Focus on Jim

Ecz-motto: To scratch or not to scratch, there is no question.
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I’m a cat dad who loves reading, walking barefoot, creating podcasts and performing in community theater.

I like to spend time on stage, acting in local community theater, with Shakespearean jesters being a personal favorite role! I enjoy creating weekly podcasts (The Smiles Show) on health and wellness and community empowerment, as well as music programs that highlight songs on a specific topic. I also enjoy listening to music countdown programs, reading about urban and transportation planning, walking barefoot and spending time with my cat, Roger!

My eczema first became life-altering in 2018, when it became so severe and pervasive that I couldn’t sleep or go to work some days, and I wasn’t able to participate in exercise or other extracurricular activities.

At its worst, my eczema kept me from being able to sleep at night. I just wanted to scratch all night long since it felt like fire ants were walking all over my entire body. My skin was so itchy, hot and felt like it was going to burst. There were red welts all over my chest and legs and arms, and I couldn’t get any relief. Dry skin flakes were all over my sheets and clothing. Really hot showers at 2 a.m. were not the long-term solution to my eczema challenges, but they helped to “numb” my skin enough so that I could get at least a little sleep! But eczema did not only impact my nighttime routine, it also resulted in not being able to work some days, since I was so exhausted and worn out from scratching all night and being unable to sleep. I didn’t want to socialize or participate in extracurricular activities either, since I felt miserable, physically, mentally and emotionally.

I learned how to successfully navigate the medical system and become more empowered as a result of my eczema.

During the period when my eczema became severe, I was prescribed and treated with multiple courses of prednisone, UV light radiation, topical steroids and methotrexate. Nothing was working, and one of the possible solutions, an injectable biologic, wasn’t covered by my medical insurance plan. I had to look outside of my health coverage to find a possible solution, and that led me to a university research study that was looking at the impact of the injectable biologic. After applying for and meeting the researchers, I was accepted into the study, and the resulting treatment successfully treated my eczema. As a result of my experience, I became involved with the National Eczema Association to help share my story and help empower and inspire others that may be going through a similar experience.

Jim is a NEA Ambassador. Learn how you can join Jim to make meaningful change for the eczema community as a NEA Ambassador.

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