It’s hard enough looking at the reflection in the mirror. I think I’ve finally come up with the courage to post photos of my current condition. Sliding it out for the world to see feels more like forced bravery than fearless conviction. But I believe that if you put on a smile, cheer will follow. Here they are…
This is the left side of my face and neck. It’s looked like this for at least a month now. I have lumpy lymph nodes on my neck where the large blotchy rashes are located. I wrap nice Cottonelle paper around my neck to catch the weeping ooze and hide my neck. It stresses me out every time I feel something like my scarf brush against my neck or see it. So wrapping for the last week has made a difference in healing. Wrapping my neck with paper and securing it with a bobby pin has helped a lot. The skin there has a few creases and has sagged, so that the folds stick to each other and it feels icky, so I end up tending to it and it turns into a mess. It was just by coincidence that I started doing this as mom bought this Cottonelle brand toilet paper. It’s gotta be a 50-ply paper with strong fibres, so it wouldn’t stick to weepy skin like regular paper would. Now, I don’t feel the folds sticking and I don’t have to see it throughout the day.
The area around my lips, especially above it, flared one day when I was approximately age 12 when I was playing with Lucky, my aunt’s Labrador Retriever, and probably touched that area. It’s been a frequent problem area since then. I’ve used anything for 1% Hydrocortisone to Protopic/Elidel to Clobestol Propionate. It has gradually gotten worse to the point that it’s permanently cracked (tiny hills and valleys from epidermal damage) and oozes when anything touches that area. It was oozing a yellow fluid and was given several different oral and topical antibiotics; it continues to be a problem. It looked like this for a good month, but went downhill last week when my bf’s stubble hit that area despite our carefulness. I’m really hoping that it will no longer be extremely sensitive after the TSW deal.
This is what my face pretty much looks like at the moment. The affected areas are my temples, around the eyes and mouth, jawline and some of my cheeks. Makeup is my friend most days, although I don’t bother unless I’m going out, which is almost never at this point. My eyelids do this funny thing where there’s not one, not two, but three folds. I’ve heard another fellow Asian mention this on the ITSAN forums. Think it’s because the skin’s just so dry that it creates more creases than I need.
My hands never looked like this before TSW. I never really used steroids on my hands or wrists except for the odd time when this little spot would get out of control. Working at the hospital and having to constantly sanitize them brought them to this state. Although I no longer work there, it hasn’t bounced back since then; it’s been 1 1/2 months. The skin here is very dry and thick. Think I should use my Dermasilk gloves to help with moisture retention.
Overall, you could say that things have improve in the last little while. I started TSW from the beginning of January 2013, so I’m into my third month of withdrawal. I experience some “pins & needles” itching throughout the night, but the itching usually happens when I tend to a small spot that initially always seems harmless and then the itch spreads in all directions. I have to admit that I probably scratch even when I’m not itchy. Even though the itch isn’t bad, scratching gives me immense relief, it’s almost orgasmic. I’m trying really hard tonight to keep my fingers away from my skin. Feel like I should take up knitting to re-train my hands to keep away from my body. I’ve created so much damage already and need to distract myself. In the meantime, I’, debating whether I should buy this Calendulis Cream or EczeHerbal Ointment found in The Eczema Company (http://www.eczemacompany.com/eczema-creams-salves/) for my face as it’s been so dry lately. Shea butter sinks in nicely but like everyone else, I wonder if there’s something better out there.