This is a series focused on personal journey with eczema while managing a certain aspect of life.
Today, we have Deborah Wyatt, whose daughter’s eczema inspired her to start TalkHealth, an online
community including that of eczema. Deborah will share on her experience managing differing views on
eczema, since the founding of TalkEczema in 2000.
Marcie Mom: Hi Deborah, thanks for taking part in my Friday blog series ‘Someone has Eczema’! Let’s
start with you sharing your personal experience when your daughter had
Deborah: My daughter was confirmed as suffering with eczema after falling ill with a virus when she was only 5 months old. The virus and/or the medication seemed to be the trigger.
Living with a child with eczema was all-consuming. For around 5 years it totally took over and dominated our lives. I really didn’t enjoy the first 5 years of my daughter’s life, and to be honest it’s just a horrible memory peppered with sleepless nights, sore and bleeding skin and sheer exhaustion.
Nobody can ever appreciate what it is like to live with a child with a skin condition like eczema.
Like many people affected by eczema, we tried every possible combination of products and treatments in order to try to contain the symptoms. My quest was to make my daughter’s skin as comfortable as possible. Friends and family were very supportive but it was the eczema community I developed online that really threw me a lifeline.
I’m grateful that today, aged 14, my daughter is more or less eczema free. She still has patches of localized eczema which we treat with emollients and suffers with hayfever, food allergies and asthma. But the difference now she is older is that we are very much in control of it.
Marcie Mom: I know from my experience moderating at your forum, and also running support group and this blog, that parents will believe most strongly in what works for them. Some may have been endorsed in studies and internationally, while others not. From your experience, what is the best approach to ensure that everyone (we’re talking eczema sufferers of all ages, experiences, living in different countries, climates and under different health systems) shares amicably on what works?
Deborah: The talkeczema forum, like many other patient forums, is a great place to meet like- minded people and to share experiences of different products and treatments. However, I would always say that if anyone is in any doubt about any treatments they read about, they should talk to their GP or healthcare professional in order to obtain a balanced view. It’s always better to work in partnership with your healthcare professional in order to achieve the best outcomes.
Marcie Mom: There will be at some point where medical opinion is warranted, especially when there are studies but not widely endorsed. How do you tackle such views?
Deborah: It’s always wise to talk openly and honestly with your healthcare professional in order for them to help you make the right treatment choices. Sites like talkeczema are a great place to gather both evidence-based and anecdotal information and advice and by talking your findings, thoughts and views through with your healthcare professional, they can help you to make the right choices for you and your child.
Marcie Mom: One final question – how much would you rank the importance of support in an online community to your own life?
Deborah: I think you can’t put a price on the level of support and help that can be gained in an online community forum. One of the hardest things about living with a chronic health condition like eczema is the emotional turmoil it brings. Talking things through with other people who really understand what you are going through is very uplifting and powerful. It makes you realize you aren’t alone and there are others out there who can offer that vital emotional support.
Marcie Mom: Thanks Deborah for taking time to share your view on managing views! As our world gets increasingly connected, it is good to bear in mind your pointers!