Sixty seconds – Chapter 5

I’m finally onto the 5th month of withdrawal! Hooray~ 🙂

During my absence on this blog I’ve been spending my new year quietly at home while mentally preparing myself for the Bangkok trip that lasted from 3rd to 8th Jan. I would normally be rather elated at the thought of going overseas, especially Bangkok, because it’s a shopping paradise! However, it was definitely a bad and disastrous trip for me. My skin screamed badly to be back home ever since I boarded the plane to Bangkok as the plane environment was super dry which irritated my skin badly. Also, I failed to take into consideration of the fact that my hotel room would not be as humidified as the environment I experience back at home. As a result, I suffered a lot along with my skin throughout the entire trip. Who can I blame but myself for my own negligence. Sigh. I guess I made the trip rather unenjoyable for my family as well as they saw how I suffered during the trip and they had to sacrifice their shopping time so that I could stay in the hotel room, specifically the bathroom where it has the most moisture in the air, and let my skin take a breather.

During and after the trip I’ve thought through quite a lot, and as a result I am currently not moisturizing my skin with any creams, balms, in hopes that it would make the itch more bearable for me to handle as I attempt to study from home for the new semester. I was always tempted to give moisturizer withdrawal a try but I refrained myself from doing so because I had to step out of my house pretty often and I thought that going through moisture withdrawal would make it unable for me to go out with my dry skin. However, I know that my skin could no longer tolerate the moisturizer as it would always itch crazily whenever I apply moisturizer to moisturize my skin. Hence, I finally resorted to stop using all moisturizers. I’m currently on my third day into moisturizer withdrawal and I am pretty happy with my decision. My skin feels less itchy, and I could sleep pretty well at night without having to sleep through the itch. However, I think I became more afraid of getting in touch with water as a result. After I showered the day before, the crazy itch sensation came back and hit me real hard. So I’ve decided to just shower once every few days if I’m not going out. Haha it’s really an irony when I come to think about it because I used to be a clean freak in the past but now I’m doing whatever it takes to stop my body from feeling the itch even if it means I have to make myself “dirty” to do so. But at the current stage, my priority is definitely itch >>>>>>> cleanliness. Who cares about being clean if I can’t stop scratching my body while keeping my body clean. I definitely can’t get any tasks done while I’m itching like crazy and I am determined to do well this semester.

Today’s also the start of a new semester! Let’s hope that I get to start and end this semester right~ 😀

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Sixty seconds – Chapter 3.1

Forgot to mention this in the other post: currently experiencing edema as well during this flare up which is most obvious at my ankles. My swollen ankles made it uncomfortable for me when I walk and tonight I discovered that my right toe is getting swollen as well. I hope it doesn’t spread to my other toes as well though because that would leave me with the possibility of wearing slippers out and I hate wearing slippers :/

Also, I realised that I am still probably subconsciously giving myself a lot of pressure regarding my academics. I don’t know why but I would always tear up whenever my dad talked to me about how my grades isn’t everything and it’s alright to not do well this semester. I guess being in a competitive environment made me more conscious about my grades and the desire to do well. And I don’t know how can I relieve this pressure. I know there are ways like yoga or meditating but I’ve tried meditating which failed pretty badly. In any case, finals are approaching and this certainly does not help in alleviating the amount of stress that I am experiencing currently. Hope that by attempting to prepare early for finals could at least make me feel less panicky as it approaches.

Also, I’ve changed the tcm sensei that I’ve been regularly meeting and I am more confident with this sensei as he really explained about my tsw conditions in details to my father. My parents had a hard time understanding why I’ve decided to stop steroid creams but I’m glad that at least now my dad knows the reason why. 🙂

Alrights it’s time to sleep! Hopefully I could wake up feeling great (which hasn’t been the case for a loooong time). A long school day ahead with assignments to complete! Fighting!!

Sixty seconds – Chapter 3

A few more days before I reach my third month into tsw. Experienced a little of the cool down period that lasted a few days last week before another flare started again on Monday.

What I’ve experienced (& is still experiencing so far):
1. Red inflammed skin all over my body; my skin is pretty red this time round which made me pretty self-conscious as I felt as if I was earning stares from people for my red skin. I am going to start becoming my strict in my diet. Hopefully this slightly more anti-inflamatory diet could help a little for my highly inflammed body.

2. Burning sensation & shivers; I experienced burning sensation on my skin but it was not as bad as what I’ve experienced during my previous flares. Shivering, on the other hand, has been rather tough for me to handle, especially when I am outside. I would shiver whenever I am in class and it’s pretty bad since my body starts shaking rather badly in response. I also came out of my examination hall earlier than desired because I could not tolerate the shivers. :/

3. Itching; I’ve been itching, but probably not as bad as previous flares. There were times where I felt that I could control the itch but my lack of self-control often leads to major scratching time that is accompanied by skin coming off in scary amounts. My father would keep telling me to stop scratching but I would often end up scratching my skin even more 😦 But I am determined to exert a little more self-control each time my skin itches. I must have more self-control.

4. Very dry skin; my skin is more dry as compared to previous flares. Any moisturizer applied onto my skin would be absorbed immediately. This is pretty irritating when I wear clothes as my dry skin often results in skin flakes that could hook up with the material of my clothes. Also, dry skin equates to my skin being more tight and hard to bear.

I am always more emotional and depressed whenever I experience flare ups. I am not sure if it’s because my flares always coincides with major tests & exams, but I constantly felt that I am letting my parents, my sisters, my friends, and myself down for being unable to tolerate these hardships and concentrate on my academics. This past week, has been extremely tough on me especially. I am constantly tearing (or wanting to tear but kept my tears in as it wasn’t an appropriate place to cry). My academics have suffered tremendously this semester as a result. One slightly cheery information I read on the ITSAN forum was that my flares could be possibly related to my menstrual cycle which I’ve found to be pretty accurate. Thus, once this flare subsides, I would begin my revision early so that I could salvage my grades a little.

Actually I have a test tomorrow but I have been unable to study/prepare for it so far as the moment I start studying, the itch starts. Thankfully tmr’s test is a open-book test so I am content with just a pass for it.

Hopefully my next post would be a more cheery one. I’ve worried my parents so much for the past few months that I felt so guilty about it but at the same time, I felt a little helpless because they do not know what tsw is and despite me telling them about it, they could not understand my decision of stopping topical steroids. Although I completely understand them as they simply thought that topical steroids could end my suffering but I am more keen of getting rid of my reliance on them rather than to seek for a temporary relieve. Hopefully my condition could get better soon because seeing them getting so worried for me has got my heart aching pretty badly. </3

Sixty seconds – Chapter 2.2

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As the haze condition in Singapore is slightly better than it was days before, my skin seems to be getting slightly better from the flare, despite it still being very irritating with the redness, burning & itching sensation.

Enough of complaining, this was meant to be a relatively happy post. Today a busy friend of mine specially came down to my place to drop me some green apples and lemons together with a letter she wrote to fuel my determination which really made my day because my skin wasn’t being kind. So it made me reflect a little on my journey so far..

Ever since I’ve started my journey as a red skin warrior, I’ve never really told a lot of people about my struggles during this difficult period. One of the main reason being that they would not be able to understand what I am really going through and the only way they could make me feel better would probably be cheering me up. However, that was what I did not want to hear during the first two months into TSW. I was extremely depressed during the first two months that I could do nothing but to keep thinking negatively and to hide from my friends in order to avoid interacting with people as I simply did not have the mood to do so.

Therefore… I was glad that I have a friend that didn’t mind my constant complains on whatsapp; I was glad to have friends that were understanding enough to not ask about the change in my skin condition; I was glad to have friends that were helping me to source for ways to heal my skin (although I told them that all I need is time); I was really glad and eternally thankful to know that I have friends that are truly concerned about me even though I feel like a bad friend for not fulfilling my duties as a friend during this period of time. Of course besides my friends, my family, especially my parents, were greatly concerned with my skin condition. I know how it hurts their heart when they see my red & awful skin yet they could do nothing to help me.

It makes me more appreciative of the people and things around me as I realised that I took too many things for granted in the past.

Even though there’s probably still a long way to go before my suffering ends, I feel that the amount of love I received could keep me going despite it being tough and mentally straining.

To all red skin warriors, you are not alone! Even though the tunnel you’re taking might be pitch dark right now, continue to believe in yourself and you’ll eventually walk out of that dark tunnel towards the light. 🙂

Sixty seconds – Chapter 2.1

The haze makes my skin feels like a living hell. My skin is so red and the burning sensation is so bad that I can’t even sit tight for a short while. I feel bad for always skipping classes nowadays and neglecting my schoolwork but it would normally take me long hours to tame my skin down. Sleeping hasn’t been good for the past few days as well because of my weeping neck and other parts of my body.

I’ve never really disliked any colours but I guess I really dislike the colour red. I am also getting very tired of constantly applying moisturiser and vacuuming my bed on a daily basis because I am a very lazy person. But I can’t afford to be lazy towards TSW. Also, I know that moisturiser hinders the recovery of my skin but that is the only way for me to survive school for this semester. My grades are currently lagging behind so I’m hoping that my skin would at least be kind to me for the rest of October and the entire November in order for me to catch up with my grades.

I really hope the haze would go away soon though. Please…

If I could go to somewhere with good and cooling air.. I miss Korea 😦

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Sixty seconds – Chapter 2

It has been two months since I’ve stopped using any steroid creams and frankly speaking, it wasn’t easy. I was angry, depressed, and stressed out.

Every time I felt depressed and hopeless, I have to find a way to reassure myself that, “I am a step nearer to being healthier and happier. So pls hang in there”. There were many times I just couldn’t help but break down in tears because I couldn’t withstand the amount of stress I am receiving. I believe that breaking down isn’t a sign of weakness but a way to get mentally stronger.

The redness of my skin has spread from my inner thighs to my inner calves, arms and knees. For the sake of sparing others from seeing such an undesirable sight, and for the sake of making my skin feel better outside, I’ve opted to wear long sleeves and long pants. Well that’s probably just an excuse to hide my inferiority but people who don’t know my condition are still gonna judge me no matter what. The skin on my neck especially feels very tight when it’s dry so I have to keep moisturising it whenever I have the chance to do so. My thighs are feeling better although the skin there feels and looks weird. But at least it doesn’t irritate me as bad as my arms and neck.

I am also shedding skin badly every time when I touch or rub or scratch my skin. I guess the amount of skin I have shed could have possibly reached around 500g for now? I don’t know when my skin will heal, but recently I’ve experienced so many pitfalls in my life that I think I gotta start finding ways to make myself think healthily and positively. I used to be such a positive person that it makes me much sadder to see myself in such a situation right now.

Hopefully the next post will sound more cheerful than this post! Cheers to a better version of me. Anticipating for that day to come.

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Sixty Seconds – Chapter 1

After much deliberation, I’ve finally decided to start a blog again! Yay? I’m not sure if I’m going to update this blog frequently but I’ll do my best to not let this blog wither and die with the lack of posts. 

The main reason why I’ve decided to start blogging again is probably because I wanted to keep track of my journey of being steroid-free. A little background info regarding how I’ve started using steroid creams – apparently my eczema worsened in my late teens, which was roughly 4 to 5 years ago, thus my parents insisted to bring me to the skin specialists to treat my eczema. The doctor prescribed topical steroids to treat my eczema which certainly helped a lot in controlling my eczema for several years.

However, my eczema became a lot worse since last year where even the prescribed creams weren’t doing a good job in controlling my condition. Whenever I went for my appointment hoping that the doctor could do something to help ease my condition, all she did was to just briefly take a look at my skin, comment that my eczema is under controlled, and prescribe the usual creams. This was when I contemplated to stop using topical steroids for good because I was under the impression that the doctor wasn’t being sincere with her examinations.

After a long 6 months, I’ve finally stopped using the creams for good. Of course, stopping the usage of topical steroids wasn’t without any pain – I experience flare ups very frequently, with the first few weeks being the toughest, both physically and mentally. I remember that I was constantly on a bad mood because I get annoyed easily. However, I was glad to receive some support from a good friend of mine and also, I have managed to receive some advice from another friend which motivated me to preserve on. Upon taking the advice, I went to consult a Chinese physician where I was told to restrict my diet by completely refraining myself from prawns and crabs (why prawnnnssssss :/). Also, she recommended me to follow a one-protein diet to help ease my condition.

Nearly three weeks have passed since I’ve first consulted her, it wasn’t a long period of time for me to see any huge improvements – I still experience flare ups (although they don’t feel as bad as before anymore) and my skin still itches from time to time. However, I’ve seen major improvements on my fingers, which used to look terrible with all the thickened skin and horrible wounds. 

I definitely need to put in more effort by moisturizing my skin more frequently and by drinking more water. It’s gonna be a long way before I can be proud and say that I’m mostly recovered but I hope that I can get constantly motivated by recording my progress down.