Monthly Archives: October 2012

Part V – Deception

As soon as I woke up and saw my face looking all crazy, I was tempted by the thought to just not go to work.  I don’t let eczema defeat me, but today was looking like a really great day to stay home.  It was going to be kind of a weird workday where we were going to a special event, and I wasn’t going to get anything done work-wise.  And I was in a rebellious mood where I didn’t feel like letting authority dictate that I must go to work, and there were some things I needed to get done at home anyway.  Plus, staying home would be a stress reliever, and reducing stress is GOOD for eczema!  🙂

Now, although my husband is very understanding about eczema, he would not advocate me staying home just because of it.  So I had to pretend like I was going to work.  Did my hair, got ready, put on work clothes, some jewelry, the whole bit.  But I did NOT put any concealer on yet.  He leaves before I do, so after I saw him out the door, I put away the work clothes and got into comfy clothing, and here I am, after having emailed my boss that I was taking a sick day.  I don’t like the idea of deceiving my husband or other people, but I felt today was a necessary evil.

I also decided that my eczema certainly must be at the point of being “intolerable” if it makes me stay home from work, so I put on a very light layer of Desonide (steroid cream) on the very worst areas.  After a couple hours, this seemed to make the skin softer and less flaky, but it’s just as red.  I forget if I said this before, but I guess calling it eczema might be a little misleading … it’s different from the eczema on my limbs in that it does not usually itch.  Dermatitis might be a better term.  That’s why I don’t like the idea of using steroids, since it’s not typical eczema, but it responds okay to them and I need to carry on with my life and not miss any more work!  They are a temporary fix, but hopefully the detox effects continue on their way and my skin starts to clear up on its own!

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Part IV – Skin Identity Crisis!

This brings us to today.  When I awoke, the first thing I did was feel my face and my left eye. “Hm!  The left eye does not feel as puffy!  The face feels about as dry.  Let us go look in the mirror.”

My left eye was noticeably less puffy than it had been the two days before, which was encouraging.  However, my face was very red and very dry.  The flare was spreading onto my left cheek and encompassed most of my face’s left side.  GREAT.

Last night, I had also noticed some pimples, a big deep one forming on my chin, and a couple little ones along my jawline, and some on my forehead.  I’m not very prone to acne, maybe a clogged pore here and there, so this was interesting that I would have dry skin, oily skin, normal skin, red skin all in the same face.  It seems like my skin is changing in some way, and I’m hoping it’s ultimately for the better.

HOWEVER.  The redness was simply unsightly.  Red skin I can deal with, dry skin I can deal with, but when your skin is both RED and DRY, there is absolutely no hope of putting concealer on and having it look normal.  And I would have to be putting concealer over about half of my face!

I should also mention here that I bought some Apple Cider Vinegar over the weekend.  I had been reading about people taking it orally and applying it topically to skin conditions with successful results.  Both yesterday and this morning, I mixed 1 tsp with about 8 oz of water, and drank it down.  BLEGGHH!  I’m not a weak-stomached person, and I like sour things, but this sh*t just about made me want to puke.  But, it didn’t make anything worse and maybe it helped make things better since I woke up with some improvement (less puffy eye).

Applying it topically is a whole ‘nother story.  I dabbed a little bit on yesterday, and although it stings very bad, it seemed to make the skin a little softer.  This morning, I tried dabbing it on after very gently scrubbing my face with tepid water and washcloth (to try and remove the dry flaky bits).  If you want to experience a special kind of pain, put vinegar on your face after you scrub it.

So here I am, stuck with a red face looking very unsightly.  What to do?   I decided…..

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Holistic Doc, Part III – The Supposed Detox

A few days after taking the supplements, I started to feel a little bit itchy in the face, like my normal problem areas flaring up a little.  The next day I woke up a little bit flared, but went on with my day.

Saturday, BAM!  I woke up with my left eye SUPER puffy and my face in a full-out flare.  It took a great deal of icing my eye to get it back down to reasonably normal.  I quickly emailed the doctor to inquire if this was normal or if I should change anything with the supplement regimen.  I did add that interestingly enough, some of the eczema spots on my body were clearing up nicely.

Sunday, about the same thing.  My left eye looked like it belonged to an elephant that lost in a bar fight, and my face was pretty red and dry.  Therefore, my self-esteem was pretty much in the toilet, even though putting ice on my eye again helped a lot, and thankfully I didn’t have anywhere I had to go or anyone I had to see.  Checking my email, the doc said that this can happen as the body detoxifies, and that the spots on my body clearing were an indication we were moving in the right direction.  She said to try and not use steroid creams unless it becomes intolerable, and to continue taking my supplements.

Because everything is worse on the left side and only my left eye became puffy, she asked if I ever had any sort of infection like a dental abscess or sinus infection on the left side.  The answer is no, but I did feel kind of a lightbulb go off in my brain regarding a possible explanation for eczema on mainly just the left side of my face.

When I got mono, my tonsils got very scarred and pitted.  The left side has a large pit that tends to collect those gross little tonsil stones, although I do try and keep it very clean and swab it out.  My theory was that I likely have more bacteria on the left side of my mouth and this transfers to more eczema on my face’s left side.  Who knows.

So, wondering how long this detox thing is supposed to last, I went to bed hopeful.

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Holistic Doc, Part II – She wants me to eat WHAT?!?

I should mention that through both appointments, my skin was very well behaved and was not flaring bad at all.  (Which is always Murphy’s Law, I always have pretty okay skin when I’m at the doctor and they don’t get to see it all crazy).

At this appointment, she showed me the results of my Symptom Survey.  Based on what I checked, I had some liver dysfunction and a bit of endocrine dysfunction.  I got a sheet that told about each of these.  The liver sheet said, among other things, that dysfunction of the liver may influence the appearance of other symptoms like sensitivity to chemicals, allergies, asthma, skin conditions, and food sensitivities.  BING!  I have all of those!  So I started to get kind of hopeful that if it was something inside, she could help fix it.  The endocrine and thyroid sheet said (again, among other things) that a malfunctioning thyroid can influence the condition of the skin, and that the thyroid is very sensitive to malnutrition but responds very well to supplements and dietary modification.

Then she pulled out a sheet with four different supplements that she recommended for me (one multivitamin kind of thing, one liver supplement, one thing that acts as a catalyst to get everything acting, and one for fatty acids).  She also recommended a vitamin E cream.  When I saw it contained fragrance, I weakly protested because I don’t use facial products with fragrance, but she said that if I didn’t like it, she would refund me the price of the cream.  The brand of everything (Standard Process) was featured all over the office, with a whole shelf of bottles and a credenza of packages and some brochures on the desk.  This is where I started to feel that she was trying to sell me these supplements, but I understood giving them a try.

What she said about them came across as very positive – that they are ‘whole food’ supplements, very high quality, been around since 1929, etc.  So yeah, I put my trust in her guidance and got out my credit card again to pay for the supplements.

Once I got home, I took a look at the ingredients.  Among other things:

BOVINE LIVER FAT!

BOVINE BRAIN!

PORCINE STOMACH!

PORCINE BRAIN!

 

 

 

 

She wants me to eat pig and cow innards and brains??  Although I’m open minded to just about anything (at this point I’d probably be okay with drinking my own piss if it meant I would never have eczema again), this gave me, understandably, a bit of pause.  My first thought was, “Where exactly are these animal innards coming from?  Neither the brochure nor the bottle says they are organically sourced.  This sounds like a big racket for the meat industry to sell this company the left over crap that they can’t use.  And what about mad cow disease?”

But, in good faith, I took my little supplements.  I was certainly not expecting what would happen next….

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Holistic Doc, Part I – Shock!

(Eczema followers and friends, I haven’t written a post in a few weeks because 1. My internet at home is sketchy, 2. I have been very busy with work and school, and 3. It’s been a long strange journey for the past few weeks eczema-wise and I just now have the time to try and sort it all out via writing, and the journey is still ongoing).

So after I started pondering the supposed ‘drug interaction’ with the generic Singulair and the possible hormonal imbalance, I started thinking that a naturopath/homeopath may not have been the way to go – that I needed some sort of rebalancing on the INSIDE, because first off, the remedy did not make things better (although maybe it was that type of thing where you get worse before you get better) and I felt that a naturopath wouldn’t really get at the root of the problem.

I started looking up holistic doctors online.  I found an office reasonably nearby that looked really promising – 3 doctors, the website looked very comprehensive, and it said they looked at diet and hormonal imbalance (among other things).  Full of optimism that maybe they would have an opening next week or something, I gave them a call.

The nice lady that answered the phone advised, “You will need to call back in February to try and get an appointment in May or June.  The first appointment is $500”.   (!!!!)  Not believing what I was hearing, I asked, “Do you ever have patients that cancel and then someone can get a sooner appointment?”  “Yes”, she said, “but you would still need to wait until February to call and then maybe you could get in before May or June, the doctors are booked solid and one doctor isn’t even accepting any new patients”.

“Okay, thank you”, I advised, feeling defeated as I hung up the phone.  So that doctor was absolutely out.  By the time May comes around, this whole damn thing could be completely changed or healed.

Going back on the internet and searching, I found another holistic practitioner nearby whose website looked very legit and I liked what I saw.  After a little bit of phone tag, I got in contact with the doctor who had (YAY!) appointments that very next week!

This doctor charged nearly half as much as the other people I called, thank goodness.  I don’t mind spending money on eczema, but only if things work.  I received some information by email and a Symptom Survey to fill out.

The doctor herself was very nice and I enjoyed speaking with her.  She was extremely thorough and comprehensive about taking my history and asking about various things.  She also commended me on being so thorough in trying different avenues to alleviate my eczema (like the billion dietary things I tried giving up) and on being perceptive about the fact that this may stem from some sort of imbalance.  We also discussed some different kinds of natural makeup and natural skincare (Jane Iredale, Coastal Creations, Badger Balm) which I plan to look into.  (I use Tarte concealer right now which has no parabens, butylene/propylene glycol, etc etc. and she said that was a good choice).

I expected her to give me some sort of drug or dietary modification or remedy, but she said she needed to run the Symptom Survey, take into account all of my history, etc., and use her intuitive knowledge of health and nutrition to come up with what is needed for me.  So we set up another appointment for the following week….

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