Saturday, August 17, 2013

Topical Steroid Withdrawal: How bad can it be? (Part 2)

Let me continue elaborating on the other withdrawal symptoms experienced as part of TSW:


(Source: ITSAN website http://itsan.org/eczema_questions_answered.html, in bold is quoted from the website) 

Raw, painful skin. It may feel like a bad sunburn and may be sensitive to even the lightest touch.
My body is in constant pain. This raw and painful skin runs throughout the body. Remember, the skin BURNS. It is raw and painful from the burning. My skin is so sensitive that some clothes must be thrown out of the closet (they irritate my skin big time) and there are many moments even contact with any clothing hurts. Its good to be in a birthday suit in times like these.   

Eczema-like rashes spread from area of skin that was originally affected by eczema. You may experience hives, very dry skin, itchy skin, deep cracks, or tiny cuts in the skin even in areas where topical steroids were never used. The skin is one organ so when one area is medicated, it can affect all of your skin.
Recently, I develop hives quite easily after scratching. Some said hives is a reaction to food allergies. I suspect I can't take strawberries and lamb. Really can't pinpoint if its food. Some said its just a mutation of the TSW beast in me. As for the cuts, I have only a few of them on my toes (thank God). My sis said these cuts can be in hundreds and hurt real badly. 

Difficulty regulating body temperature. You may experience freezing hands, feet, or body and often get the chills.
Oh tell me about this. I can be in an enclosed room without any ventilation (no aircon and no fan) and I am shivering. It's kind of sad that I have been sleeping alone (without my kids near me) due to this very reason. Oh yes, in my family, we have a practice of co-sleeping. My kids need the aircon and I need to sleep in a really warm place if not I will be shivering and trembling as if I am in the North Pole battling - 50 Celsius temperature. My shivers come with nerve shocks with pins and needles attacking my skin. It feels horrible.  

My body fails to perspire as well. In fact I can't remember the last time I perspired profusely. Somehow the sweat glands are just not working. Seems like I am closer to healing only when my sweat glands start to work. Still a long way ahead for me.  

Exhaustion.
There are work days when I just can't wait to return home and rest. Not to the point of exhaustion, but tiredness yes. This morning, I left the house at 1030am and by 3pm, I asked Alex to drop me home as I was zonked out. This is worse than all the three pregnancies I had. Those who know me personally for the last few years would know how I was like a superwoman managing the household, looking after 3 kids, working full time, studying for Masters and still make time for hobbies like scrap booking, cooking, picking up new skills like playing the piano and swimming. With TSW, I'm flat. Incapacitated.     

Insomnia or difficulty maintaining a normal sleep schedule.
One reason to explain the tiredness is insomnia. It is just so difficult to sleep due to the itch. Every night I manage a 2hr rest (max at one go). Other moments will be broken up into short 1 hr of sleep. Sleep is very disturbed every night. There were nights I had to bathe as the itch was just too unbearable. Warm showers or baths make me comfortable. I realised the best time to sleep is 5am to 8am. Probably the natural cortisol level is highest at that time. But it doesn't help if I have to wake up early for work. 
  
Loss of appetite
Thank God I can still eat and I try to eat healthily. My appetite is still quite ok especially when I know I can safely eat them (tried and tested food that won't cause me flare). I have 100% removed all refined sugar content food from my diet as refined sugar causes inflammation. So no more desserts (especially all the chinese tong shui), cakes, carbonated drinks, ice cream etc. Not tempted and no more appetite for them.       
  
Very, very dry skin that has the look and feel of plastic.
I have never used up so much moisturiser in my life. The skin is so dry that it tears. When the skin tears, it breaks into jigsaw looking pieces (you can see the literally see the flesh) and they hurt soooo badly. Yes, the skin feels like plastic, hmm...  how do I describe it? You don't feel the natural oil and smoothness of the natural skin. It feels thick and taut...yeah, like plastic.  



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