Living With Atopic Dermatitis

April 14, 2020

Pamela Fantus, a patient with atopic dermatitis, shares her experience with this condition and reflects on the impact it has on her day-to-day life.

Pamela Fantus, a patient with atopic dermatitis, shares her experience with this condition and reflects on the impact it has on her day-to-day life.

Transcript

Pamela Fantus: I first had symptoms when I was 6 months old. Obviously, I don’t remember that since I was an infant. From 6 months on, I have continued to have symptoms of various degrees.

Clearly, when I was a child, I would have different types of issues. Some days were better than other days. Through my teen years, it got better. In my 20s, it got better. I learned to control it when I was older; I had a better sense what to do with it. Once I became a registered nurse, I actually realized that I had atopic dermatitis.

My day-to-day challenges are getting up in the morning, putting ointments on, making sure that I have the right ointments, making sure that I take my medications, and following a specific treatment modality. It was very difficult on a day-to-day basis, and I work from home, just to get up. The itching would drive me crazy. I would get up and try to do something for a while. I would be so uncomfortable I’d change my clothes or put on more ointments. That was a very difficult time for me.

Going out in the sunlight, I have to protect myself with all kinds of protective clothing and ointments on my skin. I don’t get to work out like I used to. It dries it out more if you have to take showers. It reduces my workout significantly, but I’ve come to live with a different kind of workout. I’m a little older so I go for dog walks, where I walk my puppy for a couple of miles every morning, and then lift light weights. I stop at a certain time. I do my workout in the house as opposed to going to a gym and getting all sweaty. You just have to make changes based on your lifestyle.

This has affected my lifestyle and my social life in the sense that I can’t do things I used to. I used to like to bike ride at any time of day, even in the sun. I don’t do that as much anymore. I limit the amount of time I’m exposed to the sun. My activity level has changed based on my disease progress. Do my friends understand? They know it’s not contagious, but they don’t really understand what atopic dermatitis is. I don’t think anyone does unless they have it. You haven’t experienced it. You haven’t experienced the itching.

With my family, it’s the same way. They understand it, they’ve lived... My husband and I have been married for over 30 years. He’s seen me go through the worst of it and better times. He has a better understanding. I think because I’m older, my friends have seen me with it. They don’t really say much, but it does change your life.

This video was supported by Pfizer.