Judith’s Story: Living with Eczema

Meet Judith. She’s an 18-year-old woman living in Laval, Quebec. She has been living with eczema for as long as she can remember.

Interviewed by Preet Bhogal

How does eczema affect your daily living? Your family? I choose my clothes according to how bad my skin looks in order to hide the eczema. I gave up sleepovers because my skin didn’t take them well. When my skin flares, I don’t sleep well and I get in a bad mood. During these times, I don’t want to move and I just want to stay at home. I also try to stay away from alcohol, but it can be hard sometimes. My condition doesn’t really affect my family but, when I was young, my mother often needed to apply creams for me. Even today, she is the one who cuts my nails to prevent damage.

What do you like to do for fun and relaxation? Does your skin condition affect your choices? I love being at the computer, watching movies and shopping. I never liked sports because sweat makes me want to scratch myself even more. My dermatologist suggested that I try yoga for relaxation, but I haven’t tried it yet.

What triggers flares? As soon as I am stressed, my skin flares. If it’s too dry or too humid, too cold or too hot, my skin is affected a lot. Sometimes I [...] continue the story

Itchy and Scratchy Lessons Learned

By Preet Bhogal

I went through a lot of versions of this piece. I narrated it, wrote it longhand, typed it on my laptop, even jotted down notes on my phone but nothing felt right. I thought of how I wanted to say it then questioned myself and started over completely. I took a lot of breaks to check Facebook, the latest celebrity gossip, and watch reruns of the Simpsons. I even took a break from taking a break to read up on the psychology of procrastination. During this whole process all I really learned were trivialities about Facebook friends and celebrities, and that I have way too many episodes of The Simpsons memorized.

I still had not written a damn thing about my experience as a patient with a lifelong skin condition.

And I have a lot to write about because I have over thirty years of experience as a patient suffering from a chronic skin condition. I mean, the first symptoms of my eczema appeared when Joe Clark was Prime Minister! That was a pretty long time ago. The Simpsons weren’t even in reruns! There were new episodes of The Jeffersons! Madonna’s first album wasn’t even out yet!

There is so much [...] continue the story