Thursday, April 27

Repeat after me: 'I don't have a problem'

If you know me personally, you know that I struggle with discouragement. I get down about things.

I've got a customer who's using oxygen to treat a 10 year old girl with ichthyosis.

the characteristic that they each share is that they cause the skin to build up and scale (some medical journals and dictionaries still refer to ichthyosis as "fish skin disease')... The scaling can be very heavy... [and] very painful, as it can restrict the body's range of movement, pull so tightly around the face that the eyelids turn outward, cause deep cracks or fissures at the joints, adversely affect hearing, and more. Your skin is alive; it is your body's largest organ!

With "normal" skin, the skin is constantly renewing itself, dying, and shedding (the average skin cell has a lifespan of 14 days)... With ichthyosis, the skin doesn't follow the life cycle that it's supposed to, and builds up.

There currently is no cure for ichthyosis; only treatments.  Caring for ichthyosis is very labor-intensive.  It means spending lots of hours every week bathing, scrubbing the skin in an effort to shed some of the scales, putting on creams to help moisturize and exfoliate...  Caring for ichthyosis is as much about looking good as feeling good.  For people with severe forms of ichthyosis, the goal (which is tough to achieve), is two-fold: make the skin look "normal" enough that people on the street don't stare, call you names, or always ask you what's wrong with you, and secondly to make the skin feel good, so that your skin doesn't make it painful to move, impair your hearing or effect your eyesight.


Some pictures from their site.

Google Image search (don't look at these if you're squeamish or hyper-sympathetic).

You know, now that I think about it, I have another customer who uses extra-dry oxygen for oxygen facials that she sells to spas. I bet they're doing the same thing (for cosmetic, not health/pain management reasons).

I don't have ichthyosis. My loved ones don't. I don't have cancer or any other major disease. Neither do my loved ones.

It would by psychologically moronic of me to insinuate that big trauma trumps all of life's struggles.

But, on the other hand, sometimes a little perspective is in order...
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