Four months without topical steroids! In a way I am really surprised that I was able to make it this far without caving in – I’m glad of it though. The past few weeks have been the hardest I have endured thus far but I am now seeing the benefits of fighting through it.
THE HARDEST WEEK EVER. I could not move my fingers at all because of the blisters. I was miserable and whenever I would scratch, ooze and blood would seep out under my skin. It was so bad that I couldn’t wash my own hair, do my own hair, drive, or play the piano. Because I was scratching so much, I was worried about getting an infection so I started using tea tree oil. I also started to use coconut oil to grease up my hands – the other lotion I was using wasn’t cutting it. I had a panic attack at one point after looking at my hands that my family made me an appointment at Mayo Clinic for the following Monday. I was really ready to cave in at this point.
Mayo Clinic Appointment
I was told steroids was the only way to go. While I did get an extensive history of eczema and picked up a few tips from the doctor, the doctor did not want to hear about steroid dependency. I talked to my family about what the doctor suggested and we all agreed that I would stay off the steroids and see how my hands were faring. At this point my hands were started to peel and looked massively better than the day I had the panic attack.
Skin on my hands continued to peel away. The patches on my hands started to look waxy and smooth when the flakes came off. This is the first time that I’ve seen my eczema look like this – a possible sign of healing? Whenever I scratched at this point, my skin wouldn’t break.
Over the weekend, I went to New Jersey and I believe I went through a flare up. My face started to ooze a bit (maybe the change in environment or the fact that I didn’t follow my diet as closely?). The skin on my hands also started to break easily when I scratched. I started to take an antihistamine in the morning and have Benadryl on hand if I need it at night. My fingers also started to get blisters again although the blisters first appeared on the palm side of my fingers instead of on the side of my fingers like it normally does when a flare first starts. There was also a lot of swelling, especially on the three fingers of my left hand. When I got home from the trip, the area around my eyes was red and continued to ooze for two days. I started to realize that my face has started to peel a bit more and in more areas – so now when I wake up I find flakes not only on my eyes but also on my cheeks. The right side of my face tends to flake more easily than the left side of my face.
At the end of week 16 my fingers have started to shed the blisters – was this a flare albeit shorter?! My period came a week early, suggesting to me that my hormones are really out of whack. Usually my flares align with my period (right before my period I start getting blisters on the sides of my fingers and the blisters start to spread throughout my period) so I’m really curious to see if this was a baby flare before the full blown out flare I usually see (like in week 14) or if these small flares will continue. The patches on my hands still have that waxy, plastic, smooth look to it and my fingers still have edema. One major symptom I’m seeing more of is itchiness! I hope that subsides soon. I’m not suffering as much as I was during week 14 though and I’m glad of it. I cheated badly on my diet the past two days but haven’t seen any repercussions. I really hope to start seeing healing soon and no more spreading of my eczema (my patches have gotten so big throughout month 4!).