In just about a week, I will have 4 MONTHS down and be entering my 5th month of TSW. For anyone just starting out or considering starting, the journey seems very daunting, but once you start and keep taking it one day at a time, you get to a point and you look back and are amazed by how fast time has flown. Kind of like running a marathon. If you really think about the magnitude of that 26.2 miles, it’s enough to psych you out. But once you have prepared and are actually running the thing and sort of zone out and keep putting one foot in front of the other, you look back and are amazed how far you have come. (On a side note, I think running a marathon was excellent preparation for TSW! – learning to endure, pushing through wanting to give up, finding tactics for encouragement, etc.!)
If I could assign a percentage to how healed I am, I would say I am more than 50% healed. (No pictures today because this is just a quick post, but I will post more soon). The skin on my legs, thighs, groin, back, and stomach is back to feeling like “normal” skin again for the most part – relatively smooth and soft to the touch. I have a lot of hyperpigmentation on my inner thighs, stomach, and lower back, plus scarring on my legs and lower back, so I’ll be anxious to get into the sun when it’s warm enough to be in the pool, and see if getting a bit of a tan will even things out. I never thought I would feel comfortable in a swimsuit again when I started TSW and was almost completely covered in red rashes, but from the chest down I would be okay with wearing a bikini in verrrrry dim light… LOL.
My arms are a little different story – this past week they looked just like those of a heroin addict – I had little round scars and scabs all over them. These seem to be diminishing and healing. It is SO tempting to pick at those, but I already have a lot of scars on my arms and I don’t want any more.
My face and neck have stayed pretty consistent over the past days – still slightly blotchy or red in a few areas, but overall pretty okay. I thought I was looking good, but then I saw a picture taken of me this weekend and I was struck by how “dead” and tired I still look in the eye area even though I was smiling and supposed to be looking happy. Maybe this isn’t the fault of the TSW, I’ve had a lot of negativity going on with the divorce (maybe I will post about that upcoming) so it could be that I just couldn’t genuinely smile at that point!
So my face and neck have been decent with the exception of last night…. I took my bath and got into bed and my face began to itch wildly. Mainly between my eyes and around my eyes, and parts of my neck. These are places that have been red anyway. I tried not to itch but it was maddening – hearkening back to the days just a few months ago where I couldn’t stop scratching MY ENTIRE BODY. Finally I gave up and just started rubbing at my eyes, knowing this wouldn’t end well. I could already feel my left eye puffing up, and when I looked in the mirror, sure enough both my eyelids were getting puffy and underneath my left eye too.
There are only two things that could have caused this – unless it was just a rogue TSW thing.
One, I have been using Bio-Oil on some scarred areas on my legs and arms. This stuff really does work to help heal new scars, but it doesn’t work on old ones. I have been wary of using it until I was more healed because it does contain fragrance, but I’m not using it on my face. The Bio Oil could well have come in contact with my face and irritated it.
Two, the areas that were so very itchy were also areas where I had put a light coat of Vaseline. Now I think the entire eczema and ITSAN community is mixed and divided on Vaseline, myself included. I can’t make up my mind if it’s good or bad. But I’m going to try not using Vaseline tonight on my face at all and see if that makes a difference.
So once this happened and I see my eye puff up and I can’t stop itching, I got up and took a washcloth and gently wiped the itchy areas with cold water (to remove any Bio Oil or Vaseline residue) and then I put on my Avene Tolerance Extreme cream that I use. I instantly felt better but since now I was all awake and irritated, I took an allergy pill to sleep and hopefully to make my puffy eye go away – it’s been months since I had to deal with puffy eyes, so having one again is disheartening. This morning my left eye is still puffy and red underneath, and the lines under it are more prominent, but hopefully it will go away. I hate looking asymmetrical and this eye is the thing I’m consistently most self-conscious of, but I guess I should be glad it’s only ONE eye and not both, so I still have a “good side”. 🙂
Anyway this post is a little all over the place but I just wanted to give a quick update, more coming soon!