I am better [cautious exclamation point]. I at least feel as good as I did before the last ginormous flare. A few things have happened since I last posted.
First, of course, is time. From all I can gather about TSW, the one and only thing that is sure to bring healing is time. Lots of it, which I happen to have. Good thing, as I am expecting at least another year of this
Second, is the light therapy that I have been doing for a month now. I started out at 20 seconds per side and have worked my way up to 90 seconds. I hear it takes about a month for good things to start happening, and although I can’t know for sure how much it has helped, if any, I think that it has. That’s half the battle.
The third is that I am moisturizing much less and have switched from Vaseline to sunflower oil. I’m not really on the “MW” bandwagon, I simply feel that moisturizing is not needed as much. Also, I’ve read some pretty nasty things about petrolatum and some really good things about sunflower oil, so I am giving it a shot. I don’t use much; basically to replenish oils lost during my daily shower and on my hands after using and washing them. My hands still end up with cracks at the end of the day, so at night I oil ‘em up, put on cotton gloves, then disposable vinyl gloves over them. The cotton helps my hands breath better, so in the morning they aren’t all white and sweaty like they were with just vinyl gloves, just pale, damp, and, well, better. Thanks to Dan, by the way, for advice on cotton gloves and his research regarding petrolatum.
My ankles and feet are still pretty bad. And they hurt. The bottoms of my feet are about half covered with what looks like good ol’ conventional eczema.
Although my itching is less primarily because of brute will-power, if I succumb and scratch the explosion of almost unbelievably intense itching is spectacular, especially on my lower legs. I keep saying this, but it’s true… only TSW warriors can understand what this is like.
I am still using Ambien, but only half a pill. I will probably try going without when the bottle runs out, which will be in a week or so. Ambien has been extremely effective for me, and the sleep it provides probably should get some credit for my improvement, which is why it will be hard to give up. I am also still taking quite a bit of antihistamine hydroxyzine (Atarax), probably 5 or 6 25mg pills per day.
Lots of flaking! I have had to blow skin flakes off the keyboard to see the difference between the comma and period keys, now its the "M" and "N" keys.
Since starting TSW, I have noticed that my symptoms are symmetrical. In the good ol’ days of simply fighting eczema, I would get it, say, on one finger or on one eyelid. Now, everything I have is virtually identical left to right. I always post pictures of only my right side, but the left side is virtually the same. I wonder if this is a hallmark of TSW.
I have also noticed that I seem to be healing top to bottom. My neck and shoulders, once a trouble area, are now almost normal. The insane itching on my chest moved to my stomach, then thighs, then calves, which is where it is centered now. I am maintaining my belief that my body is basically emptying itself out of the symptoms of TSW. Okay, my hands are a bit of an exception, but then they are always getting into things.
Bottom Line: I have soap in my hole!