We are now on day 7 of treatment with Dr Aron and things are continuing to go brilliantly. However, before I get onto the Dr Aron part of Anna’s story, let me tell you about the worst thing about eczema.
To the outsider, the worst thing probably seems to be the red, angry looking skin. To the insider – either the person with eczema or their family – the worst part is (from my view, at least) the intense ITCH. And the solution to the itch is to SCRATCH!
Anna has been itching and scratching almost her entire life. It is horrible to witness and of course even more horrible to experience. I think that the will power needed to hold yourself back from scratching an itch is more than most adults could manage let alone a 5 year old. Despite my best intentions, I find myself shouting “don’t scratch!!” more than I care to admit and even Anna’s 3 year old brother joins in and tells her it will only make things worse. Poor girl!
At its mildest, the itch interferes with normal childhood activities. Take toilet training, for example. Not many mums have to hold their two year old’s hands as they sit on the potty. There is something about bare skin and eczema – as soon as it is exposed Anna goes for it in a frenzy. After a bath I give her my iPhone to hold as I dry and moisturise her so that she is distracted and has no free hands to scratch.
In this video, Anna at least managed to play through her itching:
At its worst (often when she gets too hot) we have to physically restrain her through floods of tears about how it is SO itchy and why won’t we let her scratch? It seems cruel but the alternative is even more inflamed skin or, worse, a blood bath. Fingernails, no matter how short, can do a lot of damage. Even through gloves or similar she can do damage if she scratches hard enough.
Anna has now finished her first year of primary school and one of my most poignant memories, and not in a good way, was the school harvest assembly. Anna’s class had to line up on stage and sing the song about the worm at the bottom of the garden whose name was Wiggly Woo. The lyrics included the line “And all that he can do is wiggle all day and wiggle all night…”. Unfortunately Anna was first up on stage and that’s exactly what she did – full blown wriggling from side to side (think of the way Peppa Pig dances, if that means anything to you) with a good old scratch thrown in. Stress and excitement can make her itchier, which I think was a factor that day. I felt so bad for her and goodness knows what the 200+ parents in the audience thought about the strange child writhing about on stage. Or maybe they really did think she was getting into character of Wiggly Woo!
I describe above the itching in the present tense but this is not correct. To my amazement, the itch seems to have all but completely gone and it did so after the first few days on Dr Aron’s cream. Over 5 years of relentless itching on the NHS treatment and, in less than 5 days on Dr Aron’s cream it has vanished, almost overnight. Wow! I had high expectations of Dr Aron’s cream but I have been blown away by something even better.
These photos show Anna in her “scratch sleeves”, which she has been wearing overnight ever since she was a baby and occasionally during the day at her request (although never out in public “in case people laugh at me”).
We must have spent hundreds of pounds on scratch sleeves over the years but they have been worth every penny and to those of you with itchy children I highly recommend them (www.scratchsleeves.co.uk). Check out how threadbare the pair in the sleeping photo are. That’s a lot of scratching!
Anyway, the point of telling you all this is that things are going so well that we have stopped using scratch sleeves overnight. As sudden as that! I think that Anna almost feels a bit lost without them but she is embracing her new freedom and I am thanking my lucky stars that I live in the world of Facebook and the helpful mums on there who led me to Dr Aron.
In my next blog, I will talk more about Dr Aron’s methods and the creams that he uses to achieve these amazing results…