Well, almost. But now with a child, suddenly anything can happen. You can be happily going out one minute, and then going home full of worries with your feverish child. Parenting is really not for the faint-hearted.

I think I need to grow more muscles around this weak heart of mine and be stronger. Somehow, little man’s bad health will always bring me down and upset my health after he recovered. I don’t know how other parents do it, but I really need to learn from all the strong mummies and daddies around me.

Alternatives to steroids

After my previous post on steroids for eczema, I had a few well-meaning friends who cautioned me about using steroids. It will definitely be be best to stay away from steroids, having read so many horror real-life stories online. But sometimes, after slapping on days of Calendula remedy and other alternatives, all you want is a little sign from your body to say that it is healing. I am very very careful when applying steroids (for myself, and more so for my son). I use just a teeny weeny bit, and that little bit makes a huge difference in sending signals to body for it to heal. Sometimes, after applying it for a day or two, I will switch back to the natural remedies, and my skin will continue with its healing. One thing I must clarify is, most of our eczema outbreaks are rashes-like, nothing very serious, dry or broken. (Thank God.) Hence, what works for us, may not work for you. I guess it really depends on individuals.

Although I do not stay away from steroids, I am still constantly searching and reading up for natural remedies that could help little man and I to be free from eczema. These are a few natural remedies we are currently using. They are said to have helped many eczema sufferers heal.

1. Lacto GG

Lacto GG was first recommended to me by a pediatrician. Little man has sensitive skin and constipation then. Lacto GG is said to be able to help these symptoms. In addition, it can build the body’s immunity. I vividly remember the pd telling me that her fellow colleague took this when she was pregnant to help prevent such symptoms in her child. I remembered making a mental note to take those for my second pregnancy (not happening soon).

According to some articles I have read, something is lacking in the guts of babies and children who suffer from eczema. It has been found that by supplementing the body with this strand of probiotic, Lactobacillus GG, sufferers can recover from eczema conditions over a short time.

This Lacto GG is not cheap at all. A box of 30 capsules costs about $67++ depending on where you buy them from. But since it was so highly recommended, I decided to put the both of us on it long-term. Like what Hubby always say, if it’s a problem money can solve, then it is not a big problem. Money can still be earned. Nothing is more important than good health.

2. Four Cow Farm Calendula Remedy / Baby Lotion

I started out using California Baby Calendula at first. It was a bottle gifted to me by a dear 学姐 whose children also suffer from eczema. It has a nice smell and works for me for a while. But one day, while researching on it, I found that California Baby has changed some of its ingredients that are not so good for the sensitive skin. You can read more about it here.

Hence, I stopped using it and searched for other alternatives. FCF Calendula is one of the alternatives I have found and have been using. I like it that they have an online store here in Singapore and provide free delivery above a certain amount which is not hard to reach. I am also using their Baby Lotion for moisturising, alternating with my cheaper Nivea Whitening Lotion. But I am going to ditch Nivea products once I finished the 2 bottles I stocked up, because I just realised recently that they have added Dimethicone for both their lotion and deodorant. You can read more about that ingredient from the link I have provided. Currently, I am trying to stay away from silicone, SLS and SLE from our hair and skin care products, which are really not easy. Even little man’s Kodomo gentle cleanser contain a large amount of SLS 🙁   Anyway, maybe another post on that next time.

3. Angel Baby Earth Mama Bottom Balm

Having heard so much about this cream, I went on iHerb to buy it for little man to use. I like it and it works for little man so far for mild rashes. Although it is a Bottom Balm, I rarely use it on his bottom. Instead it has become a reliable rash/insect bite cream.

4. Oat baths

Oat baths works very well for little man in relieving his itch and moisturising and healing his damaged skin. What I do is wrapping our usual breakfast oats (about 2 tablespoons) in a small handkerchief, and soak the handkerchief in a small container of water. The water will eventually present a milky texture which I will pat onto little man’s skin after his bath routine. There is no need to wash away the milky substance. I just dry his body after that. This milky texture will help to retain the moisture around his eczema, helping it to heal better. And for some reason, it also helps to calm down the itchy skin. As I use this for myself as well, I can really feel the relief it gives me.

If you are ok with the mess it makes, you can actually create a milky bath in the baby bathtub for your child to soak in. But it is too messy for me, hence I came up with this mess-free idea. Works as well.

5. Rooibos Tea

I have also read a lot about how rooibos tea can help to heal eczema as it is high in antioxidants. Many recommended the Annique Rooibos Tea, which aren’t easily available. Hence, I just make do with the Twinning Rooibos Tea bought from iHerb. My take is, it is not expensive, so even if it doesn’t really help with the eczema, I just take it as a relaxing tea. Little man drinks that too. Actually little man has been drinking chamomile tea on days he is easily irritable as well, but that on another post perhaps.

6. Physiogel cleanser / Physiogel creams / Cetaphil Restoradum

Little man and I do not bathe with Physiogel cleanser on a regular basis as it is rather expensive to do so. But we always stock up on Physiogel whenever there is offer so that we can use it for periods when our eczema occur. One thing about eczema is, you do not want anymore harsh chemicals on those raw skin. So for those periods, we will use the mild cleanser and load on plenty of Physiogel or Cetaphil creams, whichever is available. Like what my dermetologist said, it’s all about moisturise, moisturise and moisturise.

I think there are more eczema sufferers out there than we thought we know. I myself have learnt a lot from what other sufferers have shared. I hope this post have helped you in some ways too.

PS: For those who are thinking of trying essential oil on eczema, I would say be careful. I have tried Lavender essential oil on my eczema, and I think it kind of make it spread. Essential oils, though natural, are potent stuff. They are like two-edged swords. Use them the right way, they help you tremendously. Use them the wrong way, they cause you more pain. Just remember to be very careful, especially if you are thinking of using them on your young ones.

Finding a solution to health

There has been a nagging uncomfortable feeling at the lower abdominal area ever since I gave birth to little man.

I couldn’t pinpoint exactly what’s wrong, the lower part will feel very bloated, sore and heavy, as if I have a full bladder, but it wouldn’t go away even when after I emptied it. It was not consistent, and will often go away a few days after it came. Then it will come back again in a few weeks’ time.

Initially I thought it was UTI. I was hospitalised 2 weeks after giving birth to little man due to a high fever and very high level of white blood cells. It is clearly a sign of infection, but the doctors at TTSH couldn’t find where exactly is the infection. In the end, the only test that came back positive is my urine test, hence they concluded that it was UTI.

I don’t know if this was related to that, although I don’t think so. I once saw a GP for this, and his diagnosis was that I had a panic attack that resulted in such feelings. He tested my urine and proved that I do not have UTI at that point in time when I was feeling really uncomfortable. However this diagnosis did not help me in any way to relieve such feelings. Other than those “relaxing” pills he gave that kept me drowsy all day long, I feel worse than I already am. That is when I approached my gyneacologist for a second opinion as I found it revolving around my menstruation period.

My gyneacologist found nothing wrong with me then, and told me to go to a urologist to check it out. Because of the possible hefty costs that may incurred, I went to the polyclinic to get a referral letter, only to be referred to KKH gynea-urologist department, which really is just a department full of uncaring, young gynaes-to-be. I didn’t know it was the wrong department. I thought the doctor at the polyclinic should know better when I’ve already told her I have seen a gyneacologist and was advised to see a urologist. Makes me really piss off just thinking about it again. But well, all that happen, happen for a reason. I was put through a scan again at KKH and they found polyps in my uterus. The best things is, these polyps have nothing to do with my lower abdominal woes. So I went through a surgery to remove those polyps a month ago.

These few days, that uncomfortable feeling came back again with a vengence. It was so bad that I couldn’t sleep well at night. I was initially thinking of getting a referral letter (the right one this time) to see the urologist to find out what’s wrong next year when little man goes to school. But now, it felt so bad, I think I better see the specialist earlier to give myself a peace of mind.

Hope that everything will be alright and my persistence will pay off.

Eczema due to Essential Oils

Those with feeds must be wondering why I posted so many posts within an hour. Actually those previous posts have been all half-written because I was interrupted by little man. Sigh. But sweet interruptions those are 🙂 I only have time to write when little man is sleeping. Within those 2 precious hours, got to take lunch, do housework and then write blog, not simple.

Anyway, this post is about my rash that I complained in my last post.

Seen the skin doctor at National Skin Centre this morning and did some tests. Turned out that these are a rather bad condition of eczema with bacteria infection due to the use of essential oils. Remember I was writing about how the Young Living essential oils helped little to clear his cough within 2 days in this post? It probably worked for little man, but not for my skin.

I was feeling really upset and in dilemma as I have just bought 2 new bottles of Thieves and RC for little man. They are NOT cheap. But Hubby said something that strike a chord in me. He said that we are lucky this eczema doesn’t happen to little man, and that $89 spent, just take it that we have spent it on a good dinner at a restaurant. No point using the oils again when it can cause such harm. Whenever I 钻牛角尖 and make myself go in circles, Hubby will always enlighten me.

So now, I will stop using essential oils. Sigh, hope little man will stop getting flu and cough from various people. It’s really hard when just going downstairs to take a walk, we will definitely come across people sneezing and coughing away. There is definitely a nasty virus going around!

%d bloggers like this: