I had a bad day (March 27th) for my lips and my fingers which…

I had a bad day (March 27th) for my lips and my fingers which are arguably the worst parts to have messed up (besides the knees which I am not currently dealing with but for those who are, I have felt your pain and I’d say knees and fingers are the highest ranking worst spots because they both limit life so much (I would imagine feet fall in this category as well, and genitals are probably in a category all their own)).

My lips have been doing so well up until this peely mess started happening. My lips are actually very red here (if you compare to past pictures of my lips you will see that my lips are usually much paler). They burned and stung really badly, as if I had been eating incredibly salty food. I think maybe the fact that I mostly drink water with lemon in it might have something to do with the way my lips got (plus the sudden 45 degree weather after a day of 85 degree weather-thanks Florida!) but generally I think it was just a cyclical thing of skin healing. The part where my lips meet was super smooth, unlike how they normally are, so I take it as a strange healing process. Anyway, they’re better now, not in such pain, but still flaky.

My fingers had been pretty great up until  this day where I got really itchy, scratched them like crazy, and ended up right where I had been before, or so it seems. I tried to take a picture to show all the little yellow vesicles but I’m not sure they are very visible. I really, really hate having my fingers messed up. It makes me feel so useless. I do like not having to moisturize though; now I’m not getting everything all greased-up and disgusting like before. One of the pictures shows the huge difference in my now two-thirds-normal finger and the rest of them. They’re all swollen constantly (compare the knuckles). Anyway, my fingers are not back to how they had been before I scratched them BUT they are already much better than they were in these pictures. That’s pretty fast, and it’s nice reassurance that I need not be so discouraged when things like this happen.

My wrists weren’t bothering me so much here and as of today I only have a few tiny little sores and the rest is just rough skin. It’s pink but it’s barely broken and that’s wonderful. My arms and inner elbows are doing better too! Still rashy skin that is flat and rough but not inflamed (and the color is pink like my wrists). My skin overall is getting a little tougher. My method of “scratch and ignore” is a tactic that seems to be working for me. Let’s face it-we have to scratch. Let yourself have the scratch but then ‘put your skin away’ by covering it up somehow, ignore your skin for as long as you can and try to put it all out of your mind. I think we actually can have our cake and eat it too. You’re going to heal.

I was able to wash the dishes by wearing two sets of gloves and quite frankly, that is a big feat for me! The fact that I even felt comfortable enough to put gloves on was amazing and after doing the dishes I felt so accomplished, ha ha. It’s great to be able to do something to make myself feel like I’m not totally useless after all.

Anyway, I suppose my updates are going to become less frequent if this process is going steadily.

Hello to everyone. I wish you all good days and great strength to get through the bad ones. I hope you can find methods that work for you and little victories that make you happy. I’m rooting for all of you and I’m right here if you want to vent or just want to talk about anything at all. Love for everyone. Keep up the fight.

via tumblr http://ift.tt/1ojQ9Uk published on March 31, 2014 at 09:00PM

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This is what opened spots look like the next day! It hurts a bit…

This is what opened spots look like the next day! It hurts a bit to bend my wrists but no big deal. I feel like it’s all healing quickly already which is honestly all I can really ask for (I’m happy with this). So for those of you wanting to attempt moisturizer withdrawal, this is a message that you don’t have to worry about using any of the witch hazel and other methods. Do them if you want to and you think it will help, of course-all I’m saying is that you will probably heal pretty quickly by yourself if you can manage to leave it alone (that was difficult). I just kept a paper towel with me the rest of the night and blotted the spots every now and then. I know that when I opened up those spots I immediately wanted to take a dss bath but I couldn’t at the time, and then I ended up not wanting/needing one. I am 6 months into TSW though, so I figure it should be this way for me at this point. For others who are having a stronger rebound or are just starting into their TSW and MW these methods for control and comfort will probably be more important. 

I’m going to make a post that shows what my skin was like before I decided to stop steroids because I stopped at a time where my skin was mostly under control and I think that might’ve made a difference in how my rebound was this time around. When I first went through TSW, the rashes spread throughout my body pretty quickly, whereas this time around it has managed to stay in my upper body and it already seems to be getting better. Of course, there’s always a possibility that I could experience flares but it just seems like this withdrawal period is not going to be like last time. I was almost sure it was going to be worse when I stopped taking steroids because by that time I had been slathering strong steroids on pretty much my whole body for over a year. But when I stopped taking steroids I had already been tapering down how often I used it, and the spots that fought the steroids the most caused me to look up info which led me to itsan. When I showed my doctor the info with intent to quit steroids he asked me how often I was using the creams and told me that using a couple times a week for the rest of my life would be fine. (Even if that was the case, who wants to be dependent on that for the rest of their life? I went into this withdrawal with the idea that I could potentially be cured and not have to use steroids ever again and I figured I had endured the pain before and it would be worth it to give it a shot and see what happens. If it doesn’t work out, that’s fine, I’ll admit to the doctor that I was wrong and follow his orders. But I already feel better than I did when I was still using the steroids. I can heal all on my own pretty well, no steroids necessary.)

via tumblr http://ift.tt/1gn5YFu published on March 22, 2014 at 03:32PM

I apologize if my posts spam your reader – I have no idea why there seems to be six+ duplicates of one post. Sorry!

Scratchfest Today!

I had a scratchfest when I got home today and ripped up my wrists. 😦  I’m a little upset with myself, but surprisingly I don’t feel too bad about it. They barely oozed and I patted the spots with a paper towel and they dried up, so that’s something on the positive side. Any time I take my long sleeves and/or wrist warmers off, I get compelled to scratch. I think I’m just going to live in my clothes for a while. Ignore my skin altogether. Seriously, every time I go to check my inner elbows I’ll say, “It’s doing better,” and then somehow I end up scratching it intensely and have to say “Whoops, never mind.”

Tried to take some pictures to show how scratching affected the rest of my arms – mostly creating really dry skin or raising and reddening the rashy skin.  

Once I finally got myself to stop scratching and preoccupied myself with taking and uploading pictures, things calmed down. I wonder if there’s a trigger that causes my scratchfests or if it really is just because I took off my sweater and wrist warmers.

Do any of you take antihistamines when you get too itchy? I sometimes take them for some relief if I can even get any, but I don’t actually have allergies. I read somewhere that itchiness is not only related to histamines but I didn’t read that far into it.

Finally downloaded some of the pictures I took along the process when I had a hiatus from blogging my progress, so I’ll be uploading those shortly.

Day 15 of Moisturizer Withdrawal, by the way. At this point I want to say that I am done with moisturizer withdrawal symptoms and am now dealing strictly with steroid withdrawal, but I’m still going to monitor my symptoms that seem to be related to mw. 

via tumblr http://ift.tt/1hPBlFj published on March 21, 2014 at 04:32PM

Days 12 and 13 of Moisturizer Withdrawal This my right arm after…

Days 12 and 13 of Moisturizer Withdrawal

This my right arm after a dead sea salt bath. I rubbed the insides of my fingers for a bit yesterday, causing some oozing, which prompted me to take a dss bath. I hadn’t taken one in a few days. Since my fingers were the only part with slightly broken skin, I only used 3 cups instead of my usual 4. These top pictures are the result. That is my right arm, which I did scratch a little while in the bath. The dss baths bring the redness out, that’s for sure. The picture is taken while I was finishing my bath. The other pictures  are immediately after drying off. I thought it did a good job showing that most of the arm is covered in patchy rashes, even though lately they end up very close to skin color, making it hard to discern that the patches are even there.

The dryness/flakiness is on its way out! I do still have dry skin, and the majority of the affected areas are still rough, but it feels much nicer. And my wrists are lovely! Barely any scabs or cuts at all. I’m in shock. I don’t remember what this was like. The deep skin split on my index finger has finally healed shut! Seeing these improvements is a fantastic feeling.

The other night I dreamt that I accidentally moisturized, and I was so upset. This makes me realize that I have a sort of paranoia going along with this, and I need to cut it out. I’ve been improving so steadily that somehow I got this idea in my head that this is going to cure me. Thankfully this realization has made me take a step back to remember that moisturizer withdrawal is only going to help me be more comfortable through the process while I heal from tsw, not a cure. The ‘cure’ is steroid withdrawal and either way I’m going to heal. We don’t know that mw even actually speeds up the healing process, but it certainly does make the process that much easier to deal with, and as I’ve said before, I’ve found so much more comfort in this that I’d be okay if I’d have to stay like this. So I should really calm down with the worrying (it can’t be helping me at all anyway).

Here is my skin today, day 13 of moisturizer withdrawal (middle of month 6 of steroid withdrawal).

right arm today!

left arm

wrists view 1

wrists view 2

eyelids

lips

You can see that the texture of my skin is still rash-like, but now it is barely flaky and mostly blending with skintone. I kept touching my face all day because most of it felt so nice and soft, I was in disbelief. I still kind of am. I check the mirrors every now and again to see if my skin has regressed. I need to calm down with this, ha ha. The other day I was in Whole Foods with my roommate (who has acne problems) and she was asking me which toner I use. I explained to her that I use no products whatsoever and never have, except for moisturizers. She told me that I am lucky I have such great skin and I had to laugh at how ironic that is. We’ve all got some problem, eh?

There’s something about lifting your sleeve to check on your skin that makes it so compelling to scratch… I think I’m just going to stop checking on my skin when I don’t need to. Blech.

Hope you’re all doing alright and that some good times greet you all soon. Spoil yourselves!

via tumblr http://ift.tt/1j83c4s published on March 19, 2014 at 05:58PM

Day 10 of Moisturizer Withdrawal Mostly only dealing with…

Day 10 of Moisturizer Withdrawal

Mostly only dealing with dryness and flakiness (and all-around rough skin). By Friday night my lips were not dry, and I have to say that this is the most important thing to me. In all my years I don’t think I ever thought I’d be able to live without vaseline or some other moisturizer to rub on my lips (in high school some girl tried to be mean to me by saying that it looked like my lips were going to fall off my face-it didn’t hurt because, well, she wasn’t wrong). When starting moisturizer withdrawal it was the incredibly dry, flaky lips that really got to me, but I decided to stick through it. On Friday night, celebrating my roommate’s birthday with incredibly flaky eyes but normal-looking lips (the skin around them is still rough/dry), I felt great. I think that the lips looking normal is more important in not looking so strange but I’m not sure why. (Maybe because it’s a focal point when people are talking?) I don’t know. All I’m saying is that even with my flaky eyes, I didn’t feel strange-looking or uncomfortable with my appearance at all. A little confidence goes a long way, it seems.

My lips have stayed on the better side so far, for which I am thankful. My skin is dry and rough all around, but not uncomfortable. As you can see, my wrist-wounds have healed and are now scabbed over. I have scratched at myself a little bit, being very careful not to open up the wounds again. Wearing the gloves and long sleeves is incredibly helpful. My fingers, which have been one of the itchiest places for me throughout my tsw, are healing pretty nicely and aren’t too itchy anymore. I can’t remember the last time my fingers were free of cuts. Every single crease in my fingers used to be cut open, and now I’ve only got A SINGLE SKIN SPLIT in my index finger, which has been painful but seems to be healing successfully. Aside from the little breaks I take to scratch, things are going extremely well. I’m not nearly as itchy as I had been prior to stopping moisturizers. And there’s barely any redness going on! My skin gets red when I’m in the dead sea salts bath, but once I dry the color evens out again. I was able to go out and not take my purse! I was able to go out without my moisturizers-my ‘security blanket.’ I feel free, and I hope this lasts. I feel so much more comfortable, that I can honestly say that if my eczema was never to go away, I’d still be okay living like this. This is doable. Hopefully through tsw I will continue to heal and be cured like we’ve been guaranteed. Either way, I feel so strong. I’ve gone through so much; I went through hell, and I never for a second imagined that my body could get me through it all on its own. I always thought my body was causing the problems! With steroids I’d been fighting my body instead of letting it do the fighting it needed to do. I’m so happy that I now have the support of my friends and family. My mom told me that I was going to cure myself. She may have just said that to make me feel better but I think she’s right. I’m so grateful for the information that people have put out there about eczema, steroid-induced eczema and the like. The healing process isn’t easy for anyone but knowing it’s a process we can get through makes it that much easier to bear. 

via tumblr http://ift.tt/1p1nsGK published on March 16, 2014 at 05:00PM

Day 8 of Moisturizer Withdrawal This is my skin right after a…


A comparison of my fingers to my one good finger. The deep split in my index finger is the only thing that’s really bothering me because any slight bend hurts.

Day 8 of Moisturizer Withdrawal

This is my skin right after a dead sea salt bath that followed a scratchfest. I accidentally opened up some of the more raw spots I had on my wrists, so now I’ve taken a few steps back. I’ve come to realize that doing this doesn’t mean I’ve prolonged my healing process, rather, it is a part of the healing process. Look at everyone’s journeys and they too have times where their skin seems to regress, but then they get through that and heal again. So don’t fret when you feel like you’ve gone back! Don’t be afraid to scratch that itch. Even when you royally screw up your skin, the healing’s going to come. You’ll get to have your cake and eat it too.

I should mention that before the bath, my lips were not flaky at all and my eyelids were barely flaky. Actually, I wasn’t very flaky anywhere. Baths dry out the skin. My face and neck are tight right now. In a few hours my extremely dry, flaky fingers are going to be much less so, if it continues working the way it has in the last few days. I’m hoping the spots on my wrists heal over soon or at least refrain from itching or hurting. Wearing the wrist warmers is very helpful, I must say.

My arms are actually mostly all rashed skin. The worst parts stay red, and the other parts get pinkish or closer to skin tone color but don’t be fooled-none of it is normal skin. It is all just varying degrees of rash.

I didn’t bother to edit any of these photos and the lighting in my bathroom is kind of yellowed and dim, but I think these photos are good enough.

Anyway, even with my scratchfest putting me back a bit, I still think it’s going to get better quickly and I’m still being optimistic. Before my bath, the parts that are wounds (mainly my wrists and the split on my index finger) oozed a tiny little bit, but nothing like they did before. And I was able to scratch areas that were not broken and they did not open no matter how hard I scratched. I think that’s definitely worth it when considering whether or not to start moisturizer withdrawal.

via tumblr http://ift.tt/1p1nsqe published on March 14, 2014 at 02:56PM