Our Eczema Journey!

For the last 6 months, my son has been SUFFERING with eczema. I say suffering because when you see the pictures below, you will see exactly what I'm talking about! I hid his eczema from social media and avoided taking pics that showed it (not including the pics I took below to show our progression). Only close friends and family REALLY knew what we were going through! 

Let me be clear I am a huge advocate of natural remedies, but when his face basically started coming off and not responding to the natural options, I had to introduce something a bit stronger; steroid ointment! Ugh. I hated to do it, but when his skin got worse I had to do what I had to do.

DISCLAIMER: Some of these photos may be disturbing to some viewers and please note it took a lot of courage for me to post these pics of my baby so please, tread lightly...*side eye emoji* I'm sensitive about by kids lol

Doctor's Visit 1: When DJ was 3 months, I noticed his back looked "raw". It was very splotchy and discolored so I immediately took him in to the pediatrician.The doctor took one look and immediately diagnosed him with eczema and gave us a prescription for Hydrocortisone 2.5%. I was leery about using it so I went to the web to search natural remedies and ran across using Coconut Oil for eczema. I purchased some organic unrefined oil from Target and immediately began applying it to his body right out the tub. Within days, his back started improving, however at the same time I noticed a small patch on DJ's left cheek developing. So naturally, I started applying the same Coconut Oil to his cheek since it worked so well on his back. Before I knew it, another small patch was developing on his other cheek. So I figured I would just lather this boy up in coconut oil! Every chance I could get, I was lathering him in oil. He was smelling like a german chocolate cake for weeks! lol

Doctor's Visit 2: Weeks had gone by and his cheeks weren't getting any better, they were actually getting worse, so I took him BACK in! Subsequently, around the same time we also introduced DJ to formula; because Mommie's boobs decided to dry up early! :( We initially thought the rash wasn't completely healing due to a possible formula allergy so Doc had us try a hypoallergenic formula (Nutramagen). He hated it...back to the drawing board. Since I had a few frozen bags of breastmilk left, I thought to give that to him. His face broke out in rash-like bumps all over his face. He's allergic to me!!! I thought! Maybe it the jars of peanut butter I've been demolishing. So we gave up on the breast milk and went back to the gentle formula. (Side note, I STILL have a FULL frozen bag of breast milk in the freezer I just can't fathom throwing out, because I worked HARD for that!)

Doctor Visit 3!: His face continued to get worse. By now it had gone from red and blotchy to yellow and oozing. We switched his soap, re-washed everything (including our bedding), and removed his car seat strap covers; everything we could think of. But to no avail. Poor baby had scratched his face so much, it was now inflamed and slightly infected. Also at this time, his legs began to develop a very rough rash that he was constantly clawing at. His legs were covered with scars and it was a full time job keeping his mitts on his little hands. My heart ached! I felt so out of control because we just couldn't find out what was triggering his flare ups and nothing seemed to be working. The minute we applied the antibiotic prescribed at our third office visit, it instantly turned white (picture below)! Maybe it's drying out we said. Maybe this is what it looks like when its "activated", and working Hubby said lol.

 Right After The Antibiotic

Right After The Antibiotic

Doctor's Visit 4!!: Days following the antibiotic, his cheeks began to look like they were actually improving. Up until that morning we went to get him up and streaks of blood stained his sheets. I was at my wits end and I hated that little man had to go through this! I couldn't even stand to look at his face because I didn't know how much of his face would be left lol (Yea I overreact a tad). I pleaded for an emergency visit with the Dermatologist and I was denied because it wasn't "severe". I'm sorry, finding my son's face practically mauled off is severe! (Yes I am dramatic at time...and I know it wasn't "mauled" but I was fighting for my son's rights lol). I had to wait an entire month to get in to the Dermatologist (newsflash, there aren't many GOOD African American Derms in Chicago). So back to the pedeatrician we went. This time we were given a prescription for stronger steroid (Desonide) some CereVe body wash and body ointment and another hypoallergenic formula! (Which happens to costs $40 a can!) This one he liked! 

 When I Thought It Was Getting Better...(2/14)

When I Thought It Was Getting Better...(2/14)

 The Worst of IT!! :( (2/25)

The Worst of IT!! :( (2/25)

 TWO DAYS after treatment (3/25)

TWO DAYS after treatment (3/25)

Doctor's Visit 5: We finally got in to see the dermatologist and he was diagnosed with moderate to severe eczema. Duh! Now fix it! She created a treatment plan for us that involved the Desonide cream for his face and Fluocinonide for his body (both steroid ointments) and CeraVe ointment. She didn't believe it was food related and indicated we could go back to the original formula. For my peace of mind I requested an allergy test. He had two tubes of blood drawn from his little arm and was tested for a peanut and milk protein allergy. Both negative. I was relieved but we were back in same spot of uncertainty. Within weeks however, his face looked SO MUCH BETTER. His legs began to heal and things were finally on the up-and-up! 5 doctor visits, 4 different treatment plans, 2 food allergy tests, 2 different formulas, and 1 awesome God later (lol) we were FINALLY, finally getting better! 

 Picture Taken May 26th; 2 months after treatment! :) 

Picture Taken May 26th; 2 months after treatment! :) 

Next week we have a follow-up and my top concern is the lasting effects of the meds. Now that his face is practically healed, with just a SLIGHT discoloration from scaring, I want to try this whole natural thing again but I'm scared. I'm not looking forward to making my son my "natural remedy guinea pig" again. The dermatologist told us that we just need to pay attention to things that could cause flares such as changes in weather, exposure to heat/sun, diet changes etc. But to date we still have NO IDEA what caused this horrible flare. 

Signed,
An exhausted mother of an itchy kid