In the left picture I am recovering from the worst phase, 2 weeks after my treatment started. One week earlier I had trouble opening my eyes. My skin is full of small wounds on the red areas, I am swollen and feverish and herpes has taken over.
In the right picture I am preparing for Chinese New Year festivities at Leicester Square and Trafalgar Square in the 10th Feb. Some occasional redness is visible but it doesn’t bother me.
I am a 61 years old retired special needs teacher from Finland. I have suffered from “prurigo besnier”, eczema and several allergies all my life. Symptoms appear when Artemisia starts to bloom in late July. The pattern is always the same: my neck turns red-striped and burning, then the redness climbs up to lower part of my face and around eyes, then all over my scalp and finally down until half way my upper body and upper arms. Evenings are the worst, itching is very bad. My skin is broken from scratching all over, and growing crust itches again. In cycles of a few days, itching comes, then cruses and flaking dandruff, then a short healing moment, and then itching again. In spring time or summer time symptoms disappear, but come back. If I get celery, camomilla, cardamom, hot spices, citrus etc. in my system. Burning and itching is merciless, in spite of antihistamines, cortisone creams, tranquillisers and wide range of restrictions within foods and surrounding. As a child I seeked relief from hot water from the tap, then came hot hair dryer, its burning pain is more bearable than itching, and it takes itching off for a while. I have been in allergy hospital several times, to push down the symptoms.
Things got worse, when our main school was refurbished, several teachers and pupils got ill, and in tests of 32 possible dampness-related things, I had anti-bodies of 15 of them.
In 1999 I had been obliged to do two teachers’ work for worsened economy of a little village for 6 years, and finally had burn-out, and was off work for several months. I returned to work and took care not to work too much, and eventually got another teacher to share the work. I knew my work, how to do it, but having to drop off half of the pupils in need of special education, and trying to keep my time-table on dark, snowy, icy and long rally routes between schools caused long lasting stress.
When I retired one year ago and came here after my husband to live for 18 months, I had had allergy symptoms, stress neck, causing numbing arms and hands when driving car from school to school and in night time, constant break –outs of herpes and weakened memory after burn-out. I was also immensely tired, and could only walk short distances without need to sit to rest on somebody’s stairs. I knocked, cut and bruised myself all the time, in my daily tasks. Gradually I recovered in my husband’s care and in total rest.
Last summer, here in London, Artemisia bloomed already in June, and my condition made familiar progress following former schedule. My Mongolian friend recommended oriental medicine, which he had studied when younger. Mid August I got appointment with Dr Lily at AcuMedic, received a lecture about my condition in Chinese point of view from her, two big bags full of herbs and herbal drinks, and a series of acupuncture. I was also recommended to use antihistamines to suppress the symptoms. Dr Lily also diagnosed constipation, with which I had lived as long as I remember. In two weeks after that eczema had spread over my face, and I could not sit at the till of Oxfam shop because of my looks. Then, gradually instead of spreading to scalp and body, the progress ceased and my skin started to heal. When seeing doctor after three weeks, I could comfortably move my eyelids already, and my skin got better every day. Dr Lily had given a timetable of at least three months to turn my body to work the right way, and so it was: mid November I could use make up and junk metal jewelry, grow longer hair and dye my hair merrier reddish. I could wear clothes other than cotton against my skin, and furry woolens. Now medication has been altered several times, no more potion cooking, the latest things were a mixed cream for lower face and some capsules to improve condition, eyesight and memory.
Last week I had a backlash, I had to work two days in the shop where there had been severe water damage, and in the same time I was responsible of the shop’s keys for three days, and I got the rash and feverish feeling and numb arms and hands back for a few days. Now it is all gone again, and I feel great. It has been great to taste citruses and spicy foods, and one day I had soup with celery in stock cube, and no symptoms appeared!
I have been interested in herbs for years, and recognized some of my medicines already, and know they help. Suppressing symptoms was not the idea of this treatment, but it was to turn my body to work in right way. This medication has helped both body and soul, and I have not found any negative effects. The effects of illness of decades cannot disappear in a few months, but a lot has already happened, and I cannot say how thankful I am.
Dr Lily has an important idea: she wishes to combine western and oriental medical knowledge so they would complement each others because both have their strong areas. She works for that and trains western medical doctors in her clinic. I welcome this process, because in Finland, allergies are very common, and everybody just can not come to London to get help like I did.