I am typing this very first blog post in the middle of the night while my wife and two young boys are asleep. I haven’t had a good night’s sleep or slept through the night since I officially embarked on the topical steroid withdrawal (TSW) journey on November 15, 2016. My entire face and neck is covered in thick, dead skin, and it’s gradually flaking off, piece by piece. I can’t move my face without feeling the uncomfortable tightness, and I can’t move my neck without feeling pain.My ears are caked in a mix of dried lymphatic fluid and blood. The back of my neck and my joint areas (back of elbows and knees) break out in sweat every night and as a result the skin on those areas remain extremely raw. The rest of my body is still struck by constant bouts of rather intense itching, and on top of that I have stinging nerve pain across my arms and chest.
Yes, TSW is a living hell. I’ve said it many times, and I’m sure 99.99% of people who have ever gone through TSW will tell you: It’s the hardest thing I’ve ever done.
I started the TSW journey full of optimism, believing, like many others before me, that I would be the one to buck the trend and recover in record time. But now I’m 4.5 months in, and the end is nowhere near in sight. I knew it was going to be hard, but never in my worst nightmares could I imagine this torture.
My body will heal when it’s ready to heal. My mind, on the other hand, needs help. As agonizing as TSW is on the body, its damage on the mind is arguably just as bad, if not worse. This is where this blog comes in. I started a “whine diary” a few nights ago on the advice of my wife and a traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) doctor I had been seeing for acupuncture. Stress and anxiety is a big part of TSW, and writing down grievances is supposed to assist in that regard. I have now decided to take it a step further and create this blog to chart my journey through TSW. I don’t profess to be an expert, but I do think there is value in sharing my experience with others who are either going through the same ordeal or thinking about doing the same thing.
Starting from today, I hope to be able to do regular posts on this blog, not just about how I am progressing but on different topics related to TSW, which stems from topical steroid addiction (TSA) and is otherwise known as Red Skin Syndrome (RSS). I’ve got literally a couple of dozen topics lined up already, from taking supplements and TCM to meditation, taking salt baths, and other methods to alleviate discomfort and/or speed up the healing process. It is my sincere wish to be able to look back on this blog in the not-too-distant future and feel proud of myself for defeating TSA and becoming not just a healthier person, but a better person.