TSW – Over 4 Months Down, Feeling Great!

Hello friends!!  It is time for some long-overdue progress pictures.  This past Thursday I surpassed the 120 day mark, meaning that now I am in the 5th month of TSW!

I feel very blessed and very lucky to have made the progress that I have done so far.  And I almost hesitate to say TOO many good things about how my skin has healed, because 1. there are so many people struggling mightily at this point in withdrawal still, and 2. I don’t want to “jinx” myself and be like “Look at me, I am nearly healed!” and then break out in some crazy late flare.  I don’t want to make my progress something that makes other people feel bad, or minimize their own suffering.

I hope if you have TSW and you’re looking at my pictures for the first time, please do go back and compare them to earlier ones and see that if I healed, you can heal too, and what’s more – YOU WILL!  I didn’t do anything extraordinary – no special diets, no special creams – I just tried to keep my skin comfortable WITHOUT USING STEROIDS.  I also want to re-emphasize that I had crappy skin over much of my body ever since last summer that kept coming back even with very sporadic steroid use – I was probably going through TSW then and didn’t realize it, and only got the really “hallmark” symptoms like the red sleeve, swollen glands, chills, etc., when I completely quit steroids.  So one could surmise that I’ve actually been in TSW for longer than 4+ months.  That’s part of what I attribute to my relatively “quick” healing time so far – it actually would be more like 11 months or a year, if memory serves me from the time my skin really started going more downhill.  That or perhaps God was like, “Let’s give this girl a break, she’s already going through an unwanted divorce and there’s only so much a person should have to endure!”  🙂

I’m not completely healed, but most of the issues with my skin now are just blotchiness or hyperpigmentation, not active open rashes or scabs.  Because my limbs are still scarred and/or blotchy, I feel the need to at least wear 1/2 or 3/4 sleeve shirts and pants in public, but I’m hoping I can feel confident about baring my limbs by the middle or end of summer.  I still do itch sometimes, but nothing too crazy.  There are long stretches of time that I really don’t think about my skin much at all.  It doesn’t completely rule my life anymore, and that is such a relief.  To the pictures!  (some are before and after for comparison).

    My stomach is, for all intents and purposes, normal looking! I can tell it has some hyperpigmentation, but it might be something only I notice. Now that this skin has healed, it is soft as a baby's butt. I sneak my hand under my shirt sometimes, not to itch wildly at my stomach like before, but to marvel at how soft and silky it feels.

My stomach is, for all intents and purposes, normal looking! I can tell it has some hyperpigmentation, but it might be something only I notice. Now that this skin has healed, it is soft as a baby’s butt. I sneak my hand under my shirt sometimes, not to itch wildly at my stomach like before, but to marvel at how soft and silky it feels.

My lower back has some hyperpigmentation and scarring.  This picture makes it look better than it looks in real life, but I guess I could always get a "tramp stamp" to cover it up if I get desperate.  Kidding.  No offense to those with lower back tattoos.

My lower back has some hyperpigmentation and scarring. This picture makes it look better than it looks in real life, but I guess I could always get a “tramp stamp” to cover it up if I get desperate. Kidding. No offense to those with lower back tattoos.

My upper arms and forearms are my worst area, although this picture makes them look less blotchy than they really are.  I had a lot of random scabs and tiny pimple things on them lately that gradually disappear.  Today they were really itchy, but I scratch away contentedly, knowing I'm not damaging them and they'll heal in time too.  I think I'll feel truly healed when I can wear t-shirts and tank tops again confidently in public.  This might be the last area to heal because my arms were one of the places I used steroids the most.

My upper arms and forearms are my worst area, although this picture might make them look a little less blotchy than they really are. I had a lot of random scabs and tiny pimple things on them lately that gradually disappear. Today they were really itchy, but I scratch away contentedly, knowing I’m not damaging them and they’ll heal in time too. I think I’ll feel truly healed when I can wear t-shirts and tank tops again confidently in public. This might be the last area to heal because my arms were one of the places I used steroids the most.

 

My face and neck are almost back to what they were before I started using steroids.  My eyes sometimes get random blotches around them, and the skin there has some healing to go yet, but again, this is one of the first areas I used steroids, so I would expect it to be one of the last to heal.  I can get away with barely any concealer now, and I can wash my face like a "normal person" instead of having to do this whole elaborate olive oil and then oatmeal scrub to get rid of all the dead, flaky skin.  My face and neck feel extremely soft.  I no longer use Vaseline on my face except a little bit on my lips and under my nose at night.  That was a progress milestone since Vaseline is so greasy... it's nice for my skin to retain its own oils now and not have to smear that glop on it!

My face and neck are almost back to what they were before I started using steroids. My eyes sometimes get random blotches around them, and the skin there has some healing to go yet, but again, this is one of the first areas I used steroids, so I would expect it to be one of the last to heal. I can get away with barely any concealer now – my face has ZERO concealer in this picture!!!  And I can wash my face like a “normal person” instead of having to do this whole elaborate olive oil and then oatmeal scrub to get rid of all the dead, flaky skin. My face and neck feel extremely soft. I no longer use Vaseline on my face except a little bit on my lips and under my nose at night. That was a progress milestone since Vaseline is so greasy… it’s nice for my skin to retain its own oils now and not have to smear that glop on it!

 

This is an example of some of the scars on my legs that remain from scratching and scabbing.  I have started wearing shorts again sometimes if I'm alone and exercising outside, but I am self-conscious of these scars and not ready yet to wear shorts to somewhere like the gym where others could see them up close.  These will heal and fade too with time, I am sure!

This is an example of some of the scars on my legs that remain from scratching and scabbing. I have started wearing shorts again sometimes if I’m alone and exercising outside, but I am a little self-conscious of these scars and not ready yet to wear shorts to somewhere like the gym where others could see them up close. These will heal and fade too with time, I am sure!

BEFORE PICTURE:  This is my right leg back in the fall.  I had a bunch of tiny bumps all over my thighs and I thought it might be staph - honestly I wasn't sure WHAT it was.  This is before I knew about TSW!

BEFORE PICTURE: This is my right leg back in the fall. I had a bunch of tiny bumps all over my thighs and I thought it might be staph – honestly I wasn’t sure WHAT it was. This is before I knew about TSW!

BEFORE PICTURE: Here is my right leg super covered in red blotches.  This is probably late fall or early winter - again, before I knew about TSW.

BEFORE PICTURE: Here is my right leg super covered in red blotches. This is probably late fall or early winter – again, before I knew about TSW.

AFTER PICTURE: Here are my legs today!  The scarring is mostly on the sides so you can't see it here.  I have lots of old scars that are small, but I'm probably the only one that notices.  I still get itchy behind my knees, but that area isn't ripped up anymore and my legs have come a long way in healing!

AFTER PICTURE: Here are my legs today! The scarring is mostly on the sides so you can’t see it here. I have lots of old scars that are small, but I’m probably the only one that notices. I still get itchy behind my knees, but that area isn’t ripped up anymore and my legs have come a long way in healing!

 

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17 thoughts on “TSW – Over 4 Months Down, Feeling Great!

  1. Rachel says:

    Wow! This is so amazing and gives me so much hope and excitement.
    The photo of your thigh with the pimply things is exactly how mine look right now! I was wondering if I had an infection as well but I’m so happy to know it will go away.
    Your legs look amazing now!
    I can’t wait to get there.

    Thank you so much!
    I did a blog post after seeing yours on 2 Corinthians and I posted the link to your blog post.
    God bless

    • Hi Rachel! Thanks for stopping by! I remember seeing blogs like Rochelle’s blog in my early days of TSW and hanging onto those pictures for hope when I thought my skin would have to stay like this forever – so I’m glad I can pass that hope on to others like you! I went to your blog and tried to find the one you are referring to, but I couldn’t find it. At any rate I’m now following your blog and I look forward to reading more from you and seeing your own healing 🙂

      • Rachel says:

        I went to edit a few of my blog posts from earlier this week and they ended up disappearing from my blog. I’m not sure what that’s due to but I’m pretty bummed about it 😦
        Basically your blog about Paul having the thorn in his side gave me so much hope and encouragement. So I added my own thoughts on that to my blog, wish it hadn’t disappeared. I just wanted to thank you for sharing your thoughts on it, it reminded me to keep pressing on with gratitude.
        This experience has definitely strengthened my relationship with God and I’m starting to think perhaps that’s what the journey is all about 🙂

        Xoxo

  2. tomatoskingirl says:

    Wow terrific progress!! I can’t wait for the day I don’t have to slop on the Vaseline.

    • Thank you my friend! I still do use Vanicream lotion on parts of my legs, arms, and shoulders (which has petroleum) but it’s not so greasy. You will get there soon too! I hope your skin is continuing to do better and that you’re able to get out of the house and do some things you enjoy!

  3. Amanda says:

    Great progress! Your skin looks beautiful. My arms look like yours!

    • Thank you! I was *thinking* that our arms looked alike, since what you described in your text the other day sounded exactly spot on. But, again, I don’t know if that means TSW. How is your skin looking and feeling today – any better??

      • Amanda says:

        I don’t know if that’s what it means either 😦 Skin is definitely better today — noticeably less inflamed, and SO MUCH less itchy. Which … is good, but I know the steroids are bad. Also, I was re-reading my post from November about TSW — and after seeing the pic of me as a kid again, I’m like 99% convinced that’s what I went through as a kid.

        I’m still so happy to hear your skin is healing so well! It must be nice to not have to obsess over what you’re eating, etc. anymore.

  4. You look fantastic. Congrats on your progress!!

  5. hopeful says:

    Wow….you are a positive within all the negative we find ourselves in.
    Your looking awesome, and sound even better.
    all the best to you.

    • Thank you so much! I do get negative so I’m not just this ray of sunshine ALL the time, but those are the times when I’m just kind of sitting alone sulking and not blogging….LOL. I’m thinking of you and hoping you see some good signs of healing soon as well!!

  6. YAAAAAAAAAAAAAY for progress! Your skin looks SO much better and your face looks awesome!! CHEERS TO THAT!!! 🙂 So happy for you girl.

  7. You look amazing! I am so happy for you and glad you are feeling so well! xo

  8. […] I am now halfway through the 5th month of TSW.  Things have been going quite well ever since I passed the first 3 months.  I still flare on my limbs, but every subsequent flare is less intense than the one before.  I’m pretty much still looking like the pictures in one of my previous posts. […]

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