5 Months Down… What’s Next?

As of Sunday I passed the 5 month milestone and I am now officially in the 6th month.  I have been battling (and winning!) with TSW for all of 2013, but I do not think it will continue into 2014!

I don’t know if other people do this, but sometimes I think about how we have especially “good years” and especially “bad years”.  I vividly remember in 2009 I had a really good year.  Among other things, I got into a nice higher-paying role at work, I walked the runway as a model in a fashion show, my brother got married and his wedding day was so much fun, and then I got proposed to, and all the excitement that comes with anticipating a wedding and future in love.

2013, being that it’s half over, will go down in history thus far as a pretty abysmal year.  School stress, work stress, TSW, and divorce plus all the things that come with it, like losing your home and your in-law family.  But can I just say?  DIVORCE SUCKS, HUGE!  Being lied to and betrayed by someone that held my heart for 10 years is actually worse than TSW, I think.  My skin is healing.  I think it’s only going to take me a year or less.  But in 2014 and onward, will my heart be healed?  I no longer talk much about my divorce on this blog since it’s mainly just for TSW and eczema.  I thought about starting a whole separate blog for working through all the issues of my divorce, but I didn’t want the extra work of another blog, and I ultimately decided I didn’t want my most fragile emotions and feelings vulnerably displayed to the public.  Anyway, before I get back to talking about skin – for anyone going through your own personal difficult times, if you’re reading this, we just have to convince ourselves we are stronger than we know.  Everyone who’s “been there” keeps telling us it will get better, and we have so much trouble believing that.  Will it ever get better?  Will we ever feel healed and whole again?  When it feels hopeless, we have to keep the faith that yes, it will get better.  Many days I don’t believe it myself, but seeing my skin heal has been a good metaphor.  If my outside can heal and I thought it never would, I suppose my shattered heart and soul must be able to do the same.

“We either make ourselves miserable or make ourselves strong.  The amount of work is the same.”  – Carlos Castaneda

So yes, I HAVE been working on making myself strong again.  I turn to God an incredible amount, I’m doing a lot of workouts for physical strength, I’m creating artwork which is incredibly therapeutic, and I’m reading empowering books like there’s no tomorrow.  🙂

To the skin updates, with pictures…

Here is my left arm, looking pretty normal and almost healed.

Here is my left arm, looking pretty normal and almost healed.  I would be fine with wearing short sleeves and revealing this arm.

Here is my right arm, full of scabs, looking like I'm a drug addict.  (Well I guess actually I WAS, though topical steroids aren't usually considered on par with injecting heroin.)

Here is my right arm, full of scabs and red, looking like I’m a drug addict. (Well I guess technically I WAS, though topical steroids aren’t usually considered on par with injecting heroin.)  This is what keeps me from wearing short sleeves to work or around people.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

But, the outstanding thing is that my arms and shoulders actually saw the light of the sun this weekend, for the first time in over half a year.  It was over 90 degrees here and I wanted to go outside and get some of that healing sun while I went for a run on a local public trail.  It would have been completely unreasonable to wear long sleeves, so I wore a tank top and figured, to heck with it.  And, I think the sun exposure really did help my skin a little.

I love being warm, so sweating it up running under the blazing sun didn’t bother me, but as I began to sweat, the backs of my knees began to itch wildly and I just HAD to stop and claw at them.  This was a little damaging:

DSC00814

Also went in the pool this weekend, which was another milestone.  I thought I would never be able to wear a bikini again due to all the rashes.  Now that my rashes are localized to just my limbs, I’m ok with it (plus the fact that no one saw me in my swimsuit except my mom, haha.  I’m not romping around bikini-clad in public just yet.).  I don’t know that I would recommend swimming in general for people with TSW.  The chlorine stung the cuts behind my knees and that area felt really dry later.  Then I kept experiencing a burning feeling in that area while I was trying to sleep at night.  If there are no open wounds, it could be okay as long as you rinse off and maybe use some moisturizer if you prefer.

Anyway – Happy healing everyone, hope you all are having a good week!

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9 thoughts on “5 Months Down… What’s Next?

  1. Lisa says:

    HI Eczema Excellance,
    everything heal s with time. some may be harder than others, but there is a special someone for you. CHeer up!. your skin looks amazing and you are able to go swimming 🙂

  2. You are so inspirational! We all have things in life that will bring us down – but it is up to us to pick ourselves up – no one can do that but us alone. People can help us and inspire us and lend us a hand, but the strength and determination comes from within us. Yours is shining through! You don’t have to talk about the personal details about your divorce -it is obvious it was very painful. But you talking about it like you have helps others who may be going through a betrayal. Thank you for your honesty and your blogging! It DOES help others and in return will also help you!

    • Tracy I am so grateful for your words of wisdom! And I always admire your courage and bravery in your own blog, with posting pictures and taking joy in little victories! Hearing this encouragement means a lot – Thank you, thank you, thank you!

  3. Andie says:

    Its awesome to see you healing relatively quickly!! I hope it continues 🙂
    I’m only one month in and seeing so many people struggling at 18 months to 3 years really scares me. So reading about you healing and feeling better makes it seem like less doom and gloom.

    • Thank you Andie! I hope it continues too 🙂 I believe it will, because all my healed areas feel and look almost completely normal and my face makes its own oil again and everything, and it’s been that way for a couple months.

      How long did you use steroids for? I think it’s good to be realistic and anticipate at least a year for most withdrawals like they say on the forum, but also to have a sense of optimism that it may only take a few months and then things are way more bearable even if not 100% healed yet, like in my case. One day at a time! Your experience may not end up being too bad so don’t be too filled with dread – I’m wishing you the shortest, easiest healing time possible!

      • Andie says:

        Thanks Eczema Excellance!!
        I have had eczema since I was baby and was given steroids a handful of times a toddler when it became uncontrollable. As a kid and teen, my eczema came and went and I would briefly be given TS (mostly low dose) when pinetarsol/creams stopped working. But I only ever had to use the TS for a week and would then be able to go without for months/years. During university I had two bad periods of eczema where I used OTC and mild steroid creams (and one short course of presdosone when it got really bad) to keep it controlled. But there was always a year or two between when the periods when I used and didn’t used. In the past year, I gradually went from using 1% hydrocortisone every few months, to week and then to almost everyday for the last 6 months.

        So it is hard to gauge how long withdrawal will take as I kept stopping and starting using creams without going through a nasty withdrawal period (until recently). I am glad that I never when stronger than 1% h/c when it started to get progressively worse this last year. My withdrawal hasn’t been too bad, I had a bad flare in the first week but since then I have been continuously healing and my skin is better than it was when I quit TS. My body looks normal, minus a few dry flacky patches but my face is still a little red and very dry. So I am a little confused, as it should be worse given my usuage, but still holding my breath waiting for the next flare.

  4. Mie Ululani says:

    Amazing milestone! Hope you are enjoying summer. And you made me think of this quote by Leonard Cohen, “There is a crack in everything, that’s how the light gets in.” Shine on eczema excellence!!!

    • Hey Mie! I was thinking of you cause I hadn’t seen your posts in a while (just saw the one you did and I’m gonna be commenting on it). I AM enjoying summer, thank you – skin is healing up nicely and I can finally wear shorts and bikinis again with very little self-consciousness! I love that quote. I collect inspiring quotes to help me get through challenging times and this will be added to the collection. I’m always loving your vibrant spirit of encouragement!

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