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Burning Man

Posted on September 29, 2023

“A hundred and five degrees in the San Fernando Valley today …”

If only I’d taken a few minutes to check in with MyEczemaTeam — I might have learned something. But nooo!

In my infinite stupidity, I decided to go to my local Ralph’s for some groceries at high noon, wearing nothing but a T-shirt, shorts, and shoes, plus my favorite new washed-cotton “dad cap” that I designed with a World War II Corsair fighter plane on it. While it was great for the top of my head, it left my neck and shoulders wide open to the sunshine.

Sunshine? Not exactly. More like sun needles — bone-deep, searing, a million lasers.

Used to love me some sunshine when I had only “the heartbreak of psoriasis” to worry about. But this is eczema — and man, does it freaking hurt!

I’m talking “vampire plus sunlight equals spontaneous combustion” kind of pain. The kind of pain you only feel when your forearm melts into the campfire grill before your brain can register the screaming pain that will remain long after you shove your burn under the ice water in the beer cooler — that kind of pain.

The intense stinging and itching of my neck, chest, shoulders, and the inside of my elbows hit me just as I was starting my car and before the air conditioning cooled it down to just below “flammable.”

The heat was bad enough, but I suddenly realized that sunshine is no longer my friend. In fact, she is now an angry mistress with a red-hot fire poker, upsetting my dear affliction so much that it felt like it was trying to burn its way out of my body.

Talk about depressing. I was saved from clawing myself bloody by Ralph’s air conditioning.

“Hey Siri, show me vlogs about eczema on the YouTube thingy, please. Thank you.” (Cyber-note: Always say “please” and “thank you” to the machines in the hope that they’ll remember how respectful you were before AI takes control … someday. You never know! There seem to be several “vlogs” out there with weird AI vocal talent and very little information, so just in case, caveat emptor.)

So, after viewing hundreds of heart-rending and sometimes downright horrific videos, I seem to have only scratched the tip of this proverbial iceberg/skin flake. And now I find out there are seven types of eczema —atopic dermatitis, contact dermatitis, dyshidrotic eczema, seborrheic dermatitis, neurodermatitis, nummular eczema, and stasis dermatitis. Count hand eczema separately and you get eight.

Eight?! Sheesh!

“Avoid triggers and treat symptoms with topical corticosteroids,” we hear. Why? What is causing my own genes to trigger these allergic reactions?

And this could also be about inflammation in my guts?

It’s my genes? It’s my guts? Sometimes it can be all of the above? What the — ?!

Dr. Chanu Dasari is conducting research on our ability to control our own genes. “There was once a time, when you were healthy, you still had the same genes as you do now. ‘Bad genes,’ once activated, cause inflammation,” according to Dr. Dasari. “Seventy to 80 percent of the immune-mediated inflammation starts in the gut. Bad genes can also come from ‘bad microbes’ living in our intestines.”

So, let’s just turn off the bad genes and bad microbes that have been activated! Easy peasy, right?

Well, it’s not always that simple. Genetics do not explain the whole story, according to Dr. Dasari: “While there are several genes involved in eczema, these pro-inflammatory genes are not always activated. This goes a long way to showing us why there are so many varieties and differences from person to person, flare-up to flare-up, severity, duration, etc.”

Dr. Dasari’s Mind-Gut-Immunity Clinic philosophy: “Turn on good genes. Turn off bad genes. Promote good microbes. Remove bad microbes. Achieve lasting relief without medications.” Worth a closer look …

Now, I’m not advertising for anyone or anything even remotely connected to any treatments or theories. While Dr. Dasari is a licensed and practicing surgeon with over a decade of experience helping people overcome inflammatory disease, he states clearly that his YouTube vlogs are for “educational purposes only” and to please “consult with a health care professional regarding your individual needs.” But if I see evidence of positive results, I want to learn more.

This is just what I’ve gleaned so far from YouTube videos and responses. (Individual results may vary.) Thanks again to MyEczemaTeam for making our stories shareable. I’d love to hear comments from y’all. I’m really just a newbie to “the affliction,” and I’m determined to learn as much as possible.

Meanwhile, from my “burning man” catastrophe, I seem to have an urgent appointment with a tubful of mud … or maybe just the pool?

On MyEczemaTeam, members discuss eczema from a specific point of view. Would you like to share your personal story to help others living with eczema? You can learn more about this paid writing opportunity from MyEczemaTeam here.

Members’ articles don’t reflect the opinions of MyEczemaTeam staff, medical experts, partners, advertisers, or sponsors. Content on MyEczemaTeam isn’t intended as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.

Posted on September 29, 2023
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Eric Tilley, MyEczemaTeam Member attempts to honestly document his journey with eczema and learn how others are dealing with the disease. Learn more about him here.

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