By NEA Community
Published On: May 25, 2017
Last Updated On: Jul 15, 2021
For Carolyn Reese, eczema is a family affair
Our eczema journey began more than 22 years ago. Living with eczema has not always been easy. A person with eczema doesn’t always realize the impact this disease has on a partner because the patient’s energy is spent dealing with eczema. My husband Tom often has eczema on many parts of his body. He deals with it, but he isn’t quite as patient as when he is clear.
I believe the most important thing is to know the personality of the person with eczema and how he or she wants to be supported. Everyone differs. Tom is very independent. He wants to take charge of dealing with his eczema. He doesn’t want “helpful” suggestions such as making an immediate appointment with his doctor. Our relationship works better if I let him decide when he needs help.
I have spoken with women who have eczema and they often want more support from their partners. Be a partner by researching any new drugs that the doctor suggests for eczema treatment. Tom was prescribed prednisone. We did not know enough to question the physician about this drug. I did not realize how severe the side effects could be until the surgeon who tried to repair Tom’s rotator cuff told me that nothing could be done to fix it — the prednisone had destroyed Tom’s connective tissues. Work with your partner to find a doctor who relates to both of you.
A partner needs a sense of humor and flexibility. When Tom bled spontaneously on a white tablecloth in a restaurant in Buenos Aires, the looks on the waiters’ faces just made me laugh. Tom dealt with it, so it was not embarrassing. Don’t worry about blood on furniture at home, just put a sheet over the couch. When visiting friends, if bleeding on their sheets bothers you and them, stay in a motel.
I think Tom is amazing the way he has handled severe eczema. Despite itching, bleeding and infections, he has had a successful career, held leadership positions in the community, traveled, and been involved with his family.