If you think that eczema is just dry skin, you are sorely mistaken. Eczema can be a debilitating state of dis-ease, resulting in not only rough, dry skin, but continuous pain and itching, weeping sores, sleepless nights, incoherent thoughts, blood-stained sheets, excessive wardrobe deliberation, morphing into related disorders such as asthma and allergies, stupid advice from non-sufferers, unwanted stares and comments, unending self-consciousness and ultimately social isolation. Despite living with what felt like a curse for over 47 out of my 51 years on planet Earth, I wouldn’t trade it for anything.
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It was only two years ago that I finally threw everything that I had been taught, both conventional and complimentary, out the window and did a deep dive into a self-designed protocol that the guys in lab coats told me would kill me. Instead, I have not only controlled the eczema that plagued my life, but have been permanently eliminating it — no thanks to modern medicine. This time, the results continue improve in a definitive and predictable way.
I. AM. FREE.
The problem began at roughly two years old. For the next 23 years, I did everything according to the book. Frequent blood, urine and stool tests revealed nothing. Doctors prescribed all kinds of expensive creams and therapies that had little, if any, effect. Not only did none of those protocols work, the problem continued to worsen despite the latest “science” because science had no cures for this problem. Unfortunately, even today, more than 10% of the US population suffers from this condition using the same ineffective treatments available three decades ago including immunosuppressive drugs, which carry a wide range of health complications — a serious consideration when facing a pandemic.
The second half of my life was then focused on natural medicine and above all nutrition. It worked like a dream. Within a month of making some dietary changes and taking supplements, things had noticeably turned around. In fact, it wasn’t long before a woman turned to me during a conversation and told me how beautiful my skin was. I was floored. It was the first time I had ever heard that.
Sadly, my joy was short-lived. Two years later, while driving in traffic outside Philadelphia, I was repeatedly rear-ended by an 18-wheeler. In real time, I recalled a multi-car pile up from my youth, where the culprit was also an 18-wheeled truck and the driver he hit was decapitated — so I was told. I have no idea if it was true.
Within 24 hours of that event, the eczema had returned with a vengeance and within two weeks, my weight shot up by 20 lbs. despite eating little more than cucumbers and a little ground beef (no bread or carbs) as I had very little appetite. At this point, I was convinced that I was cursed.
During the subsequent two and a half decades, both weight and skin issues would ebb and flow with little rhyme or reason. Intense observance of food allergies and stress reducing techniques such as energy psychology and meditation were of limited benefit and completely ineffective during winter and times of high stress. Thankfully, previous complaints such as frequent migraines and chronic fatigue had been kept at bay.
Suffice it to say, I felt like a fraud. While I was still able to help my clients get stellar results by changing their diets, this nagging condition kept coming back like that kid who wanted his $2 in the 1980s movie, Better Off Dead.
Recognizing from an early age that modern medicine had nothing to offer me other than an empty bank account, I was pushed to understand my body in a very visceral way during the past half of my life thus far. I also learned that along the way that medical interventions were in fact the cause of my suffering. It is because the establishment had already decided it could not possibly be the cause that it could not find the solution. While not everything from a natural perspective worked to control or eliminate the problem, it was clear that what I was on to — natural medicine and nutrition — offered me healing as opposed to band-aids to mask symptoms.
What I learned over these past decades is that health is an inside job. If you’ve ever been to therapy or talked to a psychologist, you’ll recognize this to be true for mental health too. Just as you can’t blame others for the way you react to a situation, you cannot look to others to solve your physical health problems in a way that is specific to your needs.
It may feel uncomfortable to confront your health in this way, especially if you’ve been trained to have no trust in your own intuition or have been taught to fear nature, but it is essential to get to your destination of a body you absolutely love to be in. Partnering with the right doctor or other practitioners can drastically aid in the development of a plan that helps you help yourself.
Yes, it would be great if we could take a pill or injection or submit to experimental surgery and get the results we want, but there is so little in the US pharmacopeia and healthcare system that doesn’t have a side effect worse than the disease it is intended to treat. If you don’t believe me, open the package insert to any drug you’ve been prescribed. If they didn’t give you one, then search it online and you’ll see that your arthritis medication could lead to heart attack or that your cholesterol meds may cause dementia-like side effects.
Don’t get me wrong. If I’m in a car accident and need a severed limb re-attached, I absolutely want a surgeon to work on me! (A good one, not a butcher who will remove a different limb.)
On the other hand, if I were to get cancer — knock wood — I now know that I would begin by assessing my own inner and immediate environments for clues and cures (I say full well knowing only doctors are allowed to “cure” anything). For example, knowing that cancerous cells thrive on sugars, I’d eliminate most, if not all, carbs (including grains, sweets, fruit and alcohol) for a time. I would also consider alleviating stress to give my adrenals a rest as adrenals suffer big time, when the body is encumbered with disease of any sort. I would also discuss research with my physician into the many, many ways in which cancer is successfully treated in other disciplines to create the best plan of action tailored to my specific case.
Why do all this when I can just pay someone to do it for me?
I’ve seen too many friends and family submit to removal of cancerous tissue, removal of lymph nodes (i.e. the immune system response mechanism) or varying forms of radiation and chemotherapy to know that more often than not, it only works when the patient was diagnosed at stage zero. Not sure about you, but in my world zero means nonexistent. When cancer is “caught” at anything above a zero, it would appear to me that these aggressive therapies — particularly surgery — result in metastasis.
I don’t profess to be any kind of cancer expert by any stretch of the imagination, but I do know that as a society, we’re not winning the war on cancer. In fact, many doctors over the years have pointed out that since the inception of organizations such as the American Cancer Society, cancer rates have skyrocketed. Cancer is big business.
Before you dismiss me as some woo-woo hippie, who “doesn’t believe in science”, you may want to tune in to my podcast episode with Doctor of Chinese Medicine, Ken Morehead. In it, he describes a regular ol’ pill pushing MD, who begs him to treat her breast cancer with needles despite his lack of experience in that arena because she “didn’t want to go through what she did to her own patients” to paraphrase.
Then there is the phenomenon of big pharma creating their own market. Direct-to-consumer marketing (i.e. advertising) has medicalized symptoms such that the average American now believes them to be anomalies signifying how faulty and arbitrary the human body is in its manifestation of disease. In reality, these conditions could be caused by many more serious disease for which modern medicine has yet to find a cure. Note that they can also be side effects from both over-the-counter and prescription medications.
Let’s take the real world example of the marketing of Listerine, which for all intents and purposes could be considered a pharmaceutical since it was originally developed as an antiseptic to be used in surgery in the late 1800s. It later became a floor cleaner, then a treatment for gonorrhea before finding its place in oral hygiene.
There was just one problem. Nobody cared about how their breath smelled. Thus, the term ‘halitosis’ was born to define a condition of dubious etiology that nobody wanted. True story.
The industry has never looked back. Today, consumers proudly discuss their potentially legitimate health annoyances as if they are part of the scientific elite. OAB (overactive bladder — medical professionals call this ‘urinary incontinence’), dry eye (keratoconjunctivitis sicca) and RLS (restless leg syndrome — Willis-Ekbom disease) are other examples of where the uninitiated are led to believe that the symptom is the disease. Note that if you can create an acronym or catchy term to go along with it, the public will hang on your every word! This is marketing at its best.
In my time working for Pfizer, doctors I interviewed shared similar tales. Even though many took supplements themselves, they only prescribe medication for patients. Some admitted that they didn’t have enough training to know which supplements would help particular disorders (fair enough), while others told me they just wanted to give patients what they came in asking for because they didn’t have time to be bothered with long term solutions. Such a caring, respectable profession, right?
These types of experiences confirmed to me what I learned since childhood — that my health is up to me. Rather than framing my health challenges as some arbitrary cross to bear, I recognized it as a call to action to truly be mistress of my own fate. Now that I am on nearing my lifelong goal of living completely without the torturous outbreaks of weeping cracks all over my body, I see it was an opportunity to slow down, reflect and get to know myself better. The biggest hindrance to getting there was surrendering my fate to guys in lab coats and three-letter agencies that told me my problem was all in my head.
Modern medicine is treated like a scientific messiah with promises of safety and security in its every word. It is fraught with warnings that everything prior to its advent is dangerous, to be avoided like the Plague (ironically). Many of these warnings are so ingrained in us, that we don’t even give it a second thought to think that certain herbs or foods are going to kill us or waste our money. We saw the industry come out swinging when Dr. Senator Ben Carson recovered from Covid using oleander extract. Instead of investigating this possible treatment for what we are told is untreatable, it was quickly denounced and remains ignored.
I’m not defending the use of oleander per se, but given the 600,000 lives claimed to have been lost to Covid, I don’t see why anything that appears to help people avoid becoming a statistic would be ignored.
Who am I kidding? This is about profits and egos.
In my experience, good health stems from a core daily practice in paying attention to what we consume (food, media, conversation, meditation/prayer etc). This need not be overwhelming or particularly time-consuming. It only requires one to be conscious. Anyone who has done the work with excellent or even so-so results will attest that being an active participant in one’s own healing, not a poodle faithfully obeying its master’s commands, was key. There is a reason why mindfulness practices are growing in popularity.
What is perhaps most frustrating about the modern approach to health, particularly in the US, is that it discourages input from other disciplines such as Traditional Chinese Medicine, nutrition or homeopathy (again, refer to the Ken Morehead episode of the podcast) refusing to admit that they can be a powerful adjunct to a practitioner’s toolbox no matter how successful their outcomes. Threatened by the unknown and unexplored, their response is adversarial — much the way they address disease — as opposed to seeking harmony across disciplines. In disease terms, harmony would be achieved by giving citizens the tools to boost their immunity.
For shits and giggles, let’s assume the position that there is absolutely no way to boost our immunity or reverse eczema. How do we know, when the industry refuses to test anything that can’t be patented?
Instead, the healthcare industry appears to be more interested in self-preservation by using scare tactics like, “Don’t even try. You never know what you’re gonna get.” This line was used on my mother-in-law who was diagnosed with, then moved into a vegetative state from multiple sclerosis as well as my own father who began seeing great success on a shoulder injury after two sessions of Feldenkrais technique and one of acupuncture while visiting me in Hawaii. On the other hand, the three surgeries he had for the same condition left him in worse condition (paralysis) than he went in with… the final one leading to a Covid diagnosis and death a few hours later.
Thankfully, as I pointed out in a recent article, there’s an uptick in physicians, who appear to be guided by the old adage “there’s more than one way to skin a cat”. They recognize that putting all their eggs in the pharmaceutical basket is reckless at best and criminal at worst.
Given my five decades of experience on both sides of healthcare, it is hard for me to suddenly forget all the hard-learned lessons from my own health journey and the vast body of work I’ve read and implemented successfully in that time. After all these years, I can confidently say that I have finally “cracked the code” to the most debilitating aspect of my health. This is one of many reasons I am not willing to let go of it — and possibly my life without careful examining an industry most recently recognized to have caused an opioid epidemic and continues to hawk baby food that contains heavy metals despite being called out for the same faux pas in 2017 and again in 2019. The onus is now on them to prove they are trustworthy.
“Fool me – we can’t get fooled again”
I bring you back to my original assertion that there is a blessing hidden within disease. Today, I have once unimaginable confidence in my ability to dictate the direction my health takes. Although no walk in the park, a lifetime of eczema made me painfully aware that modern medicine played no role in the type of health and clarity of mind that I enjoy today. The way practiced in the US, it is little more than an egomaniacal master of illusion backed by a powerful marketing machine legally allowed to piggyback catchphrases such as lifesaving, safe and effective, and proven regardless of outcomes — sometimes even before any testing has been completed.
Thank you, eczema. The lesson was not wasted. Without you, I’d probably be willing to risk my life and the lives of those around me unnecessarily with no process for discerning science fact from science fiction. You have given me the confidence to recognize that my health is in my hands first and foremost.
What about you? Have you suffered from or are currently suffering with a disorder that has reshaped your perception conventional medicine?
Let me know below! As always, constructive criticism is welcome. Douchebaggery will be deleted.
4 thoughts on “The hidden blessing of disease: why I’m grateful for being cursed with eczema”
Maybe I’m dense, or just senile, but did you “bury the lead” and forget to tell us how you are currently treating your eczema? I understand your points about modern medicine, of course. My wife was a pharmacist for a decade and never remembered any of her patients getting better from the drugs she counted and poured, so she changed careers, despite wasting 5 years in school and passing tough board exams in two states.
Terry, thank you for your comments. I apologize if you found this misleading. Please let me know if there was something that made it seem like a ‘how to’ article and I’ll remove it. This article is just about the fact that the disorder followed me around for decades like a ball and chain, but that I’m all the better for it because it taught me so much about my body. And that whatever anyone reading is suffering from has a lesson buried within the struggle.
What I did is quite controversial (to most), so I’m not quite ready to share publicly and trying to figure out the right way to position it because it’s rooted in old medicine that became considered toxic and dangerous when pharma came on the scene. Yet, it has only benefited me with no negative side effects. I have a few vetted clients who are trying the protocol I’ve designed for myself — testing and tweaking along the way. They also are benefiting without negative side effects. Are you an eczema sufferer? Please send me an email, if you want to discuss further.
That must have been so hard for your wife! In fact, I think that this is precisely what keeps so many doctors just playing the game. They’ve invested hundreds of thousands of dollars plus innumerable hours in an industry they thought was intent on saving lives, but instead find that they have little more than the ability to diagnose… and sometimes they can’t even do that accurately. Pharma picks up the slack by sending in cheerleaders with lunch and a 5 min chat about whatever they came to hawk that day. What does your wife do now?
I had eczema for years, tried many creams, soaps etc. A niece working on a food counter in her local super market developed eczema. She had to dip hands in a cleaning solution at regular intervals. The doctor gave her a list of foods and soaps to avoid. The surprising culprit was an ingredient that is in all body cleaning products, used throughout industry for cleaning oil, grease etc. Namely Lauryl Sulphate, (other names are used) After two weeks of not using products containing this stuff, eczema has never returned.
That’s a great observation! I’m glad you resolved it. Eczema has become a catch-all term that many in the medical field currently use to describe all forms dermatitis. What you describe sounds more like a contact dermatitis than true eczema. I’ve been off of all those sulphates for decades — at least in terms of what’s in my house — but it never made any difference. I’m currently writing a book that gets into the nitty gritty of what happened and how I fixed it. Now, even if I touch SLS or any similar chemicals, I experience no breakouts or discomfort of any kind.