Monday, January 13, 2014

The Infamous 7th Month Flare? Pictures And Commentary

My skin started to flare Sunday December 29th and I thought it was just a reaction to my falling off a month long good diet and general stress from the Holidays. Just another minor flare. A week later the flare continued to worsen and my normal techniques weren't having much of an effect so I started thinking what the hell is happening here? This is nowhere like the minor flares I've experienced in the last several months! I then discovered my new laundry detergent was the likely culprit. Now, in retrospect, I have to wonder if it wasn't the infamous "7th month flare".

Steroid induced eczema popped up on nearly all areas of my body that had been completely clear for months. My arms and legs mainly, but other smaller spots as well. This was different! My left hand got infected and swelled up, very red and hot, so I put myself on a course of antibiotics, and started doing more frequent Dead Sea salt baths. The skin on my left had turned into a raw oozing area, and after a couple days of that I decided to not rinse after my dss bath this time. When you don't rinse your skin after a dss bath, it drys out your skin much more than it does when not rinsing. I was trying to get that large oozing area to dry and it worked. It's very drying to the whole skin so I try to avoid doing this when possible. In retrospect, I used to do dss baths daily when doing MW and when flaring, but now think it better to do them every other day. I think daily is over doing it unless your skin is really torn up. Once the skin is calm and mostly free of skin breaks then I just do them as maintenance when needed.

The pictures below were taken on December 10th. They were taken a day after my oozing dried out so it doesn't show how bad it actually looked without the scabbing. I would have taken them sooner but felt like shit and wasn't into it. I had dried this area out once but I scratched the entire scab off the next night so had to do "re-dry" it again. As you can see, the steroid induced eczema spread like wildfire on the tops of my hands. I was about 95% done with TSW and now I have reverted back to the condition I was in many months ago. However, I don't have the intense pain and 24/7 itching that comes in the first couple months of TSW. I did have a few nights of that deep intense itching on my right palm but have managed to not tear it apart and the itch is now subsiding.

I didn't allow myself to feel despondent, or feel like I was starting all over again. No feelings of desperation. I understand my body is still recovering and it will take longer than I had initially hoped. It does suck beyond belief, but when life hands you lemons you make lemonade, period. I am very confident I will be back to where I was before this flare within 2-3 weeks. I also believe I will be done with TSW within my 8-12 month time frame I gave myself. It might be closer to 12 months, but just as long as it doesn't go past one year I'll be happy.

The best thing about this flare is the fact that my palms have remained healed for the most part! Although I used betamethasone ointment sparingly over 20 years, this is where I used the bulk of the topical steroids, and was the area that took the longest to heal. And the area to heal last. I initially started applying TS on my right palm near my pinky finger about 3 years ago and over a period of 2 years the rash spread to cover my entire palms and fingers before I stopped using and started topical steroid withdrawal. The other symptoms didn't appear until I stopped TS. My palms gave me the most problems due to serious skin barrier damage from the TS. As you can see from the pics of my right hand, this flare came close to causing it to revert back to the bloody mess it used to be. But, fortunately, it didn't quite make it.

I have never once put TS on any of the areas you see in these pictures, other than on my palms. Before starting TSW, and for 3 months after TSW, my palms looked much worse than what you see on top of my hands. Much much worse. TSW has been a cake walk for me since MW compared to what it was before doing MW. And, as long as my palms remain free of skin splits, deep fissures, etc., this other crap doesn't bother me near as much! I'll post a new picture update as soon as I am healed back to at least where I was before this flare. I hope that will be soon! The pics below show my right hand, left hand, right arm, and both legs. Left arm pics didn't come out after a couple tries so I gave up. The left arm looks like the right arm.



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