What pray tell brings us such amalgamation of months, you ask? I’m not even gonna lie. I've just been really slack and lets face it, laziness is one hell of a drug.
I’m coming down the other side of this mountain like a boss and the two things I have to thank for it are an unlikely duo:
- Copping a grape to the face every morning
- LED light therapy twice a week
That’s it! Grape and light! Thanks to these two darlings I am now looking more hydrated, my skin is more relaxed and repairing nicely and I can go about my days generally feeling more confident.
My Naturopath suggested I use grape to deal with the dry appearance by smearing the juice all over my face and neck after I de-flake at 5 in the morn. It stings like a son of a ***** for a short time, but then it calms just as quick, soothing any irritation that was there even before applying the grape. The support and hydration it has given me at this stage has been incredible and all because of a fricken grape! Bless their little cotton socks! And as luck would have it, I had a freezer full of them. I bought over 12kgs of the suckers from the organic markets in April just before they went out of season, in true bargain shopper style. The freezer now looks like an icy ball pit for winter fairies.
The light therapy is called Heal Lite and my skin took to it instantly, showing massive repair with each treatment. Most of the damage within the depths of the skin is all but gone and it continues to heal the superficial layers. I am now getting Heal Lite for my chest and neck which is also responding well. Though I still feel it will take a lot more than this to heal my chest as I am still introducing steroids into my lungs. Still holding out for summer to be the season of the cure-all!
I have come a long way in 2 months due to the support of these two treatments and what's great is they are gentle and natural with no harmful side effects. I still have bad days, but not at the level I used to. The point is that I also am having a LOT of good days. Makes me want to step back and kiss myself.
The only negative thing I discovered recently is that I am allergic to my little dog. After I went away for 5 days without him, I came back to discover that my skin had relaxed significantly while away and as soon as I put him on my lap, my thighs and hands became red and very itchy. Welp! Nothing we can do about that! I mean, I could alleviate some of the issues if I stopped burying my face in his fur every day, breathing in all that puppy scent while I kiss his little bobble head till he snaps at me and runs away. I could just stop doing that. But, you know. I wont.
Clean. As. A. Goddam. Whistle. And loving it!
Smoothie for brekkie, smoothie and salad for lunch and smoothie for dinner and sometimes some baked veges or other random hot delicious vegan meal with dinner. I’ve recently taken to making stir fried ‘cauliflower rice’, bacon tasting mushroom chips and garlicy soups which are the epitomy of winter comfort food. Heaven! I recently discovered organic plantain chips too which I murder on the reg. Apart from all that, its fresh, organic, raw and deliciously cell repairing! I don't mean to be pious, but in terms of diet, I'm so enlightened that I've pretty much reached nirvana. Just sayin.
Lunch time smoothie:
Banana x ½
Apple x ¼
Lemon x thick slice
Paw paw x small amount
Grapes seeded x ¼ cup
Beetroot leaves x 2-3
Strawberries x 2-3
Carrot x ¼
Apple x ¼
Kale leaves x 2
Beetroot x ¼
Lemon x thick slice
Grapes seeded x ¼ cup
Celery x ¼ stalk (occasionally)
I said goodbye to a few more supplements; NAC, Rehmannia and magnesium and I don’t feel any worse off for it.
At the ends of my arms hang two pink wrinkly little mole rats. They don't look like the hands of a 30-something year old and some days they are pinker, spottier and drier than others, but they work just dandy and feel great so all is still good in the world :)
Yep, good enough!
I barely look at my feet any more. They have come such a long way in such a short amount of time that I barely remember the trauma there any more. I probably put more energy into my upper body than my quintessential tree trunks so its no surprise. My legs are doing quite well. I don’t scratch them as much these days (only when I crave a luxurious scratching session!) which means they look less like something out of a medical journal.
Progressing nicely! But I'll let you be the judge :)
I'll just note here that the Heal Lite was concentrated on my face for the course of the treatments, however my neck and chest did receive a lesser amount of light during that period.
Less shedding means less irritation, and less irritation means less need to wash it often. This translated to a hair wash roughly every 2-3 weeks and even at that stage, it was still basically clean, oil free and without scent. Can you imagine how lazy that made me! I grew accustomed to the lifestyle but unfortunately the oils are returning with a vengeance, so I am now back to washing it once a week again and its already becoming a pain in my butt hole.
When the majority of your hair is only 2 inches long, it looks screwy regardless of how you want to fashion it. Wearing it out I look like a three-strand, sewer dwelling rat eating troll, and when its up I look like a screaming banshee. Even after fashioning myself a few home-made haircuts, it still looks hillariously bad so in an attempt to hide my shame, I've invested in some of the cheapest nastiest imported hair extensions on the market. What, $25 for long, perfectly coloured real human hair that should cost hundreds of dollars!? Thanks eBay, don’t mind if I do!
Thanks to topical steroid withdrawal my body still sheds like a snow globe. Some days more than others, but not nearly as much lately. Vacuuming is only really needed every 2-3 days now and that's just in the bathroom and bedroom. Thank Jesus H Christ I don't have to perform the daily rituals of sheet shakings, bed makings dusting and vacuuming anymore!
Where moisturiser seemed to dry my skin out even more, the grape juice sits on my skin nicely most of the day then allows it to shed what it needs over night as per usual. With this and the light therapy, the shedding on my face is finally beginning to reduce.
I found a great explanation recently on someone's TSW blog for why the skin behaves this way and thought it would be good to share as it helped me understand this process a lot better. This explanation has also helped me find a therapy which I am going to adopt after my Heal Lite to help with the redness and subsequent shedding.
"Patients hate the shedding, because it looks lousy, but the skin shedding is a great sign. It means the body has recognized the skin as being abnormal, and is disposing of it". - Dr Rapaport
The blood vessels open up, and say "Give me steroids!!!", the same way we might angrily cry out for coffee on a bad morning. The blood vessels are trying to behave normally again. The steroids made them 'forget', in a sense, how to be constricted. The brain thinks "Hmm, skin is not supposed to be that red. Let's get rid of it!"
It's bipolar as f! For this reason and this reason ALONE, I look forward to summer. The vessel restriction of the cold is not conducive to complete healing right now, as much as I love inhaling bonfire smoke and feeling the sting of the cold winter air.
It has almost completely disappeared, even with all the ventolin I'm still using. How can this be? When I asked my amazing Naturopath about this, she said its a great sign because the liver is not as over burdened as it used to be so now instead of it sending the steroids into my muscles and nervous system, it can actually break it down better instead. As minor as this seems to someone who has never had this chronic symptom, it is huge for me. Countless thousands of hours over the course of my life have been taken up by this irritating, poking feeling that wakes me up frequently at nights and keeps my attention away from anything going on around me. Massive accomplishment. Thanks liver!
I'm a decent person. I hold a cheerful profile. But in the last 3+ months I notice I am internalising a lot of negativity. Perhaps on account of the feeling of coming out of this mentally but still being held back physically. I really do need to get my life back on track!
I feel its about time for me to start rebuilding my life now, look for a job an all that. This is very exciting for me as I am really craving the structure of a job and the company of other people. Fingers crossed I don't get the 'anniversary flare' and I can get back to work without being continuously circumscribed by horrendous skin. I am excited, but also a bit scared. Being so far out of the daily grind, I feel a vague social retardation. It also bothers me about how employable I am right now given the amount of time I've had off work with topical steroid withdrawal and in any case, who will employ someone with this health issue?
With this new start, I also hope to find some more interesting activities and people to enrich my life. There is certainly a growing hunger which requires sustenance!
On a different note, I actually feel like this trauma was a life time ago. It's funny how perspective bends perception. The worst of it is behind me now and I am so grateful for my resilience and courage. This change is huge and I am looking forward to a much healthier, happier life. Had I given up on any of the hundred occasions I considered it, I would be looking at a very unhealthy existence indeed. I feel so lucky that all of the factors in my life were aligned to enable me this possibility and I will never go back to that place again. I cannot say that I wont take my health for granted again, because complacency cant be underestimated. But I do know that my body is now an open book, unsuppressed by topical steroid addiction and very unforgiving! So if I step out of line, it wont dally in giving me a swift kick to the sphincter.
- Removal of 3 supplements
- Heal Lite and grape application added to regime
- Face dramatically improved
- Shedding on face and neck reducing
- Chest still receiving Heal Lite
- Arms unchanged
- Hands still improving
- Legs and feet still improving
- Asthma still up and down
- Twitching linked to steroids almost totally gone