I have this. It's a super annoying, painfully irritating form of stress induced, heat sensitive eczema. It's awful. It makes me mad, sad, frustrated, angry, crazy--all in one, all the time ... It's not only painful (imagine tiny deep paper cuts all over your fingers and under your fingernails--OUCH, right??) and completely about as uncomfortable as you can get, it's also hideous and extremely vulnerable. It debilitates me. I'm hesitant to reach for something or touch anything for fear of how my skin will react to it. IT's a nightmare. And depressing.
I haven't always had this. My first case of it flared up the last 6 months of my pregnancy with Maximus, our 3rd, and since then I have outbreaks off and on which vary in severity and duration. My recent outbreak occurred when I went into labor with Kalliope. I was completely calm, well, as calm as one can be when going into Labor, calm, and it happened. An outbreak. It's been 5 months and 8 days, with 2 doses of steroids and still here... It doesn't help that all that you're told to avoid interaction with if you have this condition is everything that I'm in constant contact with on a daily basis being a mother of 4,with one of those being an infant: Wipes, washing your hands, detergents, cleaning products, wetness, latex gloves---seriously, if you've ever experienced an episode of cleaning up after one of Maximus' poop art explosions, your hands must come into contact with some heavy duty defense, or else! a lot of foods, like tomatoes, onions, potatoes, citrus, which makes it hard to play out my passion for cooking. Citric Acid is a biggie. I had to train Leo how to peel his own oranges at a very young age, he now is our family's designated orange peeler :) You are basically told there is no cure, to take precautionary measures to avoid contact with all irritants as much as possible--did I mention that stress is a major factor in this curse as well, and anxiety. How do you take away that being a mama to 4 who are all 5 and under?? And heat. It's summer in San Antonio about 8 out of the 12 months of the year ...
It attacks the areas around your sweat glands and form these time cuts and blisters and bumps. Those then spread, heal, breakout again, and heal, and then just when you think you've almost gotten it beaten, you touch a tomato or something else and there it goes again, painfully attacking your hand's epidermis, with greater fury and rage than before since your just healing skin is still so sensitive... Depressing.
That's exactly what has been happening lately to me, I've been losing myself in the self loathing, why me, how do I get it to just go away, depression for the past few months. I have seen doctors about it, it's still an unsolved mystery, genetics... So their solution is a steroid, but who wants those side affects, and actually when I've taken them, the outbreak stops only until the steroid has run its course and then comes back with a vengeance. The last straw was when I saw my doctor for the last time, around the end of May, and he informed me that unfortunately this is something that is incurable and will be with me for the rest of my life... What a grim last statement to make right before he bids me farewell and wishes me a fantastic summer. So, I get down about it, snappy, edgy, sad, but then, all of a sudden I realize, you know what, who's to say I can't beat this? So what if I have to change my whole entire lifestyle and way of doing things so that my hands stay protected and pain free, at least I still have 2 hands. And it's not a terminal illness. I'm still extremely healthy and my life is abundantly full, and blessed, I'm thankful:) Looking at some of the blogs out there and the comments posted on them, I realized that this illness needs a more optimistic voice. Maybe that's why it was given to me, to be that optimism? We'll see. It helps to have a supportive partner too--if you're ever out with John and me notice him squirting the lemon on my fish, or in my ice tea, it's because he loves me so much and does it for me, now without even having to ask him:) (You can't touch lemons or any other citric produce with this condition).
That's it. I'll keep you posted, it's something that's a part of me and I'm trying really hard to accept it these days and move forward. I thought what a better place to start than right here at the Nest:)
I'm excited about little birding it in July!! Ava, the one who inspired it all, will be painting with me--can't wait to share :)