I struggled with whether or not I should come on here to post because I don't want to discourage anyone on their TSW journey... in the end, I decided I want to keep things real so here I am.
This summer has been quite the challenge for me because my skin has taken a turn for the worse. It started in May, I noticed my skin was feeling a bit itchy but I didn't think much of it. Ever so slowly my skin has become increasingly itchier, sensitive and irritated. It has really hit me this month that my skin is flaring. My cheeks are red and flaky and even a little oozy. My legs are where it's really bad, especially behind the knees. It sucks to realize this, especially after so long... October 1st marks 3 years steroid free. I thought I would never be back in this situation again, feeling in despair about my skin. Worry not though, I will not let this defeat me. It is merely just a bump along the road.
I'm taking this time to really analyze what is going with my health. To be fair, even during my "95% normal stage" there were still things going on which I swept under the rug to be dealt with some other day... such as chronic fatigue, low energy levels, foggy mentality, long-term memory loss, chronic sinus issues. Clearly something is in disharmony within my body, my environment and my mind. There are so many things which can be the cause, it's overwhelming. However, that is what makes this a journey. I believe it is a chain of events and multiple factors which have led to this flare. Most importantly, I think it is time I figure out the root to my health problems, as they are most likely related.
- Stress. I started a new job this year, which has been really stressful. My previous job was no where near as stressful. I find myself having trouble sleeping and worrying about having time to get things done. We all know stress plays a huge role on hormones and can make them go all wacky.
- Dog hair. I have a beautiful dog who I adore and will always love despite the fact that maybe I am allergic to her. I've had her for about 13 years so she's not new to the picture. Recently, a friend of pointed out she may be the cause to my sinus issues. Sinus issues I can deal with for her sake. However, my little brother recently left for college so for the past month she has been sleeping in my room. My skin has gotten worse in this time. Coincidence? Possibly, but definitely worth taking note of.
- Environment. This goes hand in hand with the dog hair, but I figured I'd mention anyways. I've been pretty lazy lately..... I mean really lazy and I haven't properly cleaned (thorough dusting and vacuuming) my bedroom in a couple months until today. Shame on me. I really let things get bad... but I have given my room a good scrub down (still in progress, but much better already). I'm sure all the dust and dog hair was not helping me one bit.
- DIET. OK, so this is a big one for me. I have been following a plant-based diet for almost two years and I believed it is why my skin was doing so great and why I seemed to recover much faster than most of the TSW community. Obviously now I have to rethink this conclusion, however I am not knocking the theory as I was nearly flare free for the majority of this time. I now think I have allergies which I will be testing out by eliminating certain foods. It just so happens I have heavily increased my fat intake (nuts, seeds, avocados, etc.) in the last month or two and I suspect nuts are not my friend... sadly so, because they are so delicious! So I am doing an overhaul with my diet.... I am cutting out nuts, seeds, chocolate, avocados, oils, and for kicks and giggles wheat as well. This is in addition to my vegan diet. Goal is to do this for a month to see how things get on.... I truly believe diet plays a major role in our health and skin is part of that!
If any of you are interested I pretty much am following the McDougall diet- The Starch Solution. If you want information here are some links:
& for those of you wondering what my skin looks like at the moment:
Just for comparison, this is what my skin looked like only a couple weeks ago: