Let me start out by saying that I am not a blogger. I just want to document my experience with topical steroid withdrawal, or TSW, in hopes that one day I will look back and see that I actually have made progress. And if I help anyone else along the way, great!
I was born with eczema. At 4 months old was when my mom first started applying topical steroids every now and then for little flares and nothing too strong. She was just following doctors orders as any concerned mother would. At 8 years old, my skin took a turn for the worst and I started using the creams regularly. For years after that, I would use them daily for months at a time (they are recommended for only 2 weeks at a time). There would be months that my skin was relatively clear and I didn't use the creams but never did the eczema ever fully go away. Fast forward 20 years and here we are. It was December 24, 2013 when I applied my last bit of ointment. It was by chance, really, that I stopped. I just happened to run out. By the end of that day, my skin was on fire.
I had just started to see a functional medicine doctor in hopes of curing my eczema. See, I felt I had tried everything with little to no success. The steroid creams had stopped working years ago and the only solution given to me by dermatologists for my worsening eczema were stronger steroid creams. So I used them because I didn't know any better. Well when I got pregnant, I inadvertently started withdrawing without meaning too as well. This one dermatologist said the only thing I could do was get a steroid shot and no, it wouldn't hurt the baby. It was safer than the topical creams! Ya, whatever. I also did narrowband UVB tanning at another dermatologist, bleach baths per an allergist, got expensive food intolerance tests, followed a strict and limited diet, all to no avail. So mid December, I meet with my functional medicine dr - she introduces me to a paleo diet while ordering a bunch of tests and advising to ditch the steroid creams. (In my head, like a true addict, I thought I would get rid of them when my current tube ran out. Why waste, right? Never mind that I had probably 5-10 old tubes laying around the house.) When the test results came back, they showed that I was in stage 3 adrenal exhaustion (no wonder I'm always so tired!!!), borderline hashimotos (my immune system is essentially attacking my thyroid), and hypoglycemic (my blood sugar's messed up). We are waiting on a new test to see whether I have candida and parasites. Fun! Will touch on all this stuff later though.
It's been just about 2 months since I started withdrawing. I didn't know about TSW until one day while googling away about my skin I stumbled on a picture of a girl whose skin looked just like mine. Her blog led to me itsan.org and thank God because I thought I was alone in this. It's comforting to know that, in fact, I am not the only one to have suffered through this!! Alas, there are accounts of those who have been cured! I can't wait to be one of those people. Until then, I will also account for my experience and try everything in my power to get through this.