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You Can Always Shine


So, around year 2002 I got eczema. Not on purpose. I didn’t CHOOSE to have eczema. Plus, I had never had skin problems. Ever. 

I visited a dermatologist and figured out how best to control the symptoms. Here’s the thing about eczema – it’s not the same for everybody. Triggers could be a million things. Too dry. Too humid. Allergenic or not. Diet. Organ troubles. Wrong kind of gut flora. Treatments are varied and don’t work the same from person to person. Anytime I enlighten someone to the fact that my ugly skin is just eczema so they don’t need to worry because it’s not contagious (just embarrassing) they will, every time, tell me that so and so had it and they did such and such, or have I tried this remedy. I can appreciate their desire to help and I’m not opposed to trying something that sounds like it would be worth a try, but for the most part I have learned how certain ingredients and bases will affect my skin. 

Am I writing this post to ramble on about eczema in a way that’s not even going to offer help to anyone? No. I’m not here to whine. 

Around 2012, I had a weird thing happen. I slipped on ice, and hit my shin against part of the car. It was a minor abrasion, but the next day I started getting itchy bumps around that bruised spot. It got worse and spread out further. Then, the shin of my other leg started itching in the same position as the injury. That, too, got worse. Then, my arms started breaking out with what I recognized as eczema sores. 

At this point, I had to teach a lesson in Young Women’s class. To young women. Teenagers. I was self-conscious enough with normal skin, now I had to put myself out there for 40 minutes facing the age stage of intense physique critism. 

Did I back out? No, I didn’t. That was an important moment for me. I knew people were going to judge me. There’s no way to prevent that. And not just about my physical appearance. I would be leading a discussion about some Gospel principal. Surely, that would lead to some critical judgments. 

I’m getting to the point. 

When this breakout started spreading up my neck, and when eating an apple caused my lips to swell  I had no idea what was happening to me. I jumped on the computer. For three hours straight I searched and researched. Finally, I came accross one tiny comment stating that, occasionally, when a person with eczema gets an injury it can cause all of the skin to freak out. Then, I called my doctor and ran this theory by him. He agreed that it was feasible. I then asked about a cortisone shot, because old Doc Perkes had given me one for a spot on my neck back before I even knew what eczema was. He said that will work for an isolated area, but for this condition people usually take pills. Prednisone pills. I’m not into meds, but I was desperate so I used it and that breakout cleared right up. I was back to my normal, slightly symptomatic hands. I have been able to keep my arms and legs clear with pure coconut oil but that will not for my hands. 

Then, for some unknown reason, my hands cleared up. I had four years of clear hands. I didn’t have to use my cowstuff at all. 

Now, we’re getting close. 

This June I started working with drywall mud on the unfinished side of our duplex. In March before that, I had done the same kind of work on a job my husband was doing. No problems in March. But, in June…whew… My hands FREAKED  out. Worse than I’d ever experienced. None of my normal hand creams were helping. 

I went through my son’s wedding with leper hands. I went on a handcart pioneer trek with lobster claw hands. I couldn’t just jump right into doing dishes or making apple pie. And, it was dreadfully embarrassing. 

I did two separate rounds of prednisone, the second being drawn out longer. Guess what? It cleared up my hands. But then, at the end of weaning off the pills it started back up again. Well, I can’t live on steroids. I won’t live on steroids. 

I have found a combination of creams that at least keep the lobster claws at bay, but it’s quite noticeable that I have a condition. 


So, today my husband made a comment.  He was attempting,in his own individual way, to be encouraging, and it gave me an opportunity to voice a thought I’ve been having the last couple weeks as I’ve volunteered at the temple open house and had thousands of people see my hands. 

Here’s my thinking :

I’m not going to hide my light under a bushel because I have ugly hands.~~~Tiana Galloway 

This is the heart of my message today. 

You may not have ugly hands. You may have some other embarrassing physical trait. You may have something that isn’t visible that causes you to not put yourself out there. 

But, I’m telling you! When you have an opportunity do some good thing; to share your experience and hard fought for knowledge; or to shine your light out in the world- JUST DO IT!

If you can muster a tiny bit of courage, put yourself out there. Sometimes there isn’t even a tiny bit, I understand that quite well, but when you can muster it, extend those lobster claws out so everyone can see. 

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