Sunday, June 30, 2013

Bad Times

Not sure I have the energy to keep blogging - looking back I see nothing but depressing posts - but after looking at other warrior posts, I guess this is the worst of times.  It seems the first 4-6 months are the absolute worst.  That makes sense.  But I guess I wasn't expecting things to progressively worsen throughout this whole time.  I was status quo for a little while, but the past month has just brought me back down to where I was emotionally in the beginning.  I was doing OK but for some reason this week just weakened me emotionally - especially the last 3 days.  Last night I broke down crying again - the pain seems to never end.  My skin was just burning all over and I went to take a salt bath - just kept burning.  When I went to rinse off, it burned even worse - something it has not done in the past.  But then again we were staying over night at a hotel while visiting family in another city.  At home here we have well water.  I think the city water that is treated with chemicals caused the worsening burning of my skin.  Oh well - another bad day - but I guess one more day closer to healing right?

Friday, June 28, 2013

Holy Fat! And Things I CANNOT Wait For!!

I have to laugh at myself - a mirror does not do justice to the amount of fat I have accumulated over the past year or so - getting worse with topical steroid addiction and then going through withdrawal - have barely exercised.  So when I asked my daughter to take a picture of my back and looked at it, I laughed (better than crying I suppose).  I could not get over how fat I have become!  Ah well, in time I will have the energy to exercise and get rid of it!  :)  So please do not mind the fat in the pictures below!!! :)

As for what I cannot wait for, I have a very long are a few:

I cannot wait: walk and move without pain somewhere. wear shorts and short sleeved shirts. wear makeup. take a shower! not think about my skin 90% of the time. snuggle with my hubby again. play with our dog. have energy to do normal things in life. enjoy the hot summer days! enjoy going out during the winter and not have the cold wind burn my skin. go to work and not have anyone remark about my skin or ask me if I am contagious. not cry so often. play with my kids without getting agitated or exhausted.

That is my list for today....there are so many things I cannot wait to do!  I also wanted to mention the picture that covers the top of my blog.  That is the view from where we plan to build our home in Kentucky.  It is our dream!  We have almost 70 acres there and we plan to have a small farm.  We can't move and build until I can go back to work.  So I put that picture there for myself - to remind myself that there is a really good thing waiting for me at the end of this journey.

Off to go try to organize some shelves now.  Here are a few pics of my recent spreading.

The lighting toned out the red a bit, but you can see my arms are red right up to my armpits.  Then the redness goes from the back of my neck down and from my flanks inward.  A month ago I had only the back of my neck and a few small patches on my shoulders along with a few small patches on my L flank.  

The back of my knees that have been spreading for months - initially I had a few sores right at the crease.  Now it continues to spread up and down from the crease.  It is a reddish purple color.  And then there are the sores and vesicles on my lower legs - I have more on the front of my shins, so I am getting worried about my legs going from bad to worse soon. 

My face is still very red, but no more oozing - just SUPER dry all over.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Desert dry skin today and ? oil in hair!

I feel like my skin is sitting out in the desert and hasn't had any water in weeks!  It is sooooo dry!  I went from being red swollen and oozing to one big dry patch!  I have some oozing here and there but it is very localized to a few areas.  I have been sweating more than usual for the past week - I still only sweat under my breasts....however I think I may be sweating here and there on my neck - a good sign.  I also noticed I had slightly oily hair yesterday - I last washed it a week ago.  That is good news too given I went 2 weeks in month 2 or 3 without washing my hair and no one could tell because it wasn't oily.  Small changes, but progress none the less. 

Another thing hit me yesterday reading through more blogs on TSW - I think I am a slow burner as someone suggested.  I did not turn red all over in the first month like many red skinners.  I started with a red neck and red patches on my arms and face.  Looking back on pictures I notice how my arms progressively became fully red.  It continues to spread ever so slowly all over - first with little vesicles, then open sores, then small red patches (or blotchiness), and then full redness.  My lower legs are breaking out with vesicles.  My upper legs have sores and small patches.  My back and abdomen have growing larger patches of redness.  It all itches and burns.  Not to mention the other areas that have been red are still red and burning and itching. I think I have to prepare myself for the long haul here and possibly with no big break.  I am just going by other people's experience, but the more I read, the more I am afraid this is the direction I am heading into.  I just wish the older areas would clear up before new areas break open.  Oh well....just have to deal with what comes my way. 

Now that I have more of my brain back I am making plans for the future.  I really want to do more to help others with this.  We have plans to move to another state as soon as I get well enough to work.  I want to find a dermatologist in that new state who would be willing to listen and to become a supporter of TSW.  I also am thinking about going back to school for my masters or doctorate in nursing.  High hopes but gives me something to focus on other than my skin! 

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Life goes on.....but sometimes I wish it would stop!

I wish I could hit a pause button for life right now.  Can't I pause everything around me until this TSW is over with?  That's a nice thought, but unfortunately life doesn't work that way.  Life goes on no matter what we are going through.  Even if we are going through something else that is difficult in life like financial strain, kids out of control, divorce, other illness, etc.  Life continues on around us.  And when we find ourselves in a dark place we wish life would just stop so we can catch up, breathe deep, collect ourselves, or get better.  Then we can hit play again and join in with life's regularly scheduled programs. 

Today I so desperately wanted to hit the pause button!  I went grocery shopping 2 days ago but forgot a few important items - like paper towels.  With 3 kids, paper towels are a must! We ran out late last night.  Hubby is working 60 hours a week so I do not have to work full time.  So I could not ask him to go get some before work this morning.  I had a bad night - barely slept because of extreme itching again.  I knew that if I didn't force myself to go to the store as soon as I rolled out of bed, I wouldn't go at all.  The nearest grocery store is 20 minutes away - so off we all went literally as soon as I rolled out of bed.  I went through the self scanner as I did not exfoliate my face and it was all red, dry, and peeling.  My hair was up and a mess.  Ahhhh.....the joys of not being able to hit pause!!

My biggest problem with this whole TSW thing is how it affects my kids.  I homeschool them and I try to keep them active in activities like going to museums, parks, and gymnastics.  Cross all those off the list for the last 4.5 months....except the park - in which I have taken them 2 or 3 times this year.  We haven't even gone to church lately.  Even though I have more energy, my skin is so much worse and my pain seems like it just keeps increasing.  I feel so bad for my kids....they see me in so much misery and pain.  I wish I could get up and put a smile on my face no matter how I feel so they do not have to see all this.  But I can't.  I'm not that strong. 

Today is just another bad day - hopefully I will have another good couple of days in 3 weeks when I am due for another 4-5 day break from the flaring.  But I just do not know what is going to happen.  Maybe I will get a BIG break or maybe none at all.  All I know is I am gearing up for the weekend.  We have a few big things planned and hopefully I can manage. 

Monday, June 24, 2013

Flare Pics

Just wanted to post a few more pics between yesterday and today with my increasing flare....again for my own account....going back on my blog helps me to gauge my progress.

This picture shows how bizarre TSW can be - the palm of my hand is baby skin smooth and white.  And the rest is gnarly red elephant skin.

Me and my ice pack are BFF's again!

The left arm all torn up.

My right arm with its extra wrinkly skin on the wrist.

This is a great picture showing the difference between my "normal" skin tone and my red skin.  Here I placed my arm on my thigh in the only area where it is very clear (has a few sores between the shin and the upper thigh).  Not sure my leg will be like this much longer given how it is spreading on my legs.  

Picking out the Fuzz & Not doing well...

A serious problem for us oozers...many of us cannot tolerate anything except 100% cotton.  We also wear long sleeves to cover the messy arms.  My problem is the new t-shirts I bought - they are 100% cotton but have small amounts of lint that like to imbed in my open areas and solidify with the dried ooze.  It is nasty and really bothers me for some reason.  I have to pick out the fuzz - causing the sore to open up and then put Vaseline over it - but once the Vaseline dissipates, the lint gathers back in. 

I guess I am just having one of those BAD days where EVERYTHING is bothering me!  I am still more functional that the first 3 months, but my skin is worse in many continues to spread on my legs and abdomen.  The blotchy areas are coming together to form large red areas.  My arms were like this in the very beginning and have stayed red and painful all these months.  I cannot imagine dealing with even more areas.  I know others have it so much worse - some have it on nearly 100% of their body for long periods of time.  It is hard to say what percentage is covered on me - my arms are red from shoulder to wrist - the entire arm!  My shoulders to my chest are becoming more blotchy - but still all red or pink - there are no clear areas of skin.  My breasts and abdomen have blotchy areas throughout.  I have the back of my neck to the back of my shoulders all red.  My flanks have large areas covered.  The remainder of my back (middle to low) are blotchy with small patches here and there.  My face is all covered.  My groin is blotchy as are my upper thighs.  The back of my knees are not solid red in huge circles - spreading up and down the backs of my legs.  The front of my knees and lower legs have a few sores.  My feet are completely clear.  My hands were clear but now 3 fingers have large areas, and it continues to spread.  My butt is now getting a few sores.  If I go by burn surface area percentage graphs (like I would for my job if a burn victim came in), I would be 50% burned.  That is giving only a small percentage to the blotchy areas. 

Again, I know so many others are worse off.  I guess my good days were such a change from previous good days, I was hoping I would get a big break.  This flare is just as bad and in many ways worse than the others.  My flares last for 3.5 weeks and then I get a 4-5 day break from the pain.  I guess because my face went from being dry all over to oozing and swelling, it just seems so much worse.  My arms went back to the skin ripping open with light rubbing pressure.  The bad ooze smell is back and making me nauseated.  My ring finger is 1/3 covered in dry crusty redness - looks like I might have to take off my ring until it gets better.  The spreading of it all is so depressing!  The difference from 2 days ago to today is huge!  I am cold all the time again - I was freezing at the grocery store today with my long sleeve shirt on.  People were looking at me weird because it was 90 degrees out today!  I keep reading others' blogs and reading at the point when they were at the 4-5 month mark.  I know I shouldn't compare - I wrote a post about this in the beginning.  But unfortunately it is a bad comparison - hoping to get to that 6 month mark when many get a big break.  If I don't get that break, I am afraid of where I will be mentally.  I say that now, but in a day or 2 I might be more upbeat regardless of where I am in this healing.  My emotions have definitely evened out in the past I said a day or so ago, I have not cried in a week or 2.  For the first 3 months I cried multiple times each week....about every 2-3 days at least.  I feel I am close to crying today.  I don't want to.  I don't want to return to that dark place in my head.  I just want to be able to ignore my skin, my pain, the smell, and what not and get on with my day.  But my days revolve around my skin still.  I HATE that! 

Sorry for the downer, but this is my story - my journey and I need to record it exactly as it is.  Not holding back on anything.  I can't.  I have to be able to help others get through this.  The reality is this SUCKS ROCKS!  It is depressing and debilitating.  But I will admit, it has made me a stronger person already.  It is even making me a better mom in many ways.  I look at what I have been able to accomplish going through this and I know I will be able to take on the world when this is all said and done! 

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Changes keep on coming....

It never ceases to amaze me how this TSW plays out - out things can change rapidly while other things stay the exact same for months.  Last night the pain returned - no where near as bad as it has been - just pins and needles in various places plus a little restless leg syndrome going on.  Slept well last night but woke up this morning itching up a storm!  Broke up new areas on my forearms - weeping again.  And now my face is super itchy and weeping in many new places like above my lips.  It burns and hurts.  My forearms have swelled again as well.  My legs are getting super itchy in many areas with red bumps popping up - looks like I am in for a spreading flare.  But here is what amazes me - my arms have been bad from the beginning - I was looking back on my blog and I can see the redness spreading through the weeks - I now have what I call red sleeves.  My breasts and abdomen have been splotchy - red only in the break out areas - that changed as well to being red all over like my arms.  My neck and top of chest are now splotchy.  My inner arms where the break outs were the worst in the beginning are now almost all smooth...same with the creases behind my knees.  Yet the break out and redness is spreading up and down my leg from the back of knee area.  I know this is just the TSW working its way through the body, but it is aggravating not knowing what is next.  Will my face, abdomen, and legs flare for months on end like my neck arms and chest did?  Why is my neck and upper chest calming down but not my forearms? 

Good things I have noticed: 

...This morning I woke up with a sweaty back!  I hope this is good news!!!  I wasn't drenched in sweat or anything - but my shirt was damp. 

...While looking back on my blog I read about how I was crying frequently because of the pain.  I have not cried in the past 2 weeks at least!  I could say it is maybe due to handling this better, but in all honesty I think the pain has significantly decreased...maybe my nerves are healing!  That would be good. 

...Not having to wear an ice pack around my neck 24/7 is a nice break! 

....No more shakes - haven't had the shakes in weeks - the uncontrollable shakes that were persistent in the beginning are now gone.

...Agitation and anger levels are WAY down.  For so long in the beginning I could not focus on more than 1 thing at a time.  If I was on the phone and one of my kids started talking to me, I would lose it - it was like nails on a chalkboard - I was hypersensitive to sounds/noise and sometimes even smells.  I would become instantly agitated.  I have not had that in about 2 weeks as well. 

...Able to tolerate the outdoors longer than 30 seconds.  I can now spend about 10 minutes outside before the heat/sun/wind start aggravating my skin.  This is nice!  I would go out to get the mail and by the time I got back to the house I would be burning and itching severely. 

I am so glad I started this blog - wish I would have from the beginning but I was way too out of it during the first 3 months.  I am glad I can go back and remember some of the bad symptoms that are now getting better.  During TSW, things can be stagnant for so long that it is hard to focus on anything positive (or even think of anything positive).  But writing it down and then going back, I can see changes and that allows me to be more positive and have hope. 

Saturday, June 22, 2013

So long break.....hello flare :(

My break lasted a glorious 4 days!  Started flaring at work yesterday and thought it was just work.  Nope. Woke up red and swollen again.  Yippee.  But with that bad news comes a little bit of good news.  I have yet to have any pain like before so I am thinking the swelling is not as bad right now.  Also the itching is bad like it has been, but I am not breaking open the skin like before when I scratch.  The few areas that are broken open do ooze, so that is discouraging, but the ooze is not as much.  Overall I am happy with my progress.  While my break did not last as long as I had hoped, my skin is becoming stronger.  My energy levels are stable - still very low, but better than the first 3 months.  I am confident that my new approach - a multi-faceted approach is helping my healing.  The diet, juicing, supplements, herbal balms, and adrenal support are all part of allowing the body to best heal.  Again, this is MY own personal approach.  I still believe people will heal no matter what they eat or don't eat during TSW, but I firmly believe the body can heal faster if given the appropriate amount of nutrients and support AND taking away things that will tax the body (like sugar and processed foods).  I base my approach on science, not some pseudo-science or alternative theory.  I took many science courses in college including organic chemistry.  I also took anatomy, microbiology, physiology, and nutrition.  Based on those courses plus many other books I have read since college written by doctors and other well educated people, I know diet plays a key role in the health and well being of our bodies.  All anyone has to do is look at the epidemic of heart disease and diabetes in this country and know without a doubt that diet affects our bodies significantly.

OK, enough about that.  Here are some pictures from this morning.  My skin is very red although my camera still whites out a lot of the redness in some areas.  You can see I have less open areas but the small areas of clear skin I saw on my arms during my break are back to being all red.  My neck is my biggest improvement thus far (except the back of my neck).  I still had to grab my ice pack over night and a little bit today, but I can take it off and sit without another one for about 30-60 minutes.  My face is still red and SUPER dry.  A bit painful today, but not as bad as it has been in the past.  Hope everyone is having a good skin day!

You can go HERE to compare from the last pictures I posted.  Today I am 2 days past 18 weeks into TSW.  

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Blessed Sleep and Another GOOD day! was so nice to sleep!!!  I took Benadryl and passed out around 1 am.  I did not get up until 10:30 am - woke up once when hubby got up for work, but not once did I wake up to itch or scratch!!  How wonderful!!  Getting some much needed work done today!  I have more energy and it is an overall very good day for my skin - super dry and scaly, but very little to no itch, light pink in color, not breaking open any skin with minor scratching, no swelling!!  I was able to sleep on my left side again as my left arm swelling is gone!  I only had a slight amount of pain behind my left knee.  It was just super dry and needed some balm.  It feels so good, that I might even take a shower instead of a bath!!!  WOW!!  That would be wonderful!  My skin still has the elephant hide look to it - wrinkly and loose.  Upping my water intake but doesn't seem to make a difference.  I think my skin just doesn't have the oil production yet nor a good barrier. 

Keeping it short as I have a lot to get done today with feeling so good!  :)

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Itch, Itch, Itch, and 3 Hours of Sleep!

Another night of constant severe itching!!!!  It drove me bonkers because by 4 am I was beyond exhausted - I would fall asleep for all of 15-20 minutes, wake up again itching like mad.  I had to get up early for specific errands that needed to be done so I got all of 3 hours of sleep if that.  I would have gotten 1-2 more hours if I was able to take Benadryl, but hubby was away for yesterday and today so I don't like to medicate myself for sleep when I am home alone with the kids.  It is just a safety thing for me. 

BUT, the awesome, amazing news is NO BROKEN SKIN!!  I itched liked mad, scratched all over, but no new open areas - I think I scratched one or two scabs in my sleep causing a little bit of blood, but that is all!!!  I cannot believe the difference in my skin!!!  It still looks dark pink, light red, has scratch marks and lichened skin, and of course flakes of dead skin everywhere.  But it feels better in so many areas - except for the ITCH!  Ugh, I cannot believe how maddening it is!  Even though I know it is a good sign, there is only so much one can take!  I am hoping for 1-2 days of a break without the intense itch - that would be sooooo lovely!  I know I am going to flare again - maybe in a few days, maybe not.  Maybe I will luck out and not flare for another few weeks, like some TSW warriors at around this stage. 

I cannot believe I have made it 4 months already!  It will be exactly 18 weeks tomorrow!  WOW!  I am feeling significantly better mentally and fatigue wise since I started the strict no gluten, no sugar, no dairy diet.  The juicing is going well too.  My next addition is exercise.  I am in desperate need of exercise!  I plan to start walking soon in the mornings.  Maybe a little yoga in the evenings.  Nothing fancy or strict.  Just want to get moving again - something that will also help my adrenals.  The fatigue really took its toll on me the first 3 months - I tried walking but couldn't do it.  It was too much being outside - whether hot, warm, or cold, the air on my skin was unbearable for too long.  We live on a small mountain - big hill, so we get a good breeze most days.  NOT good for my skin - it burned too much.  Today I took a stroll to the back of our property to check on the strawberries.  I took my jacket off and let my arms get all of 5 minutes of sun.  It didn't bother me at all!  The air, the breeze, the warmth - it all felt OK. 

I keep meaning to get to all my TSW warrior blogs - but with so little sleep I am off to nap.  I am determined to get my blog up to date with all warrior blogs and to see how everyone is doing!   Also, cannot take pics until tomorrow as hubby has the camera.  Hopefully my break continues so I can capture this great moment! 

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Something is going on here!!!

Between yesterday and today - there is something definitely changing inside me.  I woke up again multiple times last night itching - but little skin came off.  This morning my skin is pinkish - more red than pink, but definitely less red than ever.  I also woke up with little pain except some in my neck.  The back of my knees have been especially painful this past month - but this morning I got out of bed and noticed I had no pain bending my knees.  I have had a few breaks like this as I mentioned in previous posts- they last about 4-5 days before I flare again.  But there is something very different about this break.

First I am itching really really bad!  A deep bone drying itch.  Had remarkably less itching with my other breaks.  Also when I scratch my skin is no longer sloughing off like it has this whole 4 months.

Second, I had about the same energy as always with my other breaks.  Slept about the same too.  This time, I am falling over I am so tired.  I felt a lift in energy when I started back with the vitamins - and I only need 2 or 3 days to get my energy levels back to what they were.  But last night I slept about 7 hours - woke up, laid on the couch but couldn't keep my eyes open - went back to bed and slept for 3.5 more hours!!  I know I have had broken sleep these past few days but with previous broken sleep I only needed a 1-2 hour catnap to catch up.  Sleeping almost 4 more hours is craziness!

And Third, my face is significantly less dry!  It has been bone dry all these months - red too, but no real excoriation or itching too much.  It has been in a steady red dry state but today I had no pain moving my face or talking.  The dry patches are clearing up.  I did not have this with other breaks.

Oh, and fourth, the redness on my arms is not only less red, but it is now splotchy - there are actual clear skin areas on my arms!!! I never had this with other breaks - I always had redness everywhere on my arms. To see normal colored skin even in small areas on my arms is amazing!!!

All I can say is this is a nice break! I will take the excessive tiredness over pain!  I am still not feeling up to par with anything.  I am still using ice on my neck - while it is more clear than ever, I have a few areas that burn and itch, and the ice is the only thing that helps.  Also I am still having a hard time getting my body temperature controlled - mostly too cold.  I had a break from that for a while but it came back quite a few weeks ago.  Was really bad last night - was freezing most of yesterday and all night.  Very uncomfortable.  I also still have what I call brain fog.  Still not able to focus on much.  I have been an avid reader since I was a young child.  But since starting TSW, I have not been able to read - I am still on the same book from 4 months ago - can't focus enough to read.  I try but can't get through 2 -3 pages without wondering what I just read and still need to go back and re-read.  Craziness!  I can read a standard mystery novel in 2-3 days.  Something like "inferno" would take me about a week, but can't get past the first few chapters.  Oh well, hope that comes back soon!!!

Have a good evening everyone!!

Monday, June 17, 2013

Purple Power Juice, Dry to the Bone, and Itch Fest!

Today we tried the purple power juice - red cabbage, beet, cucumber, carrot, apple, lemon, celery and spinach.  Doesn't sound good I know, but for some reason the exact amount of each from the recipe makes it blend together so it actually tastes good!  Not great, but good enough to sip down without feeling nauseated!  The cabbage is what makes this juice powerful indeed - lots of power in the GI tract!  UGH!  But over all I am pleased with the juicing - especially since I bought a new juicer that makes the juicing go much quicker!!!  My other juicer was a masticating one that took only small pieces and took a long time to juice.  Not to mention all the cutting!! 

Today I have a bit more energy now that I am back on the vitamins.  I think I will continue with them until I can juice more (2-3 times per day) but right now I only have the energy to juice once a day.  Hopefully in a few days my energy will be back to what it was before I stopped my vitamins.

Last night was awful!  I had the biggest itch fest ever!  It started late evening and I was able to fall asleep around 1 am with Benadryl.  Then I woke up at 3 am itching like mad - fell asleep around 4-4:30, back up at 6am itching like mad again - fell asleep at 7am and woke up after 10am.  It was by far the worst - I have woken up, scratched a few times and fell back to sleep.  But this was the very very deep itch - the one that cannot be sated with rubbing.  Luckily I cut my nails yesterday or I fear the damage would have been so much worse.  I woke up though with skin that had only a few new scratches.  My skin is so much less red today with barely any swelling!  No pain except in just a few areas.  Hopefully this is a 4-5 day break - it is much needed! 

The only major issue today is my face - it is soooooo dry and flaky and tight!  I can barely move it or talk without pain.  It is the only part of me with swelling right now.  It is not as red as before.  But the dryness is deep and painful.  It doesn't itch much which I am happy for.  Now I just have to bring myself to get the nerve up to exfoliate it with a washcloth and put some salve on it.  It is painful to do, but at the end it feels significantly better.  I just can't bring myself to bring on more pain when it is so painful already.  I will give myself a deadline and just get it done! 

Well off to get some work done now that I have a bit more energy! 

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Near crippling fatigue

Last week when I worked, I did fairly well the next day - a little more tired than normal but was able to function quite well.  Yesterday I worked again (another 12 hour shift in the ER) and today I can barely move - it is as if my muscles were pure jello.  Moving is difficult and trying to think is near impossible.  Writing this is hard.  I am forcing myself to think because I need to figure this out.  The last time I felt this way was the first few months of TSW.  I gained significant energy when I started taking vitamins and supplements.  When I stopped them one time the fatigue came roaring back.  Well I stopped them only a few days ago when I started juicing.  I figured the vitamins in the veggies I was drinking would make up for the supplements.  I think I am wrong.  I think my body needs the extra vitamins.  Especially my adrenal glands - in order to heal and work properly again, the adrenal glands need extra vitamin B's and C.  When I was taking the vitamins, my urine would be bright yellow from the excess B's my body didn't utilize.  Well, my urine hasn't turned bright yellow with the juicing.  So today I am going back to the supplements AND the juicing - hopefully the vitamins give me enough energy later today to juice.  I am so fatigued I only made a few goals for today - change my sheets, juice, and get 5 more cases done (for my at home job).  Typically I do 10-15 cases per day but today I am aiming low do to how I feel. 

Surprising my skin is not so bad - getting my monthly will cause it to be in a major flare, and it was, but today my neck is nearly clear and my arms are not as red and itchy.  Maybe another 4-5 day break approaching?  I would get a 4-5 day break from the major flare a few days after my monthly started.  This is only day 2, so maybe I am going back to my previous pattern. That would be nice!  :) 

Well that is all for now.  Too tired to go on.  Hope everyone else is having a good skin day!!

Friday, June 14, 2013

Oh My Goodness!!!!!!!!!!!

I don't write 2 posts in one day, but this is deserving.  I just completed my last post and was re-reading it.  Something dawned on me!! I had to go back to the calendar and sure enough I am entering month 5, not month 4!!  I do not know how I have been counting wrong, but apparently my brain is still not working at top level!  Not sure if I am happy about this or saddened - thinking I would be getting a break sometime around month 4 and now that it has past and I am still in a near constant flare, well I am a bit depressed the more I think about it.  I was hoping I went through a near withdrawal 7 years ago when I went from using prescription creams to occasional over the counter hydrocortisone (mixed in with other creams).  I had a terrible 2-3 years.  I then had a good few years but went back to using more and more of the hydrocortisone.  I was hoping my withdrawal wouldn't have been so bad considering I thought I had withdrawn from the higher strengths, but oh well.  It may be I am in for a long haul here.  I have read some people go more than a year with no break at all.  I have also come across a lot of people who get a break around month 4.  So I was hoping....not to say I can't get a break in month 5 or 6 or 7.  But with 30+ years of use, my withdrawal is not going to be on the lighter side.

With all that said, I am happy to know I have made it 4 months through this horid thing!  I am 1/3 of the way done with a year!  My goal is to be able to enjoy next summer!!!  This summer is out for sure!  I get attacked by bugs the instant I step outside - maybe the ooze attracts them?  Either way, I already knew this summer was going to be a dud, so no disappointment there!  I just hope I can kick up to 2 days a week of work by month 6.

Month 4 Begins!! And Juicing!!

Today marks the beginning of month 4 - I threw away all my creams on February 14th of this year after coming across Kline's story.  Looking back, I can see improvements - although not in my skin.  Pictures of my skin initially showed some redness, a lot of excoriation all over, and dryness with oozing and redness mostly on my neck and chest.  Now I am red all over minus my mid thigh area, lower legs, and backside.  Everything else is red, red, red.  I am going through an almost constant flare since the beginning except for 3 breaks where I had 4-5 days of less itching and pain.  I feel I am still very swollen - especially my arms.  I ooze anytime I scratch and no matter where I scratch, my skin breaks open (except in the noted clear areas above).  I have noticed a few spots on my lower legs recently so this thing is still spreading.  

I have yet  to sweat or develop oil on my head - I go days without washing my hair and it never gets oily.  I still have a hard time maintaining a good temperature - I am either too hot or too cold.  I still cry at least once a week - all out crying over the pain, not able to work or do much of anything.  So where are these improvements?  

They are emotional and physical.  Emotionally I am able to deal with this more knowing I have come this far. I now view my days of crying as pitty parties whereas before I felt entitled to be so upset as to cry so hard.  I am not as short with my kids as I was initially - they have been my support along with my husband - doing pretty much all work around the house.  They let me take naps and play quietly until I wake up.  One of my kids told me I wasn't so frustrated as I have been.  As for physically - I noticed a recent change in my pain - I have more intense pain at times but getting into the tub has been much less painful this past week alone - even with all the scratching I have been doing.  Overall though I see my outlook on life improving - I am trying new things like juicing.  And I have returned to work one day a week - that day is hard but it gives me a sense of purpose and gives me something to compare how I am doing.  

As for juicing - I have always wanted to do a juice fast - especially when I was hell bent on finding a cure to this "eczema" before I learned about TSW.  But I never had the time or energy.  I now have the time, and a little bit of energy.  I have been taking lots of vitamins and supplements these past few months and noticed an increase in energy when I maximized them and started an all natural diet.  The only thing is I hate taking pills - even vitamins - they are not natural.  So I picked up on juicing again and did a lot of research - I found a great website with free juicing recipes - and they are mostly vegetables with a little bit of fruit to compliment the veggies.  I have tried some bad recipes in the past here and there - but the first recipe I tried today was very easy to drink.  It had cucumbers, romaine lettuce, spinach, celery, lemon, berries, and oranges in it.  All my kids tried it and everyone but the youngest liked it.  See how yummy it looks.......

I know it looks gross, but it tasted pretty good (especially considering I hate spinach)

I am prepared for a whole week of juicing!

I plan to juice 2 times per day - eat eggs for breakfast and then meat and veggies for dinner.  Us TSW warriors need a lot of protein for cell repair and generation.  So I plan to give my body as much as possible to help it heal as quickly as possible.  :)

Thursday, June 13, 2013

For the Ladies Only!

Not that men cannot read this - but I am warning you, it has to do with female only issues - something men just cannot understand as you do not have THOSE parts.  :)

So, ladies, I am now entering month 4 (tomorrow) and this will be my 4th period with TSW.  I was starting to get much worse with the skin breakout spreading to the last places that have remained clear.  The last few days have been rough with my skin....such intense itching!  And the pain!  Normally I only take Tylenol and ibuprofen at bedtime so I can sleep better - yesterday I took it in the morning and again today I feel like I may need it during the day.  This morning my skin is swollen and weeping like mad!  It is so gross - it is always gross, just more gross than normal!  I was getting frustrated - but now I think I get it.  I went to the bathroom a few minutes ago and lo and behold I am spotting  - something I typically do a few days before my actual period starts.  I have been bad at keeping track of my periods lately but it seems this one is coming early.  My period has been coming around the 20th-22nd of each month if I recall correctly.  But I have had times where it came every 3 weeks for many months - crazy! 

Anyway my whole point is I have had this consistent history every month with TSW - I start to PMS, and within 24 hours my skin starts to flare worse than normal - more intense itching, more swelling, more oozing.  It goes from a bad flare to a REALLY bad flare and lasts until the second day of my period.  The first 2 months I would get a few better days and when my period is ending I would get a 4-5 day break in most itching and pain and oozing before I would flare again - that would last until my next period.  Last month after my period, I remained in a bad flare and did not get my break until about 10 days after my period ended.  Now I am in a really bad flare again, ready to start my period.  I am dreading the end of it - hoping for a break but after last month I am afraid of having this bad of a flare for 2 weeks!  But it is obvious to me my hormones have something to do with the intensity of my flares...they don't cause them or anything, but they do affect them. 

Just wondering if they affect anyone else's flares/skin. 

Wednesday, June 12, 2013


Frustration is nothing new here.  Living with this almost constant flare is just plain frustrating and agonizing.  I am trying to do more as I see my husband getting tired from doing more than he should.  I am finally getting all the dishes done and am getting other simple tasks done that I have barely done the last 4 months.  I just wish I could work full time again.  Hubby is working overtime just to keeps up with the bills.  I was fortunate to have 5 years off when the kids were much younger.  I have always wanted to stay home.  But hubby asked me to go back to work when he saw the economy tanking and decided we needed to change some things in our life (like purchasing land and starting a small farm).  We bought the land but have yet to move there to start our farm.  We were supposed to go this summer but this TSW has kept us from going.  The money we saved for moving and for putting a house on our land was used initially to compensate for me not working.  So now we have to save all over again.  And we can't start saving until I go back to work.  More frustration!!  Oh well, the way we see it, God has a plan for everything, so we just need to be patient. 

My skin is so flippin itchy!!!  I have broken open my skin on my forearms and wrists again - hopefully the balms will heal them again.  They are oozing along with the other areas I have scratched - my flanks, abdomen, chest, back, groin, and back of knees.  I cannot stand that ooze smell!!  It is making me nauseated!!  My left arm is thankful not itchy and not swollen - just dry like my face.  Thinking the goldenseal balm really helped given my left arm has been swollen since month 2 I believe.  And considering I am still flaring all over, it is amazing that my left arm is not swollen.  And funny now that I think of it, it is not itchy in the areas where I put the goldenseal balm.  Hmmm....maybe I will test the waters with that one on one of my forearms where the itch is intense.  Getting ready for my evening bath soon, so I will follow up tomorrow with this.

Looking over my pictures again, I am still amazed at how much better my neck looks.  My arms are no different.  Yesterday my neck still felt awful, but today I was able to go a few hours here and there without any ice.  What a nice relief! 

Well I am off to do some of my at home computer work - I make more than 1/2 of what I was making, but it brings in something!  :)  Hope everyone is having a good skin day!  If not, remember that it will get better!!

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Changes or Coincidence?

So many things with TSW is deemed coincidental - especially with what one thinks sets off a flare.  I have been doing an experiment on my arms the past 4 days with the new herbal salves I researched and purchased.  I saw an improvement within 2 days with the Injury-Heal balm.  Not only were the areas I gouged my arm up healing, but I was getting significant pain only in the areas where I put that specific balm on.  It was at least 3-4 times worse than my typical pain I deal with.  It is a deep pain - I am beginning to wonder if it is nerves healing.

Currently I am at week 17 (in 2 days that is) and will officially be done with month 3 on the 14th!  Hoping month 4 is not any worse, maybe some more noticeable healing to come?

I have put the Injury-Heal balm on my left wrist and behind left knee.  I started adding it to troubled spots the past 2 days - like a sore on my right breast and my neck - I can say the sore on my breast is completely healed in just 2 days and my neck is looking much better.  Again coincidence?  Not thinking it is due to the healing on my wrist/forearm being significant in 2 days while my neck continued to flare and now my neck is feeling better when other places continue to remain the same.  It doesn't take away the redness and it doesn't take away the edema.  Right now it is just healing the surface scratches - that I can tell.  Now the Comfrey balm I am putting on my right wrist and behind my right knee.  No significant difference there.  But I am planning to keep at this for 2 weeks given these things take time to work.

On my face I put what is called Baby balm.  It is soothing, but doesn't seem to help.  The pictures below show my face about where it has been - just very dry and tight.  It doesn't itch too much and I don't have too much pain on my face - a good thing!

Now for the Goldenseal balm - this I bought for infections as goldenseal has antimicrobial properties.  I put that on my left upper arm where I have a lot of pain, swelling, and constant itch for the past few months consistently. I don't think it is infected, but the fact that it is by far the worse area on my body I figured I would try it.

The last balm is my simple balm - just olive oil and beeswax.

Please do not mind the pictures - I was having a hard time getting the exposure and lighting just right to show the redness.

Here are my balms

Left wrist 2 days ago

Left wrist today - redness is actually the same - just taken in 2 different lighting areas.  This is blurry but the scratches on right side are definitely more healed.

Right wrist 2 days ago

Right arm today - again the redness is actually the same and I didn't take the exact same shot - but looking at my wrist tonight and looking at the picture - there is a little change in the scratched area right below where the redness starts - that is looking more healed today.  

This was taken 2 weeks ago

This is from today and I see a big difference in my neck - however it feels the same as 2 weeks ago!  Can't go a minute without my ice!

Back of my neck 2 weeks ago

Back of neck today - again looks better but for some reason it still hurts and itches like it did 2 weeks ago.  

Face 2 weeks ago

Face today - I notice it looks similar - but the scratched areas are healing.  This is typical of how my scratches heal - they take forever - which is why I was excited to see the quick healing on my left wrist. 

Just a shot of the back of my left arm - very swollen and much more red than the picture depicts.  

And this is my face - it has been like this nearly from the beginning - just super dry and flaky - red (but not as red as my arms) and thankfully not very painful.  

Monday, June 10, 2013

1 week Diet Update

It has been one week since I drastically changed my diet.  I started the first phase of The Maker's Diet.  No wheat or any grains, no sugar, no dairy products, no fruit except grapefruit, berries, and cherries.  This first phase lasts for 2 weeks.  Second phase will include some fermented dairy and more fruit and corn.  Again, that will last 2 weeks.  Then the standard diet - all natural foods the way God intended them to be eaten.

Any differences?  Not in my skin, but I was expecting changes in my skin any time soon.  But I have had significant more energy this week than any other time during my nearly 4 months into topical steroid withdrawal.  I have accomplished more chores, gone out more, and overall feel much better.  Now I started the diet about 3 days or so into one of my "breaks"....a 4-5 day period of time I get about once a month where I feel much less pain, have less itch, and less reddening.  My flare returned and it is by far one of the worst times for my skin...more red, more pain, and definitely more itching.  I have not gone the past 4 days without ice - not even during the night.  Last month I was flaring bad on my arms, chest, and back, but my neck was not so bad and I barely used the ice - but now, I am back to a bad neck flare and need ice every minute!  I also have a bad flare in more areas than before - the redness seems to keep spreading without any clearing in the areas it started.  Right now I have a constant flare with my arms from wrist to armpit, all around my neck, upper back, lower back, chest, abdomen, upper legs, behind knees, and groin.  The only clear areas right now are my lower legs and feet, my hands (except a few fingers), my middle back, my bum, and my scalp.  I am thankful for these clear areas, especially given my previous TSW with a full body withdrawal....and I remember my scalp being so very bad.  I am also right now having worse body temperature control. Everyone around me is hot with the warmer weather, but I am over dressed and freezing.  This also went away last month, so for it to return is a bit discouraging, but I know is part of the process.

Good news is I am losing some weight - I have about 40 pounds total to lose - and this week alone I am down 5 pounds.  I will be incorporating walking for exercise in once my skin gets to a point where it can tolerate a little over heating (aka basically when I start sweating - which I have yet to do except in 2 small areas).

Other things I am doing:  I started with herbal salves for my skin 2 days ago.  Again not expecting any changes anytime soon, but will be documenting my skin every week to see if there is any consistent change.  The salves do not last as long on my skin for being able to move with less pain, but they feel better on my skin than the vaseline.

I am also going to start juicing.  I do not plan to do a juice fast anytime soon, but that is in the future.  Right now I just plan to add more greens to my diet and healthy juice to bring in more nutrients and vitamins my skin needs.

Again, I am not looking for any miracles, or whatnot.  Nor do I believe any specific food group causes the flares to be worse or better.  I just believe in providing my body with as many nutrients as possible to achieve optimal healing.  I also believe in not over taxing our bodies to have to use excessive energy processing processed foods when that energy can best be used in healing my skin.

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Bad Flare and Herbal Salves

Well, my flare continued to get worse last night and this morning.  I actually had my shirt stuck to my skin - OUCH!  I jumped in the tub and upon getting out, put on some of my new salve I got in the mail yesterday.  I only tried 2 of them and only in a few small select areas - had to make sure I had no reaction.  I then put on the simple salve - with only beeswax and olive oil - on the rest of my body instead of vaseline.  The good news is I was pain free and itch free for 2 hours!  But after 2 hours my skin started to tingle and then itch and then flare.  Within another 2 hours I was scratching like mad!  I get this with the vaseline as well.  But considering I did not have any reactions, I will continue with my new salves and simple salve to see how my skin progresses with these.

These are my new salves!  They all smell so wonderful!  The dream balm is to use right before sleep - apply a little to the temples and it has a very nice calming effect to help go to sleep.  Doesn't help with the itching, but it helped some with my nightly anxiety.  

My left wrist this morning - the flash seems to take out some of the redness as my skin looks much redder than this.  

My right wrist - will post pictures once a week or so to see if there is any difference.  I doubt there will be any significant changes, but again, I am taking a multi-system all natural approach to healing at this point.  

Saturday, June 8, 2013

And just when I thought things were not so bad....

My recent flare a few days ago started off as a normal flare -but not as bad as previous ones.  Until last night.  It was as if someone flipped a switch and everything intensified immensely!  The pain was almost unbearable - worst it has been yet!  I couldn't touch my skin anywhere without searing burning pain.  I freaked of course and was a crying mess!  It lasted for hours.  I also had intense chills - felt so cold.  It then dawned on me that I may have an infection brewing - I worked Thursday and it was a crazy day in the ER.  I am faithful with washing my hands but I caught myself absentmindedly scratching throughout the day.  Being exposed to so many germs at a hospital is one reason I made the decision to quit working full time.  So I then went to the cupboard and started on colloidal silver - a known antibacterial and antiviral.  Today the pain is significantly less - back to tolerable levels.  But my skin is much worse - scratched a little and could not believe the damage!  I am doing my best to not scratch at all - but even rubbing will take off lots of skin and cause me to bleed.  Cannot go a minute without my ice!  Hoping to feel better in a day or so - back to work on Monday.  Not sure I will be able to handle it. Oh well.

Good news is my herbal salves arrive in the mail today - looking forward to trying them.  Going to try 2 of them - one on the right side of my body and the other on the left.  Will then only use in 2 areas - the wrist and behind the knees.  Just want to se if there is any difference after 2 weeks of use.  Will keep you all posted!

Friday, June 7, 2013

Red, red, red!

Boy, I have been very very red the last 2 days!  Even my kids are telling me my face looks much more red than normal.  Lots of pain - seems more nerve pain than anything.  I woke up early this morning and couldn't fall asleep so I hopped into the tub before the itching got to be uncontrollable.  It was a nice change from my normal torture....the burning was much less being I went most of the night not scratching.  I have a pretty good sleep regimen since about week 4 or 5.  I take 2 Benadryl about an hour before I want to go to sleep.  It takes about an hour for the Benadryl to "kick in" causing me enough drowsiness to fall asleep.  Just before falling asleep I take 600-800 mg Ibuprofen with 1000mg Tylenol.  For whatever reason this works wonders for me.  If I just take the Benadryl I will be awake by 4 am itching and in pain.  If I take the pain meds at the same time as the Benadryl, I will be awake by 6am.  But if I take them as above (an hour after the Benadryl) I sleep til 7 am.  I know that ibuprofen helps relieve both pain and inflammation.  Tylenol helps with pain - even nerve pain.  They can be safely taken at the same time.  I however am careful to only take them at bedtime as they can affect the liver and kidneys - and those organs are taxed along with the rest of the body through TSW.  I have only taken them during the day 3 times in the past 3 months during the most agonizing times. 

My energy levels are still pretty high - went shopping today at 3 different stores with the kids.  I had to skip our favorite Barnes and Nobles as the pain in my neck was too much and I didn't have my alternative to ice - Neosporin with pain relief.  LOVE this stuff!  Kills the burning and pain instantly.  But like all medications - only to be used sparingly - so I use it when I cannot get to the ice.  Anyway, going to try some Yoga this evening.  Hoping to start getting in some exercise now that I a having more energy!  But I can't do anything that will cause too much sweating - not at that point yet where I am sweating normally.

Hope all is having a good day! 

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Comparisons and Energy Levels

First off, I want to touch on the subject of comparing ourselves to others going through topical steroid withdrawal.  I believe it is both beneficial and detrimental - depending on how we view what is going on.  If one tries to compare themselves to someone who used for approximately the same amount of time and similar strengths of steroid cream, and they are expecting the same results, this can be detrimental.  Not everyone is going to take the exact same path.  But if we use the information from others to educate ourselves and realize some of the symptoms the other person has are some we may have to endure, then this can be helpful.  I have read others blogs and gone back to their 3-4 month period of TSW.  I find that some have similar symptoms while others are in a completely different place.  I compare myself and then use that information to help me prepare for either something worse or maybe even something better.  This helps my mental state more than anything.  In the beginning I would compare and then get depressed thinking of what lied ahead.  But I no longer get depressed.  Some people get breaks in between flares and others are in a constant flare for months on end.  There is no way to know where you will be at a certain place in time.  My motto: prepare for the worst and hope for the best.  :)

Next, my energy levels the last 3 days have been phenomenal!  Of course they are no where near what I am used to in my "real life", but hey, compared to being completely drained and not being able to do simple tasks, I will take this!  The increase in energy is not correlating with my 4-5 period of good days - They started on the last day but my energy continued even though I have been in a major flare over the past few days.  To top it all off I worked 12 hours yesterday and expected to be completely drained today (like the other 3 times I worked this month).  But to my surprise, I still have a high level of energy!  Very weird and bizarre.  Diet related given we are 5 days into our all natural diet?  Not sure....only time will tell.  By the way, I am also 100% caffeine free!  A huge crutch of mine - 3-4 cups per day for years - sometimes more.  But caffeine is a huge tax on the adrenals. So I cut it out completely!  Maybe that has helped my energy?  Who knows.

Hope you are all having a decent day - if not, hang in there!  This too shall pass.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Trying something new....

I remember years ago trying to find something, ANYTHING that would help with my "eczema".  I spent hundreds, probably thousands of dollars on all sorts of creams, herbs, treatments, etc.  Only to find myself going back to the steroid creams over and over and asking for something stronger. 

Now, I am looking for anything that may help this process along.  Seeing others heal at 17, 20, 24 months, etc. makes me feel somewhat discouraged.  Do not get me wrong, I am ecstatic about having a "cure".  I just wish the cure did not take so long!  I know the skin is in a huge state of healing in multiple layers.  The adrenal glands are dysfunctional.  My liver enzymes are elevated (and I am sure others are too).  The fatigue is almost too much at times.  So I understand why it takes so long to heal.  I am though not convinced that diet does not play a role in the healing process like others think.  I think the more natural, organic nutrients you provide your body, the more resources it has to heal.  And also the less detrimental food you eat, the more energy the body can free up to help the healing process.  Like I mentioned before, I am now on a very strict diet - only 3 days in so I will not elaborate on any good or bad effects yet - I think a synopsis once a week will suffice. 

But I am now looking into herbs that help heal the skin.  Here is what I learned:

Chamomile is excellent for healing the skin - it has antibacterial properties and anti inflammatory properties. You can rub a salve on your skin or drink tea.  I decided on the tea as I am trying other salves (see below).  Just bought my tea today - chamomile with lemon.  This will be great as lemon helps detoxify the liver - something I know I need. 

Aloe Vera: this helps tissue regeneration and penetrates deep into the skin.  Not going to try this yet, but it is on my list of things to try. 

Comfrey: Helps to heal and regenerate the skin quickly.  Use as a salve or a tea.  I read somewhere that ingesting too much comfrey is toxic.  So I plan to use tis as a salve only. 

Calendula: Many web sites promote this as the number one herb to have for skin healing.  Can be taken as a salve or internally. 

Today I purchased a few salves from an online store - the salves are a combination of some of the above and a few other things.  I bought a beeswax and olive oil salve today at the health food store and applied it on my skin to make sure I had no reaction to the base ingredients in the salves I ordered.  I actually really like this basic salve - it feels good on my dry skin for a few hours.  If any of you want to see what I ordered here is the website page for the salves:

I am not promoting them for any reason other than I liked their website and what they offer.  Plus the prices are very reasonable! 

My advice is to not bankrupt yourself, but do try a few things.  I know that looking into these things help to keep my mind off the pain and itch.  I am determined to try a multi-source approach to healing in order to help others in the future.  I know that regardless of what I do, I will still heal.  But if I can diminish my suffering in any way, it will be way worth it!  My goal is to get back to working full time in order to live our dream! 

Monday, June 3, 2013

My own personal torture chamber...

That would be my bath tub!  I have read about other topical steroid withdrawal people loving their time in the tub.  They talk about how they look forward to bath time every day.  For me it is the opposite.  I force myself in the tub every other day.  Showers are a definite no-no.  I took one shower in the last 4 months - it was on a good day and I LOVED it - but I have yet to have another day like that where water would not sting my skin. 

Getting in the tub requires a lot of momentum and produces tons of anxiety for me.  There are days where I just can't bring myself to get in.  I know it is good for me....2 cups of dead sea salt will help to bring in minerals to my body and the anti-bacterial effects of salt are essential for all the open areas on my skin.  But gosh darn it, it BURNS and STINGS.  My arms especially are really torn up and burn the worse.  I wish there was a way for it to not feel so bad.  I have tried staying in longer than 10 minutes, thinking over time the burning would go down, but for some reason with me, it does not. 

The past 2 times I added coconut oil in - just a few teaspoons - it still stings, but my skin feels so much softer after getting out.  Plus I do not have to use as much Vaseline on my skin.  Putting coconut oil directly on my skin right now doesn't work - it causes significant itching for some reason.

So find what works for you....but remember, our skin needs hydration and something to soothe it.  My next thing to try is a little aloe vera on my skin that is not so broken, but just dry.   

Sunday, June 2, 2013

And the healthy food reigns!

Today marks the beginning of our all natural eating - with no cheating at all for at least 4-6 weeks.  I am trying to see if eating drastically better helps with my symptoms.  My withdrawal from the topical steroids has been pretty consistent so far.  Currently I am in a break period - these last for only 5-7 days max, but I am extremely grateful to have them.  I worked yesterday and that sort of increased the itching and swelling a bit, but my skin still feels better than it did last week by miles!  My breaks do not include any clearing of the skin - just a diminishing of the itch and redness and swelling.  I am praying that by eating all natural foods, I will decrease substances in my body that add to inflammation, therefore decreasing the severity of my withdrawal symptoms.  Of course there is the possibility of what I call a cleansing reaction instead - where I will actually get worse because my skin goes through a rapid healing phase because it has the nutrients it needs to heal the skin.  Either way, I think I will benefit greatly from this change.

So here is what we are doing - it is called the Maker's Diet - a 4-6 week plan of eating very specific foods.  The maintenance diet is similar to the Weston A. Price Foundation dietary guidelines.  The beginning focuses on eliminating certain foods in order to decrease insulin surges, inflammation, and infection.  The first 4 weeks are similar to paleo.  No dairy, wheat, or sugar.  The only natural sugar you can have is in strawberries, grapefruit, and cherries - something to do with the type of sugar in them does not cause inflammation like other fruit sugars,  Milk is a natural inflammatory product.  So all milk products are out.  What is left...all meats - organic only and beef is grass fed only beef.  No pork products.  Wild caught fish only.  No shellfish.  Organic eggs.  Fruit mentioned above,  Most vegetables except potatoes and corn.  Homemade salad dressing.  There are a few other things I think I am leaving out, but that about sums up the first 2 weeks.  The nest 2 weeks have you include a few more things like beans and a few more fruits and veggies.  By week 4 dairy and wheat can be introduced.  I will be taking our time with those foods though.  I will start off with homemade raw milk yogurt first and see how everyone handles it.  By then our taste buds will have gone back to a sense of normalcy.  Eating off the diet will not only cause GI problems, but may not taste as good as it once did.  We did this once before years ago and I couldn't eat bakery goods for awhile because they were way too sweet for my taste buds.  That changed over time, but I am hoping to go back to that time!

The kids are none too pleased to do this, but they know it is important not only for my health but for theirs as well.  I have 2 kids with athlete's foot - not bad, but it is a chronic issue for them.  I have one child with OCD tendencies.  They went away when we did this diet before, so I am looking forward to it helping her again.  And one child has an issue with stomach problems - again this went away last time in this special diet. Processed foods are just bad for us, regardless of what problems we may have.

So far today there has been little drama....2 of the kids complained about scrambled eggs.  They love ketchup with their eggs and ketchup is off limits.  Oh well!  I am sure there will be worse drama to come!  Once the detox from sugar starts, there will be extreme drama.  Day 3 I believe was the worst and it continued until about day 7 or 8 from what I remember.

I will do my best to chronicle any changes in my skin.  I know food does not directly cause specific flares according to Dr. Rapaport but I believe food has a lot to do with the overall healing process.