I let the 2 year anniversary pass me by, 10/3/16. I’ve been in a funk. I believe I am in the midst of another anniversary flare. It’s hard to tell, as I still flare monthly with hormone cycles, but this month it has been more widespread than it has been for quite a while, and the skin that is not visibly affected is feeling tight and itchy again.
Currently I am struggling with depression and anxiety. I was convinced that I was well prepared for this process. I reminded myself often that this could be a process that takes years. The closer I got to the 2 year mark though, the more depressed I got. I haven’t even documented recent pictures, I don’t have the motivation.
Then vs. Now
What has changed since 10/3/14? Has it been worth it? Do I think I will ever totally heal?
I think to most people, the physical changes in my body since I stopped all corticosteroids are pretty obvious. My skin has healed so much it’s crazy. I went from open, oozing, burning, smelling flesh on an estimated 70% of my body to itchy reddish dry flesh on about 15% of my body.
Why so depressed then, that is huge improvement right? I am absolutely grateful for the healing I have experienced in the past 2 years. My depression and anxiety at least partially stems from my concern that I HAVE finished healing already, that my current state will be my forever state. I worry that I’m doomed to have skin flares for at least 2 weeks every month for the rest of my life. I believe that my body developed a sensitivity to progesterone after the birth of my daughter. The steroids caused a new issue to become worse, but were not the cause of my original eczema. How do you combat a sensitivity to your own naturally produced hormones? Why you treat it with steroids of course. Or you don’t treat it with Western medicine at all.
No matter the end outcome, if my eczema resolves completely or I continue to flare every month, one thing I am absolutely sure about is my decision to cease steroid use. I was at a point that my eczema was continuing to spread almost daily. I truly believe if I had never found ITSAN I would be covered head to toe, out of work, and bed bound. 2 weeks a month of relatively calm skin is more than I ever would have had a chance at while using topicals.
This is definitely a marathon, not a sprint. To any newbies out there, the process of recovery from red skin syndrome is long and vicious. Hang in there, know you are not alone, and be confident that your body is happy the steroids were stopped (even if it isn’t as obvious as you hoped).