The Way Chronic Eczema Affected My Work And Life As A Mother Is Why I Advocate For The Community Today

Living with any sort of illness, be it physical or mental, mild or chronic, can have all sorts of impact in life. For me it’s Eczema, and it has made a significant impact in both my career and lifestyle.

I have lived with both mild to chronic Eczema all my life. The most common areas of my Eczema is around my mouth and on my hands, which is very inconvenient. It has made a huge impact in my ability to do my job both at work and as a mother.

I have worked in the healthcare field for about 10 years now, in many different areas and specialties. Like front office medical receptionist where I would check-in and check-out patients, answer the incoming calls from patients, pharmacies and health insurance. To working the back office as a medical assistant nurse handling task such as taking patients vitals, obtaining their specimens and handling authorizations to have their medicine approved by their health insurance.

When the condition of my Eczema is moderate, trying to focus on the task at hand is a struggle. In the healthcare field, you have to constantly wash your hands and speak to not just the patients, but the doctors, co-workers, higher ups and incoming calls. It can be both mentally and physically draining, especially when you are having a flare and can’t really hold a pen or type as you normally would because you have itchy oozing open wounds.

Difficulty speaking because every word that comes out your mouth is another cut made around it. There are no taking sick days off because money is needed to support myself and children. There was a point that my Eczema turned chronic and when that happened, I had to file for FLMA. Family medical leave of absence. The reason I had to do this was not just because of my Eczema but because my eczema had triggered my depression to return, and worse. I was
diagnosed with major depression disorder after experiencing a negative reaction to a biological medication that was thought to be the answer to help control my eczema. When this happen my youngest was just only 2-3 years of age and my oldest 7-8 years of age. My oldest daughter had to not only see her mother suffer in pain but she also had to fill in my shoes and help take care of her baby sister.

The reaction I suffered made such a negative impact on my health that I couldn’t even bare to hold my kids. The pain I endured internally made such a physical impact on my ability to wash myself, make them meals, or even hug them.

There were days that I could not focus on the task at work. Days that I could not move my hands or even my neck to get work done. Days where I called out of work because I just could not get myself to move out of bed. During those days I tried to be as gentle as I could with myself and tried my best to still be a mom. Because to me the most important job is to be their mother and to show them that mommy is going to be ok. To show them mommy will push through for them.

There was a day at work my supervisor asked me if I was ok and why haven’t I been able to keep up with my work. She tried to show some empathy by comparing her teenage son’s Eczema to my chronic Eczema. To be honest, that was the worst thing anyone could do to me. To compare a teenager to a grown adult woman who is a mother was not a way to show empathy.

Her son was not living my life. Her son was not a father to my kids. Her son did not have to financially support a household. Her son did not have the same responsibilities as I have. Now I may have over-reacted, but I also felt that I was finally taking a stand for myself and my well-being. Little did I know that it was going to cost me my job.

Even though I had FMLA to cover me for the days I was absent or even arriving late, HR fired me due to lack of attendance and tardiness, so they say. But I know why they let me go.

When I was finally free from that workplace, I felt a sense of peace come over me. I felt like I can finally live my truth and begin the real healing process of my chronic eczema. I was so stressed, so overwhelmed and so depressed with the rules they had not just for my work but the overall work environment. I began a new journey to discovering who I am truly meant to be.

Since then, I have taken control of the type of work environment I want to be in and who I want to be. I have study health coaching and have used to tools to better myself both mentally and physically. I’ve also used the tools to better myself as a mother to my children. When healing myself I have made it a priority to make sure my children’s wellbeing is in the process too. I have shown them meditating, journaling, making better eating habits and also to stand up for themselves. To set boundaries on what they will and won’t accept. During my journey of healing my chronic eczema I knew that I wanted to share my story.

To share all that I’ve lived through and experienced because I knew I was not alone. I began blogging and posting pictures of my journey to social media with hopes of bringing awareness to Eczema. To show how deeply it can impact a person life overall.

In that process I came across an organization called NEA. National Eczema Awareness and when I found them, I learned that I can advocate for our community with them. Never did I think that the negative impact my Eczema made on me would turn into such a powerful and positive impact for others. I am now not just an advocate for Eczema, I am an ambassador for the organization and making an impact for our community to have better recognition for how we are treated in this world. My oldest daughter has also been able to participate in advocating for Eczema and to me that is the most wonderful thing to witness.

She’s used her experience with me to help others around her better understand Eczema for others. She stands up for students who have eczema and help teachers understand that it’s much more than just a rash. That Eczema is more than skin deep and to have compassion for those who live with this condition.