Hannah’s Healing Testimony!

June 2017 – Look at how beautiful Hannah’s skin looks!

I would like to share with you all a new series I will be doing on this website. It’s going to be featuring testimonials of eczema warriors who have battled through the healing process and are doing so great with their skin and overall health! This series is a celebration of their hard work and dedication to their healing journey. Each testimonial will share photos, their detailed healing experience, info about their vegan journey and encouragement for those out there still suffering. With each journey, I want to empasize how important nutrition is in this process. If you aren’t a stranger to my blog, you will know that it is something I’m super passionate about stressing as a huge component to healing. I hope you guys enjoy all of the testimonials to come! Starting off the series is a friend that I met through the facebook topical steroid withdrawal support group. Her name is Hannah, and she is an amazing, kind soul. I was so inspired by her story of strength and faith in God to get her through this process, I just had to ask her to share her story on my site! I hope you all can find encouragement through her struggle and be inspired by the way that she has taken control of her health! 

click “continue reading” below for more!

1.) What is your age and where do you live? I am 27 years old and I live in the U.S.

2.) How long have you had eczema and how long did you use topical steroids for and which kinds of steroids?
 I have had eczema since I was about 7 years old.  I used topical steroids on and off over the span of 19 years.  The creams I remember using were Triamcinolone and Fluocinonide, though I know there were other types that I used when I was younger.  I also used Elidel and Protopic for some time.
3.) How far into the withdrawal process are you and at what percentage of healing would you say you are at?
 I am currently 20 months TSW and I would say I am about 98% healed (still have some trouble spots on my neck and scalp). dec 28 2015

4.) How would you describe TSW for those who have no idea what it’s all about?
 When I share my story with people, I first ask ask them if they’ve ever heard of eczema (many people have).  I tell them that ever since I was a kid, I dealt with eczema and used topical steroids to help manage my symptoms.  The topical steroids would quell the itchiness and inflammation for a little bit, but my problems would eventually return, often worse than before.  What I didn’t know was that my body would become addicted to the steroids from long-term use.  The effects of being addicted and then having to withdraw were brutal.  During my worst parts of TSW, my entire body was covered in a red, burning, bone-deep itch rash, my skin was constantly inflamed and flaking, I lost hair, my adrenal glands were out of wack, I could not stay asleep, I could not stay warm, and I lost a lot of weight.  I would have these “itching episodes” throughout the day when I truly felt like I wanted to scratch my skin off.  I was so tired and was in intense pain for about 6 months.
*More info on detoxification HERE

Check out Hannah’s amazing healing photos!!

Click on pics to enhance the image

5.) What has going through TSW and healing your eczema taught you?
Going through TSW and healing my eczema has taught me SO MUCH…  I have learned:
  • Life does not always go the way you plan.
  • How to advocate for my health when I have done my research and I know what my body is experiencing.  Please don’t get me wrong, I am extremely thankful for doctors and that I have access to such care, BUT in regard to TSW, the doctors that I went to did not consider what I had to say about my condition and just tried to prescribe me more steroids.
  • Healing takes time.  I started a vegan diet (for the first time ever in my life) when I started my TSW journey.  While I know that many in the TSW community have had different experiences in regard to diet, in my personal experience, I believe that it helped my body to bear the extreme burden of TSW.  Even though my body didn’t look or feel like it at the time, my diet during TSW was probably the healthiest I had ever had!  I continued with diets and supplements and started to see a significant break around month 6 of TSW.  Since then, the rest of the healing has been slow, BUT it has definitely been happening.
  • The Lord used my suffering to shape me and my current perspective of life.  I remember being stuck in the house because of TSW and just daydreaming about all the things I would do when I got better.  I feel that I am quicker not to take things for granted having gone through TSW.  The Lord also helped me to learn what it means to truly rejoice in times of suffering and depend on Him.

6.) What kind of diet and lifestyle did you have before (breakfast, lunch and dinner – typical meals)?I would eat anything and everything under the sun!  In high school, my favorite “meal” was a box of powdered donuts and a Coke.  I loved PopTarts with a passion.  Before TSW, I usually had cereal for breakfast, leftovers for lunch (rice and meat), and some more rice and meat for dinner.  I loved to eat cheese and crackers for a snack after work.  My downfall was (and still is…haha!) sweets.  Give me ice cream and chocolate, and I was done.

7.) What kind of diet and lifestyle do you have now (breakfast, lunch and dinner – typical meals)?
I do not consume any gluten, dairy, or egg.  Though I recently have tried chicken a few times to see how my body would react, it is not a main staple for me and I prefer to keep meals plant-based (it makes me feel so much better!).  For breakfast, I might have a smoothie or overnight oats.  Lunch is usually still leftovers from the night before, but much different than just rice and meat!  Lunch and dinner might be a veggie taco salad, rice and dal, gluten-free pasta with Gram’s tomato sauce, or a quinoa dish.
8.) What made you change your diet and lifestyle?
Being told that using topical steroids from my eczema would be a lifelong thing.  By the time my body had gotten addicted to steroids, the whole bottom half of my face was red and inflamed.  My students would always ask me, “What’s wrong with your face?” and I would just tell them, “Eczema,” though I had a feeling it was much more.  It was hard for me to believe that there weren’t alternatives, so I decided to research other options and try to exhaust those before giving up and giving in.  Fortunately, I discovered there ARE wonderful alternatives to managing and treating skin issues 🙂
9.) What improvements in your skin and overall health have you experienced because of these changes? 
If I am truly honest, my skin is so much better than even before TSW!  Even during times of calmness with my eczema, there were parts of skin that were still sensitive and would flake a lot.  My skin was so unpredictable – I would often flare without any known triggers.  My skin tone was also super uneven on my face because of red splotchy eczema spots and there were parts of it too where steroids had thinned my skin (I am tan, so the light spots definitely stood out).  Now, the only makeup I wear is organic eyeliner and lipstick (and I’ve been asked what foundation or powder I use – I get to tell them, “I don’t use any!”).  I also used to have digestive problems throughout my life, but lo and behold, when I changed my diet, they resolved themselves!
10.) What are some of your favourite dishes to cook and any recipes you’d like to share?
All my friends and family know that I LOVE to eat.  I was so thankful when I started my vegan/TSW journey to find so many creative vegan chefs sharing their recipes on the internet!  It gave me something to look forward to in a very dark time.  Here are just a few of my favorite recipes!
Minimalist Baker
Forks Over Knives

Check out some of Hannah’s homemade yummy & colourful vegan dishes!!

Click on pics to enhance the image

11.) Any favourite natural healing tips and remedies that you’d like to share that you found most effective?
 My skin would react differently to certain balms and oils during different stages of TSW.  Ice packs were a huge necessity to help with my itching.  I applied tons and tons of unscented Badger Balm (organic olive oil and beeswax) and learned how to make my own. I’m not sure if it actually did anything, but my husband had gotten me a bottle of Dr. Wheatgrass recovery spray, which I sprayed in the morning and at night – again, not sure if it actually did anything, but the coolness of the spray on my skin definitely provided some comfort.  When I felt that my skin could take it, I began using jojoba oil on my face and I have been using it ever since.
12.) Any encouraging words and inspiration that you’d like to share with other eczema and TSW sufferers out there?
 You are not alone.  One of the biggest blessings and encouragements that got me through TSW was the community I had found online.  I joined a few Facebook groups and reached out to some bloggers (including the awesome Jen!).  Just knowing that other people were going through the exact same thing I was going through gave me a sense of comfort.  It didn’t take away the physical pain, but it did give me a lot of hope!  It helped me to see progress pictures of other warriors throughout my journey because it showed me that healing is possible.  Keep fighting! You can check out a YouTube video Hannah did on her TSW story HERE
Hannah’s favourite hymn that really got her through the hardest times of TSW:
Whate’er my God Ordains is Right
Whate’er my God ordains is right:
He never will deceive me;
He leads me by the proper path:
I know He will not leave me.
I take, content, what He hath sent;
His hand can turn my griefs away,
And patiently I wait His day.
Whate’er my God ordains is right:
He is my Friend and Father;
He suffers naught to do me harm,
Though many storms may gather,
Now I may know both joy and woe,
Some day I shall see clearly
That He hath loved me dearly.
Whate’er my God ordains is right:
Though now this cup, in drinking,
May bitter seem to my faint heart,
I take it, all unshrinking.
My God is true; each morn anew
Sweet comfort yet shall fill my heart,
And pain and sorrow shall depart.
Whate’er my God ordains is right:
Here shall my stand be taken;
Though sorrow, need, or death be mine,
Yet I am not forsaken.
My Father’s care is round me there;
He holds me that I shall not fall:
And so to Him I leave it all.
Hannah is an elementary general music teacher and a songwriter! Here is a video of one of her beautiful, inspiring songs that is actually dedicated to those suffering from topical steroid withdrawal and the proceeds to purchasing her music will go to support http://www.itsan.org . Make sure to subscribe to her YouTube channel 🙂
Make sure to check out Hannah on her social media platforms!
Instagram: @chichibanana007
Blog: www.therawkstarlifeblog.wordpress.com
 Thanks Hannah for sharing your story with my readers, I know they will find strength and inspiration through your journey! ❤
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