MONTH 59

this month is the month when i start to experience healing more obviously.
plenty of changes within 2 weeks, and i’m totally surprised.
of course when i’m going through the bad days of my cycle, i still feel like time stretches out – 2 days felt like 4 days.
but i’m slowly getting there! if i can feel myself healing, I PROBABLY AM.

very long entry with a lot of photo updates.
you might want to find out what changes i made to my diet.16 february 2016

i guess i can take this as a sign of improvement, because my latest cycle took 4 days instead of 5 days?
hahaha anyway small improvement is an improvement, even if 1 day might not make any statistical significance,
it makes a difference to my mental well being – that things are getting better.

the cycle goes like this – for 2 days, my cheeks itched on its own without me provoking it.
it lasts for 10 minutes on both days? it might be shorter, but the fact that i had to endure the itch and slight burn made it seem a lot longer.
it’s called relativity.
and then it went through its drying out phase over the next 2 days.. shedding and all that jazz.
and it’s finally calmer by now.

it’s still insane how my skin can change so much in terms of texture within days.
EVERYTHING IS CHANGING, i just gotta keep reminding myself of that.

thankfully, my mood and mind is in a much better place this time round.
i forced myself to go to my happy place in my mind,
and i’m thankful i actually have one.
🙂 it got me through lots of down times.

i’ve been practicing mindful meditation for a while now,
i try to be in the present moment whenever i can,
but this really isn’t the reality i want to be in.
while i’m still glad i learnt that “the focus of our attention determines our experience of life“,
i definitely see the value of replaying my happy memories over and over just to get through tough times.

keyword: get through tough times.
i’m not going to live in my memories forever. and i shouldn’t.
because if i don’t take in how bad the present is, how will i ever get to appreciate how much better my life will become?

food for thought. and end of my rant.

21 february 2016

someone once asked me if there was a specific day when my skin suddenly started healing,
my answer was no.

healing is a gradual process, but there comes a certain day when you finally realize you’re starting to heal.
to be more exact, you suddenly notice you’re in the midst of the healing already.

for me, that day was a few days ago.
things suddenly turned around for me within a week,
from previously dry and scaly hands and feet to just red and dry skin that is no longer cracking, it’s a welcomed change.

my face also stopped shedding and flaking as much compared to just a week ago. i didn’t wake up to a forehead full of white skin flakes.

abdomen, chest, arms and legs isn’t red anymore, my original skin colour is returning.

there are still some rough rashy spots near my chin, neck, elbow, hands, and feet. my palms still have red blotchy parts and so do my feet, but they’re changing.

it could be a coincidence, but there are several things i did differently in the past week (on top of being on TCM for 1+ month) that overlapped with my improvement. let’s just say, i could already be in the uphill phase for the past few weeks (just that it’s too slow for me to notice), and doing these might have made things more obvious for me. think of a little push up my tushy to get me higher up the healing hill.

1) i have stopped using moisturizer directly after my shower, allowing my skin to dry out and thicken appropriately because i noticed that moisturizing my thin skin made it more fragile and itchy. the drying out period sucks, but i realized it’s necessary due to the natural shedding process. my feet will ooze a little if i break the skin previously, and applying any oils on it only aggravate it and slow down the drying process. once i stopped using oils on it, it seem to have made marked improvements (in terms of healing speed of broken skin). if i ever exfoliate (read: scratch) myself when i’m sweaty, i rip off way too much skin. however, my hands are the only exception, as i continue to use natural oils on it. later on in the day when my skin isn’t irritated or itchy, i might use a moisturizer depending on my needs (to hide unsightly dry patches, which makes up upset seeing them, so hiding them makes me feel better emotionally. happy me = less stress = heal faster). otherwise, i find that dried skin is less itchy or irritated. at the end of the day, i feel that there’s a time and place for everything. if i use moisturizers at the right time of my healing cycle, it can help me greatly. so it’s all about timing!

2) i drink diluted apple cider vinegar on an empty stomach in the morning with probiotic capsules. if you need the specifics, i THINK i’m doing about 1 tablespoon (or less) of ACV mixed with about 300ml of water. of course in reality, i just eyeball everything. i pour the ACV into my cup and filled it up with water after, so yea. as for the probiotics, each capsule claims to have 5 billion CFU. i’ve actually been taking that for a long while several months back but never noticed such huge changes before. now i pop 2 capsules, hoping to get 10 billion CFU into my intestines before i even eat anything in the morning. that’s supposedly the best time to inoculate yourself btw. (just a side note: ACV makes my stomach heat up for the first 2 weeks, but i no longer feel that 1 month into the regiment. one thing remained constant though.. it made me want to poop almost immediately.)

3) i tried to eat lesser animal protein. i also tried to cut out wheat again, but i failed because my self control sucks. it’s chinese new year and all those snacks.. damn. i’ll just say that eating wheat did not worsen my skin, but who’s to say that cutting it out wouldn’t speed up my progress even more? then again, i don’t eat that much wheat products so it’s alright for now i guess. i have read too much literature on the damaging effects of gluten on the intestine linings, i’m still going to want to cut it out regardless of my skin issues.

i can’t say the probiotics caused any changes in my skin because correlation does not imply cause and effect. one thing i can be certain of is my digestion has improved – lesser gas, and the smell is less horrible. it could be the probiotics, it could also be that i ate lesser meat. in my opinion, if an option does me no harm, i’m all up to trying it out.

let’s see how things go in the coming week. fingers crossed.

29 february 2016

after the feel good day last week, things went down and came back up again.

I had a week of cold symptoms after my last update. blocked nose, runny nose, sneezing uncontrollably especially in presence of moving air (aka wind). it died down within a week though.

now i realize it’s a week long cycle!
when my skin is on a good day, it really looks promising.
i see signs of improvement🙂
i just need to get through the bad days.

i’m lucky because things don’t get too bad for me.
there are times when i just feel like there is no progress, meaning my skin feels and/or looks like the way it was a month ago.
that’s the worst for me right now – the idea of no progress.
i look at photos from a month ago and i’m convinced that how i feel isn’t a true reflection of how things actually are.
i’m somehow disillusioned by what i think i see from the mirror.


click to enlarge

the redness is definitely fading away. i also noticed my lips has more colour now than before,
it was so blotchy at the start of the month!

and it’s not just my face. my neck and upper chest is slowly getting better too.

i haven’t been sleeping too well for the first few days of the week,
i try to get naps in the afternoon.
the funny thing is i fall asleep a lot easier in the afternoon.
i actually feel sleepy when i lie down as opposed to going to bed at night.

hair fall increased a little this week too.
mainly very fine hair. i guess my body is weeding out the weaklings!

with each passing day, i’m one day closer to being healed.

6 march 2016

skin is continuing to improve.
general dryness, redness is slowly subsiding.

face appear a little blotchy in the morning (after my shower), but calms down towards the end of the day.
my forehead isn’t dry and rough anymore, it hasn’t shed for the past 3 to 4 days🙂

my arms and legs aren’t rough anymore, even though it’s still dry.
tried my best not to scratch it.
upper chest still rough and wrinkles when my skin is pushed together.

sleep has been weird the past few nights, waking up at 4am feeling warm and uncomfortable.

mood is a lot better ever since i notice i’m healing😀
still lots of ups and downs, but skin is getting better over all.

in the past week, i started feeling warmer in normal room temperature,
which should be the norm except i was feeling too cold most of the time the past few months,
so this return to feeling warm is welcomed.

7 March 2016

not sure if it’s my body doing weird stuff because it’s forcing my period to start, but I had bumpy skin that disappeared within hours last night. also suffered a day long itch fest. my body parts take turn to itch, first it was my hands, the. my abdomen, then my neck.. lastly my forehead.

they were all gone by evening time, and my period commenced (coincidentally?).

12 march 2016

another month down! time for a review.


click to enlarge

face, neck and upper chest continues to improve. still goes through cycles, i just got out for a 3 days bad skin phase (from the itch, to drying out, and shedding). skin colour is more even, face is more hydrated now, and so is my neck. no longer blotchy.

face has little raised spots over the past few days, itches a little, but comes and goes throughout the day. my lip area continues to cycle through better and not so good days, but i’d say it’s improving in general.


click to enlarge

it looks like my palm isn’t progressing too much, but it actually improved a little. not very visible changes on camera though.
the skin isn’t as plasticky and thick, but i guess i’m really the only one who notices it.
whatever! as long as there are changes!


click to enlarge

one day it’s red, raised and itchy, a little later it’s calmer and flattened. repeat.


current wrist situation: still fragile and dry. that’s about it. you might also notice the slight redness/blotchiness on my arm. skin is thin and fragile.


click to enlarge

nuff’ said.🙂 i’m happy with the progress. just sucks that it takes one month to see this difference.


click to enlarge

the side of my feet is getting better too. this will take a while, i guess! but it’s definitely getting better.

in general, my skin is improving. but it still leaves behind that white marking when i do scratch my skin.:/

this month i find myself feeling down even when my skin is looking up. so yesterday, i made a list of why i should be happy.

1. I don’t lose that much skin after I sweat anymore. when I rub my skin a month ago, skin will just come right off. not anymore!

2. I don’t smell that bad anymore, that weird scent due to broken skin.

3. my face isn’t red and dry like before. my forehead is great!

4. cycles are shorter now, about 3 bad days as opposed to 5 days.

5. my neck and upper chest isn’t that red and blotchy like before too!

6. my cuticles are healing, less irritated, isn’t shedding daily. not as swollen too.

7. my feet isn’t broken all the time, not as rashy and fragile too. wounds are healing and aren’t shedding daily.

8. sweating doesn’t irritate me like before!

9. I no longer snow skin flakes when I take off my clothes.

10. my hair line isn’t white and ashy due to daily skin flakes anymore.

11. I don’t feel as itchy anymore unless I ate something wrong (chocolate T.T).

12. my period is back to normal! the blood seems healthier, and a little more than a few months ago.

13. sleep is coming back to me in broken pieces. bad sleep at night means i’ll get a nap in the day. but at least i clock in 7-8 hours in total.

and i also listed out the things i keep getting fixated on.

1. red, dry and itchy hands/palms/wrist

2. fragile skin on my arm and legs, basically everywhere.

3. itchy rash on my scalp that forms scabs.

4. rashy jaw that’s red and dry.

5. skin that’s still dry and dark red at times.

once i listed them out, i had an aha moment.
how can i allow myself to get weighed down by 5 things that is still bothering me when my body did 12 amazing things within the past 2 months?

i should  be celebrating my healing!

this just goes to show how this whole skin ordeal can still mindfuck me despite having gone through this several times.

need to remind myself i’ve made it through all the shitty times in the past,
i have a good track record🙂

lately i got some supplements for myself. so this is my current schedule (with some time between each step).

0. 15-20g of glutamine powder mixed with water throughout the day. (seriously considering mixing into juice instead)

  1. diluted ACV in the morning with 30 billion CFU probiotics. i’m a billionaire😉
  2. BREAKFAST
  3. my chinese medicine dose 1
  4. 18mg of iron supplement + 20000 IU vitamin D (because i’m always indoor)
  5. multivitamin dose 1 (not taken daily)
  6. LUNCH
  7. fish oil and evening primrose oil (not taken daily)
  8. DINNER
  9. chinese medicine dose 2
  10. multivitamin dose 2 (not taken daily)

hopefully things are better the same time next month.

15 thoughts on “MONTH 59

  1. Oh Juliana I am so happy you are seeing really great signs of healing! I have followed your blog since the beginning of my withdrawal in June 2013 and you have been such an inspiration. I am doing so well now and thank you again for helping me😀

    Big hugs to you – I really hope your improvements continue❤
    Cara xxxx

    • thank you so much cara! i hope the same for both of us, i can’t wait to get out of this leash my skin puts on me.. i just want to be normal, and i wish that for everyone too! i’m so glad to be able to help you in whichever way i possibly can🙂 it makes me feel better about having to go through shit like this! haha!

      xoxo

  2. so the evening oil is the only oil that u use? i used coconut oil before but it was not a good one and im finding a replacement.

    • you mean for consumption? i only take evening primrose oil sometimes. for topical application, i use a blend of sweet almond oil and essential oils. it’s okay~ but if my skin is super sensitive (fragile), the oil will still irritate it. so it’s sometimes best to use nothing at all.

  3. Hi Juliana,
    Remember me? I am Lorna the lady who emailed you about tsw in 2014. I am now doing well and so far so good. Chinese herbs really help. Even with the current warm weather, I am not breaking out in rashes or itching incessantly. Thanks so much for words of motivation. We will all recover. “When the going gets tough, the tough gets going!”

  4. I Was just thinking of you, Juliana, how you are…happy or sad, disappointed or hopeful.
    So glad to get your e mail and to read about your improvements and that you haven’ t given up.
    Wish you good luck and energy to continue on your way to get health.
    My daughter has the same experience as you about atopic skin and she’s trying diffrent ways, but of course no medicin, because there isn’t any, wich is the most difficult thing for me to accept.
    I think atopic skin has a defect, that already is known, but no one has developed the right treatment yet.

    • thank you so much for your concern! i’m feeling much better than i was a month ago🙂
      i don’t think atopic skin is a disease. it’s merely a sign that we’re not using our body right. i hope your daughter can explore nutrition and see how eating the right food (and avoiding the wrong food) can help her in the long run! food is our medicine, because if we avoid what’s bad for us, we don’t be sick in the first place!

  5. 20,000 IU of Vitamin D, how did you come to that amount? im taking 4000 IU right now. i dunno what difference it makes, but it’s good for us overall anyways, so I’ll keep taking it. But I dunno if I should ramp up to higher dose.

  6. You’re right, food affects our health, more than we’ve known before. My daughter is also well informed about that and she’s the same opinion as you” atopic skin isn’t a disease”.
    I trust both of you, because of your experience from atopic skin.
    Altough, we have to get the complete knowledge about these skin problems, otherwise we can’t stop them.

  7. Hey juliana, just a question. Are you still going through tsw or is it just ‘normal’ eczema? My skin looks exactly like yours and i’m trying to find an answer. I’m currently 1yr 3months into tsw btw

    • hi cliff,

      i don’t think i’m going through TSW anymore because i’ve been off steroids for way too long. withdrawal symptoms shouldn’t hit me this late in the game. i do think it’s my eczema, and it’s way worse than my eczema ever was because my skin might be more prone to severe eczema after all that steroid. in my opinion, if your skin has been stagnant for a few months (you’re no longer oozing or having ridiculous flares), it’s time to consider doing something to aid your body recover. especially if you have atopic dermatitis to begin with. there’s no harm in eating healthy, right? what do you have to lose? perhaps a few months off the healing time?

      do some googling on leaky gut diets! many different types, but they all seem to do you good.

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