Month 13 update

Silly me.

I decided ah wtf I’ve been bad with my diet and while my skin has been getting steadily worse, it didn’t completely freak out on me, let’s just enjoy this souvlaki with bread. The gluten full kind.

Oops.

I had deep itch return all over my body. Nothing as bad as beginning and nothing strong Tulsi tea didn’t get rid of. Then I woke up and my face and neck was super dry and flaky. Worst I’ve seen in months! Then being the stupid girl I am I did it again that night, complete w msg and high sodium. It was very delicious, but the next morning I suffered the same results. I stopped for a day and I’m better! Coincidence? I think not, especially because I had night shades and dairy yesterday. I think dairy with nightshades gives me acid reflux and nausea but that’s whole another thing.

I’m back in LA now, and off gluten for few days and my skin return back to normal. It seems as long as I’m off gluten strictly, and very minimal nightshades and dairy, I’m good to go skin wise. It doesn’t look 100% normal, but I’m sure moisturizing will help with the appearance. Three months ago, I went on the plane to Melbourne semi-terrified for my skin. Now, I went on the plane ride without any worry! Success! While the trip did dry me out and I flaked it off the following day, I feel great! Skin is a non issue for me (living wise) and I’m excited to start my life again. While I look forward to the day the skin will look completely normal, for now I am so grateful I’ve healed enough to go back to normal life.

I’ve become a big believer in power of food. It can destroy, but it also can build you up and breath new life into seemingly hopeless situation. This journey have taught me so much about myself and who I would like to become. More specifically, I realized what kind of doctors are sorely needed in this world, and I’d ultimately like to fulfill that gap.

If you are only just starting topical steroid withdrawal, welcome to the community, and best of luck to you. While some heal without any dietary changes, I believe for others it is crucial for their recovery. Consume highly nutritious foods, and they will help you. While flares are inevitable, I believe diet changes can help avoid the flares caused by irritating food. As everyone is built differently, I do not want to make a blanket statement, but I’m sure we can all agree cutting it processed food can only do you good. It’s up to you to figure out how intense you want to be with your diet – I definitely understand how emotionally healing a slice of pizza or cone of ice cream can be. Hell, when I first started my autoimmune paleo protocol, I uttered word for word, “but food is my only source of happiness!” However, once I was two weeks into it, I realized not only have I found other sources of happiness, I was able to find happiness from these healing, delicious food as well. It takes more creativity, but once you’re into it, is really not that bad. The greatest reward for me is seeing myself heal and realizing I am unlocking the key to my optimal health.

Pictures will surely follow, my phone is dead and so is my cord. As I start school again, I’ll become pretty busy, but I’ll try to update every month! Have hope and I wish you strength TSW warriors.

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HAPPY ONE YEAR TO ME!

Holy crap! It’s been a whole year already! I must say, time went by much faster than I expected. But then again, that’s just looking back. In the midst of the pain, it was as if time had stopped still.

Unfortunately, I am still not healed. However, I am doing much much much better! Upon scrolling through my blog, I can’t believe how far I have come the past year. It has been a hell of a ride, physically, mentally, and emotionally.

I guess I can’t complain too much, as I have had a better withdrawal than some I’ve seen. I didn’t suffer too much from swelling of the body (just my face), my hands and feet stayed clear the whole time, and I slept relatively well throughout it all. Considering my cumulative usage is ~20yrs (although I only really used it for about 10 yrs, and except for last 2-3yrs it was very sporadic), I am doing much better than expected. I attribute the following for my better-than-expected-withdrawal:

1. Stress free recovery.
I was hugely blessed to be able to just focus on getting better for a year. I feel so lucky I was able to do that. I was able to sleep whenever and however long I can/wanted, which I believe helped immensely. There were no external stress, which I know helped as stress definitely worsens things for me.

2. Korean Traditional Medicine
About two months in I took Traditional herbal medicine for few months. It was supposed to aid in overall wellness, with focus on drawing out the heat and support my liver function. When I seemingly didn’t improve after the first round, he took out all the “tasty” thing that may be more pro-inflammatory and made it more hardcore and really nasty. While my skin didn’t improve by leaps and bounds, I think it helped me function as a whole. I didn’t suffer too much from insomnia and the nerve pain went away relatively quick.

3. Moisturiser withdrawal
I stopped using all forms of moisturizer about a month or two into it. I started before there were all the controversies on Itsan about it, mainly due to laziness. I hated water and if I moisturized, I’d have to shower or bath longer to wash off the old goop. So I stopped. When I did, I stopped getting blister clusters and the itch was reduced. My oils started to come back and my skin felt less uncomfortable. I’m still not using any moisturizers and I would say my skin is now more naturally moisturized than pre-TSW when I still had “normal” skin.

4. Autoimmune protocol / autoimmune paleo
I only started this diet about two months ago. You can read more about my experience here, but basically it’s a pretty restrictive diet that’s meant to heal your gut and help relieve any issues that stemmed from it. For me, the difference before and after starting the diet was huge. Once I started to haphazardly reintroduce food, my skin got worse. I went back on it, it got better. Not to mention, my bowel movement improved a lot.

Edit: I have been bad about diet because I’ve been meeting up w people and eating out. I definitely see difference in skin- drier and itchier. I stopped eating chocolate everyday and it’s on the mend again.

5. Supplements & Tea
I drank rooibos tea like water for the first half of TSW. It’s anti inflammatory and I think it helped. I recently started to take Tulsi tea which has helped a lot as well. I highly recommend the two tea. I’ve been bad about supplements. I’m a bad patient. But I’ve taken fridge- probiotics regularly and I think it’s been helping me. I also take fish oil on and off because I have my doubts whether it helps or makes me itchier. Asians are supposed to be better at using vitamin D so maybe I don’t have a vitamin D insufficiency after all.

I hope these can help you in your Topical Steroid Withdrawal. I’ve been doing so well now that skin is steadily becoming an afterthought. I dress however I want (it helps it’s winter!) and go out with friends till late at night without worries. My energy is almost all back which has been amazing.

Now come the pictures (which is what you wanted to see aha)

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I’m still alive!

Hello everybody! 

I have been meaning to post 1 year anniversary post as well as other posts but I’ve been too lazy/enjoying my last month in Melbourne. My skin has been ok. At one year mark (8/19/14) it was doing better than it is doing now. I must be in an “anniversary flare.” I also have been eating out a lot which means I wasn’t strictly following the Autoimmune Protocol diet. Oh well. It also coincided with my period, so I guess it’s bad timing! The skin has been worse than it has been in the past couple month, but it’s still very much manageable. I still sleep really well. I am more itchy in the arm, face, neck and scalp, which is unfortunate, but still, pretty manageable. 

Photos galore coming soon, I promise! I hope everybody is doing well!