Wednesday, October 29, 2014

10 month anniversary

Today marks 10 months that I have been off topical steroids! Actually 10 months plus 5 days because I wrote this last week and never got around to adding pictures and posting. It's been a very difficult road so far but I think I may just be turning a corner. My last flare was not as bad as prior ones. FINALLY. I've read that during TSW each flare is supposed to be less intense than the prior one but that has never been the case for me. I've basically been flaring since this whole thing started. I'll have "calm" days but no definitive breaks. I haven't had clear skin in 10+ months. My personal opinion, and I hope I'm right on this, is that I'll now continue to have my premenstrual/menstrual flare (honestly - it lasts 2 weeks, so half of every month im flaring and then the other half is a toss up) but that it will not be as bad as it's been these last 10 months. And then I think it will just teeter off. While my face is still not healed, it is WAY better than it was a month or two ago. My problem areas remain (face, neck, hands, arms, behind knees, groin, feet) with the latest addition of behind the ankles. The behind the ankles area is weird because 1) I never used TS there and 2) Dr Rapaport said it looked "eczematous". What is the difference between eczematous skin and addicted skin? Does that mean I will still have eczema once this withdrawal is over? He assured me that I would be completely clear but how can he really know? I've prepared myself for the worst; the worst being that I do in fact have eczema at the end of this. Or maybe the end of TSW will just be so long that I will be one of those cases that takes 4 years (yes, there are people at 4 years still flaring - Joey, for example) but that I'll have clear-ish skin and be functional yet not know if I'm still in TSW or if I have eczema. If I do still have eczema at that point, I will go hardcore on my diet, as I believe it can be cured that way. When I first started this process, I was diagnosed with hypoglycemia, leaky gut, and on the border of having hashimoto's. There were other things but I can't remember. Hashimoto's disease is essentially when your immune system attacks your thyroid and I 100% believe that was from the steroid use. So then I'll have the leaky gut and hypoglycemia to deal with. I have the tools to cure these things (diet, supplements, exercise) I just haven't had the motivation to do it during TSW. Actually, I take that back. I did attempt to be super healthy in the beginning of this but found that I flared regardless of how healthy I ate. So I instead opted to be comfortable (ie eat comfort foods) during this horrific process and if I have to fight my eczema afterwards, then I'll address it at that time. Mind you, I'm still gluten and dairy free. But eating gluten free out of a box is not much healthier than eating gluten, in my opinion. I think eating whole foods, REAL food, not prepackaged bullshit (google thug kitchen cookbook and watch the video lol) is the only way to be healthy. That can come later, though. One thing at a time.

Speaking of one thing at a time. I'm weaning off of Vicodin, though it's proving to be a much longer process than anticipated. After Vicodin, I'll cut out the Gabapentin (nerve pain med) and then wean off Valium. Then HOPEFULLY I can wean off ambien and be able to sleep on my own. That part is scary because as far back as college, I've had to take a sleep aid. I'm hoping my sleep issues were due to the topical steroids messing with my adrenals. Oh ya! That's the other thing I was diagnosed with - stage 3 adrenal exhaustion. I also believe this is 100% from the TS. Anyway, I had been taking 1.5 Vicodin a day and am now alternating between 1 and 1.25 every night. So I guess it'll probably be another month or 2 on Vicodin, and that is because I experienced withdrawal symptoms when I tried to just stop. But I'm taking it all as a good sign because it means less pain! I sometimes forget to even take the dose and hubby has to remind me (I start to get a little coo coo crazy if I dont take it). Before, the pain reminded me to take the medicine. I also stupidly started taking less valium. I obviously didn't learn from my vicodin experience. For the past 3 weeks, I've felt like crap - insane headaches, body aches, insomnia, sweats - and thought it was from a cold. No! Turns out it's because I cut back on the valium. Stupid stupid stupid. I went back to my regular dose last night, per my doctor's recommendation, and today I finally feel better!! So one at a time is definitely the way to go from now on.

As I said before, the sun has been super beneficial for me at this point in the game. In fact, last week was rainy and overcast here in S Fl and my skin got a worse from not being able to get my rays. The sun has since returned and my skin has gotten better. I think once I have a year of TSW under my belt, I may actually start to be functional again! It just sucks that I now have all these other medications to "withdraw" from. Though in hindsight, I wouldn't change taking them because I absolutely needed them. So it is what it is.

Anyway, pictures below.

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