I knew what it was when I saw it and I felt my heart sink with the reality of something I didn’t want to accept. I cradled my then 7-month old Ninja, trying to comfort him as I stared angrily at the red bumps and lesions associated with Eczema. Ninja #2s back was covered in the itch-that-rashes. A disease with no cure, which his brother is already all too familiar with.
I put off taking Ninja #2 to a doctor because I already knew the diagnosis and I didn’t want to hear it. But now, it’s official. After two months of trying, and failing, to treat my baby Ninja’s Eczema on my own, his dermatologist confirmed what I tried so hard to hide from. Ninja #2 shares a form of the disease his brother has, and has been diagnosed with Nummular Dermatitis.
At 9-months old, Ninja #2 is much younger that Ninja #1 was when he was diagnosed, and his diagnosis is of a form of Eczema known to be particularly stubborn. When I called my husband to share the news of our Ninja’s condition, I heard the sadness in his voice. I knew his heart was breaking. But, every cloud has a silver lining, and my husband helped me see that today by simply pointing out that it could be worse.
That may seem obvious to someone who has never seen a child suffer from Eczema (Google it and you’ll see how bad it gets). I’ve seen Eczema in its moderate form when it covered 99% of Ninja #1s body in burning red, itchy lesions. I’ve seen my child stay up all night crying, trying not to scratch. I’ve seen him rub his skin on anything that’s abrasive, such as carpet, just to soothe the itch. I’ve seen him scream in the bathtub because his sensitive skin burned in the water. And I’ve seen him scratch so hard that the blood from his boo-boos dripped down to cover most of his bed sheets.
Yes, it could be worse, I know. And I’m grateful that it’s not worse. But I’m also angry knowing the amount of suffering Ninja #2 may go through, while the only thing I’ll be able to do to help him will be to hug him. Remember, there is no cure. But there is a silver lining, and it’s Ninja #1.
Ninja #1 has been through a lot of the terrors this disease can throw-down and he will be able to comfort his Ninja brother when I can’t. He will understand what is going on more than I ever can. When my Ninjas grow up and start school, they will have a bond and protect each other from the hurtful words that will come from their peers. My Ninja’s will not be alone when their Eczema decides to flare up. They will have each other. And, perhaps, that’s why both of my Ninja’s have Eczema. To bring them closer than they knew they could be.