Hello everyone! I have been very lax about posting on this blog and it has been time for an update for a while. I just realized that yesterday I passed the ONE YEAR mark of being steroid free, so this is timely!
January 23, 2013 was the day I eliminated topical steroids from my life. My blog took a turn from trying to chase down what was causing my “eczema” to documenting the progress of healing from topical steroid withdrawal. In addition to my blog, I began keeping a regular diary in Microsoft Word to have an additional uncensored place to vent about my skin, my moods, my emotions, the divorce I was going through, etc. It’s really interesting to look back at my private diary and see the raw emotion and frustration that was centered mostly all around my skin.
In an excerpt from a few weeks after I stopped topical steroids, I vented about the things that eczema had taken from my life. I lamented not being able to wear whatever clothing I wanted since I needed to cover up all my rashes; the fact that I had to give up “vanity” girly things like wearing perfume, dying hair, and wearing jewelry so as to not irritate my skin; and I mourned the fact that I felt completely disgusting, un-sexy, and un-confident, and nothing like my old self.
(Almost) one year later… My skin remains mostly healed from when everything cleared up this summer. My hands sometimes get a little bit cracked and dry, but that’s probably more due to the fact that I wash my hands a lot at work and the fact that it’s very very cold outside right now and EVERYONE’s skin is probably dry, eczema or no.
My legs have also been a little bit more itchy and rashy than they were a month or two ago, but again, I think this is due to the cold dry air outside and then wanting to be in the warm air or taking hot showers inside. Overall I’m pleased with my healing because the winter months used to wreak absolute havoc on my skin. Interestingly enough too, my body temperature regulation is such where I don’t really get super cold anymore at all. For the past 2 or 3 winters after being outside, I would have to rush inside and warm myself by a heating vent. I suspect this was also due to the steroids but I didn’t realize it. I have barely sat by the vent once this winter so far, and in fact I happily march around the house sometimes in SHORTS!
This past month I have had some really fun times that I thought I could never enjoy again when I had eczema and TSW rash so badly. I had written about my Victory Shirt, and how I would know I was truly healed when I could wear this sparkly little top with complete confidence. I got the perfect chance to wear it at some New Year’s Eve festivities with friends. I went out, I drank, I danced, I flirted quite shamelessly with guys, I got complimented, I looked and felt great, and I had a blast. Anyone that has gone through TSW has to permit me a little bit of vanity here, I’m not a vain person but we all want to feel and look our best and it’s wonderful when you can be in that moment, and even more poignant to appreciate it when you know how bad things used to be and everything you had to go through to get here.
I also started hanging out with a guy that I’m sort of interested in, and one of our hangouts was to work out and then go in the hot tub. THE HOT TUB! A year ago, or even 8 months ago, there would have been no way that I would have let anyone see me in a bikini because my skin was so bad. My skin still has slightly better days than others (maybe stress related too) and I wouldn’t want anyone to be scrutinizing my skin really closely because I have a lot of scars (not all from TSW, just from years of eczema), but that was another huge indicator that all is back to “normal”.
And you know what else? I think I can finally say that I am completely and utterly over my ex-husband and am no longer emotionally affected by the fact that I got divorced. I never thought I would say that! Physical and emotional healing is such an amazing process. I have come to the mature and wise mindset that I am thankful I was married, I am thankful for the times I had with him, and I’m thankful that I got to be in love for the duration I was, as I think it is going to set the stage for an even more awesome and fulfilling love for the future if I find someone. And if I don’t find someone, I am okay being fabulous and single and independent because I just KNOW this is going to be a great year for me!