hidayat: the eczema expedition i

ever felt so helpless, you just end up praying to Him nonstop for something to happen, and for time to move as fast as it could?

this was exactly what i’d felt the night my son couldn’t stop waking up every hour, screaming in pain. his face, flaring red, flaky, dry and all swelled up. his scream was one i’d never heard before- it was all too painful to bare.

at that point i felt like the worst mother anyone could ever have.

i would race to the sink and wet my hands, then dab his whole face with water. he’d then be smothered with virgin coconut oil, still screaming as i sob to myself, trying to calm him down. he only nurses back to sleep, for the comfort, i figured.

baby’s eczema requires the parents’ diligence in the maintenance of his or her skin. i was foolish enough not to notice the signs before it worsened.

what i could’ve done was to keep on moisturising him every hour, and to make sure his drool didn’t get all over his face (my son drools a whole lot- he’d probably fill the whole 1L of waterbottle if i could get it all; and with eczema, it worsens everything). he rubs his face when his skin is dry- i should’ve stopped him, and kept his skin moisturized.

fact is that i was initially extremely clueless, about eczema. i never had it as a baby, and grew up never really knowing what it was until my nephew had a bad case of it (and still, all i knew about it was the fact that eczema sufferers itch a crazy whole lot at the folds of their skin, and that it’s triggered by a few allergens, be it environmental or orally consumed).

i was not aware of the fact that eczema on babies could actually affect their faces too.

when he started having light red faded spots around his cheek, i was told that it was a case of “ruam susu”, like any typical person or mother would diagnose it as. so i did what i was told for it to mellow down- dab him with a damp cloth or wash his face after a feed, try my best not to nurse him while i lay down at night, and to apply things like bedak sejuk, baby oil and whatnot.

none of it worked. it just got worst.

so the night that it became so bad, i decided to bring him to the hospital as an ’emergency case’. i wasn’t aware of the fact that KPJ Damansara only brings you to meet GPs for emergency cases, and that there wasn’t even one single paed oncall on sundays.

the GP wanted to prescribe us aqueous cream for his face.

you see, we had aqueous cream. used it as told, and it worsened. of course, i then read up, only to find out that it contained some sort of detergent. mana la kulit budak tu tak jadi semakin teruk?

so we decided to pass the aqeuous cream and went back home, still, not knowing what to do whenever he screamed (and at that point of time it was in intervals of half an hour, with a lot of attempted-facerubbing and scratching in between).

tell me what creams have we not tried?

when we went to the paed derm, he was given a 1% hydrocortisone cream (obviously, any doctor would prescribe a steroid cream for his raging inflammation) and a fucidin h (antibacterial + steroid cream) for his raw weeping open wound (currently on his left cheek, after countless of scratching and rubbing).

thank goodness i’d read up about TSW (topical steroid withdrawal) and decided not to use it for a long time. i’m hoping that my method of tapering down the steroid usage would eventually lessen the impact of TSW on him, regardless of the fact that we only used steroids on him for about two weeks so far.

i wanted to totally stop the steroid usage but after reading so many cases of TSW happening after immediate stop, i decided that i should taper it down instead, and go for something natural to moisturise him during the TSW process.

even much earlier before his eczema got worst, i read up about moogoo and decided to buy their irritable skin balm & MSM soothing cream. therefore i thought that this would be the best time to try em out.

the irritable skin balm, when applied during his itchy-moments, kind of made him look redder & caused him to flare up. so i passed, and decided to only use the MSM soothing cream on him (because so far it’s been quite a big help. around a week of using it and he seems to be improving).

his red flares are slowly lessening, and whatever redness that started spreading during times of stress, also started to lessen.

ag’s friend suggested using ceradan because his baby cleared up after using ceradan. helped us get one for hidayat & i’m applying it at spots aside from the wounded areas.

as for the wounded weepy areas, i would dab it dry using a napkin, then i’d use a cotton pad, dip it into 0.9% saline solution and religiously dab on em as often as i could, so that the germs & bacteria infecting the area would just buzz off (ye ah sibuk kot nak infect ey kalau aku boleh tukar size jadi mini mini macam depa aku dah pi cepuk sekoq sekoq) – also for the wound to close up & heal much faster.

i also joined a few facebook groups for eczema sufferers. the best decision i’d ever made in the history of hidayat’s eczema.

there are just so many stories & advices over there! also, it made me feel really grateful for the fact that my baby’s still, alhamdulillah, sort of manageable, in comparison to what other mommies are going through (you go, girls! be strong! we can do this!).

from these groups, i figured out a few more moisturizers that they were using, and the proper way to treat wounds, weeping oozing eczemas & how to heal eczema inside out.

apparently eczema’s caused by a leaky gut (?), therefore i went over to my mom’s neighbourhood pharmacy to get myself some probiotics to help hidayat with his gut (and even mine). i’ve also been on a super strict eczema diet, excluding anything that may be causing my baby to flare up or causing his eczema to spread.

so far i’ve been avoiding:

wheat, excessive sugar & salt, eggs, cow’s milk, gluten, nuts, bananas, heaty spicy food, noodles, chicken, beef, tomatoes, shellfish, seafood that are common triggers like prawns and whatnot, also certain fish that aren’t advisable.

practically everything.

i’m basically having just rice, fried dory/salmon/tenggiri, and vegetables for every single meal (thank goodness i’m staying over at my mom’s temporarily while i try to heal hidayat inside-out).

not complaining though. anything for him to recover- and with this diet, i’ve gone down 6kgs :’)

just purchased a bottle of renew intensive therapy lotion after bumping into a lady at the pharmacy, whose son had also, a terrible case of eczema on his cheeks. she claimed to have had a tough time finding the right product for her son and said that the renew lotion worked wonders on him.

so far i’ve had these products on hidayat, that didn’t really do much:

buds (doesn’t work at all)

tropika baby vco (worked in the earlier months when his eczema wasn’t bad and flaring)

medetop vco (which mama bought, but i decided to stop using it because i started on moogoo)

physiogel (stopped using it……. don’t know why?)

cetaphil (didn’t work on him)

moogoo irritable skin balm (worsened his itch)

ceradan (ongoing, lets see how)

moogoo msm soothing cream (super slow, but showing signs of improvement)

the saline solution is a wonderful aid by the way. desperate mommies with wounded eczema babies should definitely dry their wounds up with this.

at the mo my routine for hidayat’s face is as so:

– ceradan on red areas (excluding wounded areas)

– saline solution wherever required (sometimes new wounds come up because he scratches his face)

– fucidin h on wound

– wait twenty minutes to half an hour before re-dampening his face

– apply moogoo msm cream

whenever required throughout the day, i’d just dampen his skin (either with a towel or simply with a clean damp hand), and reapply the moogoo msm cream. he’d look all fresh, still red and saddening, but he’s all happy, free from his itch (until he starts rubbing his face again after two hours zz).

i’ve also been drinking rooibos tea three times in a day, just so that he gets it in his milk. google up the benefits of this non-caffeinated tea and you’ll understand (also, yay i get to drink tea again!).

having a baby with a rather moderate-severe case of eczema is tough. of course, anyone without a baby who’s experiencing such pain and agony, wouldn’t understand how tough it is, but i hope everyone would pray for hidayat’s recovery.

inshaaAllah.

to everybody (mommies, daddies with experience in eczema babies) who suggested us creams, ointments & lotions for him, thank you so so so very much. when one doesn’t work, we’ll try out another. Godbless you all!

lets see how things go from now onwards. ikhtiar, usaha, doa, tawakkaltualAllah.

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