Here it is finally, my summer 2016 healing update! I guess being that today is the first day of fall, it’s better that I get it in today, better now than never! It’s been a little while since I’ve given an update with pictures and such, so here it is!
The spring was pretty good for me skin wise, but I hadn’t felt as much healing this whole year as I have this summer! September is 4 years and 6 months of being TS free for me, and I truly can’t believe it! It’s been so long that I’ve been in this process, but I honestly know that TSW was the best decision I’ve ever made. I write a lot in this blog on having gratitude and appreciation for this journey and it couldn’t be more true. As I’ve gotten better and better I find myself giving even more thanks to God multiple times in the day. Just being able to comfortably put on shoes without using paper towels over the tops of my feet (so the straps of my sandals don’t rub against my skin), to not have that awful crusted, oozing wound on the sole of my right foot anymore (that was insanely painful to walk on, so I was walking on the side of my foot), to be able to shower without an unbearable burning, itching pain, to not have a pile of dead skin flakes to shake out of my sheets in the morning from shedding all night, and to being able to use my sheets and night shirts for longer and not having to throw them out because of wear and tear from oozing and moisturizers on it…. the list goes on and on! I’m thankful for being less and less itchy as time goes by and the fact that I’m not oozing anymore (the absolute WORST symptom in my opinion)! I have an appreciation for every time I step outside and can breathe in the fresh air and feel the heat of the sun on my skin without it feeling like it’s irritating me. I tear up when I feel my skin and I can feel the texture smoothing out. I knew it was going to take time, and all of my patience has been so rewarding! I give praise that I can dance around and not feel pain, even sweat a little and not get that intense itchy feeling (it’s still there slightly behind my knees but it’s getting better!). I love the fact that I can chop up mostly all veggies and fruit now without gloves and no irritation on my hands! I can work out at a higher intensity now with no pain in my skin, and just being able to work out more has given me some of the deepest sleep that I’ve had in a long time! Although I have blemishes and discolouration still healing up on my legs and feet, I’ve felt more confident to wear capri and bermuda shorts outside… by next summer I’ll be wearing shorts with the highest confidence out there and going to the beach (it’s been waaaay too long)!
All of these things to be thankful for seem so trivial and normal, but when you’ve dealt with skin issues for as long as I have, and had it rule so many aspects of your life for so long, these little mundane things are extraordinary accomplishments! I can’t stress enough how important it is to stay diligent in your healing process. You must know that healing isn’t linear and you will experience some times where your skin is calm for a little while, and other times when you’re flaring terribly. Just always remember that the body doesn’t make any mistakes, it knows exactly what it needs to do to heal at it’s own time. Staying as stress free as possible in the process and just surrendering to what is happening to you will completely change your outlook in this journey. We truly don’t have control of anything in life, we just have to roll with what happens to us. What we can control is how we treat our bodies while healing i.e. what we put into our bodies (if it’s healing foods or offending foods), what we put on our skin (whether it’s emollients with chemicals or all natural ingredients) and how we talk to ourselves (whether it’s negative words and thoughts or words of positivity and healing vibes). You WILL see results but just remember it will take time, but how we treat ourselves in the journey makes all the difference. I have my down days, just as everyone does, but I don’t let it take me to the dark depths and defeat me. I pick myself back up and I keep on going. I give thanks even in the most painful of times because I know that the pain means healing, the shedding of skin, the oozing of toxins etc means healing. It’s better to have that yucky stuff coming out of our bodies than staying in. This journey is life changing, and you will be much stronger for it, more appreciative for life and more compassionate to others who are going through illnesses because you know first hand how difficult it is. I’m so thankful that I have this platform here to share my experience, my remedies and solutions, and connect with others in the struggle. The messages and emails I get keep me going and show me over and over that putting myself out there, wounds and all was the best thing I could’ve done. It has helped so many people already just feel like they are not alone, and finally get the information they need to really heal from the inside out. Thank you all for the love and support! Your kind words mean so much to me, I truly appreciate all of the positive vibes you all virtually send my way ❤ Always feel free to email me whenever you need to chat or need advice: email@example.com
*For more information on topical steroid addiction and topical steroid withdrawal check out www.itsan.org
What I’ve done this summer:
- Went raw vegan for 1 month, and high raw for the remainder of the summer : Diet is so important, I cannot stress this enough. I don’t mean “going on a diet” or being on a temporary meal plan… I’m talking about seriously re-evaluating what we eat on a day to day (our daily diet) and making it a lifestyle change. The word diet is just simply what you consume on a day to day, not a quick fix plan to lose weight. If you eat a diet of donuts all day than that’s your diet lol. Eating is a conscious choice that we make 3 (sometimes more) times a day and to heal yourself of eczema you need a diet of antioxidant & anti inflammatory rich, hydrating, alkaline foods. What you eat becomes your new cells, and it’s best to feed your body the highest nutrient dense, pure food as possible. Eating simply, in its original state as in the case with raw food will give your body live enzymes galore, antioxidants, minerals and vitamins all to repair the skin! Raw fruits and veggies are already easily digestible which will allow the body to conserve it’s energy so it’s not all spent on digesting food, but now spent on healing the skin (I promote eating super simply especially when you’re going through a rough flare: fresh ripe fruit, salads, smoothies, green drinks, lots of water and coconut water). I wanted to go raw vegan for the whole summer, but I found it hard keeping it up for longer than a month. I was craving cooked foods, especially rice and potatoes. I would steam some veggies to put on top of my salads in the evening for some warmth and to curb that cooked food craving for awhile. I also found it difficult because the other people in my house were eating cooked vegan foods around me, my willpower wasn’t strong enough and honestly it just stopped being fun for me. I decided to stay high raw for most of the day and have a small cooked meal (steamed veggies & potatoes or brown rice & lentils or veggie soup etc) with a large salad for dinner. Eating this way even for just a month no doubt had an effect on my skin. It left my skin more hydrated and less flaky, improved my digestion even more, and I found I was sleeping better. I continue to eat a high carb low fat vegan diet and will forever really as I’ve found it to be prefect for my body (eat a lot of fruits early in the day, have some raw greens and something cooked later, really carby and delish… rice, potatoes etc and I keep my fats low… I stick to whole food fats and no oils, whole food fats are in the purest state with more nutrients and fiber than a processed oil, oils are also hard to digest). My daily meals while raw vegan would pretty much go like this… Breakfast would be 1/2 a watermelon, then later for Lunch I’d have a large smoothie (about 6 bananas and a cup of mangoes and water). I’d eat a mono meal of some fruit (just papaya or a 3 mangoes or 4 oranges) and some other fruit after that if I was still hungry in an hour or so. For dinner would be a huge salad with mixed veggies and a nice dressing of tahini, lemon or lime and spices or collard wraps, or lettuce boats (with mixed veggies as filling with avocado). It’s just important to eat lots of fruit in the day to stay satiated, since they are calorically dense and will give you lots of energy and hydration and the most cleansing.
- Watermelon! My goodness did I eat some watermelon this summer!!! I swear I must’ve bought almost 40 or more watermelons this summer… NO JOKE! I just couldn’t get enough! It’s always best to eat seasonal fruit and when watermelon is in season I stock up! It’s so amazing for the skin because it’s so water rich, which will cleanse you from the inside out and hydrate the skin very well. Your digestion will improve just by adding watermelon into your diet. Make sure that you eat it first thing in the morning for breakfast. It’s such a great way to wake the digestive system up from its fasting state from sleeping because it is so easily digestible it eases the body and it’s surprisingly super filling. I would eat a 1/2 a watermelon for breakfast and be full for hours! I like to squirt a little bit of lemon or lime on top, and here is a watermelon juice recipe that I came up with that is super refreshing and hydrating!
- Dry brush more : I hadn’t been as consistent with dry brushing as I have in the past. I started back up again and it has definitely been helping. Just sloughing off the dead skin and stimulating the lymph system helps to rejuvenate the skin and leaves it a lot softer. If you haven’t added dry brushing to your bathing routine, I highly recommend that you do so!
- Started using Dr.Bronner’s unscented soap : (I’m not affiliated with Dr. Bronner’s at all) I have been using African black soap for awhile now and I’ve found it to be good for my skin, it’s great at exfoliating because of the plantain charcoal ash in it and the papaya enzymes. I do notice that when I’m done showering it leaves my skin slightly dry and almost brings out the flakes on the layers underneath. When I started using the Dr.Bronner’s unscented soap I noticed that it was leaving my skin more hydrated after showering than the black soap was. It also didn’t “bring out the flakes” as I mentioned before, it just left it soft, less dried out and smooth. I’ve continued to use the black soap in the “important areas” (as it’s great for odor and bacteria) and I use the Dr.Bronner’s all over. I still only shower a few times a week as I find this to be the best for my skin.
- Daily yoga and exercise! Get your body moving! Get your body moving! It’s insanely important in your healing process. I know it’s easier said than done, especially when your skin is in so much pain and oozing, but even if you can do the minimum of just walking or lightly rebounding it will help! Even sitting in a chair and doing leg lifts, leg circles, lifting light weights with your hands etc will help. I remember being in the worst of states (oozing on tops of feet and legs), but mustering up the energy to just do 5 minutes of bouncing on the rebounder made me feel so much better! As my skin got stronger and less painful, I was able to do more intense workouts and bend more comfortably in my yoga practice. I’ve been doing lots of ab work these days, as this is really beneficial for gut healing/gut strengthening as it strengthens our inner muscles: intestines, stomach and organs. As you know 80% of our immunity is in our guts, and strengthening it from the foods we eat, good bacteria we get in, and exercising our core will all help to get it in an optimal state. Add some planks, crunches, sit ups, bicycle crunches etc to your work out and you’ll feel your digestion improve and of course your core strengthen! I hope to go to a yoga studio in the near future and take some classes, as I’m just doing some yoga at home from videos and such. I make it a point to do daily Sun Salutations as it wakes up my body, stretches my limbs, calms my mind, and brings oxygen to my cells and muscles. There’s no excuses for not getting your body moving everyday, the benefits are awesome and much needed in this healing journey. You’ll experience better sleep, more energy and just an overall vibrancy in your body. Sweating is a great way of eliminating toxins, and even if it’s just a little sweat that you’ve worked up it’s okay because you still have gotten your blood pumping, nerves firing and heart rate up. So go turn on some music and get to exercising!
- New DIY essential oil cream for discolouration/hyperpigmentation : Hyperpigmentation is when the skin becomes darker in some areas. I’ve had a lot of this discolouration happening in my skin over the years just from the use of the steroid medications, use of antibiotics and scratching the skin. This blend that I found is great for rejuvenating and evening out the colour of tone in the skin. I’ve been using it I believe since June, and I truly think it’s helping. You’ve probably seen my other diy recipes for my cream & lotion , and this has similar measurements to my cream but it has 30-40 drops of each of these 3 oils that I have listed… Geranium – is an anti-inflammatory as well as an anti bacterial essential oil. It is great for eczema because it can balance the sebum, which is the fatty secretion in the sebaceous glands of the skin that keep the skin supple and it can help liven up pale dry skin, smooth out wrinkles and improve blood flow to the skin. Frankincense – is a highly anti inflammatory, anti-infectious and antioxidant rich essential oil. Its other properties include stimulating the immune system, preventing and repairing scarring and can help heal infected wounds (fun fact: frankincense is a holy oil in the Middle East. As an ingredient in the holy incense it was used anciently during sacrificial ceremonies to help improve communication with the creator). Sandalwood – similar to frankincense in action, this essential oil can promote skin regeneration and circulation. It is great for stimulating the lymphatic system and great for dry skin (fun fact: sandalwood was traditionally used as an incense during ritual work for enhancing meditation. The Egyptians also used sandalwood for embalming).
- Frankincense & Oregano oil : In addition to using frankincense in my diy cream, I also had started putting it straight up on my wounds on my feet with no carrier oils. I started to put it directly on the crusted, oozy wound on my right sole and putting a few drops on both soles at night. When you put essential oils directly on the soles of your feet it only takes 20 seconds for it to enter your bloodstream! This is when I really found that awful sore to finally heal up! Just putting the frankincense on my soles every night really brought down the stubborn wounds that I was experiencing on the tops of my feet. I started back up with taking a few drops of oregano oil in a veggie capsule at night to take down the remaining ooze I was having on my legs and feet. This has also been very helpful in my summer healing. All of these awesome essential oils that I mention you can find here: http://www.mydoterra.com/debraahall1 this is my moms store site (just click on the “shop” tab), and I highly recommend these oils, not just because my mom sells them lol but honestly because they are such awesome plant based medicine, and of a super high quality (I definitely wouldn’t be using them if they weren’t). They are food grade and 100% pure essential oils, no diluting, no fillers… just straight up goodness from mother earth! If you have any questions about the products feel free to shoot me an email. The have so many great oils with a myriad of uses on their site.
- Contrast Hydrotherapy : So I still only shower a few times (2-3) a week… it’s not as gross as you think haha, but super beneficial. Water can dry out our skin and our bodies natural oils. It’s best to give it a rest and not soak in the bath forever or shower every single day. Washing up “the important places” in between my shower days has been working out just fine for me. So at the end of my showers I like to do Contrast Hydrotherapy. So this is basically alternating between hot and cold at the end of your shower. You want to to go on warm-hot water for about 1-2 min then to cold water (as cold as you can stand it) for 30-60 seconds. You want to do this rotation 3 times and always end on a neutral temperature. So what does this do for you? Well it stimulates and increases the blood circulation, bringing more blood to the top layers of the skin. It detoxes the body, improves the immune system and increases the white blood cell count. Contrast Hydrotherapy also helps prevent the skin from losing it’s natural oils, and the cold water aids in tightening the pores. Add this beneficial practice into your bathing routine along with the dry brushing that I mentioned above! Because of it, I’ve experienced less itching when I get out of the shower and more hydrated skin. I’m sure you’ll love the results just as much as I have!
I hope you all had a great summer, and I hope the rest of 2016 treats you well! Please feel free to comment with anything that you’ve found to help you in your healing process during the summer months!
Now for some healing pictures…
May 26th started raw vegan for about a month
June 18th still on raw vegan