Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Are our NHS GPs failing us?

When we or our children are diagnosed with Eczema, it can almost seem like an isolated experience. When you feel that uncontrollable urge to itch and non-eczema sufferers do not seem to get why you can’t "just stop". It can also be a depressing experience not only for aesthetic reasons and your self esteem but that feeling that you have no control (many times I have woken up and found I’ve already scratched myself to death in my sleep); there is also a distinct sense of self harm to it.

At times in this isolated desperation we search the internet for that quick fix, or confide in other sufferers for the latest "this really helps" treatment, which cannot always be relied on. What we do rely on however, is that if it all gets too much and our latest moisturiser gets too sore to bear, we can always see our local GP courtesy of the NHS to get the best possible help...right? When I'm asked on forms "who is your GP?” I never have an answer, why you ask? Because I am still yet to find one GP who quite understands my condition as well as they should or seem to care for that matter.

This year I have found that my eczema has been a lot worse than usual, what I would usually define as mild eczema (apart from when I eat wheat) turned into severe and constant bouts that I could not control. My usual treatments being rendered useless and blaming it on exhaustion I stopped my usual workout routine and keeping my existence as easily as possible. Soon I developed what was diagnosed as a viral rash, which was given steroid ointments for, which became large, painful spots/lumps on my legs. Again steroid ointment for me and now some blood tests.

After no conclusions apart from my blood showing signs of inflammatories, the various GPs that I saw the rash/spot/lumps had gone so therefore, I was ok. "What about my skin now?" pointing out how eczema is consuming my body, the response "you have eczema though, don't you?". Yes I do realise what my condition has already been diagnosed but should that really be a label no matter what the changers in severity are?

After yet another trip to the doctors and the doctor not saying a word a word to me after my complaint before I requested to get referred. Luckily for me my work place supply private health insurance so was referred to a private dermatologist. Going private managed to unearth that I have developed an infection and because no treatment was given an endless cycle was occurring. Also, I had a lot more allergies than I was originally aware (NHS will only test you for 5 things and you really have to fight for that as I found out years previous).

Now I am not a medical expert, but I would have thought just a simple infection was easy to spot, all it took was a week’s worth of antibiotics to get me back to my usual self. It is hard to tell what is simply "an easy mistake" made, or the fact that as soon as someone is diagnosed with eczema it does not matter how much we try and protest that our condition is worsening....it’s just seen as eczema plain and simple.

Now I understand that our GPs are not experts of skin conditions so we cannot expect them to know everything, but surely they must understand how stressful and exhausting it is for us to just get a little help, a simple referral would do. I do also feel angered about this eczema diagnosis being an answer for all when there could be underlying problems, I do feel that some GPs should have trust in patients to be able to identify when something is different. I had to suffer for over 3 months before I got as far as going private, only now I’m beginning to get the treatment I needed months ago.

My diagnosis? If you do not feel you are getting the treatment you feel you or your child deserve, ask to be referred.

Webmasters Note: This is so similar to what I went through 14 years ago with our eldest daughter! Is there anyone else out there that has had the same / similar referral difficulty. Let me know what it was like for you getting a referral. Good or Bad but honest. You can contact me via the website. Thank you.

Posted by Louise Newman : Web Address http://www.louisenewman.co.uk/ at 10:07 AM
Edited on: Monday, August 30, 2010 11:16 PM
Topic(s): NSGCCE, Posts from Louise, Referral Issues, Stories

Thursday, February 25, 2010

A Girl's Wedding Day

So the moment came that every girl waits for...many years of mental preparation via Disney...yes you are right girlies! I am getting married! now apart from all the obvious I have to plan, every woman knows that the most important aspect of the day for us is the DRESS!!

Last thing any girl (should say woman here but weddings do tend to take us back to our days of playing with Barbie and Ken) wants is to look back at her pictures and feel like shes been dragged through a bush backwards, which is why the dress, makeup, hair and pre-wedding diet is key, there are some things you cannot control. In my case the realisation of this came when i tried on a beautiful strapless dress only to be staring right at my blotchy, itchy red eczema on my shoulders and back.

So now for all of you who are looking at the same scenario as i am, there is sadly no cure for this but I do have some tips that I am trying to follow for the next 6 months in the lead up to the wedding:

• Get into a good moisturising routine: most breakouts of eczema come from skin becoming to dry, in particular these winter months its essential to moisturise all often. In heavy breakouts I tend to cover myself in Aqueous cream and going to sleep in long sleeved Pj's. This also keeps the skin cool at night too.

• Eat well: Most of my breakouts come as a result of a poor diet, so now might be the time to rethink what you eat (also good for the pre-wedding diet side of things)

• Stay away from allergens: or take preventative measure i.e. do not order a Domino's when you are allergic to wheat (my confession) or take antihistamines if you are going to be confronted by a pet you are allergic to.

• Stay Calm: another popular reason for flare ups is stress. Now with planning a wedding and battleing and various family members over control of the plans can prove stressful for any bride, taking the time to relax or vent of some steam is important. My current stress releasing activities is Yoga, working out and Kickboxing (which will also help the pre- wedding diet)

Now in terms of the actual dress itself, it is all about knowing how your body reacts so you can plan what kind of dress will suit you. Being an all over eczema sufferer I decided against a short wedding dress so that if my legs give me grief on the day no wedding photographer will have to see it. Another tip for those whose arms tend to suffer around the arms and back is to have a bolero, cardigan or wrap around handy, just in case

Biggest tip of all is enjoy you will look stunning, ezcema or not!

Posted by Louise Newman : Web Address http://www.louisenewman.co.uk/ at 11:55 PM
Edited on: Friday, February 26, 2010 6:45 PM
Topic(s): NSGCCE, Posts from Louise, Stories