October 31, 2014

Topical Steroid Withdrawal | Eighth Month Update

(picture: tumblr)

Everything was going so well when I was away in the Maritimes, but still, I didn't want to get my hopes up and believe I was healed, since I knew a lot of people going through TSW experienced an awful flare around the 9th month. I consider myself very lucky to have had it really bad in the first months but to have improved quickly after that, and to have enjoyed such a long break - long enough to almost think I was healed! I always feel silly for complaining when I experience a flare since I know some people are currently having it harder than me (even though I have been there too), but it's just so heartbreaking when you thought it was all over... 

As soon as I came back from my roadtrip, I experienced what I wanted to be thought was some kind of allergic reaction, and not a proper flare... but an allergy to what? I was coming home, where nothing had changed... For a bit less than two weeks, there was red, irritated and itchy patches of raised skin on my face, and my left eye was swollen. My lips kept getting worse, first simply dry and chapped (which I thought was because of a new toothpaste I started using with SLS in it), but then it started oozing and cracking in the corners again, and the skin peeled off, revealing fresh and deep red skin underneath. After a few days, the oozing subsided, but the skin kept peeling, so much that it was very painful to open my mouth even just to smile! My lips were still very dry and cracked - so much that sometimes they would bleed! - until the end of October. I also experienced itch on my hands, arms and thighs, where tiny bumps appeared. I really want to believe this was all due to stress and too much partying in such a short amount of time, since my skin calmed down in under two weeks.

I have been showering and bathing with water only for a few months now, and since my skin was doing well, I thought I would re-introduce a mild soap - the mildest I had was Dr. Bronner's Unscented Baby-Mild Castile Bar Soap. The first days, it stung a bit, and I thought this would subside, but it didn't, so after about three days, I went back to water only, and I might stick to it for the rest of my life since my skin have never felt better, even prior to TSW! I will probably devote an entire article about this later. I try to bath more than I shower since I really feel like sea salt, baking soda and oatmeal are helping my skin.

I have been sleeping a lot! I go to bed at 12:00 and I wake up at noon! Usually, when I go to bed at 12:00, I would wake up at around 10:00... but it sems that no matter how much sleep I get, I'm still constantly tired and lethargic. I really hope this is due to my return to Quebec and wanting to do too much in such little time (seeing friends, partying, too much alcohol...)

Aside from this flare or allergic reaction, the only real problem on my body is still my nipples, which have not improved since June. Both of them have been raw, irritated, itchy and constantly oozing. I tried applying Fucidin(topical antibiotic) on them when I got back home in case they could be infected, but this doesn't seem to have changed anything. I am currently giving Lanolin a try too, although I really believe in letting them do their own thing. I still have to cover them with a dressing pad, since the oozing stains my bra or worse, my nipples stick to it! They always seem to start to get more dry and crusty and less oozy, but one week later, they seem to have gone back to square one.

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