Thursday, June 15, 2017

Oral Steroids In Late Stage Topical Steroid Withdrawal

Warning! Look at the pictures below. This experience needs to be shared, so those who decide to do, or are already in, "topical steroid withdrawal", understand what can happen if they choose to do what I did.

I did a course of oral Prednisone after being in TSW for 3 1/2 years. Doing a course of oral Prednisone in year 3 of my topical steroid withdrawal undid nearly 3 1/2 years of healing! I would have never believed it possible if I hadn't experienced it myself. I had spoken to another person who tried Prednisone with no good results, but they didn't have the same setback as I did. I can only conclude that my major setback may be attributed to me doing a much stronger and longer course than that person. I'm pretty sure Dr. Rap has posted about this danger on his site, but didn't come across his info until it was too late.

Over the past couple years, up until last fall, my skin has been near normal for the most part. Still had residual spots in places that would come and go, itching only once or twice a day when sleeping. But, due to working way too much with my hands over the summer, spilling gasoline, heating oil, and other nasty stuff on them etc., by Fall they took a turn for the worse. I had also experienced an enormous amount of stress due to a personal problem about that same time period. Since my problem came from topical steroids, and I was in very late stage of healing, I felt that doing a short course of oral steroids would be worth trying. I didn't think it would do any harm. 

So, I did a course of Prednisone to try to knock this shit out of my system for good. I figured the worst that would happen would be a temporary relief followed by a reversion to the way my skin was before the course. Well, I got the relief I wanted, clear skin for a couple weeks. However, when I tapered off the Prednisone my skin not only reverted back to the way it was before taking it, but it didn't stop there. It kept going. And going. And going. My skin continued to deteriorate way beyond where it was, and within a few weeks my skin was having the same symptoms as it did when I first began TSW nearly 4 years ago. Symptoms that had cleared in the first 4 months of my TSW, like huge rashes all over the body in odd places, intense itching, sleepless nights, etc. But the worst one was the skin on my palms thinned so badly from the Prednisone that I experienced level 10 pain 24/7 for 4 straight months this winter. The only symptom that didn't come back was the very deep bone itching I had experienced my first time. I was so grateful for that because that was worse than any pain I can imagine.

This time around I had rashes break out in areas that never have before. The most problematic one being on both heels. By the time my hands healed up, my heels started cracking open and I found myself unable to stand or walk without pain. Geez! And I thought the hands was the worst place to get TSW symptoms! Uh uh. The heels are just as bad. The two parts of our bodies we put pressure on numerous times a day, the hands and the feet. This shit is manageable anywhere else on my body for me. But not the hands and feet!

Fast forward to today and my skin is about 80% better than a couple months ago, the pain in my hands finally completely disappeared a couple weeks ago, and my heels are healed enough where they aren't cracked open and give me little problem other than itching around my ankles. They don't appear to have healed as much as my hands in these pictures, but no pain, itching almost gone, and on their way to healing up.

I truly feel that the healing is mostly from "time". However, as I've said many times, do we want to spend that "time" in serious pain, or in relative comfort? For some, like myself who has used a super potent topical steroid in excess for years, complete healing via TSW can take up to 7 years. But, I've seen many people heal in a few months to a year or two. These are usually people who used less potent TS, and not as much, or as long. Of course there are many other variables.

Since my last post I have learned much. Way too much to relate in one post. I'll cover some of it in my next post. I just wanted to get this warning out to anyone who is considering doing what I did, as I am sure most do consider it. See pictures below (especially see right thumb and forefinger - compare top pics dated 2/21/17 to bottom pics dated 6/15/17).

Why so much healing in just a month and a half? Mainly "time" I think. I probably prolonged some pain by not doing DSS baths sooner than I did. I got so damn sick of doing Dead Sea salt baths that first year that I didn't start actively managing my symptoms until early May. What a difference dss baths and sun exposure, combined with "time" makes! I should have started back on the baths in January ugh! I did try a couple different moisturizers on & off on both the feet and the thumbs and forefingers where the skin was extremely layered and built up. However, once again I found that all they do is keep my skin moist, which causes pain. And, they also cause me a hell of a lot of itching that I can certainly do without.

NOTE: I accidentally deleted all past images on my blog a couple months ago. I still have them on my desktop files, so if anyone feels a need to see old images to match old posts, just let me know and I'll try and dig them up. I'll try not to delete new images I post going forward.

UPDATE: I took a couple of photos of my thumb and forefinger to show how much improvement to date. See dates on left side of pictures. The two new pictures are at the bottom dated 7/2/17. Feet, hands, arms, are all drastically improved as well but just don't feel like taking a full set of pictures today. Will update those at a later date. Once I got everything straightened out I stopped doing dss baths and am only getting sun exposure daily. No moisturizers or anything else. I did take one quick shower, but no soap. Haven't touched a bar of soap in 3 years now. Don't intend to for at least two full years AFTER I'm 100% healed.