"ECZEMA DISASTER" - 1st Subject (Myself)

The Unexpected "Guest"

      “Eczema Disaster” is a series about the life of an eczema sufferer. The eczema attacked the photographer during the age of 26. As the eczema became serious and hitting on his ordinary life activities, the depression, anxious, lost almost lead him to think of committing suicide. However, he changed his mind as he gets support from his friends and family. This purpose of this project is to raise awareness of eczema among the public to let people understand more about eczema and understand those who suffer. Besides, the project wishes to deliver a message to other eczema sufferers that they are not fighting alone.


DETAIL STORY

I was a production engineer working at harsh and pressure environment in shipyard since August 2014. At the beginning of 2016, blisters popped on my hand palm continuously until it affected my daily activities such as writing, washing dishes, working etc. The skin became extremely dry and itchy after the blister broken. I was visited several doctors and I was diagnosed allergic to external factor such as dust. Pills and injection was given but I was not recovered until I was diagnosed my symptoms as Phompholyx eczema and prescribed steroid pills. It was like fairy magic over the night; the annoying, disgusting blisters on my hand disappear at a night! However, the happy moment always short, the nightmare came back after a shortwhile I recovered.  This time besides Pompholyx on my hand palms, my body was attacked by nummular eczema while my hair scalp was attacked by Seborheic eczema. It was like zombie infection spread very fast from part to part of my body. The symptoms speed up when I was assigned night shift work during March 2016. During April 2016, I decided to take unpaid leave due to horrible appearance and inconvenience of daily activities.

My family or even I were so confused on what was the cause of the disease. Even so, why it was that terrible that all doctors ran over to me as they were excited to have alien anatomy. It was because of stress of works? Working environment? Bed Bugs? Food allergic? Antibiotic? I have no skin allergic history since I born but just subtle nose sensitive. I was spent most of my free time to research all the information of eczema. Yet, I had no idea what were the causes. All I was able to do was applied trial and errors. I tried food elimination, clean bed sheet and floor every day, eat supplements, try coconut oil, changed all shower gel, exercise, juicing, etc. Sadly, all of these did not work and the symptoms get worse day by day. I stopped looking for western medication when I was found some articles talking how steroid affect our body. Instead, I tried Traditional Chinese Medication (TCM) such as acupuncture. About 500 needles stick on my body 3 times a week. I was feel extremely pain and lost as I was not sure to continue the treatment due to none of recovery sign.  

What made me feel ridiculous was the time I got struck between traditional Chinese medication and western medication. I was scolded by TCM doctor because of taking western medication; I was scolded by western doctor because I was no taking medicine she prescribed.  In the period of time I rest at house, I feel sorry to my mother that she had to take care me, watching me suffering from eczema but there is nothing she able to do for me. The most upset and depress moment was I taking shower, at that time commit suicide was in my mind to end all of these.

Fortunately, at the end, the steroid pill suppresses the terrible eczema on my body. Although the eczema came back sometimes, but it was not that horrible like the last time it did. These experiences made me wide awake how many the poisonous food we have to avoid.  I faithfully thanks the one who support during my hard time especially my mother and sister. Besides, I feel that I have the duty as a photographer to capture down the moment and share to the world. There were a lot of eczema sufferers lost due to lack of information on internet network. That was when and why the Eczema Project started.

The year 2016 has been considered an unforgettable year of my entire life, it was unbelief, it happened on my 26years old as the eczema came to attack me. It was very serious that I forced to stop working for 4months continuous.
— KOK CHAI KOOI

How I present the project

This project is purposely taken in black and white film using a Nikon film camera. As I connect to all the eczema sufferer (include myself) and document them thru their lifestyle, reveal the hardship and different life of an eczema sufferer. Tri - x Kodak 400 has been used as it behave high in contrast to bring more emotional impact to the audience. From the project reveal all different kind of eczema people of different age and sex, they have their own story, some of them born with it, some of them suffer it at a certain age. Although they have eczema, their life still goes on. They choose to adapt as the god gives him 'special' condition to live.