March 16/13 – 6 months

Each month is a milestone but this day is particularly special to me.
It has been 6 months since I decided to do something about my ‘out of control’ eczema.
6 months since I made the executive decision to stop my reliance on topical steroids.

The memory of blistering-oozing-red-itchy-dry-flakey-bumpy-skin is all too familiar. I remember all of it as if it were yesterday.

Remembering these episodes and flipping through pictures of my busted up physique either reduces me to tears or leaves me feeling angry and bitter.
It is at times like these where I’d much rather pretend nothing ever happened.

I also have conflicting feelings.
As time passes and the symptoms become less and less apparent,
I will slowly forget the exact details of my first steps on this journey.

Should I try to block out these painful memories or should I choose to never forget this page in my book so it will serve as a constant reminder that things in life can go just as fast as it came?

The next milestone will be 12 months.
I look forward to more healing before the big 365.
And hopefully, just maybe this chapter will be over and done with before then.

time heals all wounds.


5 thoughts on “March 16/13 – 6 months

  1. Apologies in advance for the long reply. I figured it would be better than strewing comments across multiple posts.

    In my opinion, your memories of experiencing TSW should be stored in the back of your mind, in case you ever need to “access” them. For me, they serve as a constant reminder that life is short… for all I know, I could get run over tomorrow (not to be pessimistic) and bam, it’s over. It keeps me aware, and reminds me to always stay humble and loving. Of course, constantly pondering why your skin is so ugly and downplaying yourself leads to depression and suicidal notions, hence keeping these thoughts and memories in the back your mind.

    Onto slightly happier topics… hehe. I was also advised by my doctor to stay away from cold and fried foods, as well as sweet foods. However, she didn’t believe me about my TSW, and blamed my terrible skin on allergies and whatnot. Ironically, she discouraged me from using steroid creams (ha, one step ahead of her!). Your acupuncturist sounds extremely helpful and understanding; do you recommend finding a reliable acupuncturist for herbal medicine and other stuff? I’m inherently afraid of needles though. 😦

    Finally, is there a specific moisturiser you use for your dry skin? I wake up everyday with incredibly dry and flaky skin that persists 24/7, and my Vitamin E cream isn’t very helpful. I’ve been trying to find a better moisturiser to no avail.

    Thank you very much,


    P.S. I also thoroughly enjoy your quotes at the end of your posts… “new year, new me”, “time heals all wounds” etc. Awesome stuff!

    1. I totally agree with you and I definitely had suicidal/depressed thoughts during my first 2.5 months of withdrawals. It is extremely difficult to stay optimistic when your skin is either itching, burning, oozing, flaking or all of the above! While I’ve been pretty much itch free since the beginning of December, my hat goes off to the people who have to go though this for years. It can really take a toll on an individual’s emotional state.

      As for acupuncture, people tend to have different views on it. I wrote a post on past experiences with 4 different acupuncturists and the first 3 were pretty much useless and never had my best interests at heart and only cared about taking my $$. It really is a hit-miss when you look for one but if you find the right one, TCM can do wonders. I was a non-believer to the point where I told my grandma I believed TCM was BS and them mainlanders were basically just crooks. I admit it. LOL. As for finding a TCM doctor, I recommend the older the better. William ( talked a lot about Chinese medicine in his posts. Definitely worth the read if you want to go the alternative medicine route. Anyway, this is getting a tad long winded but TCM focuses on flushing out the toxins inside whereas steroids suppresses everything and doesn’t seem to treat the root of the cause. Btw, I assume you’re Asian (fresh of the bus? C’mon. Haha) you might want to ask your parents or grandparents about this stuff. Or go to the Chinatown in your city.

      As for moisturizer, I mainly used one that was sold by another acupuncturist. Pricey as heck. $80 for 100g. I tend to use very little of it because this cream doesn’t have steroids but another acupuncturist sold me ‘herbal’ creams and he told me there were no steroids but it ended up containing a lot and I firmly believe that is how I got started with TSW. Safe to say that I have been scarred for life. Getting off topic again…. I also use neutrogena and aveeno baby cream. I don’t have the exact name since the ‘goods’ are at home but I will write a post on this in the next little while. That and acupuncture because everyone seems to email me about this. Oh yeah, Vaseline doesn’t seem to work for me. Feels icky on my skin and makes me all the more uncomfortable.

      Anyway, good luck and keep truckin’. LMK if you have any other questions!

      FOTS (fresh off the subway)

  2. I admire your posts. Please, if possible, what was the name of that crook who had steroids in his TCM herbal creams? From reading about TCM I found out there are 3 or 4 main formulas with specific herbs that treat specific types of eczema. Also, a lady from Beijing told me there are a lot of TCM specialists there that treat only eczema, and successfully.
    I once visited a TCM in Toronto and had therapy of strong teas and a cream (first time it was white, second time it was green or yellow) and was told to use only sparingly. Both times it seemed to help. But the cream when smelled, had that medicinal smell in it. Every time i ask if it is natural and the answer is yes. Last time the white one (given for easier types of eczema) did not help, but the teas prescribed were not strong either (I just got off steroids few days before, so it was not wide spread redness, so maybe TCM prescribed less potent tea).
    I researched TCM and found out about those 4 formulas which also have Chinese names. I do not remember correctly, but one had “dragon” in the name. And they are also called white, green, yellow etc. I was told that the most potent one is given to those who have real bad skin, with blisters and wounds etc. So I am not sure now. What if they put steroids in those formulas? How can one be sure??

    1. Thank you! I appreciate the positive feedback. The reason I do this is to inform!

      I will not post his name publicly as it does no good to me. I don’t know if he will pursue legal action on me! Don’t worry, he isn’t on the East Coast.

      I HAD THE SAME THING. I was told it contained no steroids but in the end, the crook told me it contained a ‘little bit’ of steroids. How would I know how much it contained? It’s not regulated you know. I would stop using them if I were you.
      The current TCM I go to doesn’t give me any of that supplemental stuff. She only does acupuncture and gives me the prescription for the tea that I have to boil myself.

      I have never heard of 4 formulas with Chinese names. Send it to me if you want and I’ll check it out.

      You’re right. You can never be sure. That is why I’m still doing TCM but acupuncture (needles can’t have steroids) and drinking boiled tea (I buy the medicine myself and boil it)… I also research the ingredients and make sure they have no negative side effects.

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