Friday, July 12, 2013

My first TSW withdrawal (sort of)

Back in 2005, I endured TSW without knowing it.  I had just given birth to our third child and my skin was a disaster.  I remember going to the dermatologist and trying different creams but coming to the conclusion that they didn't work anymore.  I was supposed to go back to work when she was a few months old but was unable to do so.  I was too sick - but didn't know why.  I remember crying day in and day out, barely able to care for our children while hubby was at work.  Back then he had to work 60 hours per week because we had just bought our first house based on me going back to work.  He did all the laundry, the cleaning, the dishes, and the grocery shopping.  I barely left the house for over a year.  I researched eczema like crazy.  My derm wanted me hospitalized for IV auto-immune drugs.  I said no.  That is when we decided to up and move from NY to AZ in hopes the weather would help.  Our baby was 18 months old when we moved.  After getting to AZ, I found a family doctor who discovered my liver enzymes were through the roof.  He wanted to send me to a specialist, but I refused and found milk thistle - a natural liver cleanser.  Within a week my skin started to clear and for the first time in years I finally slept through the night.  I thought I found "my cure".  During this whole time I was using a small amount of 1% hydrocortisone - I had made a mixture of nystantin, cortisone, and triple antibiotic cream that I used.  It barely helped and I used little of it.  But I was still using cortisone so I never went through a complete withdrawal.  But going from moderate to heavy steroid creams all the way down to 1% cortisone - well it was a big drop for my body.  For the next few years I used my mixture every few weeks - my skin would have flares, but was getting over all better.  We made drastic changes to our diet and I was exercising - I had dropped nearly 100 lbs and my skin and hair were glowing.

BUT then I went back to work in August of 2010 - I had a few slight areas of dryness and redness.  They escalated here and there and I started using straight 1% hydrocortisone instead of my mixture.  Then in 2011 it started spreading more and more.  By February 2012, I was in a constant state of flare on my face and arms and started gaining weight even though my exercise and eating habits changed only a little.  2012 was a very stressful year for us and I was working a lot.  I started using more and more steroid cream - but thankfully only the 1%.  My asthma returned and really started bothering me by fall time.  I was barely sleeping because of the itching and burning.  I was trying to get back to the really strict part of our diet but I was too exhausted to do all the work.

On February 14th I came across Kline's blog - his mom posted a FB post on the GAPS FB page.  I read the entire blog that day from beginning to end.  I was in tears - of happiness for finally knowing what I was going through, and of shear frustration that the derms pushed steroid creams on me and so many others throughout our lives.  I threw it all out - every single tube of eczema steroid cream!  I was scared, relieved, happy, mad, sad, and pissed off all at once!  I researched everything on that was on their website.  I was on fire about this.

Reality set in very quickly - I was hoping for a mild withdrawal given what I went through years ago.  But given I never stopped using the steroid creams completely for any great length of time, I have now determined I am in it for the long haul.  But I do have pictures to prove my skin will get better!!!  Below are pictures of me in 2010 when I had a few spots on my face and neck.  Otherwise I was mostly clear.  If I had only threw out the creams for good then!  Ahhhhh.....hindsight may be 20/20 but it sucks sometimes!  :)

This last one is actually from spring or summer of 2011 so my skin was doing pretty good even then (at least my face and neck).  

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