I am the mother of a wonderful 13-year-old boy, Brian, who was diagnosed with eczema at 18 months old. From the onset, the primary treatment to get rid of the itch and the redness consisted of topical steroids, starting with a mild hydrocortisone cream and progressing to more potent steroids as his eczema gradually spread and got out of control. We faithfully followed the eczema protocols, tried diet changes, environmental changes, pursued alternative treatments, and used topical steroids off and on through the years as his skin condition warranted. However, the itching got worse, the redness got worse, and the wounds on his skin from incessant scratching got worse. We gradually went from spot-treating only itchy red areas as needed to almost daily applications of different topical steroid medications on hair, neck/face, and body. Day and night he was scratching, and his skin became thinner and covered with cuts. Flareups lasted longer while relief stayed out of reach. Lack of sleep affected us all. By the time Brian was 7 or 8, the eczema just didn’t look and act like eczema anymore. WHY? My husband and I searched the internet for answers.
In the wee hours of one morning in October 2013, after helping my son go through 4 straight hours of scratching, screaming, crying, and thrashing, I got online once again to try to find pictures of people with eczema that looked like Brian’s. I had never been successful before, but this time I came across Juliana’s blog, and her face and skin looked exactly like Brian’s: red, scaly, flaky, and dry. Her diagnosis: Topical Steroid Addiction and Withdrawal originating from the very medication used to treat her eczema. Her blog led me to ITSAN (International Topical Steroid Addiction* Network) and the work of Dr. Rapaport and Dr. Fukaya, whose many patients were successfully cured of this curse through complete cold-turkey cessation of topical steroids. The road to recovery was a long and painful one, but there was actually a light at the end of the tunnel! For the first time since Brian’s diagnosis became “incurable” eczema, we had hope for healing.
As the first rays of morning light streamed in through our window, I turned from the computer and looked at Brian, finally sleeping soundly from exhaustion. He will be healed. And so, on October 6, 2013, our journey began.
“Your light shall break forth like the morning, your healing shall spring forth speedily, and your righteousness shall go before you; the glory of the Lord shall be your rear guard.” Isaiah 58:8