I am Grace Ng, founder of Away With Eczema, and from my toddlerhood till I was in my 30s, I had always struggled with
- Atopic Eczema,
- Asthma and
which in turn affected my Ear, Nose and Throat, and I was never found far from the hospitals because of my bundle of medical issues.
This is my medical history:
- Battled eczema and allergies since I was a young toddler,
- Grew dependent and addicted to Topical Steroids aka steroid creams, and this addiction to steroid creams is now known as Topical Steroid Addiction (TSA),
- From 2008 to 2011, I struggled through a horrific journey as I stopped using oral and topical steroids on my own accord, not knowing that this was in fact a drug withdrawal from my drug addiction to topical steroids, now known as Topical Steroid Withdrawal (TSW), aka Red Skin Syndrome (RSS). This hellish Withdrawal journey was excruciating and lonely as I was on my own, without any knowledge on what TSA and TSW are, and without any support from any known group back then.
- In my 3rdyear of TSW, my younger son Percy also became addicted to topical steroids as I did not know that the wonder cream prescribed for Percy by his paediatrician was actually a Class 4 potent steroid cream and had been applying on him for more than a year and therefore,
- We had 2 of us in the family who had to struggle through TSW without any support or information, and life was really dismal because I did not know that we would eventually heal from TSW.
- I craved for understanding and support from people who could understand what I was going through, and how itchy TSW was, and would have done so much better if I had access to dependable information on eczema, allergies, Topical Steroid Addiction and Withdrawal, both of which I knew nothing of back then.
- Depression set in and often, I was suicidal and wanted to end it all, with my younger son, Percy, who was suffering untold pain with his body without skin, waist-down. I thank God that He had given me Peter, my wonderfully loving and supportive husband, and my two young sons, and He carried us through those 3 years of darkness, tears and pain.
- I also had allergies which were the main reason for my 12 surgeries, mostly failed ones, and some as a direct consequence from applying topical steroids on my face.
- At present, I have
- Lost all my 3 hearing bones in my left ear from a growth that came about from 6 earlier failed surgeries in that ear
- Lost 80% of my sense of hearing in my left ear (after the 7 failed surgeries)
- Had retinal detachment in my left eye
- Had a cataract removed from my left eye
- Still a cataract in my right eye as it was not thick enough to be harvested together with the one in the left eye
- Lost partial vision in my left eye as the emergency for retinal detachment left its permanent damage on the vision and the 2 reconstructive surgeries done after that failed to restore my vision and
- Lost my ability to remember things well as a side effect from the General Anaesthesia used for all 12 surgeries so I am always forgetting things easily.
I found myself playing several different roles throughout my life as I struggled with eczema and steroid-induced rash as
- An Eczema sufferer
- With steroid-induced rashes that I was not able to “outgrow” as I strongly believe that the steroids I used had perpetuated them through my adolescence and into my adulthood
- A TSW Warrior
- Who had stopped steroids in 2008 without any knowledge of TSA / TW at the onset of my pregnancy with Percy my younger son but
- Returned to steroid creams whenever the Withdrawal became too difficult
- Stopped steroids finally cold turkey in mid/late 2010 when I realised that I had been applying a potent steroid cream on Percy for more than a year!
- A TSW Caregiver
- When Percy became severely addicted to topical steroids like I did and
- When he stopped steroids cold turkey too, was raw and oozing non-stop from waist down
- As I struggled with my own raw and oozing TSW
I thank and praise God that God has led my family and I out of the horrific nightmare of TSW, and it is with this painful experience that we started our support group in 2011.
From the time my younger son and I healed from TSW in April 2011, I began to realise that there was so much information that I should have known about eczema and allergies. With this information especially on probiotics and the gut, I would have been able to manage my own eczema and allergies better, and armed with this information, perhaps the 11 surgeries that were linked to my allergies and eczema but practically were all failed ones, could have been prevented. I may also have been able to help my children stop their Allergic March even before they started on it as little babes!
I also started to learn about TSA and TSW from my dear friend and mentor Joey Brown in ITSAN, and then began sharing all this information on eczema and allergies I was learning with every customer who walked into Health Champions and many strangers on the street in Singapore. I felt compelled to share what I found out, especially about steroids, to every youth, adult and parent who had eczema or had a loved one who was battling eczema.
Before long, we started to see our first family and youths begin their journey in Topical Steroid Withdrawal here in Singapore.
As a business, Health Champions started the Singapore-based Eczema & Allergies – Go Natural Health Champions Support Group on Facebook at the end of a talk on TSW, our gut and probiotics in our shop, Health Champion in Parkway Centre, Singapore, in March 2013. We decided to form the Support Group after a request to start the Support Group was made among the participants as they steeled themselves to stop using steroids and start their own arduous journeys in TSW for themselves / their children.
By April 2015, our Support Group on Facebook had grown organically in size to more than 3,700 members, with 3,100 requests waiting to be approved.
Our Goals for the Support Group
Our Support Group in Singapore was set up
- To provide support for TSA / TSW Warriors in various stages of Topical Steroid Addiction / Withdrawal who are in the following stages of their journey:
- Reading up on / Deciding whether or not to embark on TSW,
- Embarking on this difficult journey,
- Persevering on in their TSW journey,
- To raise awareness on the effects of topical steroids (ie steroid creams) on an eczema sufferer, starting from the tiny island of Singapore,
- To provide education on what TSA and TSW are, and
- To learn and share how we can heal from eczema and allergies naturally.
In the 4 years that I have spent with families battling true eczema and more so, with those struggling through Topical Steroid Withdrawal, I have come to realise that when one child is is prevented from the awful effects of Topical Steroid Addiction, that this is not only that
- One child’s life saved from the effects of steroids, but more importantly,
- A marriage saved, and
- A family saved.
The horrific TSW journey brings not only pain, tears and severe depression on the TSW warrior, but also results in
- Marriages on the rocks,
- Families near breakdown / broken down, and
- Even lawsuits within the family
all thanks to the extreme strain these families are subjected to in the long and drawn-out agony of caring for and witnessing a family member crumble in painful and difficult TSW.
Also, the Support Group was created not only to provide support for TSW warriors but also to help more sufferers like myself discover natural alternatives to heal from allergies, and where allergies are concerned, see that drugs and surgery are not the only solutions available.
Youths and adults battling eczema and TSW also have their own set of issues and problems and I have come to realise how a Support Group can help this suffering group of brave warriors.
Therefore, the word must go out, not just to fellow sufferers of eczema and allergies in Singapore, but to whoever is willing to listen, worldwide, because this affects not only individuals, but whole families.
We hope you will join us in our journey of discovering how to overcome eczema & allergies holistically, to explore various aspects of healthy living, and provide support and create a community of people who accept one another unconditionally without any judgement, and grow together as we build a community of sufferers who understand one another and lend our shoulders to one another to emerge victors in our individual battles with our own immune system.
If you have healed and would like to join us in our work to spread the word on TSA / TSW, or would like to sponsor families in need so they too can learn more and / or receive better support, or even buy a tee-shirt for a child in TSW so she shares in the acceptance and camaraderie in our Events, let us know and we are happy to explore various ways you may be able to lend a hand. We thank you in advance for your love and generosity!
In gratitude and with utmost sincerity