Have you heard the term 'You cant polish sh*t, but you can roll it in glitter'? That about sums up where I'm at this month. Just loads and loads of glitter. And by glitter of course I am referring to make-up and full length clothes to hide a world of sins.
Yep, this month winter has slapped us in the face and its left me grinning like an idiot. It's brought me some relief from the prickly heat, the skin aggravating sweat and the shirtless guys who get around town, cutting poses every ten steps. Thank you winter, you beautiful b*tch!
I'm still a mess from the chest up and even though the rest of my body is still healing and coming along well, its not quite ready for belly button tequila shots.
Something I thought I would be ready for is exercise, and when I tried I ended up looking like a massive walking hive, ripe for the frightening of small children. The issue lately is that I have so much energy... and I mean, energy to burn! But I am imprisoned in a body that is so crusty and shriveled that if there were a remake of Cocoon, I would be head hunted for a 'mature' role.
So my dilemma is this; I like to hike, nay, I love to hike. Being in nature is the one place I feel most at peace and ok with the world. Probably a good place to start feeling invigorated again, right? Problem is that whenever I get the chance to 'get amongst it' (as the kids say), I usually end up so engulfed in red and itch that I leave this place of beauty, cussing out the world and everything it stands for. Not quite the zen I envisaged. Ok then, no worries. I'll just catch up with some friends for a bite to eat, after all, friends are food for the soul. Now to find a restaurant that can possibly cater for my Schindler long list of food intolerance's.. Great, Thai looks safe and dam does it taste like heaven! BOOM! Full scale flare IN YO FACE! Righto, so I'll just stay at home and placate myself with some therapeutic comedy. Nope. Sorry. Laughing makes your asthma so bad that you need that steroid inhaler you are trying to keep out of your system. You silly dope.
It seems that around every corner there is some thing out to get me. Dealing with the ever present physical limitations for doing the things I love is so increasingly difficult that I still wonder if topical steroid withdrawal is all worth it. Will I ever be able to travel overseas again? Can I ever enjoy the outdoors like I used to? Will I be excluded from my peers social outings due to the complexity of my dietary needs? Unfortunately I can only continue to resolve myself to time. If only I could skip through this itchy soundtrack of my life to that deliciously healthy crescendo! So, in lieu of time travelling, I think the only way to settle this is like an adult. Mud wrestling! Who's in??
Ok, lets talk about diet. I love food in its full spectrum from healthy to down-right nasty. This meant I had to find decent substitutes for almost everything I used to crave. But I'm not gonna lie, it aint easy. If I want to snack on some ice cream while I watch shameful re-runs of The Simpsons, or if I feel like chowing down on a bowl of hot chips and sauce while I play Skyrim, its gonna take some preparation. I cant just grab a supermarket tub of 'whatever' to sate my appetite. Instead I have to first, make sure I have the ingredients i.e. always be stocked up on the ingredients for my top 5 naughty food list. But then I actually have to make the bastard. This can range anywhere from 15 minute prep time to 24-48hr prep time. So my 'convenience' foods have now become significantly inconvenient. I believe this is what has helped snapped me out of the healthy 'junk food' habit as I cant just grab some cheese and crackers any more. I now have to ferment the nut substitute overnight (faux cheese) and go to the health store to buy the non-grain, non-dairy, non-gluten, non-sugar crackers before I can sit down to enjoy it. Instead of reaching for a conveniently packaged and stored chocolate bar, I now have to spend time peeling, dicing, pouring and blending my 'Holy Sh*t Chocolate Mousse' (an actual recipe I made) before I reap the rewards from the chocolate gods. So what I am trying to say to you is that being healthy is no easy task. It takes definite commitment, patience, and a metric mother-load of time.
Now onto the details.
I keep a track of everything I eat in a food diary. As tedious as this is, it has helped me on many occasions, identify triggers to specific reactions. This is particularly helpful considering the onset of symptoms can be as delayed as a day or two.
A recent discovery of mine happened after spending a week eating heavily meat based meals frequently, I flared badly. Even though the meat was from the choicest cuts of grass fed, organic, free range, hormone, chemical free, cuddled 3 times a day and weekly foot massaged animals, I still reacted. Why? After reading into this I rediscovered that meat creates a highly acidic environment in your body and introduces toxic uric acid. This in turn will raise the histamine response, case in point, my skins uncomfortable flare. So I went off the meat for a time and wouldn't you know it.. my skin settled.
I have always suffered from gut upsets easily and its actually uncommon for me to go a night without having some level of unpleasantness. Now since cutting out meat (almost) entirely, I just ease into my nights with no tummy problems, no wind or cramps. Praise be the gods for letting my bowels breathe a sigh of now fresh, non-stinky air! I feel like my gut is finally able to relax and just do its job and its really thanking me! Thanks for the hugs, colon... Mmmm colon hugs ;-)
My second discovery after 'the week of a thousand sirloins' I began drinking a lot of decaf coffee. Heck, I was flexing my social tendencies again, and where to start, if not coffee?! To be kind to my already delicate adrenals, I figured decaf was safe as houses but a few days in I noticed the flaring coming back again. Time to consult Dr Google!
Seems that even decaf is pretty much poison, much to my dismay. Typically, the coffee bean is decaffeinated by a chemical process which leaves a chemical residue in the coffee to be then ingested. This wasn't the case for me as I purchased an organic, H2O decaffeinated coffee. The trouble comes from the selection of the bean used as this specific bean happens to be more acidic than its caffeinated counterpart and therefore creates an acidic environment. This can lead to stomach acid issues, ulcers, bowel inflammation, osteoporosis and UTI's. Coincidentally, I started feeling the onset of a UTI around this time. The more immediate effects of drinking decaf are the raising of cholesterol and fatty acids, the loss of minerals through urine, loss of iron absorption, increased histamine response and much more. The moral of the story? Let's tea! Yes, I did just use tea as a verb and I'm ok with it.
The only other thing to report is that I have cut back on some of my supplements. I have dropped the blueberry concentrate, noni juice and the magnesium powder with multi B vitamins. So far, no huge negative changes to report.
These bacon hocks are coming along way better than I thought they would. They're still looking like wrinkled and loose old socks, throw in the corner with the dirty washing, but they are finally presentable and I can tell they are gonna be THE BOMB DOT COM.
My pipes are decidedly skitsophrenic. One week they can be totally clear, the next week they will be red and blotchy with eczema all over, the next week they will be itchy and covered in scabs and dry skin. On the whole though, they are resilient suckers and eventually bounce back.
I've been a bit on the relaxed side this month with taking photos of my tendrils so unfortunately this is all I have for you. Soz!
I don't always treat my legs and feet with the kindness they deserve. Perhaps I see them as expendable to the 'friendly fire' of my fingernails. But if you look past all the scabs and grazes, unkempt leg hair, occasional spider veins and un-sculpted doughy texture, you would see some healthy ass legs! My feet still have a lot to answer for but whatever, they're only feet. I will draw on some laces and pass them off as leather moccasins. Done.
Not much news on this channel I'm afraid. Seriously? Seriously.
I will throw my neck and chest into the same box here because they all seem to react with a similar intensity.
Two phases this month. First one was a topical steroid withdrawal flare that showered my face with venereal-esque clusters of small sores which went up to my ear. My ear actually ended up splitting which took a while to heal. I may have reacted to a moisturising serum I used, mixed with make up just to get me through a day of working in the public eye. Mucho suffero.
Much like my face, my scalp is still shedding like crazy. BUT the good news is that more hair is growing back and I can finally tie my hair up without looking like the poor man's Rhianna. I think I am also getting some little hairs popping up towards the back, where I had the bald spots. I don't have new shoots covering all the bald areas but I am happy knowing that it's all on its way to being back to normal. And to think that people were telling me to cut my hair off! Nah uh girlfriend! *Z clicks*
What insomnia?! I left that demon back in the hell hole of early 2015. I lie down, start reading my book, then promptly fall asleep. YUSSS! Such glorious sleep shall henceforth be cradled on my proverbial bosom like a newborn :) What's of note here is that I am sleeping au natural, no herbs or anything. I am still a little on edge, waiting for the insomnia to return. I mean, the experience was so traumatic its easy to still harbor that fear. But all going well, I am back to my nice 9pm – 6am sleep regime.. like every other young adult with no children ;-)
I am still shedding lightly all over but its really just a drop in the ocean and hardly worth noting. Its mainly my face and scalp doing the damage now so between that and the rest of my body, I still need to vacuum at least once daily and vacuum my bed, but the volume is marginal by comparison.
I am puffing and wheezing my way through each day like a baby steam train. Perhaps its the cold weather, but my lungs are getting worse with each week.
I have tried the Buteyko method for improving breathing in asthmatics, but this method predicates itself on being able to breathe through your nose. I'm not sure if I've mentioned this yet but I have had sinus congestion for months and struggle to breathe through my nose.
I also tried different herbal mixtures which didn't work. Now I am currently trying a new exercise to help expand the capacity of my lungs which may possibly be working but it still isn't stopping the tightening that occurs all day and the weird popping sounds coming from my lungs.
My options for improving my asthma seem to be very limited. I still use my Ventolin maybe 2-3 times a day and that is only when I absolutely need it, like when I feel like I'm getting dizzy. Generally my lungs are always constricted, sore and feel as though they are burning. At this point, I will just have to wait to see whether they improve with my overall improving health.
Muscle twitches haven't improved at all. Some days I will have muscles twitch all day without any breaks, other days I will barely notice anything at all. I still cant predict or find any patterns with this so until I do, I will keep popping and locking my way through each day.
Here's a photo of how ridged my nails grew from the time I started my topical steroid withdrawal. Now they are starting to grow out, they are so thin and lacking in strength that they just peel off almost like paper.
I once said that I would see if I haven't improved by 6 months then I would seriously consider going back to steroids and I would be lying if I said I still don't consider the idea. But knowing the decimation it does to my body, has done to my body, it kills me knowing that I just cant bring myself to succumb to topical steroid addiction. I used to think that only perfect skin is acceptable for me to leave the house but now I would quite happily wear my eczema like a model wears Versace as long as its not covering my entire body (preferably not on my face) and I can function like a normal human being again. We place so much importance in how we look, I am guilty of this, but we are what we are and if we make ourselves sick to try to hide this, then we are as fake as the images we are trying to imitate. Imagine the potential of each person if we invested our energy into actually living and improving our minds and characters. What a truly beautiful place this world would be.
- No dietary change
- Insomnia improved dramatically
- Some hair growth returning at the front
- No new hair growth everywhere else
- Face still shedding, maybe slight improvement
- Wrinkles and sagging improving
- Shedding on body improving
- Arms improving
- Hands possibly improving?
- Legs and feet improving
- Asthma worsening
- Weeping still improving
West west – and other street venacular