FLARE #3 – PHOTOS OF MY FACE

if you don’t already know, i’m currently in my flare #3.

perhaps my definition of a flare is different from everyone elses’, so please allow me to state clearly what i mean by that.

i only consider a flare to be a flare when a significant area of my skin turns from normal to red and dry. if i’m already in a flare and there are little ups and downs as denoted by the oozing and healing of certain small areas, those are considered “cycles” to me.

i’ve flipped through my photo album to put this entry together.

photolog of my face:

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5 october 2014

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it started out as a tiny little dry spot on my left cheek, it appears slightly pinkish in the photo above. i didn’t give it much thought as small spots like this do appear every now and then, and they usually subside over the next few days. what bothered me more was actually my lip area since it’s obviously irritated and red. it hurts when i perspire. it is pretty obvious in real life as it contrasts against my light skin.

this time it took a different turn.

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11 october 2014

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6 days later, i woke up with dry and rough PATCH on my cheek, and a bonus of swollen eyes. this is not a good sign.

swelling of face tells me i’m retaining too much fluids. ok, maybe this is due to the PMS, since girls usually have a bad case of fluid retention prior to the arrival of the period. still trying to calm my nerves with calming thoughts.

lip area is increasingly dry, flaking and shedding multiple times isn’t uncommon.

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14 october 2014

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3 days after the previous photo, i see some white area peeking through the red patch. skin is not oozing, but i feel like it’s on the verge of oozing. went to see TCM that day. i decided to see the TCM because i realize this is not subsiding as it usually does, i also notice a few other rashy area across my body and it worries me. my eyes are still swollen in the morning, the eyelids are slightly rashy. but my forehead is spared at the moment.

the previous night i finally washed my hair after several days of not washing. it sounds gross, but a part of my scalp was oozing as i broke the skin scratching it about a week ago😦 it grew into a ginormous patch of oozing mess and i didn’t want to risk wetting the dried up patch and get it to ooze all over again. i constantly checked the colour of the ooze – clear yellow tells me it’s not infected. the ooze finally dried after a few days and a layer of skin has grown over the previous raw skin, so i took the plunge and washed it with water, hoping to remove any remnant ooze to prevent an infection.

and then.. i had the best time of the day removing the piece of built up skin. it soaked in water and shrunk upon drying, making it loosen up and ready to fall off. and HOLY COW, please tell me i’m not the only one who derives some pleasure in peeling off a HUGE piece of skin. i’ll leave that to your imagination, as gross and disgusting as it may sound, it’s satisfying at the same time combing out a HUGE piece of skin – MY SKIN! so magnificent. i thought i could reconstruct the world map with the pieces of skin. HAHAHAHAHA I’M MAD. SORRY GUYS. you didn’t hear this from me.

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15 october 2014

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still slightly swollen, dry skin doesn’t appear too obviously in the photo as my face was feeling plasticky tight again. it’s a different story once i started eating and talking. holy cow. my lip area is tight as hell. well, i must admit this isn’t the worst i’ve went through, so i’m still cool with it.😉

the skin flakes are now thicker than usual, i know this means i just went a little deeper into that down slope.

shedding a lot once again. lots of dead skin in my room, LET IT SNOW~ LET IT SNOW~~~ i don’t know how to continue the “let it go” song after this.

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16 october 2014

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woke up feeling like a barbie – plastic face. hahah i still got my jokes on. red patch is slightly raised and dry. not oozing there at the moment, thank god.

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my right cheek seems to be catching up on the progress, a few spots coalescing to form a bigger nation.

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dryness around my lips.😦 thick skin flakes = deep damage and cell renewal. sigh.

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this is what i meant by other rashes on my body. it suddenly popped up on my previously smooth hands. !?

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17 october 2014
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wake up feeling like barbie again. what’s new? neck was itchy so i kinda scratched it, which explains why it appeared redder. quite a lot of dry skin came off. wow.

eyes more swollen than ever. i’m back to my single eyelid days.

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right cheeks is definitely up to something. it is slightly raised.

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ouch. i shouldn’t have, but.. it was itchy.

the good news is, previously raised patches on my upper chest have calmed down and flattened out. hoping the same happens to the rest of my skin soon.

geez.

i also just had a itch fest, it felt like an hour but it could be shorter. it’s my bad, because i read this news about head lice being combed off a kid’s head. WTF JULIANA ARE YOU READING SOMETHING LIKE THAT!? i swear, reading something about bugs during my flares ALWAYS sets off an itch fest.

energy level seems better today as i didn’t need to take a noon nap.

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18 october 2014

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so it’s only Saturday, day 4 on TCM. what? only day 4? I swear, time feels like it slowed by a thousand times when I can feel my skin every fucking moment.

waking up to tight and taut skin.. hahaha I know I’ll regret saying this when I’m 60, when my skin is all saggy and whatnots.. but geez! this tightness is too much to take!!!

and my eyes just get so swollen after a night’s sleep. for the record, last night was the best night I’ve slept over the past week.. because I finally rolled my pillow into a cylinder so that my oozing scalp can be kept airy and not in contact with my pillow.

thanks a lot, steroids. you wanna ruin me again? I won’t let you.

there are no itching fest today, thank god. the weather is a lot nicer this week too, lots of rain. oh boy do I love the weather!!!

hormones may be normalizing now since the period is officially over. fingers crossed. may my skin’s cortisol producer/receptor start working again soon.

other than that, I’m actually very thankful that I’m laying in bed right now, with cooling weather, and not feeling too much of my skin.

every little blessings count.

on a side note, rashes on my hands are somewhat spreading. flattening and spreading. dry, scaly, and red too.

elomet. I can’t help but blame you.

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19 october 2014

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waking up to a dry face is becoming old news to me now. it’s still the hardest part of the day for me.

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the thing about taking daily photos like this is.. they all look so similar because you can hardly tell a different between just one day. thankfully iphone’s photo album is able to categorize the photos according to dates😛

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it’s surprising that i still see some white areas on my face, so all hope is not lost – the rashes are really just confined to areas that are in touch with steroids in the past.

this sort of confirmed my suspicion.

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20 october 2014

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the redness seems to be more even now – uniformly discoloured. well, uniformity is good, i think. as least it’s not a pain to my eyes as much. the lip area is particular fragile. i’m really surprised that it’s not oozing this time round, but shedding layers and layers of skin.

yes it hurts like a little bitch sometimes. my eyes doesn’t feel as swollen anymore, but i can hardly keep them open as the skin on my lids are dry as well.. asian problems – my eyelid crease no longer act as a crease. hahahaha!

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so. dry.
my neck takes a few days to form one shedding cycle. when it sheds, the skin are thick like scales, but thankfully there are no sign of oozing. the second skin is shiny and smooth for a day.. and then it repeats.

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i look like i have red eyeshadow on or something.
the red patch on my right cheek (on the left side of this photo) seem to have stopped growing.

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this is how my lips look like after eating – dry skin that are not ready to shed are cracking all over. and my neck is about to shed. is this how it feels to have scales? urgh.

however, there is a side effect that i quite like – all that swelling made my lips feel plumper and less lined. not that i’m a fan of angelina jolie’s lips.. but.. i’m trying my best to find good things about this flare. and surprise! they used to shed skin every day, but not anymore!? this is weird. i don’t know why exactly.. but i’m not complaining.

notice the darker colour in my skin? that’s a good sign i think. from red, it turns dark.. and eventually HEALS!

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21 October 2014

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I realize things aren’t captured that well in photos. over the past 2 weeks, my forehead is starting to get dry and scaly too. skin flakes are thicker, new skin below is well.. red and shiny for a day before forming another layer of dead skin. my eyelids are also red, dry and thick.

red rashy area on my upper chest has spreaded a little to my abdomen.

I’m not excited at all. I am upset but for some reason I’m not as upset as I was 2 years ago.

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22 october 2014

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rashy areas on my hands – a few of them popped up over night. from one, it became 6.:/ damn it. it’s not too bad though. a few rounds of shedding before become slightly raised.

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23 october 2014

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i managed to leave house although i’d prefer not to. but i had no choice that day.. so… i went out. this reminds me so much of the beginning days of my TSW journey – red face and all.. there were lots of skin flakes that can’t be captured on the camera😛 and i’m thankful my eyebrows didn’t fall off too much this time. my eyelashes did though. and a lot of my hair too.

vanity is in my blood😛

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25 october 2014

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morning dryness. why do i feel like a mummy who just woke up from my thousand-year sleep..
the good news is – eyes aren’t as swollen as it was a week ago!

BUT, there seem to be LOTS of secretion from my eye. abnormal amount of gunk, i think they’re like dead proteins or cells, whatever. and my tears are slightly thicker than usual too.:/ good lord. i feel like my blood stream is the ganges river right now…… so full of crap that they’re being secreted into my tears.

for the past few days i’ve been showering after my breakfast to make myself feel better. there’s just no point in sulking and not doing a thing to help myself.

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anyway, i’m going to post this post prematurely because some may be interested in what my flare looks like. also, this entry is getting long thanks to the addition of photos and is becoming a bitch to edit day after day, through the endless scrolling.

i’ve been reading lots of books lately..😉 that’s a change from 2 years ago! i always lament on the positive effects of TSW – how it has given me perspective and strengthened me for good, and it’s totally working its charm this time round. while a flare sucks, but it’s never as bad as the worst i’ve ever seen. that has given me some room to breathe. well, if it decides to turn for the worst, so be it. i’m strong enough to get through it again if i need to.

sleep has been ok. sometimes i itch, but i feel that it’s more psychological than physical. i’m not in an itch fest, but i felt like i needed to scratch. =_=

as i’ve mentioned in my previous post, i highly suspect my flare is fed by my bad diet for the past few months. as such, i’ve made plans to clean my diet out and i fully intend on making this a part of my life style. i’ll write more about this in the future.

keeping my spirits high and positive have been very helpful during this flare. while i did sink in a little for the first few days, but once i come to terms with my skin and accepted the reality, things have been going good for me – i’m still eating, laughing, doing things, taking a break.. i feel like this is life telling me to just give myself a god damn break after working my ass off the previous year.

plus, i realize it’s during these “break time” that i actually do more for the community, as i’m usually busy-ing for myself and family. all in all, my mood is doing fine and i feel fine.

i’m just gonna ride this flare out as though i’m taking a stroll on the back of a horse.😉 through a refreshing garden that is.

23 thoughts on “FLARE #3 – PHOTOS OF MY FACE

  1. Yah recently singapore weather is hot. One thing that helps me is shower without the heater on. I find it seems to make my skin feel better so i have make it a habit already.

  2. This maybe rough, you have been through worse. Keep staying strong🙂
    Hey, weather in Hong Kong has been changing lately as well! My skin is not giving up this superb opportunity to make me suffer and itch till death😦
    By the way, long post to scroll over my 5 inch phone :p happy to see our updates, as always!

  3. Juliana, I can’t say in words how much I admire you! You’re telling your story in such a humble way, though your pain is everything else. You’re sharing your photos with humour, though your heart may cry.
    You are worth LOVE for your unselfish open mind.
    I follow you because of my daughter, whom I love and care about. She’s on her way to get off the poison of steroids. She’s also suffering and that hurts, especially when It depends on my lack of knowledge how steroids destroy the body. She’s adult now but on her first year of struggling against the steroid monster.
    I wish you all in the same situation, to have strength enough to fight for your rights and for your health.

    • I’m so sorry to hear about your daughter’s experience. I can’t imagine how bad it feels to see your daughter suffer before your very own eyes. I can only try to understand how strong my mother was when she saw me at my worst. you have to stay really strong for your daughter during this period of time! it’s ok if you don’t understand all the science behind steroids, you just need to be there for her, just like what my mother did for me! :))) mothers are the greatest!! and I’m really flattered by what you think of me, thank you so much! but really, I’m not as depressed this time round as compared to the previous flare! I am only strong now because I’ve been weak before. I hope both you and your daughter can find this innate strength too!

  4. Hi Juliana,
    Thank you so much for your photo documentation of your flares along with your good skin days. I appreciate the information you provide and your honesty and humor. Your blog helps me better understand what my 11 yr old son is going through, and gives us information to encourage him that better days are ahead.

    Your face (crust and all) are what introduced us to TSW almost 13 months ago and started Brian on this horrific journey to healing. Thank you for continuing to share it and your blog with the world!

    Rosemarie

    • hi there rosemarie, i’m sorry your son have to go through this shit. it always hurt me to hear about a kid having to be tortured like this. i hope he’s doing well!

      and thank you for leaving such a beautiful comment, i like it when i know i’ve helped someone with what i share over here! hahaha and i’m glad you understand my humour😉

      good luck and stay strong for your son!

      xoxo

  5. Pingback: Here we go again…. | Beyond the Itch

  6. I admire your openness! Thank you for putting yourself out there; it certainly makes me feel less alone.

    I’m currently applauding myself for little victories like: I washed the dishes today! I took a shower today! I went for a walk (albeit in the night, so as to not draw the attention of self-perceived gawkers). Definitely still on the cusp between denial and acceptance, this round. My whole brain is literally like.. what the fuck. AGAIN??

    Are you scaling back on work and school and socializing this time around?

    • thanks jo😉 there’s nothing to hide at all! hehe!

      and you should totally give yourself a pat on your shoulder for every little achievement you’ve made😀

      and yes, i have to scale back on my activities, but i will fill myself up with other activities that i can carry out, like doing research and reading😀

  7. Hey Juliana I just want to say thanks for your blog. It was the deciding factor in my choice to go through TSW. Seeing this post today has helped me come to terms with the seemingly endless nature of the TSW process. It’s frustrating but I can accept it and hopefully not allow it to hold me back if possible. I hope your flare ends soon and that you can find joy in amongst your struggle. All the best

    • thanks for your comment nam! while it has flared up for me again, i still truly believe i’ll one day be free from all this. this looks so much like TSW but i know deep down that it’s not triggered by the same reason a few years ago. but yea, damaged skin needs more time to recover! i wish you all the best too!

    • yea i know right! but this time round i’m gonna be more proactive about improving it since it’s no longer the steroids rebound😉 i can do things to help my skin heal faster this time, i hope! xoxo

    • thank you Mollie, but I feel too flattered by what you said! I have nothing to hide! but I appreciate your appreciation for my honesty🙂 after all, this is a blog where I keep track of my progress. it’s a good log book for me😉 it wasn’t easy, but I’ve come to terms with it by now and I’m very hopeful that I’ll get even better after this flare🙂 thank you for your well wishes!

  8. Hi Juliana.. Ur pics reminded so so much of me 5 to 6 years back. I experienced TSW then (not knowing what was that) because of some unknown medication given to me by my MIL saying that it will cure my eczema (So naïve). And so I jumped into it for a year or 2.. goodness I had gorgeous, unbelievably beautiful skin then thinking the medication was god send. After 2 years or so consuming the med.. I had a tiny small patch of eczema on my eyelid that refuses to budge even by increasing my miracle pill or elomet.. When I suspected something was wrong with the pill and I stopped taking it for a week. My eczema flared up big big time.. exactly like what u were going through during ur TSW. I had to stop work for months, be on a strict diet and went to TCM and NSC for treatment. I am extremely thankful for my then BF (who is my hubby now), my parents, my bosses and my friends who stood by me during my lowest. Fast forward 6 years later, I am now a mother of 2. I still have my occasional flares during my period and poor diet but not to the extent of TSW 5 years ago. My skin can be quite a bitch during pregnancy due to the hormonal fluctuations. I am having a flare (very similar to urs now).. So sian and frustrating!

    Anyway, ur blog is fabulous. Thank you so much for documenting ur TSW journey. U made us realise that we are not alone. I really enjoy seeing ur pics from how bad it was in 2011 to now.. U have come a long way! Keep on updating ur blog! I wish u quick recovery from ur latest flare.. U r not alone GAMBATE!

    • thanks for your sweet comment! i’m sorry you have to go through this because you were so innocent! that medication must have some kind of steroids in it😦

      but i’m glad that you’re healed right now! with the right diet, i’m sure you can control those eczema flares a lot better! i don’t look forward to being pregnant hearing what you said…….

      and i’m so happy for you that your then BF is now your husband!🙂 you do see who’s the best to you during the most difficult times, right?

      i’ll keep updating, it’s not just for everyone else, but also for myself to see how far i’ve come along.

      thank you for your well wishes, and i wish you well too!

  9. Is it just your face and neck which is flaring? If that’s the case the rest of you must be healed. You can’t have too long to go!!! Hang in there.
    Also, moisturizer won’t stop you healing. You don’t need to worry about it!!!

    • hey jordan, i wish it’s just the neck and face. sadly i’ve got some other rashes on my arm and knee folds, places that have had eczema rashes when i was a kid.😛 i think this episode wouldn’t take too long too! i’ll stay strong and hang on tight! thanks for your encouragement!

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