Stephanie Smith, 35, has a young son named Isaiah. When the little boy was born, she couldn’t have been happier. But then she noticed something strange on her newborn’s skin, and the tiny baby’s life soon became a nightmare.
A red rash broke out on Isaiah’s skin when he was only three months old. Every time he was exposed to perfume or other intense smells, the rash worsened. It got so bad that Isaiah’s skin would rupture, bleed, and leak discharge.
According to his doctors, Isaiah had a bad case of eczema, so they prescribed him a topical steroid ointment. The rashes began to recede at first, but then a new nightmare emerged as Isaiah’s entire body turned red and the rashes returned—even worse than they had been. The little one then needed more ointment to tame the severe lesions. And the cycle continued.
“The doctors said it was just eczema,” his mother Stephanie said. “Many doctors came in and out of our room. We saw a GI doctor who told me I was poisoning my son with my breastmilk and I needed to stop immediately.”
After five months, Isaiah was struck by an especially extreme outbreak and his skin began to burst open. He was brought to the hospital and treated heavily with steroids. His skin returned to normal again but after two days the outbreak flared up again. The little boy would scream incessantly.
To help Isaiah, Stephanie began to avoid contact with others to decrease the risk of infection. She wrapped Isaiah in medical bandages and applied layer after layer of topical ointment. Even his hands had to be wrapped up so that he couldn't scratch himself while sleeping.
Isaiah only felt better when immersed in water, so Stephanie spent hours sitting next to him while he rested in the sink. It was the only place where Isaiah didn’t cry.
“Every time when our skin came in contact it would break open and would start discharging like crazy. I couldn’t even put my cheek against his,” said Stephanie. She was unable to even hug her son or hold him in her arms unwrapped. “He was always in pain and screaming. I was always crying.”
“It was like he had no skin,” she lamented. “He was constantly in pain. One time it was so bad that I thought: if this is to be his life, then take him to the next one.”
In the depths of desperation, after doctors said they couldn’t help her son, she turned to the internet. She found a post on a forum about steroid withdrawal and was surprised to see pictures of children with similar problems. Suddenly she realized what Isaiah’s problem could be.
“There they were talking about the side-effects of the steroids and how it could make skin problems worse when you stop taking them."
Even Isaiah noticed what stopped his suffering; when his skin began to itch, he would run to his mother and point to the new ointment.
After 10 months of ending the steroid treatment, Isaiah’s skin had returned to normal. He is now a completely normal one-year-old. “We saw 35 doctors. They all said that it was eczema. I want to show them the pictures where you can see how Isaiah’s skin has recovered.”
The boy who no one could touch is now cheerful and can run around and play outside. “We lost the first year of his life. I couldn’t kiss him or hold him,” Stephanie recalled, saddened by the memories. “Now we can hold him all the time. He’s a great hugger!”
Stephanie decided to share what happened to her son so that her story could possibly help other mothers whose children are suffering from the same problem. Well done to this tenacious mother for devising a cure for his condition. Here's hoping Isaiah has lots of hugs in the future to make up for the ones he missed!