Having a good relationship with your doctor is one of the most important aspects of the treatment you get. It wasn’t until I was much older that I understood how necessary it was to be an advocate for my own health. No one understood the amount of pain and discomfort I was in, and it was challenging to convey this as a child.
Growing up, I had a pediatrician who was close to the family. We got anything we needed, and we were able to be seen right away. After my initial diagnosis of eczema, I was prescribed an over-the-counter steroid cream. This masked my condition for a while. It wasn’t until it started to spread to other areas of my body that we sought out a dermatologist. I started to see different doctors who would all prescribe me different and stronger steroid creams that would work for a short amount of time and begin to have no effect. It was a never-ending cycle. My body started to become immune, and I would end up breaking out even worse than the last time.
At the time, with the resources that I had, I began to think this is what the rest of my life would look like: A never-ending cycle of never finding any real treatment that worked and never finding a doctor who didn’t treat me like a number. Some visits wouldn’t be more than 15 minutes. This was ongoing until I was about 22. I was in college, self-medicating, struggling with my self-esteem, and managing my flares. I felt like it consumed my entire life, from the events I missed and the clothes I wore, to how I interacted with people and how I slept. I researched for the best eczema doctor in the U.S. I was willing to spend my last dollar finding someone who could help.
Dr. Peter Lio popped up on Google, and I immediately made an appointment. I don’t think that I had any expectations if he could help me, but I was desperate. Luckily, he was in my hometown, so I didn’t have to travel far. I feel like my initial appointment lasted for at least an hour. He could sense how defeated I was and looked me directly in my eyes and said, “I’m going to do all that I can to help you.”
I had never felt heard until this moment. My body was essentially attacking itself, in a constant state of an allergic reaction. So, I was initially prescribed an immunosuppressant. That allowed my body to heal. He informed me of a groundbreaking medicine that would change the way eczema would be treated and informed me that I was one of the first patients he would recommend. After about a year, I started on this new drug, and it completely changed my life.
My relationship with Dr. Lio has changed the way I look at doctors now. There are doctors out here that truly care about the health and well-being of their patients. Unfortunately, it took me some years to find him. He introduced me to the NEA (National Eczema Association), where I was able to meet others that had gone through similar experiences and I was able to share my story. I am still a patient of his to this day, and I’ll forever be grateful for all that he has done for me.
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