In February 2016 I started blogging for mainly 3 reasons:
#1 Even though I am living a life many would envy me for, I have fallen shit depressed over the last few years and I wanted to re-live my past and find out when I started becoming so damn negative about everything
#2 To eventually help people who might be in a similar situation
#3 I’m sure there was a 3rd reason but I can’t mind it anymore so it might have been of lesser importance anyways
I have a pretty good idea about #1 now as blogging and reading my own stories did help to point me in the right direction.
At this point I will be writing about a wider spectrum of subjects and slowly start revealing my findings. To get started, I’ll have to go way back into my childhood days…
I am suffering from dermatitis since I was in primary school. An auto-immune disease that causes the skin to peel off on various areas of the body. Luckily I only ever had in on my fingers, however, sometimes I had up to 8 fingers covered in gauze.
I remember going from one doctor to the next with my mum and being prescribed a ton of different pills, oils and creams that never made any effect. Not even the dermatologist could help me and at some point we had been recommended a doctor specialising in natural healing procedures. When we went to see him for the first time, he promised us: “It will take some time but we will get it sorted”.
He asked me to avoid sugar and pork wherever I can and prescribed me a cream with a high zinc content that wasn’t readily available – it had to be ordered the day before as it was freshly made in the pharmacy.
I used the cream as prescribed, abstained from sugar and pork and was eventually completely free of eczema…
I don’t recall when exactly the disease returned, maybe because it did return in a less extreme way, but I must have been in my mid-20s and usually affected only one finger or 2 at the most and also on a smaller overall area.
I did go back to the same doctor who had remained my GP ever since. Unfortunately, though, it seemed that the natural healing procedures had to make space for big pharma money, because all I was given now was a cortisone cream that never made a difference.
The eczema came, went, got better or worse as it pleased and I seemed to be unable to do anything about it. It has always been a lot better in the summer as opposed to the colder periods of the year, but not only could I not see much of a pattern, for some reason I also did not have the guts to tell my doc that the cortisone cream was absolute crap and I wanted the zinc one back.
All this was during my last few years in Germany and dragged on during my time living in Scotland and Spain. I kind of accepted the fact that I would probably only be free of this disease once they put me in a box.
Only when I had left Spain and after living in Ireland for some time, it was when the eczema got stronger and started affecting more than one finger at the time again. Especially in the winter some fingers even started bursting open and bleeding again. The edge of both hands and the area around the knuckles was very dry and irritated and on the fingers another form of dermatitis, called dishydrosis, developed. Dishydrosis causes a bunch of ugly, liquid-filled bubbles that usually last 2-3 weeks and then result in a very leathery skin on the affected area that is mostly going to peel off, leaving the underlying skin exposed to cold and dirt.
Fuelled by someone saying: “YouTube is saving the fucking planet. There is an instruction for anything on there”, I started watching several health channels of other dermatitis sufferers to find out what they had to say. I tried anything from using coconut oil as a hand cream to completely abstaining from anything that contains chilli but if there was a change, it was only minor and very short-lived.
The advise given in many videos was to simply experiment what works for you and what not, which gave me the idea to do it the other was round and to find out what exactly it is that triggers it for me. After stuffing myself with sweets and pork sausages for some time did not show anything out of the ordinary either, I was pretty sure that food isn’t what triggers it for me anyways.
My next suspicion was a lack of Vitamin D, which would explain the stronger outbreaks in the winters and also why, on a trip to Brazil, the eczema basically disappeared within 3 days. Also, since we had a very nice summer for Irish standards in 2016 and I had barely any outbreaks between May and September, that had to be it! The paradox, however, would be that I was pretty much constantly suffering from it during my time in the south of Spain, where I had lived from January 2011 until August 2013.
In late October 2016 my grandma, who was 88 at the time, was admitted to hospital as her physical health started rapidly declining. Knowing that my family would probably need my help, I arranged to work from home for a week in early November and flew to Germany on a short notice.
It was a very busy week as I was working my normal shifts during the day and still had to fit in visiting my grandma in the hospital and helping my family. Even though, this was by no means a pleasure trip, I managed to see my friends on several occasions and the first 3 days flew by…
On day 4, I first had the time to look at my hands and noticed that the eczema had almost completely vanished. I looked at it for a while and thought about it and when I woke up the next morning, it had been inflames again… This was when I realised that, thinking back to every trip I went on during the last few years, the symptoms always started vanishing on the first few days – not only when going to sunny places like Brazil, but also when visiting the Scottish Highlands in autumn and now in Germany, the very place I once ran away from!
Could travelling the world actually cure my auto-immune disease? Could that be what subconsciously drove me to travel a lot and start living an expat life in the first place?
Stay tuned and keep following me on my life journey!
To be continued…