Overcoming 16 years of severe eczema
Cassandra Loh // March 11, 2019, 3:17 pm
I’m 18 this year and I have had eczema since I was 3 months old.
It started with patches on my back, slowly spreading all over my body from my scalp to the bottom of my feet. Doing basic tasks like brushing my teeth and showering have never been easy for me. Sometimes I would even opt to not do them, even though it meant being unhygienic because it was just too painful for me.
Bad days look like waking up to blood stains on my bed: Feeling my raw flesh exposed to the cold and prickly wind – dead skin all over my bedsheets and floor.
I was scarred as well by many other incidents that occurred when I was young.
The first was when I was around 10. I woke up not being able to move my leg because it was stuck to my bedsheets. I cried and screamed. My younger sister came running in, and she was shocked at what she saw.
My mum wrapped my whole body with bandages until I was practically a mummy. My condition was so bad that I had to go to the hospital. To my horror, all the bandages had stuck to my skin and the doctors had to rip it off me.
Secondary school was the worst. I was admitted to the hospital at least 3 to 4 times a year. The nurses in KKH all knew me by name. You can guess how much the medical costs would have been. I remember I had this routine every day after school. I would take off my shoes and stand in front of my door.
Breathe in, breathe out – rip.
It had to be done every day since my socks were always stuck to the wounds on my feet.
I was extremely self-conscious.
My #OOTDs were invariably long sleeves, long pants, with my hair let down to cover my face. I could feel people’s eyes on me as soon as I stepped out of the house. And I didn’t want to have to entertain the “help” from strangers telling me to try certain medicines. I wasn’t trying to be mean, but having spent 16 years with this condition, what hadn’t I tried?
Around 13 or 14 years old, most teenage girls would start having desires to fit in, wanting to be liked by everyone and also liking a boy. But eczema meant that I suffered major insecurity issues. For instance, I would occasionally opt to stay home when my family wanted to go out for meals. I felt like I was a burden to them and my friends.
I felt that I was not worthy to even live.
I often blamed God. Why did He create me just so that He could toy with me? Constant questions and doubt flooded my mind. I even thought it would be for the best to just jump out of the window. I bottled up all these emotions and self-hate within me, though to my friends I was still a lively and outgoing person.
Then in 2017, I committed myself to a church.
I had been looking for a church to settle in and I believed this desire to look for a church was something that the Holy Spirit placed in me. When I attended this particular church, I rose my hand to accept Christ in my life.
Responding to the altar call was something I used to take very lightly; I did it in my previous church just so that people would connect me to a cell group or ministry. However, this time was different.
Friends in church helped me to know who God is. As I grew and learnt more about Him, I realised that God created me because He loves me.
I am going to heal you, trust in me.
During my first church conference, God told me: “I am going to heal you, trust in me”. That was the first time I heard God clearly – so clearly that I even started to doubt myself. After the conference, I did nothing out of the ordinary. However, God was faithful, and my eczema began to heal.
One year on, my skin has never looked better, and it is still getting better by the second. I believe that God is at work.
Through my experience with eczema, God has shown His faithfulness, kindness and mercy to me. This is where I experienced Him the most. Now I have no doubt that God loves me – all I ever had to do was surrender to Him, let Him take over and have faith in Him. My faith in Christ Jesus has healed me (Mark 5:34)!
Today, I’m using my life as a testimony to share God’s healing powers to the world. And I pray that my story encourages people struggling with eczema.
“Is anyone among you sick? Let them call the elders of the church to pray over them and anoint them with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise them up. If they have sinned, they will be forgiven.” (James 5:14-15)