Today is exactly 2 months from the very last time I used (and will EVER use) topical steroids. I have had many low days, but in the last few days I’ve seen measurable healing! For anyone that is going through this and just starting out, I encourage you to TAKE PICTURES to document your progress. Healing can be such a slow process that it’s easy to get discouraged when seeing how far you have yet to go, but with pictures you can see how far you have come.
(The following are pictures of my elbow creases. I realized they’re not all from the SAME elbow crease, but the condition of both of them was pretty much the same. For the record, the ONLY thing I ever put on this area while going through TSW was plain ol’ Vaseline after I got out of the bath at night.)
Pictures of my right hand (my right hand was always a lot worse than my left, maybe because I’m right handed and touch more stuff with that hand? not sure).
I have had other measures of progress too! All the oozing on my groin and thighs has dried up within the past 2-3 days and is now just mildly dry and flaky. My skin in general feels a lot softer. I still do itch, but it is MUCH less intense. It’s more of a just “my skin is dry” itch than the uncontrollable overwhelming itch. The red areas on my face and neck are, for the most part, looking way better. I have a long ways to go, but seeing all of this is really encouraging.
Yesterday I was also really pleased with another thing. It is said that diet doesn’t have too much of an affect on TSW – and that we shouldn’t go crazy trying to avoid foods. The skin is so sensitive during this time that it might react to things that it normally doesn’t react to, which gives kind of a “false positive” when it comes to food intolerances. I had pretty much given up dairy over the past months for my eczema as it seemed to make me more itchy, which was perfectly fine for the most part – I don’t like milk, yogurt, or ice cream, and I can pretty easily stay away from cheese. I had also tried to stay away from any tomato products as they seemed to give me perioral dermatitis. However, there was free pizza and cheese-breads at work due to this event we had. Pizza is my problem child, I absolutely love pizza. I don’t eat it very often, but if it is around, I find it hard to resist. So I figured this would be a good “test” to see if eating a bunch of dairy/tomato sauce made me itchy. I had a couple slices of pizza and a few cheese sticks and I felt perfectly fine later and didn’t itch any more than normal and didn’t wake up with any aggravated symptoms. This seems to support the case that my skin reacting to everything was really TSW, since a few years ago I could eat whatever I wanted; and therefore the point that I had NO reaction seems to further confirm, yes, I am healing!
I am really curious to know what pattern my healing will take from here. Will I continue to just get better with a few minor itchy red setbacks? Will I go through another couple rounds of big flares? Should I expect the trajectory of taking an entire year to heal, or will I be almost normal by summer since I didn’t use strong steroids nor use them over a very long period of time?
No matter what, even if I do regress and have a setback and go through flares again, seeing this healing was exactly what I needed, knowing that my body can heal just fine when left to its own devices without steroids. I am wishing all of you fellow TSW warriors out there continued and speedy healing!