Monday, March 11, 2013

I Second that Emotion

One of the hardest things about managing Rapunzel's eczema, is figuring out her triggers.  There are so many possible triggers, and we really feel like she has several.  Environmental allergens are definitely one.  We're pretty sure that her food allergies are not one, but we'll know more on that when she sees the Immunologist and gets tested for even more foods.  Irritants against her skin could definitely be a trigger.  We switched ALL of her clothing and bedding to cotton.  Weather changes can be a trigger.  But we think that Rapunzel's biggest trigger is emotional stress.  Yes, this can absolutely be an eczema trigger.  And probably the hardest one to control.  When things upset her, she flares.  When she's worried about something, she flares.  When she's uncomfortable, she flares.  And as she flares, she itches, and scratches, and we enter a vicious cycle.  She doesn't like to soak in the bath.  So every morning and every night it's a fight to get her into the tub.  We've bought her fun bath toys.  We've picked out books for me to read to her during bathtime.  We've adjusted the temp of the water and the length of the bath.  All have helped for awhile, but then it's a fight again.  And it's hard because we know if she doesn't soak, her skin will get too dry and we won't be able to keep it under control.  But we also know that if she's too upset about taking a bath, her skin will flare.  Some days I feel like I'm fighting a losing battle.

We try to find things to help her emotionally during the day.  Physical touch is probably her #1 Love Language.  So I let her sit right up next to me anytime I'm at the computer.  Eric and I both hold her in our laps a lot.  And I make sure to give her lots of hugs and kisses throughout the day.  We try not to give her too many choices during the day, as she can sometimes get anxious trying to make decisions.  I also try not to give her too much information about anything, because that can cause anxiety in her as well.  I focus on the positives of her condition:  getting new clothes, her cute new hair cut, how much I love hugging on her.  All of this helps, but when it comes down to it, she still gets emotionally stressed out, and it almost always causes a flare.

Here we are today, cuddled up on the couch together, making our "mean" faces:

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