what happened to time?
there was a point in time when i thought i can’t make it a day further,
let alone a month..
or a year.but here i am, 6 years down the steroid free road.
i made it this far somehow.
6 years ago if you told me i’ll have to spend 6 long years healing, i’d have told you i won’t be able to make it through.
6 years is a long time.
a child would have finished primary school education.

recovery from my last flare in 2015/2016 took a lot longer than expected too.
a friend of mine got married, got pregnant, gave birth to the baby,
and i’m still healing.

the old saying works: take things one day at a time.

i don’t feel like my skin is at that stage where i feel confident enough to start talking about my flare and my recovery.
it’s too soon.
when things haven’t settled yet, i risk bringing everyone on a roller coaster ride together with me,
and it doesn’t seem responsible of me.
i know far too well just how easy one can feel discouraged when we’re going through the thick of it.
seeing someone else who’s 6 years in and skin still isn’t stable yet?
that’s one way to chip away at our already weak faith.

on the other hand, i can not neglect to see how well my skin has healed as compared to a year ago,
when it was at its absolute worse.
rather, i don’t want to neglect it.
i want to give my skin and body the recognition that it got better.

just to give you an idea of how my skin is right now.
be sure to click and enlarge the photo because it looks like it’s perfect from a distance ๐Ÿ˜‰
my skin is still fragile, and you can easily see redness if i overheat, or when blood gushes to my face.

Click to enlarge!

might have a thin layer of vaseline on my face, hence the slight shine.

Click to enlarge!

Click to enlarge!

if i compare my skin to when it was normal, i’d be disappointed.
that’s why i remind myself that not too long ago, my skin once looked like the photos below.
really hard to believe how my skin can heal given time. and patience.

Click to enlarge!

from bad to not too bad.

Click to enlarge!

to very bad, then to pretty good.
the photo on the right is probably from around august last year, when i had a calm period.
things then went down from there.
it’s really full of ups and downs.

Click to enlarge!

my arm was once so bumpy and rashy, you have to really zoom into the bottom left photo to see it underneath my skin.
also that oozy wound that took 3+ months to heal up. IT HAPPENED TWICE.

Click to enlarge!

feet, sometime last year i think.

now you see why i have to give my skin and body a pat on their back?
they did a shit ton of healing over the years!

my recovery feels different this time round, compared to the one in 2013.
both times i had TCM to help me,
but this time things are moving along slower.
i also observed so much more new stuff that i’ve never felt before.
things like anxiety, loss of self identity, confidence, lethargy.

nothing ever stays the same, i guess it applies to my body as well.
it’s clear that my body function is different from a few years back.
could that be why i’m taking a longer time to make the same progress?

what took 6 months now takes 1 year.

nonetheless, i know i’m heading towards healing.
i keep telling myself: TIME.
it’s to remind myself that with time, everything will be healed.

the progress may be slow, but it is healing.

through the series of ups and downs, i’m getting better after each of the cycles,
even if they take 3 months to get better.

i see my arms and legs clear up for a few weeks before slowly descending back into a cycle.
it is frustrating. but i can’t stop it from happening.
each time i wonder if this will be the last time.
i can sort of tell it’s not the end yet, because when my skin was somewhat clear,
it’s still not normal skin yet.
i just hope for that day my skin is finally back in its normal form, where it can protect me and function properly.

i know it’s working very hard to achieve that,
that’s why i’ve been showing gratitude to my skin and body for fighting this long war.
it’s a marathon, and needs all the love it can get to keep going.

learning to love myself (not in a narcissistic way) is a bonus gift i got from dealing with the flare the past year.
along with kindness and compassion.
it’s more about accepting things for what they are, and allowing them to exist even if i don’t want to.
to become more tolerable, in other words.
it helped me deal with some monsters within me.
i can breathe a little easier now, putting behind the hate and anger i used to hold inside me.

and i feel better too. ๐Ÿ™‚

looking forward to the day my skin is healthy and strong once more.
i think that day isn’t far away now.

also looking forward to the day i’m in the “after” part of recovery, so i can share actual before and after photos,
where the after is stable, healed skin.
we all wanna see the before and after,
but no one wants to be stuck in the middle of the seemingly endless process.


21 thoughts on “HAPPY 6 YEARS

  1. I’m almost 15 months TSW and in an “anniversary flare” right now. I considered myself 97% healed but now feel more like 60%. Like you, the rashes love my neck and chest. They are creeping up my shoulders, down my arms and really make their mark on my right hand–just for all the world to see! This flare brought rashes above my jawline and onto my cheeks, which marks the first real facial symptoms.

    I’m sick of it. My anger gets so bad sometimes, I want to stab something. (I know! The horror!) I’m happiest in the comfort of my house where I have control of my environment. A trip to Japan during my flare was disastrous because of my discomfort, although I enjoyed seeing my husband enjoy himself. I’ll have to cancel a trip to the mainland at the end of this month. These trips were booked when I was 97% and never dreamed I’d flare again. You’re right about taking one day at a time. I tell myself to just get through the morning while I’m at work. Lunch is spent at home trying to relieve my skin. And then, I count the hours till it’s time to go home for the day. I have my skin routine that I’m sure you and all the other warriors live each day. In fact, it’s now time for my epsom salt bath…so nice to hear from you as I’ve been following you since my TSW 01/20/16. You’re getting there, Juliana, slowly but surely. You’re in my prayers and hugs to you!


    • Dear Juliana,

      I wrote to you about 2 years ago. I am controlling the eczema at 90% almost now – won’t go into much detail, but what has helped me greatly has been ASHWAGANDHA ROOT. It rejuvenate the skin, it is an anti-stress. With it my skin heals fast, I am less anxious so I can control the itching better and most important I sleep well again.

      Like you I also tried TCM for many years…but this is really worth trying. You can find it in health stores easily under different brands. You can also buy the powder. I am now 44 and I have been using it for over 6 months and it has really helped.

      Hope it works for you too!

      Take care,


  2. What a wonderful courageous positive post. I understand as a mother who sees her son in year 3 of steroid withdrawal and the same patterns of skin trauma – what else can I call it?
    I think of all you (mostly) young people who are going through this suffering and want to say to you all ‘ stay strong, face this part of your life with courage and live life to the full as much as you can. There will be an end to what you are going through.’ You are wonderful amazing people all of you.

  3. Bascially, I’m the same with you that withdrawal about 6 years. Since the normal withdarwal reflection is gone from me( Red skin), apart from the steriod withdrawl, I’m now more concern about the bad hibits to causing the my bad skin. Mouth breathing is what I’m trying to avoid and. My skin is well at night comparing after I wake up. The water is non-stop blowout while I sleeping with mouth breathing. You may try to avoid it.

    • hey there! congrats on making 6 years too! it’s a long journey eh? fortunately I do not have a mouth breathing problem. I’m sorry you are dealing with that! do you happen to have trouble breathing while asleep, that resulted in your body making you breath with your mouth instead? perhaps if you can treat any underlying conditions that led to your mouth breathing, you can eliminate that completely!

  4. i am very happy for your healing
    u are a very strong girl
    turn ur pain into light to shine on the people who is still suffering from TSW
    it’s a huge ,beautiful blessing for this world
    thank you very much!!!!

    • thanks for your encouraging comment Andy ๐Ÿ™‚ being able to share my experience, and in the process, be a glimmer of light to the rest, has been the reason that allowed me to stay sane even when I was suffering.

      thank you so much for letting me know that my sharing have been able to help you, even if it’s just a little bit. ๐Ÿ™‚

  5. Happy Happy 6 years Juliana!
    It is indeed a looooonnng time. You’re so strong to have made it this far โค
    I hope you continue to heal and feel better, inside and out.

    ps. since you are seeing a TCM, have you heard of the ASHMI? It's mix of herbs that people are seeing a lot of good results with. It's an immune modulation herbal med created by Dr. Li. Look it up, I know the components of it will be very easy to find for you in Singapore.

    • esther!!! thanks sweetie! we’re all so strong, right!?

      regarding ASHMI, yes i saw it plenty of times in the FB group! i’ll probably discuss it with my doctor the next time i see him!

  6. happy 6 years.

    you are amazingly resilient. i check in here regularly to be inspired by your courage. thank you for being my beacon.

  7. hi juliana, so happy you’re healing and just wanted to thank you for making this blog. i am almost 2 years into tsw, and i messaged you once last year at an especially hard time. i remember i was shopping for junior prom dresses and was very disheartened by not being able to find any nice ones with long sleeves. it seems stupid now, but i cried so so much over one little dress and the thought of having to show my arms. i asked you what kind of clothes you wore over the summer to cover your skin, and at your advice, i pretty much wore cardigans and leggings all summer (throughout probably my worst flare). a year later, i’ve come such a long way. since around november, my skin has been near normal, aside from some dry skin behind my knees. it’s funny how much i appreciate the little things at this point, like the fact that i just went to my senior prom last week, wearing a dress i bought without the worry of showing skin. i remembered your blog recently and how much it helped me stay hopeful throughout the journey. thanks so much for being an inspiration. i hope i can offer you some hope as well. ๐Ÿ™‚

    • hi there suva!

      your comment brought tears to my eyes. thank you for sharing this piece of good news with me.. TSW can be so tough, and it takes so long to hear success stories. i’m really really happy for you to be able to enjoy life once more, and to have an appreciation for every little thing that we used to take for granted. it gives our life a lot more happy moments, don’t you think?

      thank you for reminding me to be more grateful of all the comfort i have now. i’ve had a hard time lately dealing with bad skin again, i forgot how to be thankful. i forgot how shitty things were at its worse. but you reminded me, and thank you so much for that! it makes me feel a lot better being where i am right now, even if things aren’t the best, yet.

      i hope you had lots of fun at your senior prom. you have plenty more opportunities ahead to wear beautiful dresses that can show off your good skin in the future! wishing you stay cheerful and grateful like you currently are!

      thanks once more!

  8. Hi Juliana!

    Thank you for this great blog. You give great support and practical advice without being dogmatic. Quick question: compared to your major recovery in 2013 (I think) when you were able to resume your studies, is your skin better now? Or has it stayed more or less the same since then?

    Thx and big hug for being such an awesome person ๐Ÿ˜€

    • hello lionrock!

      thank you for your kind comment! compared to 2013, my skin isn’t better now actually. i had another flare end 2014 and it got worse slowly over 2015 and 2016. i’m better than 2015 and 2016, but i’d have to say mid 2013 to mid 201 was my peak in terms of good skin! i’m working very hard to attain that once more!

      my underlying eczema wasn’t completely taken care off, so when i got off my TCM, it slowly deteriorated again. now i’ve changed my lifestyle to promote better health, in hopes of getting long lasting results this time. the body really does affect the skin, believe it or not.

      • Hi Juliana!

        Thanks for the reply. Sorry to hear that your skin has been acting up again, but the worst seems to be over and things seem to be on the upswing! If you don’t mind my asking, since mid-2013, what skin-related treatments have you used? TCM only? Other systemic or topical treatments? Just moisturizers?

        On a different note, what’s your thought on the recently approved treatments for eczema (crisaborole and dupilumab)?

      • hello!

        aww you’re welcome ๐Ÿ™‚ you’re right, the worse seem to be over, and things are indeed looking better. i’ve only had TCM treatments, because i believe in TCM principals. didn’t use any systemic or topical steroids, if that’s what you’re referring to. no allopathic medicine either. my TCM doctor did give a herb infused vinegar to apply all over my skin, but i can verify that it has no steroids, because it didn’t work any miracles for me overnight!

        i am not well read on both of the drugs, especially crisaborole. i know only a little on dupilumab, that it is a kind of antibody treatment. while i’m glad that it has helped some people lessen their inflammation and symptoms, i’m not so sure about what the long term effects of such treatments will be. i have my reservations about messing with the interleukins. BUT, if one is to get the treatment to lessen the symptoms WHILE working on their underlying issues through dietary and lifestyle changes, then i think that’s a viable option, considering the treatment will only be temporary and not permanent. then again, i really don’t know too much about those two drugs.

      • Hmmm, that’s interesting Juliana. So you think the flares now are just your “original” eczema, and no longer related to the steroids?

      • hello siumai,

        are you the legendary dim sum from hk? hahaha anyway, i believe my flares now are just my original eczema, but they look worse than a typical eczema because of my messed up body due to the topical steroid use, and neglect of the underlying issue for the past 20 years? it’s just my hypothesis right now. can’t be a 100% sure!

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