End-Stage Flares, and Taming the Scratchy Monster Book!

Look at what arrived in the mail to me the other day!  A special package all the way from California!

Taming the Scratchy Monster

“Taming the Scratchy Monster” is a wonderful little book written by Louise Brown, with a foreword by Kristina Ventura.  Both of these ladies have firsthand experience with TSW – Louise Brown has battled bravely through months of withdrawal and is almost healed (Hooray!!) and Kristina saw her beautiful daughter Keira also go through the process and become a vibrant, fully healed little girl who enjoys life WITHOUT having itchy skin interfere!

Though I haven’t had the pleasure of meeting either of these lovely souls in person, I feel an instant connection with each of them since we have the journey of TSW and healing in common.  I only wish I had had this book earlier this year, when I was going through the worst parts of TSW.  We all KNOW that we are supposed to heal, but doubt always creeps in, and even for an adult, this book is comforting to see the hero, Billy, battle the “scratchy monster” by ceasing to feed him with “cream” (steroid cream) and come triumphant through the red, dry, and oozy skin.  The illustrations are captivating and a perfect complement to the story line.  It is also a PERFECT way to explain TSW to other people that might not “get it”.  Kudos to Louise and Kristina for their efforts in this book and spreading awareness of TSW!

As for me, my skin is still doing well!  You can probably gather that because my posts are more few and far between.  I thought I would show you all some pictures of what “end-stage” TSW looks like.  I have a few stubborn areas that keep cycling through “mini flares”, but in the grand scheme of things, this is so minimal compared to full-blown TSW.  Joey Brown on the ITSAN forums has mentioned this too – being mainly healed, but having a few areas that are just hanging on, so I think that is a common thing to expect.

Now with these remaining areas, for me it is definitely a case of “first in, last out”, because these areas are around my elbow and knee creases, and this is one of the very first places I ever had “eczema”.  I had eczema in these zones as a child before I ever used steroid creams, so I might just be subject to having little bouts of eczema here in the future anyway.

I also find it interesting how (for me, at least) these little rashes are asymmetrical.  My entire left arm has been completely healed for a while and just has some slight areas with lighter pigmentation.  My right arm is the only rashy one.  My right leg also gets many more of the little flares than my left leg.  I’ve experienced the “asymmetry” before, prior to knowing I was going through TSW.  I had a very stubborn area around my left eye that was always red, but my right eye was fine.

Bumps on leg

Little pimply bumps on my leg above the knee. They don’t itch, but they are tempting to pick at!


Mini flares on right arm.  These get a little red, itch slightly, then go through some minor flaking and scabbing, and then start over again.  One day they should be fully healed, I think!

Mini flares on right arm. These get a little red, itch slightly, then go through some minor flaking and scabbing, and then start over again. One day they should be fully healed, I think!

Another view of arm flares.

Another view of arm flares.  When they are in a healed stage, I just have little spots of discoloration on my arm from the scabs turning into scars.


I plan to do a post about Post-TSW Facial Skin Care coming soon one of these days – it’s a funny problem to have, that now I have no idea what my actual “skin type” is, since it was masked by eczema for so long.  (It’s not actually a problem at all, but it’s a big contrast between this being my most tiny, miniscule concern, compared to the concerns I had when my face was all wrecked and red and puffy)  My skin makes its own oil and I actually get a bit of acne or clogged pores sometimes!  A far cry from the days when my face was all flaking off and had NO oil!

Hope everyone out there is continuing to heal nicely and seeing improvements!

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14 thoughts on “End-Stage Flares, and Taming the Scratchy Monster Book!

  1. That’s great that your eczema is getting better! … I should get that book for my niece who has eczema, I think she would enjoy it 🙂

    Shannon xx

  2. YAY for your skin! I’m sure all the relationship drama didn’t help you previously either. Love your brows btw!

  3. Mie Ululani says:

    Whoohoo! Looking good and great to hear you are feeling better too! HOMESTRECH DARE WE SAY!??! Onward and upward ❤

  4. Amanda says:

    That book sounds awesome! I’ll have to check it out. Your arms look how mine look sometimes! Also, I think it’s interesting that your skin type has changed (or maybe not changed–maybe steroids were affecting it?). Do you remember your facial skin being different/having different needs before you used steroids on them?

    • Ahh, so we are arm-twins….Yeah, now it just seems like typical ‘eczema’. It is a little annoying, but definitely livable compared to before! Sometimes I wear short sleeves and I worry that people will ask about what happened to my skin, but no one has asked yet! Maybe it’s just apparent to me, being hyper-conscious of my skin, and maybe you feel the same way.

      The question about skin type is hard to answer for sure – I was first prescribed steroids at around 20 years old, so before that I was still a teen and had relatively normal to oily skin. Then it became pretty dry a lot of the time, but I was never sure if that was due to steroids or because I was done with puberty and now my skin wasn’t as oily. I think the true test will be when winter comes, because I always got super dry skin during winter in past years, but if it holds its moisture this year, that will seem to indicate that the STEROIDS were what made my skin “dry”. I know that must be the esthetician in you to be wondering about my change in skin type 🙂 I’m going to ask you more about skin type when I email you back!

  5. joey says:

    I’m typing this on the 14th August, in 16 more days I’ll have been free from cortisone’s 9 months! I can’t believe it’s finally happening! You feeling me?

    • YEAH!!!! Way to go Joey!! I’m so happy for you 😀 9 months is a great milestone – I hope you’re seeing a TON of healing and improvement and are almost near the end of the journey!

  6. […] to use it, the dry, flaky patches on my skin started to heal and look more normal.  Remember my previous post with the picture of those tiny bumps on my leg?  Thanks to the cream, they now are GONE!  What an […]

  7. rt says:

    just came across your blog today….LOVE IT. helps to hear someone else going through all the different trials and errors and frustrations of itchy skin. you are definitely here to do great things! thank you:)

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