Friday, January 26, 2018

Doctor, give me a remedy not a bandaid

A year ago, I celebrated my baby girl's 100th day. Koreans celebrate a baby's 100th day because it means mom and baby survived ( literally back in the day ) and things should be getting easier with a more regular sleeping and feeding schedule.

 R's 100th day celebration at home

Well, the celebration of my R's 100th day was the beginning of the hardest days and nights of my life. R started developing little rashes on her cheeks here and there. I read that kids sometimes get pimples and it would go away. Praying that these rashes were pimples not eczema, I just let it be for a couple weeks. Unfortunately, they were not pimples. Eczema entered our world.

The moment I realized we couldn't put bandaids on her face ( I used some medicated bandaids called duoderm which is normally amazing for any cuts or bug bites ), I went to the doctor. And as any doctor would prescribe, we got hydrocortisone. 

I normally trust doctors and believe in their expertise. After all, they didn't go through med school, residency, and fellowship for nothing. They should have the best remedy or solution for any ailment/disease.

However, I will say that this time, my doctor's solution failed. In fact, it wasn't a solution. It was a temporary bandaid. My R's skin was getting worse and the eczema that started on her cheeks started spreading like a disease all over her body.

I went back to my pediatrician after lathering hydrocortisone for a few weeks. She looked at R and prescribed a stronger dose of hydrocortisone. Great. Stronger drugs on a 3.5 month old. Since I didn't have any better solution, I went ahead and lathered it all over R. The result? It looked like it was getting better at first, until it got worse.

I went to church and a mom approached me. She told me her son had eczema as a baby and he was better now. She said that even though it was hard, she completely stopped using hydrocortisone because it didn't help and she was concerned about the long term effects. Eventually, her son's skin got better. I was already feeling terrible for putting on so much steroids on my 4 month old, I decided to do what I thought was best for her health and skin too. 

I stopped using hydrocortisone. 2 days later, this is what my daughter's skin looked like:

R's weeping eczema on one cheek

I was heart broken. Both cheeks were wet. Her skin was raw. Her forehead was crusty. I looked it up and lo and behold, she was one of those google images that terrify you when you look up eczema. She had weeping eczema. Literally, R and I were weeping too. She was in so much pain.

I ran back to the pediatrician who sent me straight to an allergist this time. The allergist sent me home telling me that they can't do any tests because her skin was so irritated so they wouldn't be able to tell what she's allergic to. The doctor's instructions were to do the following: Put on stronger hydrocortisone, put R in a bleach bath every day, put her on antibiotics for 14 days, and for me to cut out dairy, gluten, and other triggers that may be causing eczema.

I was in disbelief. Maybe I've become a hippy living in the bay area too long, but WTH- BLEACH bath my baby? Stronger steroids? Antibiotics for 14 days? I've never been on antibiotics longer than 7 days. O.M.G. Her steroid withdrawal was the cause of her weeping eczema in the first place and I have to go back to steroids?  My next question to the doctor was what made me determined to find an alternate solution for my baby. "So, if we do all of this- will this cure my baby's eczema?" Doctor replied, "No. It'll be a temporary solution so we can do a skin allergy test. There's no real cure for eczema."

I was done. Screw it. Screw modern medicine. I was determined to study eczema and find a safe and solution. I didn't want my baby to be lathered with so many chemicals.

This was the beginning of my journey that would help my daughter and many other babies suffering from eczema. 

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