Thursday, June 26, 2014

Another small flare despite my best efforts.

Just wanted to update that I've had a flare up since my last post.  In fact, it started the same day that I wrote about how well I was doing!

It's already starting to subside quite a bit, but the skin on my face/neck/chest--which had recently been looking nearly-normal--broke out in pink spots & patches.  It was nowhere close to how bad it had been during previous flares, but still frustrating, nonetheless.  The itchiness & hypersensitivity felt unbearable even though it really wasn't any worse than anything I've already experienced. I think it just hit me a little harder on the emotional side of things, because I was really starting to think that I was coming up on the end of the tunnel and I thought that I wouldn't experience any more unbearable flares anymore.  Live and learn, I suppose.

I was racking my brain trying to figure out what might have caused the flare to happen.... but, truly, nothing about my diet or lifestyle changed.  I didn't make any slips from my diet, my stress levels were pretty low.... I can't think of anything that was different.  Perhaps it was a hormonal shift or something that I'm not able to realize.  Or, perhaps there is some truth to what people say about flares happening for no rhyme or reason?

Here's two pictures:

Despite the flare, I still believe that everything that I've been doing (diet and otherwise) is helping my body to heal faster & more completely, so I will stay the course.

Monday, June 23, 2014

Photo update: 176 days

I'm thankful to report that, since my last post, my skin is still hanging in there and continuing to improve.

Here's what my chest looked like in January....

Here's what it looks like now....

Here's what my hand looked like in January....

Here's what it looks like now....

You can see that I'm not completely out of the woods yet.  There's still skin discoloration on various parts of my body and I'm still quite itchy overall.  I continue to have minor issues from day to day, but nothing close to how it had previously been.

If I had to narrow it down, I would credit a few things for my fast-ish recovery time:

  1. Dead Sea Salt baths/not showering/not moisturizing
  2. Eating a very clean Autoimmune/Low-histamine/No FODMAPs diet
  3. Drinking homemade meat/bone broth constantly (like it's water)
  4. Getting lots of rest (though still trying to get out and do the things that I enjoy!)
  5. Zinc Oxide/witch hazel mixture (stops itching when I get overheated/super itchy)
  6. Prescript-Assist Probiotic

I can hardly believe that I'm already at 176 days.  The beginning stages of TSW felt like it lasted forever (like I'd never improve) but, anymore, the days seem to be flying by.  I feel so thankful for the recovery.... but I also feel thankful for the whole process (as difficult as it is).  What a learning experience this has been (and continues to be)!

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Something is working right now.

It's been a while since my last post but that doesn't mean that I've been inactive in my search for more answers and more skin comfort!

In my previous post, I talked about the Autoimmune + Low-Histamine diet that I started near the end of April.  Even though I was keeping record of every morsel of food that I put into my mouth, I failed to update this blog with this information beyond my first week (laziness... I just didn't feel like typing it all out).  Well, I'm still on that same diet but, as of 2 weeks ago, I also eliminated the food group of FODMAPs (garlic, onions, etc.) from my diet.

I had been trudging through the Autoimmune + Low-Histamine diet religiously for over a month.  After an initial period of improvements, I plateaued.  The bumps on my chest/neck looked & felt about the same and, honestly, some days were still quite awful.  A few weeks ago, I was reading Chris Kresser's book Your Personal Paleo Code in which he recommends that people experiencing skin conditions either do a Low-Histamine diet OR cut out FODMAPs (in addition to an Autoimmune diet).  Since I was already doing the Autoimmune + Low-Histamine diet, I figured.... why not cut out FODMAPs at the same time?  (Seriously, you get to a point where you don't even care if you can't eat most foods.)  So, I've been doing that for about 2 weeks now.

I saw a small amount of progress the first week, but was still really suffering when I got overheated/sweaty.  This past Sunday morning, I went outside to pull some weeds from the front yard and started overheating after just 2 minutes of weeding.  It put me into a FULL-MODE ITCH ATTACK.  Immediately, I went inside and put a thick mixture of Zinc Oxide & Witch Hazel onto my skin.  The itching subsided after a few minutes and I ended up leaving the mixture on my skin for the whole day (didn't really leave the house that day).  By the end of the evening, I noticed that the bumps from my skin had started disappearing.  So I've been putting the mixture on my skin for the past 4 evenings before bedtime.

My skin is looking more and more radiant/porcelain-like every day.  In fact, I barely recognize myself with skin that looks this good!  And it's feeling much more comfortable (though not perfect quite yet).

So, is it FODMAPs?  The Zinc Oxide/Witch Hazel mixture?  Or is it that I've been drinking massive amounts of fresh bone broth every day for the past 5 days?  Or is it that I've also started taking Zinc & Selenium supplements over the past week?  Is it because I've started taking a new probiotic that Chris Kresser recommends for people with skin conditions?  I'm wondering if it's one particular thing or if I've finally hit on the magic combination for my skin?

Of course, I'm typing all of this out and still wondering if I'll actually keep improving beyond this point.  Am I getting ahead of myself right now?

Lots of love to everyone.