The Beginning

12 Dec

I realised for me to really notice any significant change in my skins progress I would need to maintain a diary. Before I explain my current state I would like to go through my past and the journey I have gone through this year of trying to rid my skin of eczema and heal my body from steroid addiction and withdrawal.

The nightmare began early January 2012. A new girl started at my job at the time (Gloria Jeans coffee shop) and as we were discussing the delicious cakes in the pastry cabinet she told me she was a celiac. Like anyone else I was curious and asked why and she said it was because she gets bad eczema. “Really! I have eczema too.” I said, happy to know someone with the same ‘problem’. I told her that i don’t have any strict eating habits as I just use steroid creams to maintain it. I remember her telling me how bad the creams were and that i shouldn’t use them. i was shocked and said “i do notice that my eczema is getting worse and is spreading to parts of my body that i never used to get eczema before.” She told me that she had tried a lot of different things to help with her skin as hers was covering most of her body including her face. She told me that she eventually was given a number to a homeopath and after two weeks of taking non-steroid internal medicine her skin was significantly better. Wow! i thought, two weeks is fine, i can do that. So i took the number of the homeopath and made an appointment that coming week.

I remember my first appointment well. I came with my mother as i wasn’t sure on the directions. She sat us down and asked me many personal questions about my life and my mothers background and my skin condition. She told me six months and my skin would be rid of eczema forever. Six months! I thought that was sooo long, but a life with no eczema after it sounded better. I remember her telling me to stop drinking all alcohol, eating anything with wheat, diary, egg or meat in it and that i could not wear any make-up. No alcohol sounded challenging as I just turned ninteen, but no make-up. For some reason i started crying as the thought of myself in public with no make-up scared the hell out of me.

Weeks in and I was no longer using any branded shower wash, face wash or shampoo/conditioner. The homeopath told me I must use the products she supplies which was a natural cake of soap as she knew the ingredients in it. I was not allowed to use toothpaste but baking soder and my moisturizer was coconut oil. At the time i took everything she said as i was hoping if i did everything right my skin would clear, but more and more each day it was getting worse and worse. She told me that her style of treatment forces the skin to get worse before it gets better. I accepted this and prayed for a the end to be soon.

Two months in or so and i was exhausted. My skin was worse than ever in my whole life. I could barely sleep at night due to the intense itching and my body was so swollen, hot, red, flakey and dry. The eczema has covered at least 90% or my body which it has never done before and the intenseness was unbearable. I remember hiding in the shower as long as i could as it felt good and physiologically i would tell myself it felt as though i was washing the bad skin away. Although when i got out i was reunited with the itchy, red hot skin that caused me to have hot and cold fevers at night. I would lather myself in coconut oil that felt so hot and greasy that it just sat on the top of my skin and felt gross and clampy in the creases of my swollen skin. I hated lying in bed as i felt dirty and greasy lathered in the oil that i tried not to move whilst sleeping. As i wasn’t allowed to use normal shampoo, my hair felt so greasy and dirty and my mother on numerous occasions stated that it smelt even though i would wash it every night.

Even though everyday i felt miserable, my social life was non-existent, my love life with my partner had gone down hill because i had such low confidence, i continued to drive the 30min car ride to her house every second or third day hoping that she had come up with a cure for my skin. There were numerous times i would break down and cry to her about my life and how i felt and i appreciated her patience to take the time to talk to me. Not only that, she would insist that i update her on my skin and emotional state everyday via text message. I thought this level of customer service was excellent because it showed me that she genuinely cared. In some cases i felt as though she was being my emotional rock, but in others, i was also feeling a lot of pressure from her to change certain behaviours and led me to believe that if i didn’t my skin would not heal. Changes including, managing stress (when i was depressed from the treatment), not working as much (when i was a student and part time worker and needing as much money as i could get), going on holidays more (very hard when you dont have money as a student) and finally she insisted that my mother wasn’t happy with her life and that she was pushing all her emotional baggage onto me and my life – stating that i must leave home. I tried to do as much of these things as possible, but leaving my mother and my home whilst i was in such as state was ridiculous.

4 long months in and my partners parents had noticed a big change in myself. My partners uncle has psoriasis and told me he saw a doctor that healed his skin after having three lots of light treatments a week. Light treatment, i had never heard of that before. This new option poured doubt into my mind and temptation through my veins. Maybe the homeopath isn’t for me? Maybe i could do both options at once? Once telling my homeopath she was outraged but could see i was unsure about what i wanted to do. I asked her a question that i knew would be a deal breaker if i had gotten the wrong answer. I had asked her four months into the treatment and feeling worse than ever, covered in eczema from head to toe, if i was still going to be healed by the end of month six. She replied, “no, you may have another twelve months to go on top of what youve done – you are about 20% of the way.” I was heart broken. I had spent hundreds if not thousands of dollars and all my time and effort. I did not know what to do with myself so i thought may as well go and see my partners uncle’s doctor and see what he had to say.

Steroid cream, and more of it. I was even more disheartened when he did not recommend the light treatment that i thought i would be getting but i could not stand going back to the homeopath and go through another twelve months of hell. By now i wish i hadn’t ever met that girl at my work and continued to live a life of ignorance.

Upset with myself for failing but missing my old life of partying and drinking every weekend i smothered myself with the steroid cream that has known me for at least ten years prior. That weekend i went out drinking with my friends and to dinner with my partners family, giving up everything i had worked hard for and my diet. I remember being so happy eating deep fried ice-cream and not having a care in the world when i would go out drinking with my friends until the next day when my skin would come back with a vengeance.

I was on and off steroids for around another four months. After the fun of partying, drinking and eating whatever i wanted wore off i looked for other means on my own that may help my skin. By now i was applying steroids everyday on areas that i never had to before i started the homeopathic treatment, such as my neck, chest and shoulders. These areas have never been a problem before and now they were sore, red and very itchy within a day of not applying. Moogoo was my first option. I had heard good things about it before and gave it a go. After a few weeks my skin hadn’t changed so i knew i had to keep looking. I did a lot of research on the internet and talking to health food store workers who actually lead me in the direction of a acupuncture pressure point food intolerance test. This is where i found out i was intollerent to dairy, wheat, egg and corn products. So my diet started again. I tried using Avene products which were very expensive and did work for a short period of time. I actually thought for around a month that it was healing my skin but after one day of almost having clear skin it came back worse than ever. I was taking millions of vitamins and probiotics and even teaspoons of extra virgin olive oil and hemp seed oil to help with the dryness but not much really helped. i remember a few weeks where my face and eyes swelled up, which has never happened before. And my neck was so thick with dead skin that i couldn’t move it. It was horrible and out of options and new creams to try i searched the Internet for answers.

Hitting rock bottom and completely disheartened, i called the closest and best looking naturopath clinic to see what their healing method would be. After a free 15 min appointment with the head naturopath she told me that my homeopath was pushing my eczema out too fast, causing me all that discomfort. She stated that they have a schedule they usually put new eczema suffers on including a detox and weekly acupuncture sessions. She stated “we like to make our eczema suffers skin better not worse,” so i booked the next available appointment and started the detox.

The detox usually goes for a week, but due to my case i was on the detox tablets for three weeks. They were also ridding my body of heavy metals as they noticed in my urine tests that my body was heavily polluted. They asked for me to take a blood test to check my food intolerance’s, and i gladly agreed as i had heard my previous acupuncture pressure point test may not always be accurate. I came back positive to all the usual, wheat, dairy, egg, corn and gladly didn’t have to give up meat.

After three months of the detox and weekly acupuncture my skin was as usual, but that was expected during a detox as all the rubbish in my system was cleaning itself out. The second phase of the detox was putting the healthy bacteria and good stuff back into my body. This is where i saw a big difference where some days my skin was almost clear. I remember wearing a sleevless shirt to work not caring about the small imperfections of dry skin patches as my skin was looking better than ever!

Finally, today. I have completed the whole 2month detox and the final stage of adding more good stuff back into my body. I dont take as much medicine as i used to but still taking iron drink, Metagenics detox boost drink and some natural chinese herbs that my naturopath has made to heal my skin, along with my normal everyday vitamins.

Now that I have gotten my story out of the way, each week i would like to explain my skins progress in greater detail. This will allow me to look back and see any significant changes.

This week i have noticed my skin has broken out in a different way than usual. My last period i flared as i usually have bad cramps and hormonal swings. But this flare doesn’t look like an eczema flare. More of a spread of spotty, red pustule pimples, that when you scratch them they weep. They have covered my chest and shoulders and have now traveled down my arms and up my neck. I have had these before so i am not too worried, just gets me down a little as my skin was doing better than normal a few days ago.

My face has started flaking a lot more too. I have a patch of eczema on my left cheek and down the side of my left temple. Lately, this has been flaking off in big pieces and even above my eyelids, lip and chin. I have noticed when i have a shower and after i apply apple cider vinegar which dries my skin, i apply Natures Organics sorbolene and add drops of camomile and chinese herbs that my naturopath had made up for me, my cheek and temple weep through it. I have never really had a big problem with oozing or weeping skin with my eczema but in the light of the mirror my face sparkles from all the speckles of weep on my face.

Using steroids on my legs wasn’t an everyday occurrence, but now my legs, knees, backs of knees, thighs, bottom and lower back are patchy with dry bits of eczema. My upper back has always been a continuation from my chest, shoulders, arms and neck so that area has always been covered in eczema since seeing my homeopath.

Everyday when i wake up i critique my skin in the mirror. My skin is always its best at this time of the day, but this morning i could still see all the little pimply dots on my chest and neck so i know not much has changed. I noticed that even when i am happy with my skin that i am actually really not 100% satisifed as there is always a patch that is noticible or not completely clear and smooth. So on the bad days you could imagine how down i can get sometimes. I think for me to take away this week is to accept my skin at whatever stage and actually notice when it is a little better and to be happy with it and dont put it down by saying it is not completely perfect because i know that that will be longer than anticipated but will come one day.

Here are some images of this weeks pimply pustule flare:

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The big red dot was an infected deep pimple.

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Yep, that is my bottom, but i wanted to try and capture all the new little patches of eczema all over my body where i haven’t had them before.

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If you want to talk further please leave a comment or you can email me at:

whiteley_hannah@hotmail.com

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One Response to “The Beginning”

  1. leela angelina December 13, 2012 at 4:55 pm #

    Hey Hannah, Its Leela, Those pictures look like me:( Some days are better than others, i too, look clear in the mirror, in the morning, but i can’t even my open my mouth I’m so dry so off to the shower to cover to get some movement then coat myself in coconut oil, i to am working on my own blog and experience, i;m a little slower, hard to do writing with lil boys running around, hope your having a good day. ❤ Xx

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