Life With Eczema

Over the past couple of months I’ve been dealing with the worst eczema flare-up of my life.

The condition that I have is nothing new to me. I was first diagnosed with atopic dermatitis at the age of 12. It comes and it goes, but never truly goes away. That’s the real curse of eczema, as anyone who suffers from the same disease would know. 

Back when I was younger, I didn’t know a lot of people with eczema. These days, though, nearly everyone and their children suffer from it. While misery loves company, I really do feel sad about this. Why do more and more people have to suffer through this insufferable itch that I’ve been dealing with for more than half my life? What’s causing it? Is it the food? The quality of our air and water? All the chemical-laden products we use on ourselves and our homes? 

I wonder if anyone actually has an answer. Then again, I wouldn’t bank on it. Just as sure as this annoying disease is incurable, it is also virtually impossible to identify what exactly triggers a flare-up. Everything about it is one big guessing game.

So what are we poor unfortunate souls who suffer from eczema to do then? Deal with it is all. And dealing with it is something I’ve been doing for so long. 

I never thought about writing about my life with eczema before because mine has always been reasonably manageable. Until now.

Just one of those days

The past summer was intensely hot, extremely humid, and very, very dusty – three things that I already know can irritate my skin. All that, plus that the stress that I’ve had to deal with over the last few months (which I don’t really want to talk about), my not-so-healthy food choices as of late, and the harsh bath and laundry soaps that I’ve been using (because I’m hard-headed like that), made a real recipe for disaster. By mid-June, I found myself faced with a case of uncontrollable eczema.

I’ll post a photo so you guys have an idea what I was going through when this monster of a flare-up started, but be warned. It’s not pretty. It’s actually kinda disturbing. Especially if you get grossed out easily.


Believe it or not, this was nothing compared to the rest of my body. I cropped the really bad parts out.

My face says it all. So itchy!!!

When this photo was taken I had just arrived home from El Nido. When I left, I already had a lot of red spots on my arms, the backs of my knees, and my torso. By my third day in Palawan, most of the spots had transformed into (the dreaded) weeping eczema.

Not only was I suffering though sweaty days and hard water showers while I was there, but my skin was sticking to my clothes and cracking already, too. It goes without saying that it was one beach trip that I, unfortunately, did not fully enjoy. Thank goodness it wasn’t my first time there or I would have been devastated.

It’s been nearly two months since then, and I’m happy to say that I’m a lot better now. I’m not completely rash-free yet, but my skin is back to being manageable. It hasn’t been easy getting back to this state, but it has been 100% worth it.

Here’s everything I did to get better.

First, I changed my diet. I’ve been doing my best to stay away from dairy, eggs, chicken, and wheat. No, I have not been able to completely abstain from these things because that would be really sad. But I’ve cut back significantly. 

I stopped putting milk in my coffee, and instead I drink it black now. I’ve shifted to soy or almond milk for my cereal. I still haven’t found a dairy-free yogurt alternative, though, so if you know of one please tell me. As for wheat, this is something we’ve kinda gotten used to living without, since Little MrC is gluten-sensitive, too. Though, I have to admit that every once in a while I do allow myself (and even my son) to enjoy real bread. Like yesterday, when I had avo toast for breakfast at E.A.C.H. So good. So worth it.

Eggs and chicken, on the other hand, I’m really trying to cut out completely. Eggs in baked goods, and mayonnaise are my only exceptions. Among everything I’ve eliminated from my diet, it’s chicken and eggs that have really caused a skin reaction whenever I was careless enough to eat them. My cousins and aunts who also have eczema react badly to them, too, so I’m not surprised that it’s the same for me.

Apart from the dietary changes, I’ve also changed my bath soap. What I’m using isn’t actually soap, but a soap replacement (or at least I think that’s what my dermatologist called it) called Eczekleen. Thank goodness it’s easy to find in Mercury Drugstore. I also tried using Cetaphil Restoraderm for Eczema, but that made me itchy. Sigh.

I’ve also started moisturizing regularly. I’m ashamed to say this is not a habit I formed over the years, but now I have no choice but to do it. I tried Cetaphil for eczema for this, too, but that made me itchy the same way the body wash did. I’ve been doing well so far with Planet Noah Oasis Soothing Baby VoCo Cream, which I get from Sesou Nature Source.

I changed my laundry soap, too, but just for my clothes. The boys are doing ok with the commercial detergent and fabric conditioner combo that we’ve been using for years. I, on the other hand, need to wash my clothes separately, using either Human Nature liquid laundry detergent or grated Perla. Between the two, I like Perla better. It’s more tedious to use, though, because I have to grate and melt it before I can start washing. But hey, you gotta do what you gotta do, right?

The one final change I made that has really helped was to stay away from stress. When I saw my dermatologist the day after I came home from Palawan, she asked if I had been stressed out. When I said yes, she gave me a look that said, “You should know better by now”. She has been treating my atopic dermatitis since day one, see, and after years and years, she already knows how I should be dealing with it.

As she usually does, she had me start on topical steroids. This time, though, for the first time ever, because things were so bad I had to take oral steroids, antihistamines and antibiotics, too. That was not fun.

The combination of meds made me feel weak and sleepy, and for some reason my mouth and tongue ended up covered in sores. I don’t think I ever want to have to go through that again, and I remind myself of this every time I decide to eat bread or ice cream.

Ultimately, it’s gonna take an entire lifestyle shift for me to be able to manage my eczema from here on out, probably because I’m older and my body can no longer keep up the way it used to when I was a kid. So there. I have a reason to write about my life with eczema now.

I’ll definitely be sharing what works for me and what doesn’t in hopes that the information might help someone else. At the same time, if any of you have tried anything that worked for you, please share! I need all the help I can get.

Hi, Hello, And How Do You Do?

I’ve been away from this space for so long that I feel the need to introduce myself all over again before I post anything else. But I’m not gonna do that because that would be weird. And I shouldn’t need to do that because that’s what my About Page is for, right? (Please visit if you haven’t yet!)

Over the past months I have tried several times to write. On those days, I’d log in to WordPress and wait, hoping that inspiration of some sort would strike. When it didn’t, I’d exit and resolve to try again another day.

Well, as you can see, May, June, and July have gone by, and still no new posts. Until today. What was it that finally got me to write again? I have no idea. What I do know is that, while I sometimes feel like quitting this blog forever, I can never bring myself to kill it. Why? I know that I still have a lot to say, and that it’s really more for me than for anyone else.

And so I’m back from outer space (sing it with me!)

Today’s post is really nothing more than an announcement that I’m back, and I will try once more to be here to stay. My track record isn’t the best when it comes to that, but maybe this time will be different. I also know that I owe some people quite a few posts, and that some of those posts should have gone up months and months and months ago. I’ve not forgotten, and anyone who doubts that is free to message and nag me until I’ve been able to publish what I owe. Sounds good?

For now I will leave you with this quick hi, hello, and how do you do, and the promise of another new post (with more substance) in the next few days. 

To those who still check in from time to time, thanks for waiting for me. Those who don’t, maybe one day you’ll come back. To those who are new here, thank you for dropping by. And that’s enough drama for one day! 

What’s everyone else been up to while I’ve been away?

Sunday Seven: April’s Best

Oh my goodness, another whole month has gone by. I barely even noticed because we’ve been very busy over here. My dad-in-law is in town, and stayed with us for a bit. Little MrC turned 11. Summer vacation is in full swing. With all that and everything in between, there hasn’t been much time for blogging. I do feel like this is a great time for me to revive my Sunday Seven series, though!

Sunday Seven is basically a roundup of any seven things I feel like writing about. This edition features all the fun stuff we did last April.

PapaBear’s Homecoming

Family lunch at #BambaBistro. Welcome home (and belated happy birthday) Papa Bear! 😁

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My FIL arrived at our home before dawn on April 1. That same day, the whole family got together for lunch at Bamba Bistro.

We love it there, and always leave feeling full and satisfied. This time around we tried the Le Cochon Sliders for the first time, and they were yummers! We also had old favorites, Steak Ala Manila and Pizzookie, and a whole lot of other things. Be sure to try all of these if you ever find yourself at Bamba!

Little MrC’s Birthday Playdate

Cousins are the best! #LittleMrC11th

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The little guy turned 11 this April, too. 11! Time has really flown by. 

This particular birthday celebration was extra special for him. This was the first time he had guests over, and all his cousins were there to play. We had pasta, pizza, chicken, mojos and brownies. The kids hung out all day, and all had an amazing time. They had so much fun that a bunch of them came over again a few days later. Success!

Visita Iglesia

5. St. James the Great Parish #visitaiglesia

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This past holy week, we did the Visita Iglesia for the first time. This is a Catholic practice where you visit seven churches on Maundy Thursday to pray. Typically, we choose to stay home all of holy week because we aren’t fans of crowds and traffic, but we thought to make an exception this year so that the kiddo could experience Visita Iglesia together with his lolo. 

We came up with a nice route involving churches in the south of Metro Manila. First was Presentation of the Child Jesus Paris, then Resurrection of our Lord Parish, both inside BF Homes. Our third church was the new Sacred Heart of Jesus Parish in Alabang Hills. Next were St. Jerome Emiliani and St. James the Great in Alabang. Finally, we visited St. Alphonsus Mary de Liguori in Magallanes, and Sanctuario de San Antonio in Forbes Park, Makati.

Kiddie Crew

At your service! ☺ #mcdoph #kiddiecrew #LittleMrC

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The kiddo finally got to join the McDo Kiddie Crew this April, too. He’s been wanting to since last year. He learned a lot about working in the kitchen, and had an awesome time. He says he wants to go again next year, but something tells me he’s gonna change his mind. The maximum age to participate is 12, and at 11 he was already the oldest one there, and much bigger than the rest of the group. Lol.

My New Garden Buddies

Welcome home, little guy! #basil #herbsathome #urbangardening #athomewithmrsc #pleasedontdie

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Last year I bought a calamansi plant, and it died a sad and lonely death. I refuse to believe that I’m incapable of maintaining a garden. That would be embarrassing (and unacceptable!) given that my dad and grandmother are both botanists.

I recently took home two new garden buddies – two tomato plants and one basil plant. They’re all nice and healthy so far. I’ve even been able to harvest basil to make basil syrup for my tea! Yay!

National Museum

#littlemrc #spoliarium #nationalmuseum 🙌

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The last time I was at the National Museum was during our grade school field trip many, many years ago. So obviously I was excited to see the new and improved National Museum of the Philippines, which is now made up of several buildings in one compound.

We spent an entire morning checking out the stuff on display at the Museum of the Filipino People, and them crossed over to the Naional Museum of Fine Arts to see the famous Spoliarium. The boys and I are planning to come back soon to see everything we missed including the newly reopened Planetarium.

GOTG vol. 2 + Ice Cream House

Summer snacks! #bananasplit #icecreamhouseph #iscreamforicecream

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We capped off our amazing April with a movie. The boys and I have been eagerly waiting for Guardians of the Galaxy Vol.2 to come out, and after seeing it we all thought that the movie was great. Afterwards, we went for ice cream at a nearby Ice Cream House. Banana split on a hot summer day! Hooray!

I love that we were able to make so many new memories in April. I can’t wait to see what’s in store for us this May. 🙂

Make me kwento, what have you guys been up to?

A Movie A Day For Summer, Year 2

It’s officially day two of summer vacation for us, and we are super excited! We started the school break on full-blast  with a year-end party for MrC’s class. We both had so much fun that we were among the last few to leave the party that day.

Fun in the sun on the last day of school. Thanks for an awesome year, kids and moms of 5F!

MrC’s dad is arriving from the US in a few days, and will be staying with us for three whole weeks. That means the kiddo will have someone at home that he can bug all the time, and I know for sure that he is looking forward to it. Then, the birthdays of my two boys are coming up, and you all know how I feel about birthdays. Lol!

In between, we have museum visits, day trips, and play dates planned. Of course, me being me, I’ve also accounted for lazy days at home. Because, really, what school-aged kid doesn’t want to just spend time at home playing and watching TV during the summer? I know my siblings and I really enjoyed the do-nothing days when we were growing up. I’m excited for my kiddo to experience the same. 

(Can anyone recommend books for 11-year olds, too, please?)

As with last year, my boredom-busting plan for lazy days is to be ready with a new movie for Little MrC to watch. By new I mean a movie he hasn’t seen before, and not newly released. I’ve listed a bunch of my old favorites this year, like My Girl and The Karate Kid. He’s at that age where he understands and appreciates films better, which is why I am extra excited about our at-home movie dates.

Before writing this, I looked at my post from last year and saw that I was only able to list 10 of the movies we watched. Galing ‘no? This year, I will really make an effort to make note of them all. I know I should since it can help me make sure there are no duplicates when it’s time to plan for next year, and the year after that. Assuming the kiddo will still want to watch movies with me at home, that is. Huhuhu don’t they just grow up so fast??? *Sigh*

So anyway, here are the movies on our watchlist for this summer. I’ll be adding more as the days go by. You guys might want to check these films out, too. 🙂

  1. Ghostbusters (2016) – Rated PG-13, suitable for age 11+
  2. Ghostbusters (1984) – Rated PG, suitable for age 11+
  3. Ghostbusters II (1984) – Rated PG, suitable for age 8+
  4. The Last Airbender (2010) – Rated PG, suitable for age 9+
  5. Back to the Future (1985) – Rated PG, suitable for age 10+
  6. Back to the Future Part II (1989) – Rated PG, suitable for age 10+
  7. Back to the Future Part III (1990) – Rated PG, suitable for age 9+ 
  8. Star Trek (2009) – Rated PG-13, suitable for age 12+ 
  9. Star Trek Into Darkness (2013) – Rated PG-13, suitable for age 12+ 
  10. Star Trek Beyond (2016) – Rated PG-13, suitable for age 12+ 
  11. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 (2017) – Rated PG-13, suitable for age 12+ 
  12. My Girl (1991) – Rated PG, suitable for age 11+ 
  13. Speed Racer (2008) – Rated PG, suitable for age 8+ 
  14. Hellboy II: The Golden Army (2008) – Rated PG-13, suitable for age 14+

Do any of you have recommendations for great family movies that we can watch? Please share in the comments? 🙂