Sunday, 20 September 2015

Day 278 off Topical Steroids: Turning a Corner?

I'm now in my tenth month of my withdrawal and within the last few weeks I've started doing much better (I literally never thought I would be able to write that).

I barely even know where to begin for this post...

I guess I'll start with the condition of my face. Just over a month back my face was still giving me hell and I got so sick of the horrific cycling of red raw- oozy face to skin peeling off every 24 hours that I decided it was time to try zinc oxide paste on my face. Holy cow was that a game changer. Within two days my face had improved tremendously and within a week was the best it had been all year. To my dismay this only lasted a few days and I watched as it slowly descended back into a red horrible flare and I assumed I wouldn't experience any more improvements for months to come.

It's not often I enjoy being wrong :)

I carried on using the zinc paste and within a week the flare had died down significantly (not perfect, but still much better). Since this my face has cycled through 'flares' and 'breaks' maybe four times, with each flare getting less intense and easier to bear, and with each break my face being even better, the shedding and oozing was still happening, but I could see it was becoming less and less intense until this week I realised I wake up and my skin has not oozed at all, and instead of my face shedding huge flakes, it's just a fine layer of dry skin which I can exfoliate off with very little inflammation to follow. Basically this is the most nomal my face had looked all year and I can't believe how fast the improvement came about. 

The photos on the left I took only a few days ago, the bottom photos are what I look like first thing when I wake up and before I have a bath, the top photos are what I look like afte a bath with my skin cleaned up. Looking back, I can hardly believed what I managed to survive.

I have also achieved quite a few things that would have been impossible for me to do up until the last few weeks. I have been trying to exercise semi-regularly after essentially spending 9 months on the couch. I've been doing this at home on an exercise bike or the treadmill, but I've also started being able (and even wanting) to go outside for walkies! I am obviously weak and unfit and I usually get hot, itchy and sore when I do so, but it's so worth it and it's all becoming easier.

The biggest achievement for me was going out in public for the first time all year to go out for coffee with my amazing, wonderful and all-around lovely partner Tomas! It was the first time we were able to spend time together out of the house all year. 

Ahhh he's so cute :)

I was very self-conscious and I wasn't able to stay out for very long, when I got home I was also shaking like a leaf from the anxiety, but I was able to calm down, then go out again to visit my Nan who I have missed so much this year.

I've made it out several other times just for quick errands like picking up some things from the supermarket or Bunnings. I'm also working on being more social, managing to spend about an hour at a friends' for a BBQ, and spending all day recently with my best friend while she was visiting from Canberra.

So even though I'm doing a bajillion times better, there are still a lot of things I'm still struggling with.

I'm still crazy itchy and sore all the time, especially on my arms, chest, shoulders and neck. My hands have been driving me crazy, being ridiculously itchy and dry, and often tear open and form tiny, painful cracks.

My face still also gets crazy itchy and I need to reapply the zinc balm several times a day to stay comfortable. For some reason, I'm also insanely tired pretty much all the time, even if I've managed to sleep fairly well.

I'm also starting to feel the dull ache of boredom. It has just turned Spring here in Tassie and the weather has been lovely and so I'm getting pretty frustrated as I really want to be outside doing fun things and yet I'm still pretty limited in what I can do. But yeah, I'm working on doing more things, and there are much worse things that I could be dealing with, so I'm ok really.

Anyway, I'm thrilled that I am able to give a positive update! 

To everyone suffering- hang in there, it gets better :)

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