Friday, December 18, 2009


I've been rather MIA lately, spending most of my nights at home. Some might think this is because of my newlywed status or the move to the hinterlands of Bothell/Mill Creek, but sadly, it is because of my skin.

I've struggled with eczema my entire life. A family history of allergies and a bad case of atopic dermatitis have made me susceptible to flareups of hives, blotchy red skin, crazy itchiness, and the dreaded flaky dryness. When I was younger I had large patches of eczema that would move around my body-backs of my legs, iniside of my arms, even my face at one point. I have been able to manage it pretty well in my adult life-in college people commented on how great my skin was-other than a couple of years of bad bacterial infections that left me with some scarring.

Well, this year has been a doozy. Thanks to what we believe was an allergic reaction to a medication, I broke out in a horrible case of eczema, possibly the worst of my life. What followed was the nightmare of any eczema sufferer: caught in the itch-scratch cycle of death, the skin becomes thin and broken, which results in bacterial infections. Sometimes the infections show up as acne, but this time it showed up as redness and burning over my face, chest, and arms. I looked like I had the worst sunburn of my life, or perhaps had just been pulled out of a burning building.

You know how when you are sick, your body creates a fever, in order to kill off the virus or bacteria that is causing your sickness? Well imagine if that fever was not internal but was in your skin. Heat radiating off your body, causing extreme pain and tightness in the skin, combined with redness, itch, fatigue, and headaches. The only relief came from wrapping myself in cold wet sheets to pull the heat off.

Needless to say, this situation has not made me very social. Who wants to go hang out when you are tired, burning up with feverish skin, and have a blotchy red face and neck? And next week I head out to Kentucky to meet all the new relatives over Christmas, a stress-inducing situation that would just be made worse by my illness.

My wonderful husband has been my rock through all of this, taking care of me and making life less hopeless. He's been cooking and cleaning and wrapping me in wet sheets and keeping a steady stream of audio-visual entertainment coming for these nights when I come home and collapse. And in the midst of it all, he still makes me feel beautiful and wanted, even when I am tempted to feel like an ugly burden. He comforts me, prays with me, and generally makes life worth living.

But thank goodness, I was finally able to get in to a new allergist this week. I've got quite the drug cocktail going of things to kill the infection and calm the allergic response. And three days in I no longer have to wrap myself in cold sheets and don't look like a burn victim. I'm still working through all the symptoms, but at least I feel like I might be able to be seen in public this weekend. So I hope I see you, my friends that I miss, and hope that you will pray for my continued healing.

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