MONTH 51

TSW month 51

the natural healing journey is full of surprises. just when i think i couldn’t make it for my best friend’s wedding, inflammation says it’s ready to take a day off to let me enjoy myself on her special day. couldn’t be more thankful for that, and this shall be the highlight of the month for me.

click to see photos below, beneath my mountain of words.
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random photo update

if you haven’t read dr fukaya’s book before, let me stress once more how important photographic documentation is.

as the daily improvements are so small, I honestly can’t tell a difference from yesterday’s skin. however, I can’t recall how my skin was a few months ago. what ends up happening is a perpetual belief that my skin isn’t improving. but that’s not true!

help yourself to stay on the TSW track. feedback is very important to motivate us, seeing some progress is more encouraging than anything.

take a photo, daily, or weekly as you wish. it’s best if it’s under the same lighting every time. you don’t have to review the photos if it upsets you. you can wait for a few months to start looking back, tracking your progress.

I’ve taken daily photos since my latest flare begun, but I’m going to show just two photos now.

2015/02/img_1493.jpg
click to enlarge.

2 months’ worth of progress condensed into a photo. I’ve unknowingly made it through the hardest time.. it’s a blessing to be able to think more positively throughout this flare, because it really helped me paddle on. I guess things are only gonna get better now 🙂

in case you’re wondering, no, my skin did not have a break for the past 3+ months. discouraging? not really, because great things take time to be built, right?

channeling more positive vibe to everyone who needs it.

month 34

17 jan 2014

i still can’t believe how fast time has slipped through my fingers ever since i gone back to normal functioning.

for the past week i’ve seen my skin slowly healing up.
dry spots are still dry, rashy spots get itchy when dry.:/

the rashes are taking time to run its course.
it’s slowly turning from red to brown. 😀
doesn’t matter if it leaves pigmentation on my skin, because i know very well that those will go with time.

skin was particularly angry a week ago,
but i can see it dying down significantly.

other than that..
little rashes on my face and neck are gone now.
i’m just dealing with rashes on my elbow flexures, part of my abdomen, my thigh, calf and feet for now.

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21 jan 2014

holy cow. i think it’s official: i’m having a cycle.

it’s the usual spots: arm folds, abdomen, thighs, calf, feet.
the rashes on my arms and thighs seems particularly angry though.
the rashes are raised and rough!
it’s so weird that my skin is smooth and moisturized on some parts, but absolutely dry around the rashes.

but fret not, dr fukaya has mentioned that the distinction between TSW and atopic dermatitis is blurry.
it could be my original eczema, it can also be the steroid damaged skin barrier recovering.
no matter which is it, i know that it’ll both go away with time.

it’s been a long time since i saw so many reddish spots on myself.
it looks like how my eczema was before i stopped steroids.
it’s a little worrying, but i tell myself it’s not permanent.

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27 jan 2014

previously raised rashes seems to be flattening out once more.
phew.

they do appear darker than normal skin, like a mixture of brown and maroon.
rashy parts are particularly dry.
some rashes scales, some flakes.

2 weeks ago i would sleep lightly and wake up around 3/4am scratching because i tend to get itchy around that time.
HMMMM. this is very suspicious, because the time is rather constant each day.
but the itchy episodes have since decreased in frequency, and i’m getting better sleep these days again.

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4 feb 2014

hahah i just realize it’s pointless to note down my little ups and downs for now,
the rashes are in a cycle (some of you may call it a flare).
it’s angry for a day, which itches and irritates me, but it feels so orgasmic when i scratch them..
and then it’ll dry out over the next 2 days, and shed the next, and stay calm for another day or two until the cycle repeats.

we’ll see how things goes!

things could have been compounded by my period,
i can see such a stark difference within 2 days after my period came, so..
it’s the same old story over and over again.

i don’t want to scare you guys but my skin is looking a little like leopard skin right now.
hahaha, that’s just how my skin looks before i stopped steroids!
i really do have quite a lot of rashes all over my body,
but please fret not.
it never seem worse than when i was on steroids.

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9 feb 2014

skin appears to be more calm than angry.
1 itchy day (red and raised rashes), 3-4 relatively calmer days (brown and flat rashes).
the cycle is hard to miss.

i’ve observed 3 rashes for a month.
they start out as the red and raised type,
they scaled (the skin comes off in relatively large chunks like a scale instead of tiny fragments), i see shiny skin for a day, and then over the next few days it will prepare to scale again.
it repeats until the rash turns slightly brownish and flattens out.
the appearance of lines on my skin are more obvious there.

i think pigmentation is something that i shouldn’t worry about at all,
even though the sight of the brown spots aren’t very pleasing to me,
i would choose pigmentation over red rashes anytime!!!

i’d also like to report weird phenomenas.
1) my ears were peeling just last week. thin skin flakes that forms on my ear lobe and peels off every few days. ear lobes aren’t itchy but somewhere near my helix piercing it itches, and it makes me excited when the skin peels off in one big piece there. looks like a dried piece of skin that’s all. doesn’t look like scabs or anything i saw during my worst TSW days.
2) hair fall is 0_0 once again. and it’s mostly the really fine hair that’s falling off. maybe it’s just my shedding season.
3) weird sleeping patterns lately. can’t sleep at night, can’t sleep in the day too. have been running on 4-5 hours of sleep a day for the past few days.
4) white heads between my brows? it could mean my skin is more dehydrated than usual.

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11 feb 2014

last update before i post this entry up.

experimented on myself again.
when my skin started to turn back a month ago, it coincided with me making some slight changes to my diet – introducing a little more carbs into my diet.
just thought that it could be the reason to the worsening skin, so i tried to cut it out again.
while i was cutting out unhealthy carbs, skin continue to go through tiny cycles.
after i reintroduced them, my skin also went through tiny cycles, but the skin did not worsen significantly during this period of time.

a few conclusions:
1) food is not what’s triggering my skin issues.
2) carbs does not worsen my skin. i also ate peanuts (which i was tested mildly allergic to), and it did not worsen the rashes.
3) skin improved slowly over time irregardless of what i ate.

skin also started feeling better after my period.
doesn’t feel as dry anymore!!!

i was looking through the photos i took over the month,
decided to share a handful of them.
i don’t know if you all will actually want to see them because they aren’t photos of me with good skin for now. it’s actually rashes that resembles what i had prior to stopping steroids.

see for yourself.
don’t feel discouraged or whatsoever, i friggin used steroids all over my  body to treat these rashes in the past. they’re likw my old friends.


this particular night was a very itchy night.
the rashes were raised, warm to touch, and fucking itchy.
damn ittttttttt.


still slightly raised, but it’s receding into bumpy skin.


flat skin for now. it looks dry because i got lazy and didn’t moisturize my skin today as my skin felt smooth enough to me.
at least it’s not itchy anymore!!!


these are the 3 rashes that i have been observing.
they were super raised at the start, can’t really tell from the photo.
imagine 3 mosquito bites.


notice how they sort of spreaded out?
they’re not red anymore. it’s more brownish in real life.


the skin here is slightly shiny.
atrophied skin is described to be thin and shiny looking.
i think this is atrophied skin.


some pink rashes that appeared on my left arm.
nothing too serious because they left within a few days.
pink is better than red as they seem to heal faster (and not leave pigmentation)


this is my right knee/thigh area.
this was probably my worse night this month.
in real life it was raised and red.
so horrific when i run my hand over my thigh because i can feel every bump and raised skin.


but by now those previously raised skin are all flat and smoother.


yeap. like i said i do have rashes all over my body.
i wasn’t exaggerating.
this is an old spot though, as a kid i used to have rashes on the folds on my limbs.

this month’s update came in a little later.
but better late than never!

[special post] evolution of my face

topical steroid withdrawal, red skin syndrome, face before and after

please click on the image to enlarge it (don’t waste my effort of painstakenly putting the photo together..! hahaha you have to view it in the enlarged glory). the photo was originally even larger but my host sized it down for me..
i haven’t been uploading photos of myself mainly because i feel too demotivated to. for the first few months when my face got really bad, i was too depressed to do anything. let along to stare and edit photos of my face.

i’m much better now. thank you so much for staying with me and checking on my progress.
i know a pictures speaks a thousand words, but yet i just can’t find the right reason to go through all that trouble and hassle to post photos of myself. most of the time, my face was in a horrible mess and that doesn’t make any sense for me to keep track of how i looked. i didn’t take any photos for several months.. that’s why there is a big jump from apr 2012 to october 2012. those were the months my face showed significant healing.. i suppose it’s fine even if i don’t capture those moments, because to all of you spectators, what matters most is the before and after.

i also spent some time uploading and posting more photos in my “photos” page. i hope it encourages those who are still in bad shape right now. even though i’m not completely healed, but i’m getting there.

i wish i can make this place more organized.. but i just can’t get around to that. it’s way too troublesome.. when i have the urge, i’ll make more before and after post in the future when my skin gets increasingly better.

i’m so glad that i’m now able to show you guys some improvements i’ve experienced, for i hardly notice them during my worst period of time. things just seem to deteriorate all the time..

ok, that’s all for now. stay strong everybody. and god bless.

day 215

the end of the 7th month:
i’ve survived yet another month!

i won’t say time flies, because when you’re suffering, every second feels like eternity.
i know i’m exaggerating, but at some point in time i did feel that way.
after such a long time, i get weary, i get down, i get negative.
i really think this is the lowest i can go, at age 21, experiencing the biggest crash in my life.
it was really a “crash”. my life crashed. it changed. became different.
i crashed, mentally, many many many times.
but i believe like what one of the skin friends say, the next time i hit an obstacle in life, it won’t fathom me at all.
what would originally be on a scale of 8 will become a 3 instead, because of what i have experienced…
to quote dr rapaport, we are going through hell.
so after this phase, anything else shouldn’t be as bad (relative speaking).
i hope.

after 7 months of hell,
i’ve learnt alot more things about life.

1. problems that money can solve is not a problem.

i really wish i can buy my healthy skin back, but we all know that’s impossible. i’ve lived a huge  bulk of my life worrying about money, but now i realize it all doesn’t matter. as long as i live within my means, as long as i am able to provide for my family and i, as long as we have the basic necessities, all other things that requires extra money is only a burden on us. being content and thankful is something i’ve learnt.

2. everything happens for a reason.

there is a reason why i met my  boyfriend. there’s a reason why my friend invited me to his church performance. there’s a reason why i found dr fukaya’s website. there’s a reason why i found kelly.

they say god has a plan for everyone, i guess this is part of the plan. he is opening my eyes to see things i have been blinded from in the past. it gave me plenty of opportunities to experience salvation.

3. people who can see you through your lowest point in life deserve to be there at your highest point.

a hardship is like a test. it has showed me who are the people who will stay in my life for good.

4. friends and family are the greatest gift in life, apart from the gift of life.

when i said god opened my eyes and gave me opportunities to see things i’ve missed out, i’m largely referring to seeing the love my friends and family have for me. i’ve taken my family for granted in the past, even though i try as much as i can to appreciate them.

actually i’ve learnt more than that but right that’s all that’s coming into my  mind.

alright, aside from my thoughts, shall write a little about my progress.
some parts did get better – my feet is slowly healing up. my hands too, after the recent flare. arms too.
my face, i can’t tell. it’s red and dry, ooze too. it flakes like… i don’t know how to describe. very horrible.
looks absolutely ghastly.

i regret not taking photos of my rashes before i started the withdrawal.
from what i remember, they were raised, like a plateau, with distinct boundaries.
its different from the classic rash. it’s leathery. doesnt really itch unless i scratch it.
i get those on various places. i remember distinctively that majority of them were on my calves.

at the beginning of my withdrawal, those rash on my calves spreaded and covered my whole calf.
it was horrific. it was red and burning hot.
it wouldn’t tolerate anything, even organic coconut oil.
it makes me itch.
it’s swollen. it feels spongy.
i also had severe edema..

thank god i’m past that stage now.
calves are so much better than it used to, but still not normal yet.
at least they dont burn.

i realize a photo really does a better job at describing such things.
haven’t been taking photos because i’m constantly in a bad mood.

will try to.

saw some pictures of myself, pre-withdrawal, but already experiencing some symptoms (spreading rashes).
these were taking in november 2010, a year ago.
if you read “my story”, that’s the time when the rashes started getting out of control and i have no idea why, so i went to the doctors and asked for my 2nd course of oral steroids (in my entire life)

spreading, nummular, eczema rashes on arm
on my arms.
spreading, nummular eczema rashes on thighs
on my thighs.

looks bad, but not as bad as what i’m now.
HAHA.. oh well.
i’ll recover. i know.

one thing for sure,
i don’t have those ecezematic rashes anymore.
weird or what?
pretty sure those rashes were steroid induced.
right now, my skin is just dry in several spots (mostly the joint areas, and my face).
other than that, my skin is rash free.

god bless everyone.
will write a more coherent post when i stop feeling the itch~