Why Should

Why should you… make a new year resolution?

Every year I am always asked the same question “What is your new year resolution?”. Honestly I do not make them. 

Shock horror I know. Instead I make a positive change. 

Each year I decide on a change to my life which is achievable and is positive to my life or health. 

This year I made the change of doing a for of exercise every day along with getting some fresh air that does not involved walking to and from work. I live 500m from my work. 

My form of exercise can be anything from 40 squats to a full hour workout or  a day out in the hills. I just want to do something to keep me moving each day. 

I have no desire to change the way my body is or make a new me. I just want to continue to develop as me. I also know that if I set a resolution such as lose x amount of weight or build muscle, I would not. 

I’m not good at doing things in small doses. I am an all at once type of person. If I do a exercise programme I do not like building up I will go at it at max reps for about 2 weeks then give up.  

I am also very good at giving up.  I struggle with sticking with trends for a while, I have to be kept engaged mentally. If I do not mentally engage with something there is no point in me carrying it out.  

So me behind my positive change there is more behind it there than doing a simple for of exercise each day. It is about sticking to something for more than one or two week. 

Why should… you make a diet change?

Earlier this month I made a decision to go cows milk free. Eczema and eating dairy is apparently linked. 

If you eat dairy it can cause eczema to flare up or is just the cause. Many people have said to me ‘ Why don’t you just change to goats milk?’. 

Until recently I never really consider this an option for several reasons. 

1. I grew up on a dairy based diet. I had eczema before I started drinking cows milk.

2. I grew up on a dairy farm.

3. I grew up on an Island where goats milk, butter and cheese were not accessible. 

4. why cause so much hassle and change to my life when my eczema was under control? 

So why did I make the change. 

For me it has been an option I have considered for a while but didn’t know much about. I started by gradually making the swap with cheese from ordinary cheddar to feta and small amounts of goats cheese.  This was fairly simple and feta can go with most food that ordinary cheese can. 

The next big swap was milk. Growing up I used to consume a lot of milk and even once I left home I still drank a lot.  Goats milk however istwice the price I’m my supermarket. This brought an abrupt halt to drinking 4 to 8 pints a week. I now only drink milk in tea, which is about 4 pints a week. 

What difference has the swap made? 

To my eczema, nothing. I still have my twice monthly flare ups and it is still here. 

To my body, however, is a different story. Within the first 2 weeks I noticed a difference in my waist line. I wasn’t bloated and my body wasn’t having to process  as much milk, I felt better with in myself. 

So one month in to the swap what have I noticed?

I can no longer drink a latte of cows milk or have any cows milk in my tea. I also do not crave cows milk anymore.  Avoiding dairy when you are out for a meal, visiting family or eating on the go, is really hard. 

I was home over Christmas, everything has dairy in it. Turkey, Roast potatoes, parsnips,  bread sauce, stuffing, all have milk in them. For one meal I gave up my swap. I regretted it for the rest of the night. I was bloated unconfortable, my gut was in agony. 

In short my body has adjusted very quickly to digesting cows milk and did not cope with one meal. 

But I have to confess, chocolate has not been excluded so far. Chocolate is my confort food. At Christmas I was given a small selection of chocolate. That I am gorging on as I write this.  Once it is all gone, that is it. Cows milk is being completely removed from my diet.
Would I recommend this? 

It honestly depends on what your circumstances are. If you make all your own meals, do your own shopping and have the commitment to stick with it then Yes. Just remember to take milk round to a friends house when going for coffee. Also bare in mind that most coffee shops or restaurants do not stock goats milk. My next venture, soya milk for teas and lattes. 
Remember, you define who you are, You can change what you become. Make it positive. 

Why Should…?

Today wasn’t the greatest at work and was not the most pleasant but I survived and got through it. Afterwards I had a lovely trip to the dentists where nothing exciting happened. And I treated myself to some window shopping.

Window shopping is kind of pointless unless you specifically want to compare items in different shops. I love window shopping to get inspiration for different ideas and such for people’s birthdays or anniversaries. This is what I did for my parent last anniversary.

With complete lack of inspiration on what to get them and a helpful suggestion from my sister of “a nice candle” did not really cut it for an appropriate anniversary gift so off to the shopping center I went. After trailing round the  home ware department of several store I had a ingenious idea. An alternative vase with some home alterations and some wine glasses mum wanted a wee bit back and a bunch of flowers to put in them and I was sorted.
My hand writing is by no means legible at the best of times and was once described as ‘a spider has died it’s legs in ink and ran across the page’. So needless to say that putting some writing on the vase could have been a bit daunting but I love making  my hand writing ‘fancy’ every so over and copying others is not  problem.  Off I went to Pintrest (a guilty pleasure of mine) to find how to write happy anniversary in neat and decent penmanship.

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The is one of the most effective gifts I have ever made and I am by no means crafty.
If you wish to try this you need:
-pen
-paper
-vase or object for you message
-glass or ceramic pens
-an over

It is so simple. If your great at Improvising then go ahead practice on the paper or straight on to the glass if your super confidential.

For me, I found an image of exactly what I wanted to write. First of all I looked at the individual letters and the extension of them. Then I put pen to paper. Pen is a great way to do it as you can’t rub it out and start again similar to when you do it on glass. I practiced several times to get it right and one I had I did it once more to make sure I had it down to par. Finally I got out my glass pens, selected the colors I wanted and went for it. This stage is not something to go at half hearted or it will go wrong. You have practiced therefore you know exactly what your doing.

An alternative is to print off what you wish to  write and place it behind the surface and trace through the glass.

Now bake according to the instructions let it cool and voila you have a fantastic thoughtful and beautiful gift or keepsake.

So why should… I not do something for someone else today? This is a lovely and thoughtful way to give someone something meaningful. Whether it is for a special occasion or for someone you haven’t seen in a while or want to make someone’s day this is a perfect day.

When it feels like your skin is against you.

All my life I have had eczema. I was diagnosed at 3 months old and have been living with it ever since.  My eczema has always affected my body confidence as I have it from head to toe, with the exception of my stomach and lower back. My childhood memories of eczema aren’t very clear, I remember being bandaged with zinc paste and wrapped up before bed, having gloves taped on to my hands each night to stop me from scratching myself.  Also using different creams, ointments and moisturisers to find the right combination that worked for me.

Let me tell you a few things about eczema:
●it is not contagious in any way, no matter what people may say.
● it can be brought on by changes to you environment
● coming in to contact with dust, animal hair,  pollen’s, to name a few, can cause it to break out.
This list is very rudimentary and definitely does not even scratch the surface as to what causes eczema or an out break.

Now let me tell to something about my childhood;
●I grew up on a farm
●We had a pet dog
● My main hobby was horse riding.

Now your may say why would you live your life with things that can constantly cause your eczema to break out or be a constant presence. Reason being ‘Why let something that is out with your control control your life?’. I honestly never really though about what  causes eczema and the hobbies or lifestyle that could have made it worse, until recently.

Through out my childhood and teenage years my eczema has always been the one thing I have been certain that will always be with me. Whether it be visible eczema on the skin or the scars that it has left behind all over my body.  It wasn’t until I finished my Masters and stated looking for jobs that I realised how much first impressions can affect your chance of a job.

I currently work in a supermarket, with mainly male colleges, where looks aren’t the be all and end all of your job. I have no pressure to wear make up or cover my eczema when it flares up on my arms (although I almost always wear a long sleeved top to cover it, for my own confidence) or face. For this I am thankful that my job and colleges are non judgmental, for the most part on how much make up a female should wear.

For this I am great full, as over the past year my eczema has had some of the worst flare ups and constant bouts I have ever had.

You may ask the question ‘what have you changed about your lifestyle to cause this?’.

Honestly I have no idea.

For the past 5 years I have lived in a small city, moved away form the farm and only occasionally see my family dog or go horse riding. So why is my eczema so bad? This is the question I have been asking myself.

As I sit here writing this I will tell you my current state of eczema.
Face- feels like sandpaper, skin feels like it is pulling backwards towards the ears from the chin and nose, but drawing in on my upper lip. Dry flaky skin around the eyes, where the skin is red and irritated.
Neck– front and center three wee bits of eczema that are scabbed over and red.
Chest– currently clear although itchy
Arms–  around the armpits covered red and raw. Fore and under arms 70% eczema coverage itch and raw.
Legs– few patches that consist of isolated spots of eczema
Feet– left foot 3 single spots on the upper part of the foot and itchy.

This is definitely not the worst my eczema has been or extensive as others, it is still incredibly uncomfortable to be in this skin 24/7 with no escape from it. It also does not make you feel particularly attractive, especially when your face feels like sandpaper all over and the skin is really tight.

Referring to my last post- rule No 1. Definitely is not in play at the moment and it hurts that it is not. I want to be able to feel sexy in my own skin  and push my body on a daily basis but I can’t.  Every time I sweat it aggravates my eczema causing it to become itchy weepy and incredibly sore.

So my alternative is very afternoon after work I come home sit on the couch and drink tea, although nice on the odd occasion it’s not particularly motivating after day 3. So back to why my eczema is so bad.

I honestly do not know. I follow an almost religious routine of showering- using a prescription shower wash, dry off, apply any lotions and potions (a nickname for steroidal creams and steroids we used as a child to make them seam less scary), apply moisturiser on top and apply moisturiser again just to make sure. This is the same routine I have followed for years, unfortunately I cannot have long showers as it dry out my skin.

Today is just another day I have survived having eczema and it will continue to partner me in life. Tomorrow can only get better.

Why Should…?

Why should…?
This is the question that has been plaguing my thoughts this week.

Why should… eczema stop me doing the things I want? Eczema has always prevented me from being able to use certain cosmetic products. I’m 24 and have never had a bubble bath, used a sugar scrub or an off the self moisturiser. But why should my eczema prevent me form experiencing some of the simplest thing of pampering  myself.

All my life I have had prescribed moisturisers and omillionts to try and help my eczema, stop my skin from drying out and calming down flare ups. It not until recently that I have had a problem with using my prescriptions and that is mainly due to them not working. Over the past year I have had constant eczema on over 40% of my body. No matter how much moisturiser I put on or steroid creams I pump in to my skin it hasn’t gone away. When it gets to the stage where you have to moisturise 4 times a day because your skin won’t keep in moisture and you have to wash everyday to remove all the dead dry skin there is something wrong.

Why not go to he doctors you ask? Well I have done, 3 treatments of antibiotics and 2 treatments of steroids tablets, 2 tubes of steroid cream, new ointment and 1 year later I want to find something that may work for me.

Through the combination of ointments, omillionts and moisturisers I have managed to get my eczema down to a manageable level with the odd flare up.  The main things that worries me is that they are all parfum based. Showering with parfum, moisturising with parfum and using omillionts based in parfum for the last 24 years surely can’t be that fantastic for you.  I know some will say that if you’ve been prescribe it then it is safe to use, that’s fine but why put something on my skin to be adsorbed by my body that I wouldn’t eat.

What goes on your skin ends up adsorbed into your blood stream and body. How much parfum  has my body adsorbed over the years and what has it done to my insides. This has probe me to look in to alternative treatments, more natural treatments.

In looking in to homemade I have found multiple advice sites as to the ‘ultimate cure’ to eczema that will magically cure it’s so that it will never rear it’s head again. Eczema for me will never fully go away, it is about managing it and getting it to a level that it is not angry and inflamed. I honestly don’t believe if you have a topic eczema that you can get rid of it. But that is just my view,  until I can find that magic cure for me.

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Through looking in to homemade lotions and other beauty products I have come across a few that makes me feel pampered and ‘normal’. The one thing that I have never had is a bubble bath,  skin scrub or non prescription moisturiser.

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So far I have come up with a fantastic body scrub which I’m in love with. I have never been able to use a face wash with out feeling like my skin was shrivel up and fall off my face. So this we faces scrub that I now use is amazing and means that I can wash my face half way through a shower instead of just as I’m about to get out.  This small achievement means that I can now enjoy a shower and feel slightly special in my own wee way.

Light treatment

So three weeks ago I started light treatment, photo-therapy or UVB, to name a few of its titles. It essentially involves getting blasted by UVB radiation at small managed time increments that is meant to help eczema. Before starting light treatment I was put on to a few different creams to help my skin that didn’t work so this is just the next step for me in trying to manage my eczema.

Recently I read a friends post on Facebook about how great light treatment was for her psoriasis and how it has cured her of it. For I her I am grateful and happy that she has a cure for her psoriasis. Her advice on the matter I didn’t agree with.
Here are my reasons why:

1. A cure for 1 is not a cure for all- this was brought up by a comment on the post indicating that maybe encouraging  every to ask, seek out and under  take this treatment may not be great advice.

2. It is a time intensive treatment. My schedule involves being at the treatment center 3 times a week to Rd I’ve blast of light for 90 seconds which slowly increase with each visit, after 3 weeks I have made it 1 min 27 sec.

3. It gets worse before it gets better.  The light treatment dry out the skin and can make it incredibly itchy and flaky.  This for my has been the worst part of the treatment. Due to apparently having sensitive skin to light particularly on my bum and love handles, the time of my treatment cannot go up till they stop getting g burnt. This has cause my eczema to become aggravated and irritated.  So instead of it helping at the moment I am slapping on the steroid cream to get on top of it.

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4. What happens once the treatment course is over.  This is one of the questions that has been bothering me. As with every treatment you are put on- great it works whilst I’m on it but it’s not long term now what? . Wait a few years and then start again? Am I cured after it? What if it doesn’t work at all? What if I am allergy to UVB light and it’s causing my eczema? Am I just going through this for nothing?

Having eczema all my life I am willing to try most things to see if it will make a difference.  Including indulging a doctor who decide I had scabies and treating me for that.  Clearly the treatment did nothing.  Light treatment is the latest thing to try, perseverance when it’s not working and trying to cope with a treatment that it’s making it worse before it gets better.
For all I am glad that that it works for a lot of people and hopeful that it works for me I would not recommend it to anyone unless they specifically asked me about it. Each week I lose 3 hours just going to receive 3 min 15 of treatment. I know this is not much compared to many different illnesses or conditions out there but this is me and my condition. At the moment I am hoping and wishing for it to work and that these 3 hours a week are worth it.

Trying to remain positive and optimistic,  always remember for ever success there is a failure. What may work for one doesn’t work for another.
Stay positive.

This week’s why should. .. is more of a why shouldn’t.

Why shouldn’t I let my eczema get me down and let it affect my confidence.

This week has been a particularly hard week for me with my eczema being extremely obvious, especially on my face. Usually I have eczema on my face especially around the eyes, where it is occasionally flaky and dry or red. Whereas this week I looked like a panda, applying moisturiser every 20 minutes or so without it making much difference.
The down side to having it this extreme around my eyes was the more moisturiser I applied to my eyes the more they wept causing the eczema at the edges of my eyes to become increasing aggravated and raw. Needless to say this week my confidence was surely knocked and motivation at an all time low.  On Saturday I had to force myself to leave the house to get some fresh air and a wee bit of exercise. Whilst being very self-conscience of how I looked, despite multiple reassurances from the boyfriend that I looked fine, the cold air did some good whilst I was out. This weekend was cool and crisp here and the cold weather did something to cooling the red and angry skin around my eyes and taking some of the heat away from it.

 

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As always going from extremes of temperatures can aggravate eczema, our flat is not especially warm which, helps from going from inside to outside and back again. Over the weekend I managed to force myself out on several small walk which helped both the eczema and my confidence.
The small boost in confidence was short lived as on Monday morning it was back to work. As I arrived at work with rosy cheeks from the cold and red raw eyes, my colleague, made a comment of ‘you make it look awfully cold out there, is it windy too?’. To what can I reply to this knowing that they have kindly pointed out my skin looks awful. At 6.00 on a Monday morning it’s just great to here. Throughout the rest of the day I thankfully didn’t encounter any more comments but working in retail and facing the public knowing how red and obvious your face is does not do wonders for morally. On a plus side, however, if they did stare it looked like they were making eye contact with me.
Through out the week my eyes calmed down and have slowly returned to ‘normal’ and my confidence has slowly returned with it. Although this week I was mainly focused on my face it didn’t mean that the rest of my body was not flaring up with eczema, it is just easier to hide under a long sleeved top and trousers.

This week I have thought about how something so trivial as having red raw skin around my eyes has had such an effect on my confidence after having lived with eczema all my life. The simple answer is that our perception of how we should look and how our skin should be has change drastically over the past few years. To become something that is almost on unreachable for many people these days. Especially those with eczema and sensitive skin. I cannot wear makeup without having a break out on my face no matter the brand or the types designed for sensitive skin. Makeup is not something I can use to obtain flawless skin or the perfect completion. Years of scaring cover my face, and body, as a constant reminder that I have a constant companion in my life.
Having got over the lack of confidence this week due to misconceived conception of how we should look. This week I have embraced who I am and how I look. I am going to try and hold on to this idea and philosophy the next time I have a breakout on my face regardless of where I am or what I’m doing.

Eczema is part of me and who I am. I shall embrace it for all it is worth, as I am worth it.