This is a series focused on personal journey with eczema while managing a certain aspect of life. Today, we have Camper Jen who is sharing about her eczema, allergies and how she manages it all along with her chronic pain. Camper Jen founded PainCamp and holds a license in her field of clinical social work with specialties in the areas of Mental Health, Medical and Chemical Dependency.
Marcie Mom: Hi Camper Jen, thanks for participating in this eczema sharing series. I know you have confirmed food and environmental allergies, can you share with us when you first got allergy tested and what prompted you to do so?
Camper Jen: As a baby, the doctor told my mother that I was allergic to dairy. Between the ages of 12-14, I was tested again with blood and skin tests. I also had testing done for sensitivities as well as allergies. All of the allergies and sensitivities were confirmed back then but I basically ignored the results (except for the 3 years of allergy shots). Two years ago I was diagnosed with Chronic Pain Syndrome (along with many other diagnoses). That brought me back to addressing my allergies, sensitivities and food intolerances as causes or contributors for some of my symptoms. This time around I am addressing them with direction from a naturopath.
Marcie Mom: What about your eczema – when did it start, and how is your skin now?
Camper Jen: I was diagnosed with eczema as a young teenager. I just had an appointment with the dermatologist a couple of weeks ago and she said I’m getting hives along with the eczema now. This is due to higher histamine levels as I’m probably reacting to something I’m eating (oops – corn) as well as my environmental allergies (it is summer time here). The areas that are most affected are my legs, backs of my knees and the inside of my elbows.
Marcie Mom: I read from your site that you also have Chronic Pain Syndrome and a lot of other health conditions. Did any of these conditions make it harder for you to manage your eczema, or even trigger eczema flare-ups?
Camper Jen: Early on in my diagnoses of Chronic Pain, I was using warm water pool therapy as a part of my pain management approach. Due to my Multiple Chemical Sensitivity (along with not having my food allergies/sensitivities under control), my eczema was not managed well during this time. After every visit to the pool (5x a week) I had uncontrollable eczema symptoms. I am not able to manage my eczema with conventional prescription lotions, creams and soaps that my Dermatologist has prescribed because I am sensitive to the chemicals that are in them. I’m trying to find a great organic and non-toxic lotion or cream to sample. If anyone knows of any that works for them, let me know!
Marcie Mom: One final question – what advice would you give to someone who is managing eczema and other chronic health conditions?
Camper Jen: I have experienced frustration with having eczema on top of other chronic health conditions. I have found some relief by addressing my allergies and sensitivities under the direction of a naturopath. My dermatologist is not familiar with holistic and organic approaches to treatment so I’ve started to look elsewhere for help. I would encourage people to look more closely at possible causes and triggers for their eczema (allergies and also sensitivities/intolerances) and seek consultation from a holistic practitioner. There are also other mind/body approaches I have found that helps take my mind off the itching sensation (tai chi chih and listening to music). If one approach doesn’t work, keep trying and don’t give up!
Marcie Mom: Thank you so much for sharing about your eczema, allergies and your journey in healing your body. Truly appreciate the positive vibes and good work you’re doing to help others!
Camper Jen: Thank you for this opportunity to share how eczema has affected my life. We can all learn from each other!