17 month update: DIET MATTERS!

Hello everybody!

I am very well! Haven’t had a flare in a while. I just had a 28hr flight and while skin dried out a bit nothing happened that doesn’t happens to normal people. Considering I don’t even use moisturizers, my skin did fantastic.

That said, the past month or so I have been very bad about my diet. I am allergic to chocolate and shrimp. I also seem to be intolerant to gluten and lactose. Alcohol is just bad for everybody. I have been having all of the above and my skin is the worst it has been today than it has been for months! I broke out into hives that are mildly itchy. While annoying, I am not worried. I guess it’s annoying that I know my skin will continue to be sensitive, but I am also very relieved that I know what triggers my skin.

I have also been feeling sick and my period is about to start which negatively affects my skin as well. Honestly though, considering how I used to be, I’m not complaining! I am cautiously thinking what I have is no longer topical steroid withdrawal but just eczema. The hives are all located in the usual areas I had eczema as a child.

While for some diet does not affect their skin, it clearly affects mine. If you have been going through topical steroid withdrawal for a long time and still are struggling, I highly recommend you look at your diet.

1-26-15 (worst in months! No moisturizer used)

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1-23-15 (before departing for 28hr flight)

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1-20-15

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MERRY CHRISTMAS!

Last Christmas was a struggle town for me. This Christmas I feel awesome! I went to see Christmas lights and ran into friends from both Hugh school and college! Here are some pictures!

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It gets better! Meanwhile hopefully the pictures can provide you a little bit of joy this season. I love you all!!!

16 month update

Hello!!
Can’t believe that it’s already been 16 months! 2014 has been an incredible year filled with lots of ups and downs.
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I’m doing well. Skin has finally seem to be very resistant- meaning stress, lifestyle change, or food choices don’t seem to affect it’s health. I just had my finals week and as a result sleep and food wasn’t too good but my skin persevered.

Above picture is after a warm shower. I am still doing moisturizer withdrawal since my skin doesn’t seem to need it. I get itchy here and there but nothing too disconcerting. Skin is very strong and most of the time it’s not even in my radar.

I’ll be going back to the sulfur spring since it seemed to help my skin. Again, if you feel you’ve hit a plateau in your healing I highly recommend the sulfur hot springs. I still have discoloration all over my body but I’m sure they will go away in time.

Life is good. I’ll be praying and hoping all of the tsw warriors reach this stage sooner rather than later. Stay strong everybody <3

birthday man

Today is a special day because my favorite human ages one more year!

When my “eczema” was getting worse and worse and I was lost and overwhelmed by my rapidly deteriorating health, my husband was the first one who supported me. Despite the fact we’ve only been dating for a few months, he was there 100% and supported my decision to start the withdrawal process which will put me (and us) in a world of struggle.

It was the beginning of a relationship- we were supposed to be in hormone filled euphoria. But due to TSW, there were some really hard times. I was chronically ill, and as a result, chronically sad. My self esteem plummeted, along with my desire and energy to do things in life. I used all the energy I had to attempt to seem happier to everybody else, and as a result, Rhys bore the brunt of my depression.

Despite all the hard times, our time together went by incredibly fast. I can’t believe it’s already the second birthday we are celebrating together. So many things have happened in the past year. In the beginning of TSW, I would often tell him that I wished I was put in a coma to sleep through all the pain and discomfort. 16 months in, I am so grateful I lived through every day of the past 16 months because for every low points, there were highest of highs I have had the honor to experience. We have traveled to new places, tried new food, learned so much about each other, and fell deeper in love. From surprise weddings to starting school again, my husband has blessed me with his kindness and silliness.

So, happy birthday to my best friend and the love of my life! You have brought so much joy and light into my darkest times. You are my rock that grounds me and I am beyond thankful to have you by my side. I love you )( much! (/mush)

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Almost finals week- feeling good!

I’ve been insanely busy but a quick update! I’ll do a thorough one soon!

I’m doing very well. Over thanksgiving break I went to a sulfur hot springs and it was amazing for me!! So if any of you feel you’re hitting a plateau in healing, try it out. Lmk if you are interested in which one I went to.

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Face today. Arms below from right after hot springs.

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It seems neck down is mostly healed – I soaked in hot springs for hours and my skin ate it up! Afterwards it’s been clear like it hasn’t been in a long time. Neck up was dry and irritated but few days ago something clicked and my face started to feel oily again. I am not using any moisturizers again- so that picture is all me! It’s amazing how far my body has come. Just keep trekking everybody!

Happy healing warriors!

Month 14 and 15 update

Hello!
I hope everyone is doing well. I feel like I have finally moved on with my life. Doing school, taking too many units, all right up my alley. That said, skin isn’t at 100% yet and I am sorry to say I am on my third flare. It’s definitely not as bad as first two times. Weather have turned very dry here as of 11/1 which is definitely not helping. My legs have started to act up, and I have a bit of wound in back of my leg which is painful. However, as usual, I get plenty of sleep all the time (~8hrs)

Unfortunately the flare started from 10/20. Itchy nights and a bit of oozing. Thankfully, by 10/23 it’s settled down. I’m no longer itchy but am flaking a bit more as I usually do when I recover from a flare.

However, on 10/29 I had,to go to the ER for severe abdominal pain, and my skin usually follows suit when other parts aren’t doing well. Then the weather turned dry and I’ve been inflamed and itchy. My face, scalp, neck, back of my knees and elbow flexure are the affected areas.

I’ve been shedding more and my neck sometimes gets oozy, which everyone knows it’s the worst. That said, I am not super itchy, and the skin itself is still pretty strong. I am still not using any moisturizer, and on good days you can’t even tell that I am not.

Since 11/3, I’ve started eating no dairy and gluten again. We shall see if it helps! Despite the flare, I’ve been leading a basically normal life, but I’m really hoping the flare will subside soon!

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Above were all taken 11/9

11/4
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Some photos from month 14, when I was doing better.
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So as you can see, my face alternates from looking mostly normal to dry and irritated.

That is it for now, sorry about the delay! Stay strong everybody, and always, if you have any questions, let me know.

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.

Autoimmune protocol and detox juice – week 4

July 21- day 22
Slept so well! I’ve been getting such nice sleep :D love it!

TMI warning- I talk about my bowl movement:

I’ve noticed that pooping is different. Before most time I had to poo it was a emergency. And the poo was usually runny/diarrhea like. Since starting and getting settled in my diet- so about week two onwards- the signal is almost too minute. I think I had emergency runny poo once or twice, maximum. I should’ve written down what I had. Darn. I go at least once every two days, usually once a day. If I skip a day, there is a lot more the next day so it all balances out. And I poo well – if you look at poop hardness chart, I’m on the optimal hardness. I feel relieved and free.

All that aside, I am really satisfied with this diet. Now that I have settled in, I don’t really have any cravings, although I do get munchies. At night, I just want to eat and eat then eat some more. It’s weird. I feel like I am eating so damn much but I’m not gaining any weight. Well I’m complaining haha. Minimal itch, woke up a bit dry on face, but by night it looks moisturised.

July 22- day 23
The past week or so I’ve been having a dramatic increase in energy. I sleep very well and a lot- usually 8-9 hrs a day- and when I wake up, I am energised, ready to take on the day.

I made AIP friendly beef schnitzel for dinner and it was delicious! As for skin, there is minute improvement. Very mild itching if any, face and scalp dry upon waking up but settles down eventually. And I’m not even complaining about dry skin as it’s not tight or anything. Haven’t had painful burning skin in a long time. If I do scratch, wounds heal right away.

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The rest of the week (sorry I got busy and lazy :p)
My skin continues to do very well. Sorry for lack of pictures- my phone is bad so I have to use my husbands and it’s annoying. This from wed onward though, my digestive system waged a war on me. I was diarrhea all over the place. On Friday, I decided maybe I’ll try an aioli to start introducing egg yolk. Big mistake. I pooped everything that is within me and felt nauseous few hours later. That night, I definitely didn’t sleep as well as I had been.

Then Saturday I didn’t eat much to give my system a rest then had an egg omelette around 5pm. I was careful to chew really well and drink water. My stomach was fine but again, that night, I didn’t sleep as well as I had been. I was up here and there scratching. I think maybe I’ll give eggs a break and move on to mustard for now. What a shame! I love eggs :( That said, my skin still looks pretty good!

Sunday- Stomach finally settled down for good, I think. Still had extra itchier at night time, I’m assuming carryover from eggs. I held back today and only ate “safe” food.

Monday – whole month down! I would say the experiment was a success! Even with mild flare from the eggs, I look and feel much better! I think the diet definitely helped- I don’t know how I went without all the nutrition I get nowadays. Excited to reintroduce food, but honestly, after a month, diet really isn’t that hard anymore. You get creative and I still get to eat delicious food!

Beginning:

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7/21 (I had fries and ice cream yesterday but doesn’t seem to affect my skin too much)

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Month 11 update

7/21
Woah! Only one more month till I hit my one year mark! Crazy!

I am continuing on my autoimmune protocol diet and with my detox juice, although last two days I didn’t drink my juice- I forgot to make a batch. If anybody wants to attempt this diet, planning is key!

I am dry on my face and neck when I wake up, although few hours into it, I don’t look too flaky anymore. I may be extra harsh on my skin though since my husband says my skin has been looking good. You tell me who is biased after the photo haha. Unfortunately I’ve been mini flaring the last two days so I’m looking worse for the wear. Thankfully, even during the flare, sleeping has been fairly easy. I take a bit longer to go to sleep – like 10-15 min longer but I still sleep really well. Huzzah!

My most affected areas are face, neck, and scalp. Rest are pretty good. I have scabs here and there but the overall moisture of the skin is looking good. My arms, chest and back are pretty moisturised. My elbow flexure sometimes gets itchy and it oozes but it scabs up right away and heals fast.

As mentioned in my AIP diet updates, I am pretty much itch free till night time – and even then, unless I’m flaring, the itch is pretty minimal. If my face and neck stop itching and gains back their moisture, I would feel comfortable leading a normal life – and ultimately claim to be healed if that persists.

My energy level has been great! I’ve been really active – yesterday I was out from 12-6 then 7-10:30. I’ve been exercising but sweating still makes me irritated so I’ve been avoiding that. Still wake up sore everyday though.

7/14

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7/29
I’ve been mini flaring as I begin to reintroduce foods back into my diet. I was naughty yesterday and skipped straight to fries (merp/oops). My stomach hurt a bit but I don’t think my skin was affected too much. I did have a harder time sleeping though- not itchy, just not sleepy. I also had couple spoonful of ice cream. It was delicious.

Only consistently affected parts are face, neck, scalp, and arms. As you can see, I don’t have the red sleeve anymore. To be honest I don’t even remember when it went away :p I felt my healing has been very stagnant, but upon looking back, they’ve even doing better and better!

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