Sunday, January 26, 2014

Going against MW for my hands

I have been busy working....have had quite a few mini-flares on my arms, hands, and neck. No new areas...just the same old areas that keep being affected. No big deal given how I have my life back. BUT my hands flared on top of their already agitated selves. I was in agony last night when I got home from work...I have tried tea tree oil, apple cider vinegar, and some anti-bacterial concoction from my ND.  Nothing seems to help.  So I brought some gloves home from work that don't bother me, slathered my hands in organic vegetable shortening, and put the gloves on....wearing them all day.   All I know is today is the first day in months my hands did not hurt!!  I will do this for my 3 days off starting Tuesday and report back to you all! I tried the MW on my hands but I think washing them so much at work was defeating the no moisturizer effect. Somehow I think too much water is not good either. And right now not working is not an option.  So I have to find something to relieve the pain in my hands!  Good news is the rest of my skin is doing really well!


The gloves I am using - non-latex with no powder


Back of left hand already looking and feeling better.

17 comments:

  1. Oh my goodness, your poor hands. I hope that the vegetable shortening/glove combination continues to help and make you feel comfortable.

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    1. Thank you Stacey!! Will update my blog in a few minutes to let everyone know how it is going!

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  2. Tracy,

    I’ve been very tempted to do the same with my hands. They, my wrists, and my forearms are driving me batty. They’ve never not flared in my now 11+ months of TSW, but the flaring ratcheted up a few notches 2 weeks ago. Can’t say that I’m surprised, given that it was my hands and wrists that were most exposed to my 3-4 decades’ use of TS, but it sure is hard to tolerate that discomfort on my hands since I use them for so many tasks. For several months I’ve been doing well without moisturizing most of my body, but I’ve never been able to tolerate going without moisturizer on my hands--presumably because they’re exposed to water so often during the day, unlike the rest of my body. At home I frequently protect them with cotton gloves, but the gloves only relieve my hands’ discomfort marginally. When I leave the house I put disposable gloves on top of the cotton gloves to protect my hands from infection, which certainly accomplishes that objective, but eventually my hands start feeling itchy and irritated. So I’ve thought about ditching the cotton gloves altogether and just wearing the disposable gloves--both inside the house and out in public. However, I can’t seem to make myself do that because I’m concerned that as my hands (which are already full of open cuts) start sweating inside the gloves, my skin, especially where it’s open, will absorb the chemicals from the gloves, and no matter what material the gloves are made of, that just can’t be healthy. Even if I were to plaster my hands with some sort of moisture barrier (e.g., white palm shortening) before I don the gloves, I’m thinking that my hands would still absorb the chemicals from the gloves. I’m really and truly not criticizing you for your decision, please believe me! I’d love to go the same route, but I’m afraid. Given your medical background (which I don’t have), I’m wondering if you might be able to shed some light on this subject that would alleviate my fears. Am I needlessly worried that wet, open skin absorbs chemicals from disposable gloves? I’d really appreciate your thoughts!

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    1. Thank you for your comment - not sure about the chemicals in the gloves - I still do not sweat much and so far my hands have not felt sweaty with the gloves on for over 12 hours. I know that with everything we may choose to do, there may be consequences (like tanning may cause a higher chance of skin cancer). But in the end it boils down to what we need to do to get through this time. I don't plan on having to wear the gloves for extended periods of time - this week will be 3 days and then I work 3 days in a row. Next week will determine how well my hands did this week. We absorb chemicals day in and day out - in the air, water, and food, and even from our furniture to our clothes. We just need to be smart about it. Putting nitrile gloves on for a few weeks compared to an infection down the road and having to take powerful antibiotics - well it's a game of toss up. That is what I am doing and documenting it for the benefit of others. :)

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    2. Thanks so much for taking the time to write me back, Tracy! I realize how busy you are, so I appreciate all the more all your sacrifices to help the TSA/W cause! As for the disposable gloves question--to use or not to use--I certainly understand your point regarding the need to weigh the pros against the cons. I think I'll try using the gloves for limited periods--I'm getting pretty desperate! If I can get them calmed down, I'm hoping my wrists and forearms will naturally follow suit.

      By the way, I'm about to be tested for the MTHFR gene mutation. My naturopath ordered all the tests you recommended in addition to the test for the mutation. However, she requested that I stop all supplements containing B6, B12, folate/folic acid, and betaine (TMG) for one week prior to having my blood drawn. At my request, she placed her order for the tests at the Lab Corp facility nearest to my home. I will be paying less there than I would have at the lab my naturopath usually uses, and LC does test for the MTHFR mutation. Will share the results with you once they're back and have been interpreted by my ND.

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    3. Wow! So happy to hear! I was also tested at LabCorp as they were by far the cheapest in my area. I look forward to hearing about your results! As for the gloves - do what you think is best. I know it is never easy to make some of these decisions especially when we are in agony - making decisions seem so much harder for some reason! All I know is I have gone back to getting a lot done on my days off now with those gloves on!

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  3. Ow Tracy! Sorry to see you are suffering after doig so well. I think joey tried the gloves method and it helped her so hopefully you will be as right as rain in no time.

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    1. Thanks Louise!!! I am still doing really well overall! I have more energy and my skin everywhere else is really strong and healing. The hands are just my burden at the moment - but wearing the gloves has allowed me no pain and able to do soooo much more on my days off now! :)

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  4. I have to admit these comments are perplexing to me. I tried to go back to moisturizing my hands twice and both times lasted no more than a few hours before intense itching and tiny blisters set in. I couldn't handle it after a month of no moisturizing on my hands. Maybe my skin is more hypersensitive there than most, I don't know. I know someone else who experienced the same thing too. Maybe your skin isn't as hypersensitive now as it was earlier on in TSW and that's why you aren't having the same kind of reaction I did. I just can't imagine keeping my hands in a state of being raw and moist for a long period of time after what I experienced in my first two months of TSW and moisturizing with multiple skin splits not healing and always sore. But if it had worked for me I probably would have done the same thing. Again, I wonder if it's because you are further into TSW and your skin isn't as hypersensitive now.

    Although this may work for some, my concerns would be delaying the healing for seemingly forever by doing it. I think I would quit my job and file for disability before putting my hands through that, but I understand everyone's situation is different and we have to do what we think is best for ourselves. That's a tough situation Tracy, the kind of work you are in while having this crap on your hands. It has got to be so miserable. I feel your pain. I guess worse things could happen to us eh? Stay strong and Godspeed in your healing.

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    1. Thanks Dan! I think you are right - my skin is not reacting to the moisture like it did in the beginning. My hands are soft and went a bit backwards with working yesterday but man they are healing nice! So it is hard to say if it will help others in certain stages. I also think I was doing significant harm with all the washing - nothing I can do about that. So I had to find a way to set into motion some healing. I thought it was because my hands were infected - but all the antibacterial things I was doing was not helping. So now it is a matter of providing a lipid barrier so the skin can heal underneath. I view this in the way a blister forms and the skin underneath heals - in a way I am providing my damaged skin with 2 layers of a blister - the lipid layer and the glove layer. I know the skin of a blister is tough - not sure if it allows the skin under it to "breathe". All I know is when I tried the cotton gloves my hands failed to heal at all. So just doing my typical experimentation!! :)

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  5. I too have extreme eczema on my hands and feet................I have considered stopping the steroid creams and will do so as of today........My problem is the infection......I have been on antibiotics every 6 weeks since May 2013 just went on another round yesterday. I have a rash like eczema on my legs and up my arms. I have tried gloves nitrile ones but they keep too much moisture in my skin thus developing the dreaded blisters......I feel so hopeless constant burning and itchiness. I did go on disability in 2006 but had to fight tooth and nail to get it. I was allergic to metals, b12 shot, cobalt stainless steel etc... all the stuff in my workplace. Thank you for this group and hoping to get some good advise here.

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    1. sickoftheitch, if you have the right gloves I think you can get away with not moisturizing your hands at all, and that is what you need to heal the most, so going forward you don’t end up with them always being broken open from the skin being kept weak. After a few weeks of not moisturizing them the skin will toughen up quite a bit so skin breaks will be a rarity. But regardless if you choose to moisturize or not, here is what you need for your hands.

      For gloves, this is what you want here. They are very thin, fit much better than the cheap Cara brand ones, and will shrink when washed so don’t let the size scare you. When I have to wear them I literally change them at least 20 times a day always keeping my hands protected from outside elements, especially water. When I want to use my hands for things like dishes etc I put x-large disposable vinyl gloves over them. These are the ones (see item number 130603214676 on eBay) I buy and always buy them in the x-large size. My hands are small for a man so again, don’t let the sizes I’m giving you fool you. I hope this helps. Your hands won't sweat wearing the cotton gloves but will when wearing both, so I limit how long I wear both as much as possible.

      Oh, and if wearing gloves a lot (which you need to do), be very careful to wash them well with very little detergent (chemical free detergent) and add a few drops of tea tree oil to the water. Wash on double rinse cycle and dry in dryer on medium to high heat. You don’t want to aggravate the skin on your hands by wearing gloves that have detergent still in them. And when wearing them practically 24/7 you want them clean as a whistle and completely free of any chemicals whatsoever. Hope someone finds this info useful I have posted this on a different blog quite awhile ago but the blogger never did publish it.

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    2. Inability to deal with toxins is a classic symptom of the MTHFR gene mutation. It might be worth it to ask your doctor to be tested. Dealing with having to go off steroids is a hard decision after seeing so many of us suffer. However the alternative is not attractive either. So I would suggest reading as much as you can about TSW and how everyone has coped and try to come up with a game plan to help you through the more difficult months.

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    3. I have stopped the creams only problem now is extreme swelling on my forearms redness, hot to the touch etc.... a bit worried about the edema in my arms. I am also on an antibiotic for infection 2 days to finish a 10 day regiment The arms are sore to the sore never had anything like this happen. thank you for the replies

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  6. seriously needing to know if this red hot fluid filled skin on my arms and hands are a normal part of this withdrawal. never had the swelling in my arms like this before. Can someone please tell me this is a normal side effect?

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    1. I had a lot of swelling in both arms and legs and even my face for months. My skin was warm to the touch but I was always freezing....I'm now opposite...always warm. If you are concerned it's an infection not covered by your antibiotic, then make sure to see your doctor. But if you do a search on the forums for edema, you will find a lot of people have this during TSW.

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    2. thank you for the reassurance ..................... pretty scarey going into this for sure but I will prevail.................... Just coming off a broad spectrum antibiotic so not too worried about infection at this point.. The swelling in my arms have gone done somewhat.........still flakey no blisters though not that I want to see them neck is really raw looking i am using original chapstick on parts of my face and it is working well thanks for your input <3

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