Thursday, June 19, 2014

Picture Update - TSW One Year Mark!

Wow! What a journey this has been! Tomorrow marks my one year mark doing topical steroid withdrawal and so much has happened. Yet it seems like a dream and as though nothing much ever did happen. That's only my mind suppressing the memories of the most bone deep intense itching I had ever experienced 24 hours a day, day after day after day! The pain and the feelings of desperation and despair. The unknown. And the fear. The memories are easy to bring back when I want to! I just feel so bad for those people who have near full body cases, and anyone who has a case worse than what my own was. Mine was difficult enough and that was just the hands, arms, and legs. And I guess several other small spots, but nothing significant. 

I feel as though I'm talking about this in past tense and I guess I am. Although I'm not fully healed from tsa/tsw, for all intents and purposes it is pretty much behind me. I have mostly dry scaly patches of skin that's still trying to heal all the way. Just to quickly summarize, ever since I stopped moisturizing my skin at the beginning of month three and started doing Dead Sea salt baths, I have been about 90% better. In the last month before stopping topical steroids, and the two months after stopping, I was fairly incapacitated and in unbelievable pain and discomfort. Moisturizing my raw and weak skin exasperated my rebound symptoms to a large degree and when I stopped moisturizing my skin I finally began to recover. The skin recovered quickly at first and then very gradually and steadily until I was nearly completely healed. Then, a major flare hit me at month seven that lasted for 6 weeks. That flare caused skin that had been healed and normal for months to revert back to nearly where it was in the beginning. Even worse on the tops of my hands. The experience wasn't near as bad as the beginning of tsw since I wasn't moisturizing, and the itching and pain wasn't near as bad as the beginning. It was just a nuisance and a pita more than anything.

Below are pictures taken today showing how much my skin has improved since my last pics during my 7th month flare. They looked better a week ago, and they'll look better in a week. That's how it's been. But they are steadily healing with each week that goes by. I really can't complain as I feel good and can use my hands. My main problem is (besides my lifestyle), I work with my hands a lot daily for long hours and I often irritate them as they are obviously not healed 100% yet. However, they aren't bad for how much I put them through.

I still have insomnia and will itch in my sleep most every night but my skin is tough enough to where it doesn't break unless I dig especially hard. I have areas on my palms and fingers I still treat with tea tree oil and dss baths on occasion when needed. I still get tiny mini flares that I don't really recognize most times as they come and go. I also have some steroid induced eczema on the backs of my legs, but that is nearly gone now. I doubt I'll have another setback like the monster flare I had in month 7, but I didn't expect that so I can't really say what the future holds. I can say, flares or not, I feel nearly healed and expect to be there within weeks. But frankly, ever since I did moisturizer withdrawal in month three, I have not only felt really good compared to the months previous to that, but also got my life back. And my skin began to improve steadily ever since.

I do want to note that I eat a lot of sugar and dairy, smoke like a chimney, and get little exercise. And I'm barely still 58 years of age. Which means I'm almost 59 lol. If I can spend most of my tsw in relative comfort, normalcy, etc, basically live a normal life, then you have lots of hope if you are younger, don't smoke, don't moisturize, eat a good diet, and exercise. There is zero doubt in my mind I wouldn't be 100% healed by now if I had taken those exact extra measures. We all have to make our own choices and my symptoms just don't bother me enough to make those changes in my lifestyle. But for those of you who are just starting tsw, you would be wise to support your body to the best of your ability. If you are younger, keep in mind young people heal much faster than older people do.

For a wealth of information on tsa/tsw come join our new forum HERE! We're here to provide an open, quality source of information and support regarding corticosteroid withdrawal, with content generated by the people experiencing it firsthand. Our forums were created out of a need for a central hub of information and community regarding steroid-induced eczema.

Pictures - One year tsw