Thursday, January 9, 2014

January 5, 2014 - Slow Progress

Starting month 7! Yay!

The BAD:

The. God. Damned. Itching. Will it ever end?

What looks like good ol’ eczema has settled into my hands and bottoms of my feet.

I am taking probably too much hydroxyzine.

I’m still sleeping on the lounge chair.

I am gaining weight.


It seems as though the insane itching is moving south, hopefully that’s its exit path. What used to be insane itching on my stomach and chest has moved down to my legs, especially the calves and ankles. The itching on my stomach and chest has become, well, sane.

No more baths. One shower a day. I am experimenting with water temperature and duration. It seems the hotter the water the better it feels and I’ll shower until the hot water runs out.

The hair loss seems to have stopped. I hope the hair returns, but not a big deal . Heck, if I wouldn’t look like a bowling ball, I’d shave my head.

I am drier. I still get all wet and hot and cold, but to a lesser extent and not as often, and if I succumb to the itching and scratch it does not bring about the flood of wetness that it used to. I am leaving flakes all over the place again, but I’ll take dry flaky skin over wet oozy skin any day.

Most of the skin tags have gone away. A few have persisted and matured into adults. I tried the “tie a hair around it” thing on one and along with zapping it with a cauterizer it went away. The cauterizer hurts like hell, so the skin tag has to be pretty annoying before I will use it again. I’ve got a couple that are getting pretty annoying, as well as being a starting point for itching. Not sure why I have a cauterizer lying around, but I’ve had it for decades.

I am gaining weight. Not good since I am overweight anyway, but good in that it shows my metabolism is normalizing. I have been eating everything in sight and until the last month or so I was losing weight.

My mental attitude is better. It may be the hydroxyzine since it is an antihistamine that is also used for depression, but in any case, as my mom used to say, “I have soap in my hole”. She used to also say “Miss on you pister. You’re not so mucking fuch. Go in your own jack yard and back off!” Yeah, take that dermatologists!


I am still not convinced about this whole moisturizer withdrawal thing. In any case, I am moisturizing much less than I was.

I see a lot of talk about alternative medicine on the TSW blogs, and am struggling with whether or not to speak up. The trouble is most folks do not know the difference between homeopathic and naturopathic. I’ll leave it there for now except to say one of those is complete bullshit.


  1. Hey Dave well done making it to month 7!

    Are your hands any better now? They looked so raw on the last photo.

    Hang in there. I hope you get a break from the itch soon, x

  2. Thank you Louise! My hands still look awful, but are less raw. The humidity (and temperature) has been very low plus I am using less moisturizer, so they are very "crispy". I figure change is good and means something is happening.

    By the way... Happy New Year! Here's to great progress in 2014!

  3. It sounds like, maybe, things are better for the moment. I hope it's a sign of things to come. Hang in there. (And stop cauterizing stuff.)

  4. Glad to hear you are doing a bit better!! I kept hearing of people LOSING weight during TSW...I didn't gain but I didn't lose either and I have an extra 30-40 lbs I don't need. Hoping your skin gets better soon! Yes there is a huge difference between homeopathic and naturopathic...but some naturopaths do use homeopathy. It is like modern medicine...some things are good about it and some are just BS.

  5. Thanks Rowan and Tracy!

    Tracy, I lost about 10 pounds during the first weeks of TSW. All that weight has essentially returned, which I consider a good thing that indicates my body is more normal now. A bad part about is that I acquired some bad eating habits. Eating was and still is a distraction from the itching and I could for a while there eat anything I wanted and not gain.

  6. Shit Dave, if you aren't convinced you might as well moisturize away and join the "never healing" group of vets. Moisturizing less is NOT moisturizer withdrawal. Vets got their name "vets" only because they have been in tsw for so long due to moisturizing! Hot water completely eliminates every bit of oil in your skin and is damaging to your skin barrier when in tsw. One should never ever use hot water when in tsw. A far as the will find that it will travel to the areas you still moisturize. As will the accompanying tiny blisters that they cause. Not to mention how moisturizing weakens the skin.

    If you want your skin to be stronger you must stop moisturizing. If you want to be more comfortable you must stop moisturizing. If you don't want to be another poster child for itsan you must stop moisturizing. Jeesh! If you want to keep oozing than don't do dss baths. If you don't want the positive effects of dss salts then don't use them. Good lord! Read up on this stuff and learn how the skin really works. I've given you a gift but you have not accepted it my friend.

  7. Dan, I really appreciate you posting here. I really do. I am especially interested in your experiences because we are almost the same age and started TSW about the same time. I am confused though, as you continue to espouse the benefits of MW, based primarily on your own success, but when I look at the latest pictures of your hands on your blog they look worse than mine.

    I believe I am at a point in TSW where there is one thing I must do and I have become my own worst enemy. I simply have to stop scratching. That’s it, and so far I have been unable to not scratch. Every single part of me that looks bad now is the result of me scratching. I have tried total MW twice now and it has caused an immediate order of magnitude increase in itching. More than I can handle. Will it improve in a week or two if I stick to it? Maybe. Maybe not. In the meantime, I’d have bloody stumps instead of legs.

    My feelings toward MW at this point is similar to yours regarding diet. You said, “The mind plays a key part in healing so you don't want to make yourself miserable. Strict diets are too difficult for me unless I am facing a life threatening disease. Not so for everyone though. It's a personal decision that only you can make.” Exactly how I feel about MW.

    Regarding the January 10 post on your blog, I am simply doing the best I can given the knowledge and experience I acquire. I have no motivation whatsoever to prove you are wrong about MW or anything whatsoever, and in fact I have been supportive of the concept of MW. And I am not wallowing in self-pity. I am not taking hot showers as an attempt at MW, rather it’s a result of me improving. I am no longer “oozing” at all. I used to spend hours in the tub as a way of coping, and I no longer need to do so. I am reluctant to try DSS baths because I do not feel a need to go back into the tub. I tried a hot shower because I have read several times that a burst of heat calms some peoples itching, that’s all. Virtually everything out there regarding TSW is anecdotal to me and the only thing that is consistent is how inconsistent everyone is. What has worked for you does not mean it will work for everyone.

    Here’s to a great 2014, and may our flares be few, our skin be soft, and our friends be understanding!

    1. Dave, that's understandable. My hands looked 10 times worse when I began tsw and until I did MW. The flare I just had recently has zero to do with not using moisturizers for the past 6 months. Look at pics prior to that. I spent month 3-7 with my life back and able to use my hands again. They look bad now, and it did surprise me, as my previous flares have been very mild and only lasted for a few days, but they will be healed again in a few weeks at most. If you want comfort, MW will bring that. I just spent months 3-7 being very normal and comfortable. Before that I couldn't hold a coffee cup.

      So, I have a temporary setback. It will clear fast as long as I don't use moisturizers. I think it's just that last final blow off before my final healing. My deep intense itching gradually went away after MW. Until this flare I haven't itched at all in months other than sometimes when I'm asleep. But, I haven't broken my skin because is gets strong once you stop moisturizing. You need to do it correctly as in over 2-3 weeks and use the right things to heal all open wounds.

      If you had done MW early on, you would not be having much of a problem at all now. Those hot showers, long soaks, and moisturizers have all contributed to the poor healing you have experienced. It's clear to me. There are several studies that show soaking in water longer than 20 minutes damages the skin barrier, Same for Hot water, and same for moisturizing. It's confusing because it's not how people have handled their tsw in the past. The vets teach what they learned. New people have learned things the vets didn't try. Do you want to end up being a vet? I don't. To me being a vet means someone who has moisturized the whole way and kept their skin from healing. Therefore, they have been around the longest.

      And yes, what has worked for me does work for everyone. Please read the research and studies on this and you will know. Remember, my palms are mostly healed and that is where I literally destroyed my skin barrier with the ts. What you see on the tops of my hands and my arms and legs are all areas I never used ts. They should clear quickly because of that. And please note....I have scratched my palms nearly every night in my sleep without breaking the skin for the last 2-3 months! It has always amazed me because they seemed impossible to heal and were the last areas to heal. They were the first place I used ts on my hands and the last to heal. The crap on top of my hands is nothing. Don't pay attention to people who have been suffering for years. Pay attention to people who aren't suffering, and people who have healed in under a year such as Jsan. Best thing is to read the studies and info and come to your own conclusions based on all evidence. Just trying to help. I do wish you well.

  8. Thanks Dan! Could you provide links to the research and studies? I know you have mentioned them, but I thought you might have a list. It might be good to post a sidebar with the links. Thanks and regards from Texas!

    1. Hi Dave, please read email exchanges at bottom of this site:

      Read the consensus of the doctors from this referenced conference:

      Here are various links showing how moisturizing effects the skin barrier:

      Also, I explain in a post in my blog about how the skin is hypersensitive during tsw and why it reacts to anything and everything. Plus, there is much more in my blog, including in the comment sections of various posts. Let me know if you have any questions after reading these. Hope this helps!

  9. Thanks to your perseverance Dan. I am convinced. I am giving MW a go again, but I am in a quandary. I have not moisturized at all for 2 days. My shower last night was for only a couple minutes with warm, not hot, water. The effect of MW has been sudden and dramatic. I look and feel terrible. I am having cold sweats, my hands are covered with deep cracks, and my arms are as red as they were 4 months ago. I know… if I stick it out I will improve. Here’s the quandary: I live in Texas, but my mom and siblings live in the Seattle area. My mom is 92 and is suffering with advancing dementia. She has recently had 2 “mini-strokes”, but has recovered. I have not been able to travel to Seattle to see her since I started TSW. I missed a family reunion in December and I have promised to fly up as soon as I am able. I was planning on doing this soon, like in a week or two. If I do MW now, I think it will help me in the long run but would delay my ability to travel to Seattle. I made it to work today, but am about to give up, go home and slather on the Vaseline. Once I am feeling good enough to fly, I will travel to Seattle and see my mom, perhaps for the last time, then come back home and go full MW. Does this seem like a reasonable plan?

    In the meantime, all the dermatologists I have seen that refuse to pull their heads out of the sand and the pharmaceutical companies that pump billions into pushing their poisons can all go fuck themselves.

    1. LOL! I totally agree with your last comment! My sentiments exactly! Yes Dave, I would continue moisturizing if I were you for now if you don't think you have enough time to do MW before you leave. It will take you about two weeks to find comfort so go see your mom asap. Seeing your mom is much more important. You can give MW a proper try when you get back. Maybe get some dss salts and witch hazel on the way so when you get back you have what you'll need. White cotton gloves, tea tree oil etc.

      My mom passed a few years ago and although I saw her a couple months before, I regret not spending much more time with her in those last days.