When I made the decision to quit the steroids and detox my body to heal myself of eczema, I didn’t really consider documenting my progress. It was hard enough for me to look in the mirror much less take photos of myself. The only reason why I started to take photos was to email them to my health coach with an explanation about what was going on with my body just to make sure that it was normal to be experiencing what I was experiencing. In hindsight, I wish that I actually had taken more photos of more areas of my body. The most constant areas under attack were my legs and feet, hence why there are so many photos of them. The rest of my body did undergo the whole oozing and flakiness, but not to the extreme degree that my feet went through. My face became swollen at times, oozy in some areas, then got dry and flakey. I had experienced some discolouration on my face and neck as well, but the healing time for those areas were the first areas that I saw quick relief in. My arms and torso also became oozy then dry and flakey, but again NOTHING like my legs and feet.
It is said that the body must detox and heal itself from the inside out, then from the top to the bottom, through the extremities. I take it that is why my feet are the last to heal, as well as still finding my hands to be thick and in need of repair (through the extremities). I also believe that my feet have been the worst throughout this process because of the steroid injections that I had in them (as well as my hands) a few years back.
Further along into my journey I would find my torso, face and upper arms to be in the best skin health I had experienced in a long time. I finally had smooth, soft skin in those areas and knew it was only a matter of time for the rest of my body to catch up! I can’t wait till the day that this is all over… I look forward to digging my toes in the sand, doing cartwheels on the grass in a park, running, skipping, jumping lol and wearing cute shoes again!!! I will definitely be posting a photo of my feet, nicely healed with a fresh pedicure haha!
Hering’s Law of Cure:
In the 19th century a Hungarian homeopathic physician named Constantine Hering made a discovery that is now known as Hering’s Law of Cure. He stated, “All cure comes from within out, from the head down, and in reverse order as the symptoms have appeared in the body” (pg. 162 Anderson, Richard. (1988). Cleanse and Purify Thyself). In other words, healing starts from the inside of the body and works outward and from the top of the head and works downward, occurring in the reverse order in which sickness afflicted the body. This means that your body will heal the internal organs first; liver, kidneys…etc., before your skin is healed. In addition, if you have eczema on your face and upper parts of your body, that will heal first before eczema on your legs and feet can heal.
Steroid/Emollient Use: Desonide – on face, Triamcinolone – all over my body with wet wrapping at times (more concentrated), Steroid Injections – hands & feet, compound steroid mixes with Lubriderm, I think I tried Elidel and Protopic at a point in time, and some weird Tar cream, along with heavy Aquaphor usage for years, Vaseline, Eucerin cream, different Aveeno lotions (these last 4 OTC emollients have many unnatural and chemical ingredients in them).
It is truly amazing to see the transformations that my skin goes through from day to day. It just shows how awesome our bodies is at healing and restoring itself. It will take time, but it will heal!
**I started my withdrawal process in March 2012. June is the beginning of my documentation…
*During the fall and winter my skin was pretty calm, it was going through a break from the withdrawal. I was still itchy at times, not as bad as in the very beginning of my withdrawal and I didn’t experience any oozing or open wounds. During this time I was able to leave the house and be productive with little to no pain.
*Spring time hit and I started to go through the withdrawal process again. I became itchier and started to develop more scaliness and oozy spots that turned into crusted scabs. I thought that the reason why the process was starting again was because of the high pollen count and it being allergy season effecting my skin. I wasn’t experiencing any irritated nasal symptoms or itchy eyes like how I would in the past, just skin issues. It also could have been that some people have breaks in between their topical steroid withdrawal process, which allows their bodies to rest and get strong enough during the break to battle it out all over again. I would realize that although it was happening again, it wasn’t as intense as it was the year before.
*The month of August had me on my feet a lot. I was packing up, getting ready to move from North Carolina to New York City at the end of the month and as much as I tried to rest my feet they started revolting on me. The emotional stress and physical stress that my body was going through didn’t help my healing process at all.
*The winter was another wonderful break of no oozing, huge flaking and irritation. I was still itchy during this time, but more so on my legs and feet. The break allowed me to work and be really productive without pain and irritation. I feel that these breaks during the fall/winter allow my body to store up energy to battle out another healing process come spring/summer.
*May began the end of the break and started another flare session. I do remember having anxiety about the weather getting warmer and feeling self conscious about having my skin exposed. This added stress definitely wasn’t good for my skin. By the end of May I was taking off days from work because of the pain that I was in, and eventually had to take a leave of absence. It became difficult and uncomfortable to put on socks and shoes and really get around. The whole summer wasn’t completely terrible, there were a few good days here and there where my feet and legs were calm enough to get out and run errands or have a little bit of fun. Even on those days I had to know my limits and pray that I wouldn’t be paying for it the next day.
*So there’s A LOT of documentation for this month. I had moved, again… not that far, like 20 min away but still the stress of packing and cleaning took another toll on my feet. I was on them a lot more again, and didn’t get to rest them as much as I would’ve loved. The move happened on the 15th, and the days leading up to the move had me on my feet non stop, leaving me with achy, swollen feet by the end of the day. There was also something that I shouldn’t have done that I feel brought on such an intense break out. The day before the move I had felt confident enough in the state of my feet to shower without the shower cast boots (I had been keeping them dry since May, using the boots to protect the oozy, flakey wounds). I used the same soap I always use (African black soap) and moisturized with the same stuff I always use (coco oil and shea butter). I thought all was well, but the next few days I noticed that it may have been a premature decision to wet my feet. They started slightly oozing again and becoming irritated. Soon enough it was full blown, leaving me housebound and with extreme discomfort in even walking around. It got so bad that I would just slide around ON TOP of my slippers instead of actually putting my foot in it. I just didn’t want anything rubbing up against the open wounds and tugging at the huge flakes, prematurely pulling them off. It’s amazing to see the transformations that my skin goes through from day to day.
It’s pretty crazy that this is November and I’m still dealing with the end of this flare. Around this time last year I was doing a lot better, no oozing, flaking swelling etc. I was out and about and living my life. I’m still homebound because it just hurts too much to be on my feet for any length of time. I had a few doctors appointments, which I was forced to leave and even then it was a mission. I had to wear my Adidas sandals (I have 2 pairs, one for outside one for in), but have a paper towel wrapped around my feet and gingerly slip it into the sandal. The paper towel was to help with any rubbing that would occur (and oozing) from the strap up against my skin. Even this had me in aching pain after a few hours of being out. At home, I get around by sliding on top of the sandal, so I don’t have to deal with the strap covering my foot and rubbing up against it. I guess I just chalk it up and figure that I haven’t had a break like in the past because this is the home stretch of my withdrawal process. Some people get breaks, it could be a few weeks or in my case months, and some people just go straight through with no breaks at all. Everyone’s body is unique. If this is the case, that I’m not experiencing a break right now and that it really is the end, then Hallelujah lol! I’m just taking it day by day, and trying to not let whatever new stage my foot decides to be in that day bother me. I’m experiencing such smoothness and moisture retention in my skin everywhere else, that I know it’s only a matter of time until my feet are finally done and in the same state as the rest of my body. Patience is indeed a virtue!
A new year, let’s do it!!! I’m not going to lie, 2014 had it’s ups and downs, and unfortunately for the latter part of the year I was down (as you can see from the photos). I’m super hopeful for this year, and that the issues with my feet will finally be cleared up completely. It’s insane to think that the rest of my body is super clear, smoothing out, barely itchy, the discolouration is evening out and my natural oils are coming back! Just a little bit of thickness left in my hands and they can get slightly itchy at times as well, but other than that it’s just my feet still left to restore! They haven’t been oozing as intensely as previous months Thank God, and they seem to be drying and flaking a lot more which is a great sign! I’ve been continuing my healthy plant based, whole food pretty much vegan diet and my supplements (probiotics, enzymes, wild blue green algae and a vitamin D supplement), the only new things that I’ve been adding is taking a spoonful of apple cider vinegar in a glass of water about 15-20 min before my “linner” and drinking golden turmeric milk at night before bed (about an hour or so after my green drink). I feel that these additions have helped a lot as I keep on keepin’ on in this healing process. Since my feet are in a bit better shape I’ve also added jumping on a rebounder. This helps to stimulate the lymph system and aids in healing. I’m slowly working my way up to at least 20-30 min a day so I can work up a good sweat and release those toxins. I do experiencing some itching and slight burning while jumping but after I’m done with my workout it’s completely gone. Although it’s low impact, because I’m not pounding on the hard ground, I think it’s just the feet getting used to the exercise and possibly has something to do with the nerves that were damaged from the steroid use. Either way, I’ve been needing to get into some exercise, and I’m glad that I’m at a better place with my feet that I am able to do so. Looking forward to a great year, and I’m praying by spring time (hopefully before then!!) I’ll be out and about again!!