Here’s my first TSW post. Currently I’m around month 10 with no topical steroids. It’s been a long and confusing journey that has pretty much completely high jacked my life for the time being. I’ve had eczema all my life in one form or another. Nothing too bad ever. Some mild itching and redness from what I can remember. Mostly when confronted with allergens in the summer and a lot of it, most likely, brought on by bad diet. But TSW is a whole different thing. It’s always on my mind and is pretty much relentless.
It’s kind of hard to describe how I got here since the last couple of years has been pretty much a blur of trying to isolate what was causing my ever worsening eczema. Like I said, I’ve had eczema since I was a kid but it was never too bad. When I moved to Vancouver from Saskatchewan 10 years ago it all but went away. At some point I guess it came back, I can’t recall when exactly but I was prescribed Betaderm by a doctor that I would see at a walk in clinic near where I was living in 2012. I also recall being prescribed a protopic from my doctor for a mild case of eczema on my hands around 2010 that I got from working at a water testing lab where my hands were wet all day or else underneath plastic gloves. Either way, I always just took what the doctor gave me without much thought and without really reading the medical literature that went along with the drugs. This was my biggest mistake; not looking into how harmful these medications could be if used incorrectly.
The National Eczema Association recommends not using TCS for more than 2 to 4 weeks, I greatly exceeded that amount as I would use my container of Betaderm whenever I had a flare up, which was pretty much every day. And it kept spreading. Before long what was once some small patches of eczema on my face and elbows spread to pretty much all parts of my body. It just kept getting worse and I didn’t know what to do about it.
I started making some pretty significant life changes to deal with it. I stopped drinking alcohol and eating bread for awhile, thinking that this might have something to do with my eczema. It didn’t seem to help much, at least not for the length of time that I eliminated it. I removed all major stressors from my life, which included the metal band that I sang and played guitar in that I had founded. But my eczema remained.
Finally, I went to my doctor again (I stopped going to the walk ins and started seeing a regular GP). I asked him for a referral to a dermatologist but he put me on a round of clobetasol instead. It cleared everything up in a few days. Of course it did, because that’s what these drugs do. They clear it up then the next batch of eczema is even worse. And the next time it came back it was intense. The itching almost drove me insane, it would keep my up all night and I felt like I was going to tear my face off. My back was also crazy itchy. Everything was. The only thing that would abate the itch was the little bit of clobetasol that I had left. All other anti-itch creams did little more than sting.
It wasn’t until one sleepless night, this was around January 2015, that I saw this video and I started piecing it together. Everything Dr. Rappaport said was echoing so closely to my experience, it was like I had finally stumbled upon what was causing my skin to act so savagely. So I decided right there, I was done with this shit. I had never liked using these shitty creams and now here was some proof that these creams were actually the problem.
So that brings us to the start of my TSW journey. I will detail the following months in future posts. Below you will find pictures I took before I knew that I was in TSW but was still showing signs of addiction. These pictures were taken in 2013 I believe.