I know a lot of people have been struggling to get off scratching meds, and even some itch med companies have said they will be closing down for good this year.
But I can’t help but think of my mom and her struggles.
For years, she suffered from the same sort of chronic, debilitating itch she does today.
She would get a fever, itch, and would have to put her hair up, and her skin would itch like crazy.
“My mom was in pain, she couldn’t sleep, and she didn’t have any food to eat,” says Dr. Taryn McNeill, a dermatologist at UCLA who has been treating patients like McNeill for over 20 years.
“She’s had arthritis for over 40 years.
I think she’s got an underlying genetic disorder that causes the skin to become so inflamed and itchy that it’s just not manageable.
So I had to learn to manage the itch that was plaguing her.”
I got a diagnosis in January, but it took me two months to see a doctor because I was afraid I would lose my job.
My parents were very stressed, she says, and were just getting on with their lives.
I think the best part of being diagnosed is that I’m not ashamed to admit that I had a rough time and that I needed help.
Dr. McNeill was on call 24/7 for a few years and then her job came up, but she was also looking for other work.
So I moved to the Midwest, and my husband moved to California.
But in my mind, it was a really difficult transition.
My mom and I both had to grow up, I had two daughters, and it was just so hard.
Even as we got older, I felt like I was still struggling with her chronic itch.
When I started treating patients, my husband’s work was very stressful.
It was hard to be away from the house and I wasn’t getting enough sleep.
I started seeing a lot more dermatologists.
I got so many calls, and they told me that they would like to see me.
They were like, “No, we don’t have anyone that’s ready to treat itch.”
It took me a long time to find the right people.
I had my first itch, a severe case of arthritic arthrogryposis, which is basically a joint pain and inflammation in the joints.
The doctors told me it was something that I would have an epidermal biopsy for and a biopsy in my lower leg and I would get my epidermis removed and then my armpit will be painted.
I’m like, ‘Really?
This is what I have to go through?’
“And the epidermolysis bullosa was really scary.
As a mom, I can relate to that.
In the early stages of the disease, the skin becomes extremely irritated and inflamed.
People are afraid of it.
It can be a bit scary to have your skin irritated, especially when you have chronic pain.
After that epiderma biopsy, it is extremely rare to get a positive diagnosis.
At first, I was a little skeptical, and the dermatologist in charge of my care at UCLA told me they were not going to be able to diagnose my condition because of the sensitivity of my skin.
I was really skeptical and really wanted to know if they were just going to let me go.
And it was really hard to say no.
I wasn’s really worried about my family.
They’re all in the process of divorcing.
They didn’t want to hear that I was going through this.
They told me, “We just don’t know enough about this to do anything about it.”
After the epidemic subsided, I went back to seeing Dr. McNeil and she started talking to me about my situation.
Her first response was that I should see a dermatologists assistant.
That was really helpful because it helped me get my foot in the door, which meant that I could talk with her about the condition.
This was a very difficult time for me because I’ve got arthritis and my skin is very sensitive to the environment.
I could feel the itch, but I couldn’t tell my husband.
I felt completely isolated.
I knew I was very isolated.
So, I started talking with the dermatologists again.
They were really understanding.
They said that they can diagnose a lot about the underlying disorder, which was pretty cool.
Then I got my epidymectomy and my armbit was painted.
Now, I’m able to communicate with my husband, who is also on my side of the family.
And I’m finally at peace.
I have a job, and I’m a happy mom.
One of the biggest challenges for parents is not knowing what to do when your child is sick, says