Continuing from Part 1 of Joaquin’s Eczema Story.
7 MONTH: OUR TURNING POINT
I made this album on my phone to map out his eczema journey. It was at this point that we’ve had enough of the steroids (oral and direct application of creams) that we took the plunge and contact this doctor online who was said to be the expert in childhood eczema.
I don’t exactly remember the date when, Oscar probably has this recorded on his emails, but we decided to try out Dr. Aron. I don’t think there was a day that we were “relaxed” about our situation, contrary to what some of our family members would say. As parents, we try to stay calm and collected. And that’s exactly what Oscar and I did. We looked “okay” and “chill” about Wacky’s eczema, but inside, we’re just miserable. We did many doctor’s visits, home remedies that worked for a while, sleepless nights of watching over Wacky, changing sheets in the morning just to get rid of the blood stains (so as to not freak our family out even more). One thing we didn’t give up on was to look for a cure, or at least something, anything, that would help us manage his eczema and make it not be THIS BAD for him.
Dr. Aron is a consultant dermatologist based in the Cape Town, South Africa. He’s well-known as the eczema expert by many patients who have suffered eczema all their lives but found peace with Dr. Aron’s regimen. He’s been practicing for 40 years. And since he has patients all over the world, booking a consultation with him is done online and all prescription and progress reports (aka follow ups) are done online as well.
You can say we were very hesitant with putting this much money on an online consultation with a doctor none of our friends and family have heard about. But we were desperate for some solution for Wacky. When we consulted with Dr. Aron, I believe his consultation fee was around 2500 ZAR (South African Rand) or around Php 9,500. This fee does not include any medication, just the prescription he would give for the patient’s eczema and the follow-ups email you can do with him. We hoped that this would finally be the answer to our prayers. And it was.
All we did was book a consultation with Dr. Aron, send him clear photos of Wacky’s skin and all problem areas, then we received instructions for the application and the prescription for his medicines. While some of his patients abroad would have to get their doctor on-board the regimen to re-prescribe the creams to be used and have a pharmacy mix the compound for them, we were able to buy everything over-the-counter here in the Philippines and mix the compound ourselves.
This was Wacky’s condition before we started with Dr. Aron’s regimen.
Here I am mixing the compound prescribed by Dr. Aron. I specifically bought offset spatulas and a glass chopping board for when we mix Wacky’s cream compound.
I took this photo and posted it on Instagram to mark the day we started with Dr. Aron.
About 2 days in, the progress was unbelievable. I was also so scared because the effects of the cream were similar to how fast the oral steroids were into helping clear his skin. FYI, his compound cream does have steroids in it, but because it’s heavily diluted with two other ingredients, Joaquin didn’t have any topical steroid withdrawal syndrome.
Look at his skin!
6 days in. We were out of town in this photo, his skin doesn’t do well with the hot weather (no direct sun exposure for this one) But still, progress!
When he was 8 months old, we went on a beach trip with the family. We learned that sea breeze makes his skin happy. J
Finally he was starting to smile and laugh more. Oh how Dr. Aron saved this momma’s sanity!
He started to crawl too since he wasn’t so busy scratching 24/7!
While his skin was doing so well, he did have some stubborn areas which are usually on the creases of his arm, on his calves, around his mouth chin and chest (because of his constant drooling). We would wrap his calves with cotton crepe bandages. Until now we do this. It seems like without it, he thinks he can go on a scratching spree even if there are rashes on his calves. His skin is just really dry all the time now.
But he got better day after day!
11 MONTHS OLD: DENGUE EPISODE
One thing we noticed that every time he would get sick, either with the common cough and colds or fever, his eczema would flare up. Right before his birthday, he started not feeling well and had a little fever. His eczema obviously flared up and was starting to look like we were going back to step zero with him.
The problem with your kid having eczema, doctors have difficulty determining whether the rashes are from his eczema or some other underlying illness. I brought him to a hospital here in our city, he was diagnosed with having early measles. Not satisfied with the newbie doctors, I brought him to his pediatrician’s clinic in The Medical City. She thought his measles were already going away. But I asked her to do a complete test just to be sure because he has the vaccine for measles, I don’t’ know why he’d get it if he did have measles.
We had his laboratory tests done a Hi-Precision in Powerplant Mall, Rockwell. I was able to check his results online the next morning and lo and behold, his platelet count was low. Dra. Bondoc told me to get him to the hospital as soon as possible.
Off we went to St. Luke’s Global City. He was admitted first as to having measles, so we were placed in an isolated room. More blood tests were done after we were admitted. He had several blood extractions throughout the day because his blood kept clotting before it even gets to the laboratory downstairs. So the lab technician finally brought up everything she needs to do the testing and did it right there in front of us in our room. He had dengue.
It was so hard to diagnose on him without doing a complete blood chemistry and the dengue test because his rashes looked just like his eczema flaring up. Oh, this also happened a week before his supposed 1st birthday party. So we had to cancel that and move it to the week after!
After three days in the hospital, we were given the go signal to go home. His skin was like new again! Praise God!
Here he is on his birthday lunch at Chili’s Greenbelt.
At his 1st birthday party held at Jollibee Magallanes. I was just plain exhausted to even do a house party. But I did DIY some stuff and baked his cake!
The day he turned TWO.
My husband and I are so relieved that we were able to get him through that horrible phase in his life, with God’s grace and blessing of finding Dr. Aron. Who would have thought a doctor from South Africa could help our son here in the Philippines?! Every time we share our story to our friends, they’re amazed at how this concept worked for him and how much it had helped him.
Throughout our whole ordeal, our friends and family were with us in sympathy. Trying to help Joaquin out by asking family who also had eczema. Even our friends who have eczema would share regimens that worked for them, but unfortunately didn’t work for Joaquin. It was really just Dr. Aron that helped him get through severe eczema.
I’m not saying Dr. Aron’s regimen is a cure-all thing because I can’t promise you that. Every skin is different. What worked for him may not work for you, or what didn’t work for him might work for you too. But I’m hoping that by sharing Wacky’s journey and how Dr. Aron helped him will encourage you to not give up and try Dr. Aron’s regimen.
Yes, we are promoting this good doctor’s work. Why? Because it brought our son out of his agony of scratching until he bleeds and gave us his life back. We are now able to enjoy playing together, he can now wear sandos (tanktops)!
For a while there, we would wrap his legs with cling wrap right after we apply the cream just to lock in all the ingredients to him. It worked for a while, but it started to flare up when he had them all day. So we just ended up wrapping his legs with the cotton crepe bandages after the skin absorbed the cream.
When he has severely itchy spots, we apply calamine lotion or Calmoseptine. It usually helps.
The compound cream didn’t take away his allergies, but it allowed us to have a clean slate and slowly introduce food to figure out what he is allergic from. We learned that he is 100% allergic to eggs, wheat and flour. It also allowed us to start with homeopathic medicine (mostly to help fix his auto immune problem causing his eczema) again in partnership with pharmaceutical medicines we use for the common illnesses like cough and colds, fever, and allergies.
We also only bathe him once every two days, daily if needed. We read somewhere that you shouldn’t bathe yourself with hot/warm water because it aggrevates the eczema, but we give Wacky luke warm baths nowadays.
He is also okay with using Human Nature’s baby wash as his shampoo.Before we could get away with bathing him without any soap, but being such an active toddler, we have to really clean him up good!
Joaquin is now 2 years and 6 months old. He still has eczema, but we are able to manage it. He still scratches, something that we found people who has eczema may or may not outgrow. I have nieces and nephews who are in the tween years and have eczema, but they surely are doing better. I’m praying that Joaquin does outgrow everything, claiming it in Jesus’ name that he will be healed and he will get to enjoy all the delicious food God has created for us.
What’s his diet like nowadays?
He is able to eat chicken, beef, pork, rice noodles, wheat-free pasta, ice cream, chocolate milk, soy milk. He’s just really not doing well with eggs, wheat and flour. Slowly we are trying to introduce seafood in his diet.
Looking back, I wish we had taken the leap with Dr. Aron much earlier and not go through two rounds of oral steroids and all the direct application of steroidal cream that thinned his skin. But the whole journey made us all stronger and actually be able to share Joaquin’s story to parents who feel like there is no hope for their babies in getting better.
I know there are far worse cases of eczema or atopic dermatitis out there. We follow Morgan’s story and find strength in his parents during the times we were down as well. And we pray that all children like Morgan and Joaquin will be cured from this disease.
Seeing your baby miserable, running out funds and not knowing what else to try is depressing. I know. I’ve been there. But I really do hope you find some encouragement in our Joaquin’s story. We are not saying that we know everything about eczema or know how to make it go away, but we know that our story would be able to give even the tiniest light at the end of the tunnel to parents who are lost and may be ready to give up. Mommy, don’t give up.
Here is a quick list of things that we tried to soothe Joaquin’s eczema that may work for you:
- Cetaphil Cleanser and Cream (original/classic line)
- Cetaphil Restoraderm Cleanser and Cream
- Aveeno Baby
- Aveeno Eczema Therapy
- Oilatum Soap
- Mustela Stelatopia line
- Oatmeal bath
- Wet wraps
- Head and shoulders shampoo for his cradle cap
- Baby oil massage on his scalp for the cradle cap
What worked from managing Joaquin’s eczema on a daily basis:
- Vanicream soap (bar) and daily moisturizing cream
- Bepanthen (for broken skin resulting from scratching)
- Calmoseptine or any pure calamine lotion
I’m not even going to list down all the steroidal cream/lotions he was given because I personally don’t recommend going the direct application route. But if this is something you are okay with and you wish to follow your doctor’s prescription, no judgement. But I hope you try out Dr. Aron first.
I can’t give out the ingredients for Joaquin’s compound cream because every patient is different. I suggest you book a consultation with Dr. Aron. I am in no way sponsored or paid to write this blog post.
If you have any questions, feel free to comment down below or send me a message on my Facebook page here.
Sending our love and prayers for families like us who are in constant battle with childhood eczema.