Eczema for my daughter is much more than skin deep - she daily scratches for a cure

Machrine
Posted October 7, 2019 from Uganda
Ingrid and her sister Amorita
Ingrid and her sister Amorita: They share happy moments that keep Ingrid's spirits high (1/2)

“Mummy, please tell me why my twin sister Amorita is not crying all the time like I do and yet you say we are twins?”– That was a question from my daughter Ingrid Kamara, who has lived with Eczema since she was born.

Ingrid has battled Eczema since she was four weeks old. The skin on his neck, joints and legs would crack and ooze with fluids. The itchy bit was even more challenging for her because she could spend more time crying in pain.

While her twin sister Amorita spent a good time playing, running up and down, Ingrid spent more time looking for rough surfaces to anchor her body so she could scratch the itchy skin.

It broke my heart watching Ingrid scratch her body in pain. I would always tell her to pick up a tin of coconut oil and moisturize. I have tried to find the best remedies possible to ease the pain.

We tried the best skin clinic in the country but with no success.

Did you know that eczema causes scratching of the skin until it bleeds?

Yes! And the results? Red stained bedsheets, an exhausted baby and a fatigued and helpless mother who feels defeated for failure to find a remedy.

Did you also know that Eczema in childhood can progress into adulthood?

Yes, it does. Ingrid has been battling eczema since she was 4 weeks old.

Did you know that girls with eczema are often shrouded with stigma, rejection, frustration, bitterness, and feelings of isolation?

Yes, this is a fact.  My daughter Ingrid has for the past 16 – years faced all these feelings. She has watched kids at school refuse to play with her because as they put it; “that girl has rotten skin, do not play with her,” they would say.

Ingrid would return home nursing rejection and feel out of place. As a mother, protecting, caring and answering the questions of your child with plain honesty was my job.

Then she would later write to her late uncle one day: “Thank you, uncle, for getting me the E45 lotion. It has transformed me from the ugly duckling as some students like to call me, into a princess and now everyone wants to play with me.”

But such moments of happiness were short-lived because another flare-up brought a new wave of agony in her life.

When she enrolled for a boarding school for her O level education, Ingrid was joining a new community of girls that did not understand her condition. So loose talk and mean statements started all over again.

“That girl has AIDS,” one of her classmates said.

“Me I don’t want to even sit near her,” another girl chipped in.

Girls shunned her and they would not want to be close to her.

The peak of the loose talk came recently when she prepared for her prom. Just a day to the prom one of her classmates turned up and spoke straight in her face:

“Ingrid if I were you, I would not even waste my time preparing for prom because no boy would pick you up with such a skin you have.”

She called me up feeling so deflated. And I advised her not to allow loose talk dip her esteem.

Days I have laid with her in bed are the most difficult moments. She can hardly find sleep because she is scratching all night long. The scratching has denied her the much-needed sleep she needs.

I tried the herbal remedies and to date, the healing is the slowest process I have ever faced.

Eventually, the doctor advised us to get her a long-sleeved white shirt for her uniform, so she could cover the skin patches on her skin and control the talk.

Meanwhile, each comment on her skin left a stinging impression on her and in most cases, people have looked at Ingrid’s skin condition in negative ways.

Ingrid has lived a life of eczema that most girls her age would not understand. Each day comes with so many questions from the people she meets both at school and the home community:

  • What is that dry, cracked patch on your skin?
  • Why are you the only student that wears a long-sleeved shirt?
  • Why is it that your twin sister does not have the same skin condition as you do?
  • Why does your skin look shrivelled?
  • Has your mum taken you to see the doctor?
  • Have you tried this remedy?

Ingrid has learnt to find short and straightforward answers as she continues to yearn to be accepted the way she is. But even as she scratches her body, she has learnt to control the pain and instead smile hiding that pain behind her infectious smile.

One day, she told me she needed to make the girls understand what she is going through and she needed the time and space to speak to them.

That’s a good idea! I said to her.

Ingrid at 13 entered one of the classrooms at her secondary school and gave a short lecture:

Ingrid: May I call your attention please, she said

Class: Murmuring as they wondered why she was demanding their attention.

Ingrid: I am in front of you today to give you a small lesson about my skin. I suffer from eczema. Does anyone of you know eczema?

The class was silent.

Ingrid: Ok Eczema, is a disease of the skin, she explained but most importantly had some wise words for the girls.

“I know many of you have been talking about me behind my back. Some of you have said really nasty comments about my skin. Today I chose to forgive you because I realize you didn’t know my condition. But I want to advise you that do not say nasty things about me today because you are girls and who knows one day you will have a baby just like my mother did and that baby will have eczema. So better ask me what would you do rather than gather your energies to talk nasty about eczema sufferers,”

Despite all the odds that Eczema has brought to her world, Ingrid has not given up on her studies. She loves to read, write and draw pictures.

On the day of the girl child this year, I pay tribute to my daughter Ingrid. I am the mother of the most resilient girl with eczema and our journey to find a remedy remains the longest trip of our lives. Here are some lessons I have learnt from escorting my daughter on her eczema journey

  • Girls with Eczema need support not mean comments
  • Girls with Eczema need statements that empower then to keep their esteem high.
  • Girls with Eczema need acceptance and not rejection from community members.
  • Girls with Eczema need love
  • Girls with Eczema are normal human beings who don’t need stress because this triggers the condition even further.

This message is for Ingrid: “The shadow of Eczema may have darkened your childhood and created a haze around your teenagehood, but this has not stopped you from shining and soaring to the top. Your infectious smile is a symbol of hope, resilience and persistence and guess what I am so proud of you and will always be with you on this journey. I am sure what you need now is total healing and I hope someone reading this will point us in some direction for healing.”

I look forward to when this journey will end and a fresh page of an eczema free lifestyle sets in.

I would be grateful to anyone who can give Ingrid some tips on how to live a more meaningful life while battling eczema.

 

This story was submitted in response to GirlForce: Unscripted and Unstoppable.

Comments 13

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Tarke Edith
Oct 07
Oct 07

Hi Machaline
I am sorry to hear about the health of your daughter.
I deal in the production of comsmetic products and skin care naturally helbs.
Dear do you know this plant call
Cassia alata? This plan has yellow flowers and a the leaves have one Long stem in the middle .
This plan close up in the evening and open in the morning.
This plan is good in the treatment of fungi, ringworm and eczema.
How to use it in the treatment of eczema.
Extract the juice and mixed it with yellow Stone (sulfur) and apply it on her body daily.
Please me know if you have the plan in your area . if not we can look for another sulution.
Thanks for sharing sister
I wish you the best for your endeavors to treat you daughter.

Machrine
Oct 07
Oct 07

Hi Edith, thank you for the note. I simply can't believe that the plant you are referring me to is right in front of our compound and i have never known it's has medicinal value. Anyhow, we are going to try it out as soon as she returns home for holiday. Thank you for the care and will keep you updated. Good day.

Jill Langhus
Oct 09
Oct 09

That's so amazing. Please keep us posted, Machrine, on if it works and how she's doing, too:-)

XX

Wow, sis Edith, that's valuable information you're sharing here. What a blessing you are! I hope it will help Machrine's daughter. :) Here's hoping for the best.

maeann
Oct 07
Oct 07

Hi Machaline,

Thank you for sharing your daughter's health experienced. She is a strong girl that faces her condition. She deserve respect. It's good that she had a courage to speak about her condition to her classmate that will educate them and bring awareness.

I hope one day she will outgrow and receives healing from eczema.

Machrine
Oct 07
Oct 07

Sure Maenn, we keep our hope alive.

Anita Shrestha
Oct 07
Oct 07

Dear
Your daughter face shows that she is so strong and high determination girl. So that please make inspire her regularly. One day she will make your head high again and again. share always share always

Lisbeth
Oct 08
Oct 08

Dear Machaline,
Honestly I must say your daughter Ingrid is a brave strong young lady. It's definitely not easy to go through such mockery in the hand of classmates. It's traumatic.
I know about Eczema but not aware it can be this so chronic, oh mine. In most cases when you get the right skill creams to apply it goes away.
Maybe after other treatment and it still persist you can go medically. Maybe you never know. I wish Ingrid the best in her quest of ending Eczema.
Have a great day.
Regards

Hello, Machrine,

You are a wonderful mother to your daughter. :) You've raised a brave, resilient, courageous, strong young woman who knows how to stand up for herself. She's amazing! I hope sister Edith's suggestion can help alleviate her eczema. You have a powerful message to your daughter. You might want to consider submitting this post on the current call for stories: https://www.worldpulse.com/raise-your-voice/girlforce-unscripted-unstopp...

Thank you for being brave to share your daughter's story with us. I hope she can also join us here on World Pulse. :) This community welcomes girls from ages 14 years old and up.

Machrine
Oct 08
Oct 08

Thank you for the kind words, Karen. Yes, Ingrid is a force to reckon with. And i have encouraged Ingrid to write and share her stories. I am sure she will join this forum as soon as she completes her exams. I am going to post this story on the link you have shared.

You're welcome, dear sister. Truly, she is, and I have to give credit to you as her mother for raising her that way. :) That's great to know. I look forward to reading her stories here, too. :) Hope you have a great day!

Oct 14
Oct 14
This comment has been removed by the commenter or a moderator.
ANJ ANA
Oct 14
Oct 14

Dear Machaine,
So sorry to hear about Ingrid's health. I can see your efforts to fight against your daughter's Eczema, but maybe it would be helpful if you avoid the food (dairy products and citrus ) and things (pollution, sun) that trigger Eczema. We use some homemade herbal medicine to treat this. Maybe it would be helpful for you too. The process of making is as follows :
Heat the mustard oil (250 gram) in an iron pan and put green eaves of Neem (Azadirachta indica) (50 gram). Just take out the leaves before it became black and put out the oil from fire and let it be room temperature. filter the oil and keep it in room temperature. You can keep it the oil for long like four/five months. Put/light massage the oil into the affected part of the body four times a day. It will really help her.

My warm love and care to Ingrid
best regards,
anjana