Susan Alexander

I first discovered my unusual foot condition in 1994. I remember it well because it was another significant benchmark in my life. I had just moved to another town with my fiancé where we both had started new jobs. I remember coming home after work wondering why my feet were aching, red-hot, and at times unable to support me. I thought it was from standing on them while working a retail job. Knowing nothing about this condition, but seeking relief of any kind, I would soak my feet in hot water and prop them up on a pillow at night. No amount of pampering gave much relief. After eight months of stress and incompatibility with my fiancé, I ended my relationship and took my belongings and my fire-infested feet back home.

I saw a podiatrist who had never heard of my symptoms. He proceeded to give me cortisone injections in my arches. The problem went away for a few months or so. After another year of suffering I went to another podiatrist and he said that he had seen these symptoms one other time in a very young girl. He told me that an antihistamine worked for her and gave me a prescription for Claritin. Surprisingly it did work; however, I didn’t think it was healthy to keep taking the medication year round, so I only took it in the summer months. Over the years my body has built up a tolerance to it.

I’ve continued this process through today. I have learned that my EM is exacerbated by the temperature outside, my body overheating, all-over body lotion, and stress. It has really been a challenge to exercise or enjoy summertime outdoor activities with this condition. I joined TEA this year and I really want to start a fundraiser here in Columbus, Ohio, for those suffering with EM. I have recently purchased some clothing with a pattern of feet on them. I get asked all the time, “What’s up with the feet?” This opens the door for me to tell them about my EM. It is part of my life’s work to educate people about this condition.