Going to the dermatologist for Flare Up 2011

I skipped work in the morning yesterday because I managed to get an appointment with a dermatologist. I had to forgo my usual Dr Great Derm because he was just getting too darn expensive – $710 for the consultation alone and another ~$200 or so for meds? Come on, my insurance only covers $360! Dr New Derm only charges ~$550 for consultation and ~$200 for meds, and I was billed just over $700 for this visit. He seemed awfully young though and most of his certifications are dated around 1990 onwards. I can’t say I wasn’t a little bit worried when I saw that. But he was very thorough and we spoke for 45 minutes (45 minutes!!) about my history and lifestyle. Apparently the rash on my shoulder is NOT PSORIASIS, oh my God! There’s no way to tell for sure since both rash types can look very similar, especially when the skin gets thick from scratching. Plus I had scratched off all the scales in an itchy-scratchy episode the night before. Apparently, having both eczema and psoriasis is particularly rare, and psoriasis has a stronger genetic link than eczema does; much stronger than mine.

I used the steroid cream twice after the doctor’s visit, and started the 10-day course of antihistamines. I’m happy to report that Day 1 (today) saw a lot less itching and a lot less dry skin.

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Not sure the spot on my palm is any better but it definitely feels better. It’s less itchy and the deeper cracks have healed slightly because it’s much less painful today.

I asked him about a lot of things, including weather, allergies and sun therapy. He reminded me, just like Dr Great Derm has said every time I see him for a flare up, that there is no cure for eczema. But it IS treatable, if you monitor your diet and lifestyle. Dr New Derm actually outlined three goals, a) to get rid of this current flare up, b) to treat eczema such that each recurring flare up is less severe, and c) to ultimately pass eczema treatment back to me, the patient, because when it comes to treating eczema, ultimately only we know what works best!

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