Since my daughter got eczema the standard advice has been to use moisturizer deliberately on her skin. We have tried all kind of oils, creams, emollients, salves, and poultices. She seems to tolerate some, but at some point, she becomes allergic to them. Based on literature, we decide to stop moisturizers two moths ago. [READ MORE]
Another tough month. She caught a cold and had a severe flare up. Her left cheek was oozing for several days. I thought this would be a good month because we had family at home, but it resulted the opposite.
Stress played a big role. Since Catherine developed her skin condition and we started this process, we haven't been so strict in daily routines and discipline. Now that we have family with us, it has been difficult to keep rules. We have been dealing with meltdowns and temper tantrums from my eldest son that makes Catherine feel scared and uncomfortable.
Breastfeeding issue. I've been so stressed out lately that I'm sure my breast milk has affected my daughter's eczema. I've been trying to wean off the breast several times, but every time I do it, she gets distressed. Every time she feels anxious, she scratches her body, face and legs. Now, instead of putting off feeds, she is asking more often. Unfortunately, nursing is the only thing that calms her down.
Changing habits. Making small changes in routine also affect Catherine's eczema big time. In this month, we did a lot of things differently. For example, we used household cleaning products containing Sodium Lauryl Sulfate, I changed part of my diet and we didn't separate Catherine's dishes, utensils and pots to avoid cross-contamination of foods.
Weakened immune system. Illness, such as cold, always makes Catherine's eczema worse. Every time she gets a cold, there is a severe flare up that lasts up to two weeks. Thankfully, this time we didn't have to use the nebulizer, the cold went away on its own.
Even though it was a tough month, we had a really good time with family. Another positive thing is that she is not taking any medication. No Bactroban, no antibiotics, no antihistamines. We haven't been in a doctor's office since last October when we started the TSW process. We are only giving her supplements (Probiotic, Cod Liver Oil and Vitamin D). Since we stopped using moisturizer her legs improved a lot, now she can stay naked without scratching her legs.
A week ago, a clear yellow liquid was oozing out on Catherine's left cheek. This time, I was afraid to assumed that it was just part of the withdrawal process because of the yellowish color. I posted my concern on a TSW forum, and many of the responses were to let it dry. Someone said that I should be worried only if the discharge was opaque yellow. Others recommended me to err in the side of caution and take her to the doctor.
Since she didn't have fever or any other symptom we didn't take her to the doctor and we didn't put anything on it. Three days later, the oozing dried up by itself.
Catherine is now more aware about her skin condition. Yesterday, while we were at the playground, someone stared at her for a really long time. She immediately turned her face down and hid it in the swing. I was so mad that I said loudly, 'Catherine, lift your face. You are beautiful and you dont have anything to be ashamed of. It is only an allergy.' She changed her expression and smiled me back.
I won't let this skin condition affects my daughter's self esteem. For that reason, every time I have the opportunity, I tell her that she is beautiful.
Catherine passed the 5th month milestone and now she is officially in the 6th month. So far, we have seen slow and steady progress with some drawbacks. Her legs, arms and torso are showing improvements. Right now the major problem area is her face. In this month, we noticed that flare ups now occur weeks apart and some red spots are finally fading. We are no longer using antihistamine and we are tapering off moisturizers. Recent evidence shows that moisturizer withdrawal is essential for TSW recovery . Time flies! I hope we can see the light at the end of the tunnel soon.
It was a very difficult week for Catherine. Her left cheek and left leg were weeping and raw. I want to think that she got a random flare up as part of the withdrawal process because otherwise, I will go crazy if I start questioning for the possible causes. Since my in-laws are staying with us, we have changed our diet and part of our lifestyle. She is also going through antihistamine withdrawal and I started to weaning off the breast. Despite all this calamity, she has had a very good mood during all these days.
Even though she had a hard night yesterday, today Catherine was happy as always. Yesterday, I woke up screaming when I saw her legs bleeding as a result of intense scratching. I never had that problem before, she always scratches her face while sleeping, but not her legs. Every night, we wrap her arms and legs with bandages and we use tight-fitting clothing to prevent those situations; but yesterday, she found a way to roll up her pants and take the bandages off. I feel guilty because I forgot to put on her anti-scratch sleeves to avoid this bad experience.
Last night I was watching the Lorax movie with my son. Something that caught my attention from the story line was the business model of O'hare company; very similar to the steroid cream industry. [READ MORE]
The song "Roar" by Katy Perry has become an anthem of hope for Catherine. This is the perfect song for a family like us desperately seeking something to hold on to. I would say, it is our daily mood booster. The lyrics evoke a courageous attitude, a way to say "I'm going to kick eczema's butt". Part of the lyrics say:
"...You held me down, but I got up
Get ready 'cause I’ve had enough
I see it all, I see it now
I got the eye of the tiger, a fighter, dancing through the fire
Cause I am a champion and you’re gonna hear me roar..."
Catherine is just starting the fifth month of topical steroid withdrawal, so, she still has a long road ahead; but we are sure someday she will win this battle and she will be eczema free. For the moment, we have to hang in there and keep roaring!
We have a feeling that this month is gonna be a good one. First, we have family at home; so, stress shouldn't be an issue. For two months, I won't be worried about cooking, going to the bathroom or going on a car trip.
Second, we will continue relying on the amazing healing properties of apple cider vinegar. We have been adding one cup in her bath since last week. According to many studies, vitamins present in this vinegar have shown to make difference in boosting the immune system and therefore, it is considered a natural remedy to fight skin conditions such as eczema.
Last but not least, we are putting a lot of emphasis in Catherine's nutrition. We are giving her probiotic, vitamin D and cod liver oil as daily supplements. She is eating more rich-mineral foods to create the correct ph balance within her body to function properly.
Even though we are optimistic about this month, we are aware that our approach is not a quick fix. Hopefully, the real outcome will be visible in the upcoming months.
Catherine is a brave girl going through Topical Steroid Withdrawal. The goal of this blog is to raise awareness about Topical Steroid Addiction and Withdrawal.
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This blog is not intended to be medical advice