Staying hopeful through difficult eczema symptoms isn’t easy—and nobody knows that better than college student and filmmaker Jeremy Paredes.
We loved spending time with Jeremy: his upbeat spirit and positive energy make you want to smile. But cultivating that outlook took work. Jeremy knows what it’s like to have your skin stop you from doing what you love. While he was still in high school, his eczema landed him in the emergency room with life-threatening septic shock. It was a scary time when hope was hard to come by, though Jeremy credits his community for lifting him up.
You grew up with severe eczema, but it took a turn for the worse when you were in high school. Tell us about that experience. Was it hard to be hopeful?
My eczema hit the lowest of lows my junior year of high school. It got to the point where I was bleeding and it was oozing everywhere. I could barely walk because the skin hurt so much on my knees, on my neck, on my arms. I stopped playing sports, I stopped going to school. I couldn’t really hang out with friends. It was a time where I felt hopeless, I felt devastated. I felt like I was in a never-ending cycle of pain and misery. It was really hard to try to find hope in tomorrow, where I could try to think positively and think there was a solution when there really wasn’t one for me.
We tried so many medications, so many different doctors, and no one really had an answer for my eczema. It just got worse and worse. It got to the point in February 2020 I got admitted to the ER due to septic shock from my eczema. And that was a really scary time. I didn’t know if I was going to survive that night in the ER. Having my family and friends there with me supporting me along the way was the biggest turning point.
I was in the ER for six days. All my friends and family came and visited me. They were the ones that really brought my spirits back up: they were the ones that believed in me, who believed that I could get better and that I needed to think positively and think that there’s hope and light on the other side of the tunnel. And clinging on to that, clinging onto people who wanted me to get better and support me, is what got me through the worst of it.
What’s your advice to kids growing up with eczema? What can they do to stay hopeful?
I would tell younger kids who have eczema right now that it’s going to get better. You’ve got to push through, you’ve got to persevere, you’ve got to stay positive. There’s going to be some bad days, and there’s going to be some good days. Cherish those little moments of happiness and joy that your eczema brings. Cherish when you’re winning that battle against eczema. And when you’re losing, know there’s going to be a time that you’re winning again. So stay positive, stick through it, hold on to your family and friends that are close to you, and know that a better time is coming.