Today we feature an interview with Mei, also known as @MarcieMom. Mei started blogging about eczema and helping eczema families in her unique way since 2011, a year after her daughter Marcie was diagnosed with eczema. She co-authored Living with Eczema: Mom Asks, Doc Answers and illustrated the book cover and another children’s book A to Z Animals are not Scratching!. Mei chairs a national eczema support group in Singapore and donated to set up a fund for eczema patients requiring financial assistance. She has helped many parents through her blog EczemaBlues.
In our previous post, we reviewed her book Living with Eczema: Mom Asks, Doc Answers. MarcieMom has also been a past contributor to DermBytes, blogging about her experience as mom to an eczema child and sharing her top tips for taking care of eczema.
Q: What was your inspiration behind writing the book?
I was invited by my daughter Marcie’s doctor, Professor Hugo van Bever, to co-author the book. It was an excellent opportunity to share what I know about eczema and ask all the questions a Mom would have, thus the unique idea behind the book Living with Eczema: Mom Asks, Doc Answers! From the onset, we wanted this book to be practical for parents and practitioners; it’s also 100% authentic – I asked the questions and Prof Hugo answered, we didn’t screen out each other’s questions or answers!
Q: How did you decide which topics to cover?
We group the topics from first giving a background to eczema, with the majority of the chapters centered on practical aspects like diagnosis, skincare and treatment, followed by future research. It is intended to be comprehensive but not too complicated. For the questions, it’s from my own experience blogging, replying to comment, moderating eczema forums and also, an extra pair of eyes from the lovely Amanda of Nottingham Support Group for Carers of Children with Eczema.
Q: How was the partnership in working with Professor Hugo? Did working closely with a healthcare provider lead to any new insights?
Professor Hugo was most gracious – we had an equal partnership in all aspects, from the title, to chapters, to splitting the writing work (he covering the more technical and I writing the more practical), to doing what each is good at (he had the overall responsibility of ensuring medical accuracy while I did the administrative part).
Professor Hugo has a very straight forward approach to his patients – be honest and listen. I remembered that I did not feel rushed at all during the consultation sessions my daughter had with him. Similarly, I didn’t feel rushed or ‘clerical’or ‘subordinate’in my collaboration with him and he respected my views on the book.
Q: Did you learn any new things while working on the book?
I did learn quite a few technical parts of the skin but then I quickly forgot them!
Q: Can you share some feedback you have received from other eczema caregivers?
Our book is recently launched so much of what other eczema caregivers said were ‘where to buy the book?’! Bloggers we sent the book to appreciate the practical and comprehensive aspects of the book.
Q: This is now your second book! (The first being a children’s book that is distributed to eczema support groups.) Any additional future writing plans?
Yes! I have a quarter-baked novella on being a mom with eczema kid, purely fictional (ahem!) but I haven’t got the inspiration to proceed till the end yet. It’s intended to be romance novel though, but since, I’ve fallen in love with thriller instead but it’s so much more difficult to write a thriller!