My name is Gaby. I’m a mother of two wonderful children, a wife, and the founder of Sumycotton, an e-tailer for children’s clothes made from Pima cotton, which is great for children with eczema and other skin conditions.
I’m here to tell you a little about the hardest experience my family went through, and how we turned it into something really good.
Our family lives in South Florida, and for the past seven years I’ve been working alongside my husband at our industrial equipment and supply business. After our second child, Bella, was born, my husband and I decided that I would work from home, managing our administrative duties while I also took care of and raised Bella and her older brother Sebastian.
The first two years were seamless. Bella was a delightful baby, never fussy and always beaming from her crib, and I was able to juggle breastfeeding, looking after the house, and making sure Sebastian (who is a great older brother, by the way) focused on school work and his afterschool activities.
Life has a way of throwing us monkey wrenches, however, and I would not be an exception.
One fine day, as I changed Bella’s diaper, I found large red welts on the back of her legs, and soon after she started developing severe food and environmental allergies. We rushed to the doctor hoping for a swift diagnosis and cure; after all, our daughter was born healthy and we couldn’t make heads or tails of her sudden, persistent skin and allergy issues. After much trial and error, we had a diagnosis: Bella has severe atopic dermatitis. Eczema.
I know what you’re thinking – oh, it’s only eczema. A rash, right? Wrong. To put things into perspective, at age 3 my child was pretty much covered from head to toe with itchy, oozing red rashes, and nothing seemed to work. Between daily doctors’ appointments and keeping Bella busy or simply holding her so she wouldn’t scratch her welts, my full-time job was my daughter. I was lucky that I was able to do this, but this also meant that my husband was leading the company pretty much without my support, and we needed to hire people to take care of the business. It was tough, but we didn’t see any other choices. Our daughter was miserable. Our bubbly, carefree, happy Bella became frustrated by the marks on her little body, and the unrelenting itch from the breakouts. We needed a cure to help bring back that huge smile, and help her lead a more normal, pain-free, comfortable life.
From traditional to not-so-traditional to old wives’ tales, we tried every remedy, every doctor, everything. And after many, many doctors’ appointments, trips, tears and frustration, we had a breakthrough. Nothing dramatic, mind you; by observation, research, speaking to parents of children with eczema, doctors and others who face similar skin challenges, we learned to identify the triggers to her breakouts and allergies, and in time we were able to control her flares. Most importantly, through this process we learned, as a family – because we’re all invested in each other’s health- we learned to live with a child with a special condition.
A year ago – 3 years after Bella was diagnosed – I was able to go back to work with my husband and focus on my career. It wasn’t easy. After being the primary caregiver for my daughter’s condition since diagnosis, it was difficult to trust Bella’s care to her teachers, when she started going to school. I worried if she was scratching, or worse, bleeding because she was scratching. It was an exercise in trust, detachment and faith, for our entire family, but we were blessed with caring, loving teachers who quickly grasped Bella’s needs and keep her safe, and busy at school. I was also fortunate that our amazing team members at our company covered for me when I was too entrenched in Bella’s care, and later, as I transitioned back to my role at the company, they were generous enough to have my back and help me settle back into a normal work life.