Today marks the 4th anniversary of my daughter Anna starting on the Aron Regimen (AR), on 8 July 2014, for the treatment of her atopic eczema. If you are new to this blog then you may be best starting at https://annaanddraron.wordpress.com/2014/07/12/part-1/.
In the Dr Aron Eczema Treatment Discussion Group, today is referred to and celebrated as an “Aroniversary”. I continue to be thankful, on today and all days, that Anna no longer suffers and that our family life is no longer ruled by her eczema. For example, last week we were on a caravan holiday and, on one particular day, we spent the afternoon on a farm park and the evening at a water park. In the pre-AR days, animals, hay, chlorine and heat would have been a recipe for disaster in isolation, let alone in combination. But Anna’s skin was absolutely fine.
We currently apply the compound cream of steroids diluted in lots of moisturiser (we cut out the original antibiotic component years ago) all over once a fortnight. I should really try and cut it down more. I think I have the opposite of steroid phobia – I am nervous about not using steroids for maintenance of Anna’s eczema. But perhaps she no longer needs them and she is truly in remission.
I didn’t do a blog update last summer but I did make the following video, which includes pre-AR photos of Anna in which she was invariably scratching.
We didn’t notice the scratching at the time because it was the norm for Anna to be scratching so much. She still gets itchy sometimes but nothing we can’t control, often with the help of calamine lotion, part of Dr Aron’s ‘toolkit’. The other thing in his toolkit that we find really helps, if Anna has dry lips or fingers, is Bepanthen ointment (yes, the nappy rash one).
There are two themes I’d like to explore in this blog post:
1. The world is catching up
When Anna started in 2014, Dr Aron, the founder of the Aron Regimen, was the only doctor in the world practising the AR. Today, in 2018, there are many such doctors. A notable two, who have been trained in person by Dr Aron himself, are Dr Van Wagoner in Texas and Dr Wetzler in London. However, there are also scores of doctors, mainly in the US and Australia, who practice the AR directly after having received a guide from Dr Aron.
In 2017, the paper ‘Case Series Study of the Efficacy of Compounded Antibacterial, Steroid and Moisturizer [CASM] in Atopic Dermatitis’ was published in Pediatric Dermatology Vol. 34, No. 3 in the US. It concludes that the CASM is “effective in the management of AD and may offer additional benefit for patients who have plateaued with standard therapies” and credits Dr Aron for stimulating the idea for the report.
Another exciting development on the research front is that the Red Cross Hospital in South Africa is running a clinical trial – ‘Efficacy of Combining Topical Antibiotic/Steroid/Moisturizer Therapy Compared to Active Comparator in Atopic Dermatitis’ – testing the compounded cream used by the Aron Regimen.
The world may be catching up but the UK is sadly lagging behind as the NHS is not, generally, open to the AR. This is due to the AR not being in line with NICE guidelines and, in my view, doctors and dermatologists being reluctant to stray from those guidelines even if doing so may lead to a better outcome for the patient.
What infuriates me is that nobody in the NHS or private practice stops and questions that it might be the guidelines that need updated rather than the AR that is not an appropriate treatment. The National Eczema Society in the UK does its best to pretend that the AR does not even exist. Doctors, and the National Eczema Association, in the US are far more progressive and receptive to the AR.
2. The length people will go to thank Dr Aron
Or, rather, the distance they will travel. In June 2018 two AR mums, Debbie and Mel, flew all the way from Australia to Chicago to meet Dr Aron at the National Eczema Association’s #EczemaExpo18, where he was a guest speaker.
I was sorry I couldn’t be at the Expo but the next best thing was reading about it from my friends who were there. Christine (a fellow AR campaigner, who travelled from Texas to be in Chicago) captured things beautifully here:
Christine and another AR-campaigner Keri (pictured above, at the Expo) volunteer for an organisation called Global Parents For Eczema Research (GPFER), “an international group of parents and caregivers of children with moderate to severe eczema organised to advance research on childhood eczema so that it meets the needs of families affected by the condition”. The AR is one of the areas that GPFER is interested in.
On his way from South Africa to Chicago, Dr Aron stopped off in London for a few days and he held a Meet & Greet for patients. I had met Dr Aron before but Anna hadn’t and so we headed off from Glasgow to London for the weekend to meet him.
(I’m only 5’ 9”, in case you think I’m a giant!)
Anna was perhaps slightly underwhelmed by meeting Dr Aron (it was more of a big deal to me that she met him than to her) but she had fun with the other kids, including Martha and Theo (pictured above). I’m friends with their mums, Victoria from Devon and Heather from Edinburgh, and both have written their own blogs – see https://victoriakwolf.tumblr.com and http://pyjamaboyeczema.tumblr.com/.
OK, so not all AR mums produce vlogs/blogs or travel half way across the world/country to meet their online doctor in person. Me and the other mums I described above may be in the minority in terms of how far we will go to spread awareness of the AR and to meet Dr Aron in person. But I’m sure that we share the sentiments of thousands in wanting to thank Dr Aron for what he has done for our families.
I’ll close with a video of some ‘words’ Victoria had prepared for the end of the Meet & Greet in London in which she expresses her thanks: