Day 8 of my topical steroid withdrawal (TSW). Today I could look myself in the mirror.
From Friday last week until Sunday evening, I hid myself in my house, not wanting the world to see me or my growing rash. I emailed close kinesiology friends to let them know what I was facing, craving their support, taking the advice from the forums to let people know in order get through this withdrawal with my sanity. But I was ashamed. Ashamed to show my face to the world. Feeling very sorry for myself, very alone and very very stressed about the expectation that full recovery will take somewhere between 10-30 times the total time on steroids. So for me, that’s 3.3 – 10 years.
I used my kinesiology and prescribed myself (and others prescribed) the following:
- an afternoon of crying, alone
- an hour of meditation
- vitamin d, e, b (every second day)
- flaxseed oil
- salmon oil
- gluten free & dairy free diet for 1 month (then reassess)
- minimal bathing & no showers
- moisturiser withdrawal
Mum and dad came to stay for the week on Sunday. Mum told me straight that I needed to get over not wanting to be seen, that I just had to leave the house and people were going to have to see me. Not in a harsh way, but a loving, empathetic, practical way. In a sense, she pulled the ‘cancer card’ as we call it. “Everybody has something they’re struggling with,” she told me. “Most people have it on the inside, you just happen to have it on the outside.” I replied with “Good point, you have cancer, I just have stupid eczema”. So Monday morning, I dragged myself out of bed and in to work, lathered with makeup – face only (the rest of me is moisturiser free). Just my luck, my colleague was away sick and asked me to conduct some training for him. Great. I just had to get through 3 days of work, then my whole family was off to Perth for a week’s holiday. Just 3 days.
Last night, mum sat me down and told me she shouldn’t have let me get away with what I’d said about her having cancer. She told me “everyone has something that is the worst possible thing for them at a given time. For me it is cancer. For you it is eczema. So don’t discount that, it IS the worst thing to happen to you right now.” I cried. Lots. I’d been brave because it should mean nothing. But inside I was exhausted from being so damn conscious of it.
But I woke up today with a different perspective. I feel different. I feel stronger.
After 33 years of struggle, I still have more struggle left in me. One long road to recovery that I’ll never look back on. My journey starts today. My journey starts here.
All roads in my life lead to this moment. My search for a purpose in life. My lack of faith in medicine. My belief in complementary and natural therapies and passion for kinesiology. My pursuit of a cure for eczema. I intend to defy the odds. I won’t struggle for years on end.
I have a tool the doctors don’t know about.
Let the ride begin.