I tried bentonite clay during this month. It helped a lot to seal up oozing spots, even if only temporarily. It’s important though to mix it properly. If you just mix it with tap water it will dry your skin out a lot. I used Bragg’s Apple Cider Vinegar at a 1:1 ratio with the clay powder. That gives you a proper pH balance.
Today will mark one year since I found out about TSW and officially started this journey.
It’s been the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do in my life and I wouldn’t wish it on anyone. The amount of mental and physical turmoil I’ve endured has been staggering at times but I’m lucky to have an amazing girlfriend and a great family to fall back on and be there for me through the worst of it.
My life has certainly changed a lot over the last year:
- I’m eating healthier than I ever have before in my life. We’ve pretty much settled on a paleo diet after toying with vegetarianism and doing an elimination diet.
- I haven’t worked full time in a year due to a completely bonkers sleep schedule, which I suspect has been caused by adrenal fatigue. I have a hard time waking up before 11AM and usually can’t get to sleep until at least 3 AM.
- I’ve been somewhat of a recluse over the past year. When my face is oozing I don’t have much ambition to go out, plus my finances are very limited. TSW has left me feeling very fragile in general and I’ve also quit drinking alcohol so that makes going out kind of pointless since all my friends usually have plans that end up in bars.
- I don’t trust doctors or western medicine nearly as much as I used to. I will still refer to them but I research every drug and treatment option they give me now extensively for possible side effects. In other words, I have taken responsibility for my health. I have been left extremely let down and disappointed by the medical community for not only causing this problem but also for failing to properly diagnose it. Dermatologists, in general, have been very dismissive and not at all willing to hear me out on what’s causing the worst eczema I’ve ever experienced. Mostly what I’ve learned is that they treat symptoms, not the underlying cause. Even if the treatment methods end up exacerbating the disease.
All things considered I’m in a lot better place now than I was a year ago. I felt like I was losing my mind. I still itch and my skin is still red but the pain and severity isn’t nearly as intense as it was a year ago. My energy levels feel much higher and I feel less mentally clouded than I used to. I’m very hopeful and optimistic that by this time next year things will be even better than they are now.
This month was notable because I was able to travel with my family back to Saskatchewan where I grew up. It was a challenge because since I had started TSW I hadn’t been without my epsom and oatmeal baths. The first day was okay because I had access to a tub but after that I had to go pretty much the rest of the trip without bathing or moisturizing. It wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be either. I looked like a freak due to the extreme ashiness of my skin but I recall feeling less itchy and less oozy overall. I would still have oozing spots, but when they were allowed to dry I think it helped my skin stay in tact better. I also had a conversation with my uncle, who works in neuroscience, in which he mentioned that cortisol breaks the blood brain barrier so it can causes changes to your brain chemistry over time. I didn’t find that too hard to believe since I have experienced some pretty profound stress, mood swings and just generally rundown mentally.
My skin was getting pretty clear before I started, possible due to my increased sun exposure. I also started trying UV Therapy this month. With atopic skin, your only options are light therapy, steroids, protopic or experimental drugs such as Dupilumab. The steroids obviously aren’t going to work for me, I tried a protopic once, I think in 2007, and didn’t care for the greasy feeling it left on my skin. I have also heard through the grapevine that protopic isn’t much better than steroids in terms of rebound flares and withdrawal so that pretty much only left me with light therapy to try. The first few sessions went alright, you have to get them done 3 times a week or so to start seeing results. It kind of feels like you’re being microwaved and that your skin is getting sunburnt from the inside. It sent me into a rather large flare though after repeated sessions and in addition to the summer heatwave that the Lower Mainland was experiencing, I opted out after about 3 weeks.