1 Year Update!

Hello everyone!  I have been very lax about posting on this blog and it has been time for an update for a while.  I just realized that yesterday I passed the ONE YEAR mark of being steroid free, so this is timely!

January 23, 2013 was the day I eliminated topical steroids from my life.  My blog took a turn from trying to chase down what was causing my “eczema” to documenting the progress of healing from topical steroid withdrawal.  In addition to my blog, I began keeping a regular diary in Microsoft Word to have an additional uncensored place to vent about my skin, my moods, my emotions, the divorce I was going through, etc.  It’s really interesting to look back at my private diary and see the raw emotion and frustration that was centered mostly all around my skin.

In an excerpt from a few weeks after I stopped topical steroids, I vented about the things that eczema had taken from my life.  I lamented not being able to wear whatever clothing I wanted since I needed to cover up all my rashes; the fact that I had to give up “vanity” girly things like wearing perfume, dying hair, and wearing jewelry so as to not irritate my skin; and I mourned the fact that I felt completely disgusting, un-sexy, and un-confident, and nothing like my old self.

(Almost) one year later… My skin remains mostly healed from when everything cleared up this summer.  My hands sometimes get a little bit cracked and dry, but that’s probably more due to the fact that I wash my hands a lot at work and the fact that it’s very very cold outside right now and EVERYONE’s skin is probably dry, eczema or no.

My legs have also been a little bit more itchy and rashy than they were a month or two ago, but again, I think this is due to the cold dry air outside and then wanting to be in the warm air or taking hot showers inside.  Overall I’m pleased with my healing because the winter months used to wreak absolute havoc on my skin.  Interestingly enough too, my body temperature regulation is such where I don’t really get super cold anymore at all.  For the past 2 or 3 winters after being outside, I would have to rush inside and warm myself by a heating vent.  I suspect this was also due to the steroids but I didn’t realize it.  I have barely sat by the vent once this winter so far, and in fact I happily march around the house sometimes in SHORTS!

This past month I have had some really fun times that I thought I could never enjoy again when I had eczema and TSW rash so badly.  I had written about my Victory Shirt, and how I would know I was truly healed when I could wear this sparkly little top with complete confidence.  I got the perfect chance to wear it at some New Year’s Eve festivities with friends.  I went out, I drank, I danced, I flirted quite shamelessly with guys, I got complimented, I looked and felt great, and I had a blast.  Anyone that has gone through TSW has to permit me a little bit of vanity here, I’m not a vain person but we all want to feel and look our best and it’s wonderful when you can be in that moment, and even more poignant to appreciate it when you know how bad things used to be and everything you had to go through to get here.

I also started hanging out with a guy that I’m sort of interested in, and one of our hangouts was to work out and then go in the hot tub.  THE HOT TUB!  A year ago, or even 8 months ago, there would have been no way that I would have let anyone see me in a bikini because my skin was so bad.  My skin still has slightly better days than others (maybe stress related too) and I wouldn’t want anyone to be scrutinizing my skin really closely because I have a lot of scars (not all from TSW, just from years of eczema), but that was another huge indicator that all is back to “normal”.

And you know what else?  I think I can finally say that I am completely and utterly over my ex-husband and am no longer emotionally affected by the fact that I got divorced.  I never thought I would say that!  Physical and emotional healing is such an amazing process.  I have come to the mature and wise mindset that I am thankful I was married, I am thankful for the times I had with him, and I’m thankful that I got to be in love for the duration I was, as I think it is going to set the stage for an even more awesome and fulfilling love for the future if I find someone.  And if I don’t find someone, I am okay being fabulous and single and independent because I just KNOW this is going to be a great year for me!

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37 thoughts on “1 Year Update!

  1. louise jones says:

    What a fantastic turnaround! I’m so glad your story has turned out so positive. You are an inspiration to us all. I hope this year is a great one for you. Have fun in the hot tub……x

    • Thank you my dear friend Louise!! I really have you to thank as one of the most helpful as it was you who first pointed out my rash looked like TSW and thus started my journey. Much love to you!

  2. atopiclady says:

    Im so glad you are doing well, other than the odd little spot! That’s wonderful you got to wear your victory shirt! Congrats! 🙂 Tiff

  3. Courtney says:

    Wow, what an amazing post. I’m so so so happy you are in a better place now! Skin, love life, everything!! SO thrilled, your endurance and hard work has paid off. Congrats ❤

  4. Excellent news! I’m so happy for you 😀 xx

  5. Congrats on 1 year! Thanks for the update!

  6. Nivea says:

    Hi do u still apply any cream on ur itchy spots or u just leave them alone

    • Hi Nivea, if I have itchy spots I will sometimes apply the Calendulis Cream that I got from The Eczema Company .com. It is really great to stop itching and promote healing. Sometimes I forget and just leave them alone though.

  7. Jennifer says:

    Wow, you’ve come so far in all aspects of your life! Congratulations to you!

    • Thanks Jennifer! I’m most grateful for all the help and support that you have given me throughout my healing journey. I think a year ago you were giving me advice on the elimination diet!

  8. Alisa says:

    You are an inspiration! Thank you for sharing your story…I cheer your victory! 🙂

  9. Nicole says:

    Hi! I’m new to your blog. I tried to read through but did you find out what specifically causes your flares? I’m still trying to figure out what mine are. Glad you are experiencing relief!

    • Hi there! Thanks for visiting. Yes, my eczema was caused by my skin being “addicted” to topical steroids. My system had built up a tolerance to these drugs so every time I would stop using them, the rashes would come back worse. If you have any history of using steroid creams for rashes, the same thing could be occurring for you if you haven’t linked it to any other causes.

  10. Sarah says:

    Hi, I just realized the Mario Badescu cream I’ve been using for years had topical steroids in it. The cream has been pulled and there’s a class action suit pending against the company for not disclosing the ingredient in their product! Now, my face is all red and swollen and I can’t get this bought of eczema which appeared after a recent fever to go away. Am I going through withdrawal? If so, what should I use on my skin? Your blog is so helpful, I’m just hoping my journey through this is as quick as yours was. I’m getting married this summer!

    • Hi Sarah, congrats on your upcoming marriage! That is crazy to hear that Mario Badescu cream contains steroids. I have never personally used that brand, but I had heard many good things about it. So sorry to hear that you are going through some bad skin issues and I’m hoping it all clears up by this summer so you can look beautiful at your wedding. If you have been using a cream with steroids for years, you may well be having withdrawal symptoms. I found Avene Tolerance Extreme cream to be very mild and helpful (it does NOT have steroids, I bought it on Dermstore.com) specifically. I also used Vanicream sunscreen on my face as a moisturizer (bought at Drugstore.com). Both very soothing and non-irritating. If you search my posts, I have a few on my skincare routine during TSW and after. I am glad that my blog is helpful and please feel free to email me or post again with any other questions!

  11. the1985thirtybeforethirty says:

    Hi, I’ve just stumbled across your blog and read this post. Great news your skin is healing. I changed career and had a HUGE eczema flare up in October. I too thought I would never wear a skirt/ short sleeves again. I tried everything the doctor could prescribed and my eczema only started to heal when I stopped using medical cream/ steroids/ ointments. Mmmmm. Cheap Olive Oil- that contained nothing but olive oil, was my saviour. I knew I was onto a good thing when it didn’t sting when I rubbed it on! Natural is the way forward. Good luck for the future :)I will have a look at your other posts now

    • Hi there, thanks for visiting! I just visited your blog as well and I love the idea of 30 before 30. I am one year younger than you, born in 1986, and it’s a great idea. Just read your post about Facebook and I couldn’t agree more. I left FB this year and I am better off for it! Anyhow, yes for sure steroid creams and ointments seem to do more harm than good. Olive oil is pretty amazing, I used it frequently when my skin was very dry. Glad that you had good results with it as well. I still use coconut oil on my body and grapeseed oil daily on my face, even though now my skin is quite normal. Thanks for your good wishes and cheers to you!

  12. Susan says:

    Sounds like you have your eczema under control. But, have you ever thought about using a humidifier during those awful winter months? I’ve been using one for the last several years and I really think it helps with my eczema.

    • Hi Susan! That’s an excellent tip for other readers out there. Yes, I did used to use a humidifier last winter and the one before that when my eczema was bad. This past winter since things are under control, I didn’t have to use it at all… but you are right that it can be very helpful. Thanks for stopping by and sharing that tip!

  13. ellebakes says:

    I’m glad to hear your eczema is healing too :)! btw, I nominated you for a Liebster Award, if you want to participate you can read more about it on this post on my blog 🙂 – http://wp.me/p2w91U-gq
    Hope to see more posts from you in the future about your eczema journey!

    • Aw, thank you so much for the award! I will make a post answering the questions in the coming days most likely. And, I have been loving your recipe posts. I can’t wait to try making the rustic tea cake 🙂

  14. Kristen says:

    Hi! Congrats on your 1 year! So happy to hear everything is going great! 🙂
    I also want to thank you. I came across your blog in late September when I was in the middle of eliminating practically everything from my diet, trying to find out what was making my eczema go insane. I was suspicious of my steroid creams & stopped them on Sept 12, 2013. I spent days reading your blog & could relate to so many of your posts. Anyway, I am 6.5 months into TSW & am dreaming of the day I can wear MY Victory Shirt 🙂
    Thanks again & I’m so happy for you!

    • Hi Kristen, thank you so much for the kind words! I’m glad I was able to help and huge CONGRATS on being 6.5 months into TSW! Come back for a visit and keep me posted to celebrate when you get to wear your Victory Shirt… the day is coming sooner than you think when your skin will be all healed! Cheers 🙂

  15. Sarah says:

    Hi! Can I ask another question? I noticed you used protopic before you began withdrawal. Did you continue to use it during withdrawal? I read that Dr. Rapaport sometimes uses it with his patients. Did you have an opinion about it one way or another? Thank you so much.
    xSarah

    • Hi there! My apologies for such a delay and of course you are welcome to ask me whatever questions you have. I did not continue to use Protopic during withdrawal. Although initially I had decent effects from it, I didn’t feel like using it would make that much of a difference. And I guess I wanted to go totally “cold turkey” on steroids and any kind of skin medication. It doesn’t work the same way as a steroid, but I have no idea of the mechanism of Protopic on the adrenal system and if it could maybe prolong withdrawal, so I personally wouldn’t be a fan of using it. But!! Other people have had success and relief with it on the ITSAN forum, I suppose you may just have to try for yourself and decide. Hope things are well with you, Sarah!

  16. pickletf1 says:

    Hi there, I’m from the UK and my partner stumbled across your blog when trying to research what was causing me so much pain and discomfort. Thank goodness he did. TSW/Red Skin Syndrome is definitely what my problem is. After doing more research I have thrown out all my topical steroid creams and have started a blog myself to track my progress http://myeczemajourneyuk.wordpress.com the ITSAN website has been brilliant for info too. I just wanted to say THANK YOU!!!!! Xxxxx

    • Hi pickletf1! You made my day, you are so welcome! It is a great feeling to be able to help someone else in their healing and suffering. Awesome that you made your own blog, it’s very helpful to document each step of the journey. Many thanks for visiting and cheers to you for speedy healing!

  17. Ard68 says:

    Hi There, I’m not sure if you still check up on this blog but I just want to write in and say thank you!!! I discovered your blog early last year and it introduced me to TSA and TSW. Well I’m now 15 months down and have been healed for more than 6 months now. I feel amazing and it was your blog that started it all 🙂 I hope you’re still doing well and continuing living life free from skin issues.

    • Hi Ard68, yes I remember you! And yes I do still check up on this blog, I keep meaning to make an updated post but I’m glad to hear from you and other readers who are continuing to heal! This is wonderful to hear and I’m so honored and glad that I was able to play a small part in your path of healing. Congrats! 😀 How awesome does it feel to be back to “normal” again??! I am doing great thank you and my skin is totally and completely normal and happy 🙂

      • Ard68 says:

        The awesome to hear 😀 Life has been great and normal, I’ve definitely being making up for lost time. In the last 6 months I got married (in a strapless dress no less, crazy gamble in hindsight) and went on a 2 week road trip with lots of camping and swimming (so minimal bathroom/shower facilities and living in bikinis, shorts and singlets ), things that were inconceivable a two years ago. Would be awesome to hear an update if you’re up to it 🙂

      • Woohoo!!! Congrats Ard on your marriage! The road trip sounds like awesome fun too! Isn’t it amazing to live “normal” life again and enjoy it and not think for a second about skin 🙂 I will be doing an update soon!

  18. Karrie says:

    Hey! Do you have an Instagram account? I’d love to follow you. Your healing journey sounds so much like mine 😊 So glad you’re doing so well now!

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