Tag Archives: topical steroid withdrawal healing

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.

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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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Over 6 Months and Very Triumphant!

Well my goodness, how does time fly.  I think I owe all you wonderful people another post, since this blog has been silent for a good few weeks.

With TSW blogs, it’s more often than not a good sign when someone doesn’t post in a while!  As my fellow blogger Louise has written, she is “blogging less and living more”!   And the same is true for me.

I would say that I am currently about 90-95% healed and I’ve been that way for at least a good few weeks.  I never thought I would be able to wear shorts, short sleeves or tank tops in public again, but have done so multiple times over the past month!

What TSW victors say really is true, though it’s difficult to believe in the depths of the rash and the itch and the insomnia.  One day you just kind of realize, “Hey, I’m almost healed!”  You start doing “normal” things again, like exercising consistently, not worrying about food, not being obsessed with looking in the mirror at your skin, and choosing whatever clothes you want.  And you sometimes don’t even realize how “normal” things are now, until you take a look back at the dark TSW past, like maybe you run across some pictures of you in the worst of it, or you find your stash of creams or “TSW outfits”, or you realize you have zero need for Vaseline anymore and almost kinda hate the stuff!

I have made a huge dive back into fitness and exercise in these past few months of feeling and looking so much better.  I was a pretty die-hard exerciser, so when my consistent exercise routine got sidelined for a few months (first with a cold that turned into nasty bronchitis thanks to asthma, and then with the worst of TSW), it was kind of like I had lost part of my identity.  Now I am exercising a BUNCH!  I am running, biking, swimming, and lifting with renewed appreciation for my healthy body and how it has healed and how it can do all these amazing things that we so often take for granted.

Now here is where I want to add a little disclaimer, and I think I have brought this up before.  Some people might be reading this and pout and scoff, “Well!  Ms. EczemaExcellence is all fine and good to write about being nearly healed in 6 months, but there is no way she had that quick of healing!  Most adults take at least a year!”  And to that I say, “Why yes!  Yes, gentle reader, you are absolutely right!”

See, it was around this very time last year, that my skin started getting bad.  I actually remember that one day, I was so fed up that I wrote an angry letter “To Eczema”, stuff like, “Dear eczema:  I don’t understand why you’re ruining my life, you’re so controlling and I’ve done everything to try and get you to go away!  I just want to look normal again!  With the help of God, I banish you!”  Not like I thought this would help, but I was desperate and I thought it might be therapeutic, haha.  And it was just over a year ago that I started this blog, and then continued to embark on the journey of trying everything to “cure” myself, until I discovered TSW and then OFFICIALLY stopped all steroids in January.  But without a doubt, I was going through TSW well before I even knew about it.  And my use of steroid creams from July to January was really sporadic, so this use probably just prolonged my healing a little bit.

All that rambling to say, I know I used the title of 6 months, but it really is more like 1 year.

So what is my skin doing today?  As has been the case for the last months, any lingering “eczema” areas are localized to behind my knees and on my arms.  One day recently I wore shorts to the gym, and after working out on the machines, broke out in this weird itchy, bumpy rash behind my knees (which thankfully only lasted a day).  Clearly there was some kind of contact dermatitis issue, so I still have sensitive skin and have to watch out and be cautious about what I come in contact with.  I also got super excited by Miss Kitty’s post about being able to pet cats, and promptly figured that maybe I also would get lucky and be able to roughhouse with dogs in a blissfully itch-free manner.  Visiting a relative’s dog yesterday, I didn’t even TOUCH the thing and my skin and eyes got itchy, so I know that lovingly petting animals is still, sadly, a no.  (This is fine though, I can still admire them from afar.  In the grand scheme of things, there are worse maladies than not being able to hug a dog or cat).

So, I still do itch and get scabs here on my limbs sometimes, but nothing crazy, more just like “normal” eczema, I guess.  I am waiting for some scars to heal and fade before I truly have “clear” skin, but it’s clear enough for me to live with!  ESPECIALLY because my face and neck are no longer affected and to look at me, no one might be the wiser that I ever struggled with this itchy bastard of TSW.  I have the graphic pictures to prove it, some of which I never even posted on this blog, but even for me, the memory of the sleepless nights and the oozing and all the grossness is distant.  I lived it, and I don’t think I’ll ever forget it, but now it’s all about “What have I learned from the experience of TSW that I can use to help others that might be suffering”.

I don’t post a ton on the ITSAN forum and though I try to make my way ’round the blogs, I don’t comment as much as I’d like, but truly – if anyone needs an encouraging word, you are more than welcome to contact me!   Stay strong, skin friends, you WILL come out triumphant on the other side!

 

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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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Reflections on 100 Days of TSW

I made it to triple digits!!!

celebrating-womanhood1

I have to say that around the 90 day/three month mark is when things really started taking a turn for the better for me.  I overall just FELT better and more like myself, even if I didn’t have huge, vast improvements.

Right around 90 days I experienced another flare cycle (my third one), but each time, the flare-up has been successively less severe.  I measure the “flare cycles” by the areas where I probably used topical steroids the most, cumulatively – knee and elbow creases, and on/behind shoulders (and also my groin area – it got really bad, though I never used steroids here).  These are the areas that ebb and flow in regard to flaring, then getting dry and flaky, then getting white and smooth and clear, and starting over.

My face, neck, and stomach, for the most part, have taken a trajectory of simply slow improvement with a bit of flux here and there, rather than the same flare cycle.

I didn't really get the crazy peeling skin like a snake, my skin was more flaky, but I like the flakes because that seems to mark the end of a flare and the start of a calm period for me.  Once I rubbed all these flakes off my neck and moisturized, it was good!

Late April.  I didn’t really get the crazy peeling skin like a snake, my skin would mostly just have a ton of tiny flakes like this, but I like the flakes because that seems to mark the end of a flare and the start of a calm period for me.

I am really happy with my progress so far!  Besides the pictures in this post, here are some more observations of healing, compared to, say, about a month ago.

  • A month ago:  I had to wear a scarf to work every single day because my neck was so red and raw.

    This is how my neck USED to look.  Great improvement!

    This is how my neck USED to look in the beginning of TSW.  Compare this pic to the one with just the little flakes above. Great improvement!

  • Today: I can choose to wear a scarf because I WANT TO – not because I have to.  Thank goodness for this, because spring is here and the other day it was like 80 degrees, a scarf would have been maddening.  I can wear any neckline of top that I want, as my neck only needs a little bit of concealer to smooth out the slight redness in parts.  And I can wear necklaces again too.
  • A month ago: I was constantly tugging my sleeves down over my hands and wrists because they were so ripped up.  I would hide my hands in meetings or if people would talk to me – it became like an automatic reflex.
  • Today: I can actually have my hands completely exposed and be okay with it, even wearing 3/4 sleeve shirts and bracelets and watches again.  Yes, no one is going to ask me to be a hand model any time soon, and my forearms still have many little round scars or scabs, but these and the uneven skin tone on my hands is only apparent if you’re really up close.  I can’t wear short sleeves confidently just yet but I will get there too!
    My hand near the end of March.  It was rough, red, dry, and scabbed.

    My hand near the end of March. It was rough, red, dry, and scabbed. I had really red hands at some points, but I don’t have a picture of those.

    My hand, a few days ago.  Looks almost normal!

    My hand, a few days ago. Looks almost normal from here!

  • A month ago: My earlobes were cracked and oozing and flaking.  I always made sure my hair was covering them so no one would notice, and wearing earrings was completely out of the question.
  • Today: I can wear earrings again!  My earlobes are still a little flaky in the mornings, but almost normal.  I have heard that nickel is a common “allergy” among TSW people – that is, when they get the patch test or allergy test, nickel shows up on there frequently, so I have been very careful about not wearing “cheap” earrings, I only wear one pair of studs that is hypoallergenic.  Actually, this jogs my memory – I used to be able to wear any type of earrings, I had a bunch of cheap ones, and then my ears started getting sensitive.  I didn’t link this with TSW until thinking about it just now – it has to correspond since it happened around the same time and had to be a result of my skin getting hyper-sensitive all over.
  • A month ago: Most of my face was very red.
  • Today: There are still areas that sometimes are quite red – namely around my eyes (I expected this, as I used TS around my eyes – bad move, no one should ever do it!!) and some patches on my cheeks and jawline – my left side has always been worse than my right.  BUT, other parts have almost completely cleared.  My entire forehead was red, now it’s nearly clear.  I had a huge clearly marked patch on my face’s right side, and it has vanished.
Here I am looking sad and red, with my entire forehead, all around my eyes, and into my cheeks all red.  Oh and hey, I just realized that the way I blacked out my eyes makes it seem like they are uneven.  I promise you I do have symmetrically placed eyes, as if I didn't have enough issues with TSW.

Here I am looking sad and red near the end of March, with my entire forehead, all around my eyes, and into my cheeks all red. Oh and hey, I just realized that the way I blacked out my eyes makes it seem like they are uneven. I promise you I do have symmetrically placed eyes, as if I didn’t have enough issues with TSW.

Here I am looking way less red.  In this picture I look almost normal.  I do still have some red patches but wow is this an improvement.

Here I am looking way less red. In this picture I look almost normal. I do still have some red patches (you can see my cheek and neck are a bit blotchy) but wow is this an improvement.

  • A month ago: I didn’t have much energy and felt like I was just in “survival mode”.  If I managed to be able to go to the gym or get outside and exercise, that was a stellar day.  The only exercise I could really do was walking, or MAYBE running or weight training once in a great while if my skin didn’t hurt too much and I was in a decent mood.  Really I just wanted to sit in bed or sit in the bath constantly.
  • Today: I have a consistent energy level!  I feel energetic and motivated on most days and I WANT to work out on most days.  It also helps that it doesn’t hurt to move anymore, as opposed to when my knee and elbow creases felt like the worst sunburn and just walking was painful.   I realized my “old self” was coming back the other day when I woke up at 3:45 AM, scratching (it’s not the crazy deep itch of bad TSW anymore, just a dry skin type itch), and my first thought was, “Well, I’m wide awake, maybe I could go for a run.”  I didn’t run, in case you’re wondering – I may FEEL like I can do boundless physical activities like start training for another marathon, but I need to not overdo it and harness that energy into productive workouts that build up gradually and don’t burn me out or overtax my recovering adrenals.  I do get really tired after exercise, so I am cognizant to not rush into doing too much.
  • A month ago: Sweating would make me go crazy, itching and ripping at my skin.
  • Today: I can sweat and although it does still make me itchy sometimes, it’s not completely insane, and my skin has become more resilient so I really don’t damage it if I DO itch.  I still haven’t done any TRULY really sweaty activity, which I’m a little nervous about trying, but I will try it soon and see what happens.

When you’re in a period of healing (or one of the lucky ones completely healed), it is somewhat easy to forget about the tears, the sleepless nights, the constant clawing at yourself, the flakes everywhere, and the feeling of being trapped as a prisoner in your own body.  That’s why I have this blog – I want to move on, but I don’t need to forget – because knowing how bad I was makes me appreciate how I am today.  My only regret with TSW is that I didn’t start it sooner!  If I had started back in September when my skin first began to act up, I would be around the 9 month mark by now!

I could write more but I will stop here.  To all my fellow TSW warriors, encouragement and hope goes out to you.  It does get better!

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2 Month Progress Pics!

Today is exactly 2 months from the very last time I used (and will EVER use) topical steroids.  I have had many low days, but in the last few days I’ve seen measurable healing!  For anyone that is going through this and just starting out, I encourage you to TAKE PICTURES to document your progress.  Healing can be such a slow process that it’s easy to get discouraged when seeing how far you have yet to go, but with pictures you can see how far you have come.

(The following are pictures of my elbow creases.  I realized they’re not all from the SAME elbow crease, but the condition of both of them was pretty much the same.  For the record, the ONLY thing I ever put on this area while going through TSW was plain ol’ Vaseline after I got out of the bath at night.)

Here was one elbow crease on Feb. 25.  About 1 month in.  Very painful, red, burning.

Here was one elbow crease on Feb. 25. About 1 month in. Very painful, red, burning.

Elbow crease, on March 8th.  About 6 weeks in to TSW.

Elbow crease, on March 8th. About 6 weeks in to TSW.  Very itchy.  Still had that ‘sunburn’ feeling where it hurt to bend my arm.

Elbow crease on March 15, about 7 weeks in to TSW.

Elbow crease on March 15, about 7 weeks in to TSW.

Elbow crease this morning!  8 weeks in.  It is barely red and only has a few little scabs.  It no longer itches or burns and feels nearly normal.

Elbow crease this morning! 8 weeks in. It is barely red and only has a few little scabs. It no longer itches or burns and feels nearly normal.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pictures of my right hand (my right hand was always a lot worse than my left, maybe because I’m right handed and touch more stuff with that hand?  not sure).

Right hand on March 3rd.  It was actually a lot redder and itchier looking than the picture shows.

Right hand on March 3rd. It was actually a lot redder and itchier looking than the picture shows.  Middle finger knuckle is very dry and wrinkly looking.  I had used steroids there a lot.  Scabs and roughness are prevalent but it hadn’t started getting super red yet.

Right hand on March 15, about 7 weeks into TSW.  Looking a little better but I still was really self conscious about my hands and always tugging my sleeves down over them.

Right hand on March 15, about 7 weeks into TSW.  This may not be a very good picture to demonstrate but you can see the blotchy redness covering almost my whole hand and wrist.   Looking a little better but I still was really self conscious about my hands and always tugging my sleeves down over them to hide.

Right hand, picture taken yesterday (3/22) at almost 2 months in.  It is definitely smoother and less red.

Right hand, picture taken yesterday (3/22) at almost 2 months in. It is definitely smoother and less red.  In this picture it looks almost normal!  In person, my hand is still a bit red and rough, but much better.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I have had other measures of progress too!  All the oozing on my groin and thighs has dried up within the past 2-3 days and is now just mildly dry and flaky.  My skin in general feels a lot softer.  I still do itch, but it is MUCH less intense.  It’s more of a just “my skin is dry” itch than the uncontrollable overwhelming itch.  The red areas on my face and neck are, for the most part, looking way better.  I have a long ways to go, but seeing all of this is really encouraging.

Yesterday I was also really pleased with another thing.  It is said that diet doesn’t have too much of an affect on TSW – and that we shouldn’t go crazy trying to avoid foods.  The skin is so sensitive during this time that it might react to things that it normally doesn’t react to, which gives kind of a “false positive” when it comes to food intolerances.   I had pretty much given up dairy over the past months for my eczema as it seemed to make me more itchy, which was perfectly fine for the most part – I don’t like milk, yogurt, or ice cream, and I can pretty easily stay away from cheese.  I had also tried to stay away from any tomato products as they seemed to give me perioral dermatitis.  However, there was free pizza and cheese-breads at work due to this event we had.  Pizza is my problem child, I absolutely love pizza.  I don’t eat it very often, but if it is around, I find it hard to resist.  So I figured this would be a good “test” to see if eating a bunch of dairy/tomato sauce made me itchy.  I had a couple slices of pizza and a few cheese sticks and I felt perfectly fine later and didn’t itch any more than normal and didn’t wake up with any aggravated symptoms.  This seems to support the case that my skin reacting to everything was really TSW, since a few years ago I could eat whatever I wanted; and therefore the point that I had NO reaction seems to further confirm, yes, I am healing!

I am really curious to know what pattern my healing will take from here.  Will I continue to just get better with a few minor itchy red setbacks?  Will I go through another couple rounds of big flares?  Should I expect the trajectory of taking an entire year to heal, or will I be almost normal by summer since I didn’t use strong steroids nor use them over a very long period of time?

No matter what, even if I do regress and have a setback and go through flares again, seeing this healing was exactly what I needed, knowing that my body can heal just fine when left to its own devices without steroids.  I am wishing all of you fellow TSW warriors out there continued and speedy healing!

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