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Sunday, 30 December 2012

Day #116 - Cortisone withdrawal side affects update

Happy new years eve everyone.  A quick update before we all get on with our NYE merriment (and yes I mean drinking & fornicating).

I'm feeling really good, very little dry skin and/or shedding, very comfortable in clothes and scratching is at an all time low.  In fact I rarely get really itchy at all.  My face if still an ongoing battle, but it's getting much better.  As you can see from the image below, whilst my colour has improved, I'm still red skinned and this is being spread through my entire ventricular system.  That said the colour on my chest and back are very pale pink, even white.  My arm colour is more tanned brown than red and my legs are the whitest they have been in 7 years.

I'm getting back to a normal social life, able to have coffee with friends, go out and shop or sunbake in the beautiful Australian summer (for limited amounts of time).

The only restriction on my activity is making sure I don't allow the blood in my face to pump too quickly as dilation caused an intense itch/pain in my face.  This will heal over the next month or two, but right now the capillaries have not healed enough, so no sport, gym, hot foods or extended periods of heat.

Other than that, my temperature regulation is much better, I feel energised and my sleeping is starting to get closer to normal.  It's still a long way from full recovery, but all my friends and family have been commenting on how much better I look and that gives me a heap of confidence.

Happy new year all, let it bring us a fast recovery to all.

Wednesday, 26 December 2012

Cortisone side affects: Immune Deficiency: Staph

Day #111 of my recovery from the affects of 10 years of topical cortisone steroid use. Over the last 5 years of using cortisone my immune system really went down hill and I started getting staph infections. As time went on these became more and more regular to the point where they happened every month or two. I was popping antibiotics like maltesers, but it kept coming back and usually more potently than the time before. Since ceasing using topical cortisone steroids I have not had an infection and my general health has been steadily improving. For the record this streak of 111 days beats that last 5 years by a couple months... this is proof. I'll be writing another update shortly as my skin has improved dramatically over the past couple weeks. My colour is much better, flaking is almost gone and I'm feeling good (still missing my hair though). Good luck to you all

Sunday, 23 December 2012

Look good, feel better, heal faster

We all know the role placebos play in the medical process, and by the same token the role of a negative or positive attitude. One thing I have noticed is that if I think about them, my symptoms inevitably flare up. It is for this reason I've found working through the last couple months has helped me cope and in the last couple weeks, dressing nicely and going out socialising has made me feel great.... dare I say it has even helped me heal faster. Healing faster, let me clarify that point. There is nothing that will speed up the body's natural healing process, that takes as long as it takes, but stopping yourself from scratching, rubbing or focusing on any given area can give your body the respite it needs to heal over. I am still missing large chunks of hair on my head, which makes me feel extremely self conscious. Taking my parents out to dinner and movie this week, I dressed in a grey suit, crisp white shirt and fresh jeans (see below). Walking around South Yarra I felt like a million dollars, was not wondering about others gazing at me, I had back my usual confidence and swagger. Not surprisingly over the next few days my face and neck healed up and as I've continued to take time to look good, the healing has continued.
Today I caught up with a group of terrific friends from my university days. Nowadays the guys live all over the world, all flying in to spend time with one another. Will from Dubai, Kane from Canberra and many more examples. The feeling of them all taking an active interest in my recovery, hugging me and assuring me how proud they were of my attitude was amazing. As I write this I am smiling to myself and can't wait to see what the future brings. I've had a lot of people wanting to ask questions or more photo's. If you have any requests, please comment on any of my posts.

Sunday, 16 December 2012

Day #101 - Cortisone Addiction Recovery Video with Jake

In this special video Jake Killeen and girlfriend Libby join me to compare and contrast and discuss the recovery process.  Jake at the time had been recovering for 13 months, compared to my 3 months.  As you can see from the video's below, there is a huge difference in skin colour and Jake has come close to completely defeating the cortisone addiction (side affects of cortisone use).

I thank Jake & Lib for their friendship, support and terrific nature.  If there is one magic bullet for recovering from the side affects of cortisone usage, it's a positive mindset, and openness to try different things and the love and support of those around you.  There is no doubt Jake and Lib have this and I am very proud to call them my friends.

Please note, the camera makes Jake look redder than he actually is.  Were you looking at him as I was, you would never know his skin use to be red like mine.

Sitting down with Jake (13 months into recovery) and discussing our commonalities

Comparing our chests, Jake looking white, me looking very red

And one fun one - Lib & Jake, you rock my world

Tuesday, 11 December 2012

Skin splits in neck

For many years now my neck has been red and it seemed no amount of cortisone would bring the colour down.  To me, this says this was one of the worst affected areas and hence is no surprise it is giving me such grief now.  The problem at the moment is a series of splits all around my neck and throat, deep enough that they can't heal overnight and quickly crusting over whenever they dry out (which happens easily and quickly).  The dry skin of course is uncomfortable and you can't help but scratch it off, exacerbating the problem.

One thing I have noticed is that using my traditional moisturiser (QV cream) has not worked at all.  The reason for this is that QV tends to dry out, leaving a coating on top of the skin, which in turn the brain confuses for dry skin in sensitive areas.  Since moving onto an oilier moisturiser I have found more comfort around the neck, although I might add that the sensitive is driving me nuts.

It has been about 3 weeks now and whilst my face has almost recovered, the neck is still struggling.  Discipline will help sole it, but also the body itself will eventually just decide to heal, which is a recurring theme within my recovery, at some stage, doing nothing different, the skin just heals.

Overall I think my body has recovered quite well in the  first 3 months and if I was judging on overall colour, I would say the redness has gone down about 25% and the dry flaky skin about 60%.  If you think about it as a full year recovery, these are good signs.

OK, plenty more to discuss, but honestly my neck is distracting me, so another time.  Night all

Wednesday, 5 December 2012

3 months off cortisone steroids - A hard recovery

I won't lie to you, it has been one hell of a difficult 3 months with enough ups and downs to make a rollar-coaster look decidedly pedestrian.  Today however is a celebration, despite feeling like hell as i work in the office today, i am now a full 3 months in!!

The positives are that you can see the improvement in the skin, it's stronger and many of the horrible initial symptoms have started to or completely gone away, for example:

~ Hair has slowly started coming back
~ Swollen legs are almost normal now
~ Infections have stayed away
~ Ears no longer weeping
~ Skin rarely weeps, but is still dry and flaky
~ Skin flaking has reduced significantly since month #1
~ Legs barely flake at all anymore

So overall there are many positives and you only need look at louise in the UK or Rochelle as another great example of those who had gone through the pain and are now seeing the terrific results of cured white skin.

Here's to you all everywhere.  I can't wait till this most recent flare up ends, Christmas is 3 weeks away and I would love a few days of relief while I lay around in the sun!

Wednesday, 28 November 2012

Stay positive and see the good - Day #84

The affects of cortisone withdrawals are still taking a toll on me, but this video reminds you to stay positive and smell the roses. Life is pretty good all the time, you just need to recognise it.

Tuesday, 20 November 2012

Day #75 - Cortisone Withdrawal Driven Facial Flares

The improvements are coming along, let there be no doubt of that, but with these advancements come an ever new set of trials and tribulations.  This week has been facial flaring, and whilst I would normally swoop on the opportunity to make a dirty joke and smile the pain away, I figure I better explain it so as to help others suffering distress over something similar.

This picture explains it better than any words.  Basically the skin became very soft and itchy and with just a light rub of a face cloth all the top layers of skin had been removed, revealing just a watery (weeping) mess of skin underneath.  This weeping is the lymphatic system and the goo that it produces, whilst good for skin, is messy and clunky when it dries.  The problem here is that you have to go to work, which means trying to clean yourself up as best possible, which often results in removing the top layers of skin again and thus the cycle continues.  I should also mention that the new skin growing back get itchy and even the slightest touch or rub of a course pillow will take you back to square one.

This leads to an equally concerning issue, the inability to sleep.  It's truly horrid, and I think in all honestly I've had about  5 hours of sleep in the last 3 days.  That's not to say I haven't dozed, but it scarcely counts as sleep.  The affect of sleep deprivation is a loss of cognitive function, motivation and drive.  I often find myself staring at a blank computer screen unwilling to progress with any task that that result in imminent repercussions.

Now my regular readers know I'm a man of positivity and I will continue this trend today.  Whilst it looks ugly and feels disgusting when it's weeping, it's really not slowing me down.  What I mean is that it's not like other symptoms, it's really only cosmetic, and barring the sleep dep, it's not effecting me.  The silver lining is that whilst the body is dealing with this issue, the rest of my body is pretty good.  My chest, arms and legs are peeling less and itching is minimal, so you have to take the good with the bad and enjoy the changes as they occur... variety is the spice of life right?

Wednesday, 14 November 2012

#Day 71 - Cortisone Withdrawal & Recovery

Progress is slow and steady, I'm seeing improvements across the board, be them slow and sometimes painful. It's still a long way to go, but cortisone will not beat me, I am stronger than this and I will be recovered no matter how long it takes. Thanks for all the support. Josh

Sunday, 4 November 2012

Day #59 Leg swelling from cortisone withdrawl

After withdrawing from topical cortisone steroids my legs instantly swelled up to the point where I could only wear very loose sneakers and even then, my ankles would be hanging over the sides.  My calves, foot and ankle were all red/purple and swollen and no matter what I ate or didn't eat, they did not go down at all.  It was only after a visit from Jake & Lib from eczema  healing blog that I thought about massage and started to see the swelling go down.

For the last 5 days my parents have kindly been rubbing my legs, starting at the feet and pushing the blood/liquid up towards my heart.  It doesn't really matter how hard you push, any movement seems to help, and even after the first session I had noticed significant improvement.

Of course, it's not a magic cure, thanks to the cortisone withdrawl process you will swell up again shortly, particularly if you're standing on your feet all day (as I tend to as I run around the office), but overall it has made a noticeable improvement very quickly.  When I can also spend time laying down elevating them, my legs improve even further.  It reminds me of my foot reconstruction last year, where spending large amounts of time with my legs in the air reduced swelling to almost nothing.

So from my end, I'm very happy to see this symptom going away.  Now I can focus on looking forward to my hair growing back.  I noticed what I think are a couple new eyebrow hairs have grown, I'm hoping this is the start of everything going back to normal.  I think on Tuesday I'll shave everything off the top and then it can all grow back at a steady rate, perhaps ready for Christmas?

Hope you are all healing well.  Cortisone withdrawl is a bastard, but I'm taking a lot of positives from the steady improvements.  My friends have noted the big reduction of redness in my face and while I could be upset about missing all the fun and frivolity of the Melbourne Cup and the lovely weather that is the Melbourne summer, this time next year I'll have the power of 20 men. It reminds me of an old movie quote:

"Don't threaten me with a good time, you don't know what I'll bring to the party"


Saturday, 27 October 2012

Day #53 Unexpected Life Lessons

I maintain you must always focus on the silver lining, as life is about solutions, not problems.  Keeping your mind open and looking for the upside, you will always win.  Today I wanted to talk about something very positive to come out of my recovery, a life lesson if you will.

The last few years of my life have been played at breakneck speed, always doing things, working late, partying hard, women, booze, sports, travel, there has barely been a spare moment... and I loved it.  That said, it is possible to fall in love with bad habits, and this process has certainly taught me a lot about slowing down and even reconnecting with my parents.

1.) Slowing down
My work alone (advertising agency) is extremely stressful, coordinating our largest accounts, our staff and our company operational strategy.  By the end of a work day I am absolutely exhausted, and traditionally I would then push myself to go play sport, followed by meeting friends for drink or maybe a late date.

I've never been good at slowing down, the only time I really relaxed was overseas and even then I am accustomed to doing everything.  What I've leaned through this process is how to cut out distractions, focus inwardly and listen to my body.  In time gone past I could never take a midday nap, now I can do it with my eyes closed (deliberate joke).

2.) Reconnecting with my parents
This is a funny one, because I have the world's best parents and we've always had a brilliant relationship.  Being in recovery mode, I've been forced to take a back seat, allow them to look after me and be thankful for their support.  In time gone past I've been so independant I've actively pushed them off, but now I find myself truly appreciative of their support.

Sitting back and allowing people to help, makes you appreciate them and their issues.  I feel guilty for all the times I've come over for dinner and spent the whole time talking about myself.  Over the past month I've learned so much about their lives, thoughts and inner workings.  I feel closer to them than ever before, and comforted by their mere presence.

I guess the meaning of this post is to encourage you to look at the upside, appreciate what you have in life, and look forward to the future.  If you are positive, it's really not that bad, in fact, in a lot of ways it's very good.

Thursday, 25 October 2012

Day #50 - Red skin flare up

A celebration today, I reached day #50 of my red skin recovery from topical steroid skin addiction.  Unfortunately it also marked a flare up, brought on by stress I believe.  Work gave me a couple tough days and I could feel it coming on.  Yesterday it was starting to dry out and weep a little on my chest, and today it was much worse.  By the time I got home from work, my body was covered in dry skin and cracks that bleed when you rub them.

The positive is that the flare is less severe than in times gone past, but it's not pleasant.  I've wrapped my legs in glad wrap tonight to try and keep some moisture in them.  The severe swelling is seriously uncomfortable and I can only get my feet into very flexible running shoes, no chance of leathers.

I'm hoping this flare only lasts a few days, that would be a sign that it's getting better.  I'll keep you posted.

Tuesday, 23 October 2012

Cortisone Addiction Recovery - Day #48

My recovery from cortisone addiction, my skin has begun to strengthen, the colour is getting better and my all-round comfort is improving.  The shock to the system of completely removing cortisone steroids was enormous and I'm still battling lots of symptoms (see cortisone addiction symptoms), but overall it's a very positive story and I'm looking forward to the future.

Saturday, 20 October 2012

Day #44 Good recovery but very tired

Thursday and Friday were a little rough, but come Saturday morning I'm feeling good.  My skin has gained some strength and a number of the small cuts on my chest and back have healed up.  The dry skin on my body has reduced significantly and this allows the moisturiser to last longer and keep me comfortable.

I haven't been going out much because I get uncomfortable easily, but today was no problem to go visit a friend for coffee, then drop into a Thai massage joint for an hour long relaxing massage.  It was a great feeling to do something a little social and fun.

Interestingly however, even though my body is feeling better, I'm tired as hell.  I slept til 12 today, then had another nap at 5pm.  All day I've been exhausted, not like chronic fatigue, I could force myself through it if I wanted to, but I choose to let the body heal and not push it.

The only other thing worth noting is that we are coming into Summer at the moment and today was a great opportunity to lay naked in the sun for 30 minutes.  I really feel like the sun does terrific stuff for me.  On the forums they say that sun only help you latter in recovery, but the couple times I've done it have made me feel and look better, so I maintain that any sun you get is a good thing (just in moderation of course).

Hope everyone is feeling as good as me.


Tuesday, 16 October 2012

Recovery Day #40 - Quick Healing

It's amazing how quick it can change. Waking up this morning I still felt unable to go to work, but had a commitment to run the morning meeting. I got into the office at 10am, feeling like hell, hot red and sore.

At 12.30 I went to the doctor to have a look at my ear (turns out it's infected internally), and realised my skin was so dry and sore I had to go home and moisturize. I was worried this would be the end of my day, but interestingly the skin had healed significantly since leaving that morning and once I applied the moisturizer to the dry skin and lay down for an hour, I was actually feeling good.

When I got home from the office I was dry again, but soon after moisturizing I was feeling really good and now as I sit on the couch I'm feeling limber and good.... here's hoping it gets even better over night. I have an 8.30 meeting, really hoping that my face won't be bright red after the shower.

Monday, 15 October 2012

Topical Steroid Addiction Symptoms - First 5 weeks

There have been a lot of annoyances I've had to live through thus far, I though I'd take this opportunity to outline them and their affect.

1.) Loss of hair - My hair is very sparse on my head now, and scalp is often covered with cradle cap.  On top of this my eyebrows have basically vanished, once very bushy, now almost non-existent.  My beard also is down to a very small tuft on the chin, nothing else will grow at the moment.

2.) Weeping skin - On and off, my chest, arms & legs, usually one at a time burn red and the top layers of skin strip off revealing a watery mess that lasts many days and leaves me shirtless while it heals.  It's very uncomfortable state and I can barely move off the couch when in this state (usually about 4 - 5 days)

3.) Swollen feet and legs - Have been severely swollen for about a month now, the affects of which have led to dry cracked feet and regular discomfort in that area.

4.) Weepy ears - Behind my ears is constantly split and weeping.  The minute I lay my head on a pillow, shower in the morning inadvertently scratch it, they stay wet for some time and dry with a horrible looking flaking around it... leading you to to to remove the crust, which often produces more weeping.

5.) Very red face & hands - This one goes without saying, but it's hard to live with knowing that you look severally sun-burnt.  The redder it is, the more it peels and exfoliating the peeling leads to more redness.  Best practice is just to keep coating with thick moisturizer until it eventually abates.

6.) Full body dry itchy skin - It's amazing how much dry skin appears and flakes everywhere.  I can't help myself, I'm constantly scratching it off, not necessarily because it's itchy, but because it feels uncomfortable and you want it to be smooth.  It's very hard not to scratch in front of people.

7.) Sore bones and neck - Caused by being uncomfortable and hunched over a lot.  My neck in particular is very sore.

8.) Inability to sleep - It can be very difficult getting to sleep or sleeping long periods.  I've resorted to Valium (a couple tablets a night) when I haven't had sleep for a couple days.  It is tough when you spend a few days on the couch dozing and then when you heal, you try to go back to a normal sleep habit... very hard to adjust.

9.) Eczema in my joints have appeared again, this is the worst I have ever seen it, dry and cracked and takes a long time to heal.

10.) Small cracks on different parts of my chest, back and stomach.  These small cracks (like eczema) get very sore, dry and stiff.  They cause immense pain if not kept moist.

11.) Blood nose - This only happened once, but rubbing my nose tonight I got my first ever blood nose (in my life).  I can only assume this is related to the thinning of the skin caused my topical steroids.

12.) Staph Infection - This is common in thin skin (that is scratched regularly), and an immune system that is weak and playing up doesn't help.

13.) Dark blue bruised skin from scratching.  The skin is so thin that in particular after showering, a scratch of the legs can leave them dark blue with bruising.  This heals quickly, but looks terrible for a few hours.

14.) Cracked Achilles heel - This is a small one, but very hard to heal with moisturizer, as you have to wear socks even when around the home... this takes a lot of time.

15.) Dry skin litters the house like you have never seen.  The house needs to be vacuumed daily, the sheets and clothes cleaned almost daily.  It's hard to believe you can generate that much dry skin.  Under my desk at work is a constant patch of white on the floor, as is anywhere else i go.  When I got o meetings I pray that the chairs won't be black or I'll leave a trail behind me....

16.) Crusty eyes - Every morning I wake with my eyes crusted over.  It's a horrible feeling as they break the seal and I rush to the bathroom to splash water on them and free them of their binding.  By the same token every morning my face is covered in dry skin that can be tough to get off without causing bleeding or extreme redness.

17.) Psychological trauma - I'm an extremely outgoing guy, always doing something, seeing people, going out, playing sport, on the move.  Since starting this recovery I have only left the house for essentials or to go to the office.  Psychologically it's daunting, you just want to bury yourself until it's all over, even when you are looking fine.  It's really important to let the people around you (friends, colleges, family, clients) what you are going through, they are amazingly supportive and once you get the elephant out of the room, it becomes easier to maintain some level social interaction, even if just a very small amount.

18.) Restricted movement - A symtom of dry skin, it's hard to go from being sporty and athletic to having the body of a 70 year old.  If I was asked to dive to catch a ball right now I couldn't do it, where a mere 5 weeks ago I wouldn't have even blinked an eye.

19.) Ear infection - As your ears are always weeping they are prone to infection.  It's good to use cotton wool to keep them dry, particularly at night.

20.) Scalp infection - As the scalp is dry and flaky, it's almost irresistible not to scratch it.  Be very careful as once infected it's extremely hard to recover, even with anti-biotics you keep scratching it open again for weeks on end.
21.) Inability to regulate temperature - It's hell always being too cold or hot.  It stops you sleeping, leaved you either sweating and wet, or shaking and cold.  It's terrible in an office environment...

22.) Large sore lumps under the skin - I'm having these scanned tomorrow, but I have developed a couple very large, sore lumps in my arms.  The doctor didn't know what they might be, definitely not lymph-nodes.  It makes it hard to sleep and restricts my movements.

There's probably many more, but feel free to add to them, or ask questions below and I'll be happy to offer my support.  For all of these symptoms, treat them with medication, ice or any other prevailing medicine, know that they are short term and you will get through it, it's just the cortisone and your immune system having a hissy fit.

Sunday, 14 October 2012

Week 5 Red Skin Flare Up

On Wednesday I had a very stressful day at work, I could feel myself deteriorating from midday and by the time I got home I was very uncomfortable, I knew this was the start of a flare up,my chest was red and tender, itchy and sore. The next day was worse, my chest became weepy, only a very thin layer of skin remained on my upper chest and I could feel it pulling away from my body as I lay under warm blankets. For 4 days I did absolutely nothing but lay on the couch. Splits in my skin; underarms, elbows, heels and chest made moving uncomfortable and all the areas that were non-weepy were creating massive amounts of dry hard skin. Today is Monday morning, and whilst I'm improved to the point where I m not weepy, I'm still uncomfortable, itchy and not wanting to go into the office. My hands are bright red, that continues all the way up my arms. My face is very red, yet at least smooth (no dry peeling bits). Overall I look like I'm on fire... it's not a good look

Sunday, 30 September 2012

Day #25 Video Update - Positive!

Day #23 Update - Going out

My skin is definitely improving, perhaps not as much in colour, but certainly it is gaining strength, shedding less and becoming more resistant.  It may only be small incremental change, but when you come off a low base, it's quite noticeable.

On top of this, the splits in my skin have healed, so I'm moving without pain.  My hands are fully healed from the hives and the dry skin that was left when the hives dissipated and the swelling in my feet, whilst still present, is much more manageable.

On the negative side, my feet are very dry from the hives, and have not been able to exfoliate as quickly as my hands.  This means I'm not going to be wearing sandals any time soon, but it's not too bad.  Also, my body gets staff infections at the drop of a hat, and I've noticed a number of pustules coming up on my thighs, so it looks like I'll need some antibiotics for that.

This weekend my football team (Australia Rules Football) played in the grand final and I am very passionate about them.  I'm not prepared to hide, I'm not going to let this recovery take over my entire life.  So with that in mind, I went to the game and sat amongst 100,000 other fans.  You know how many people commented on my colour?  Absolutely nobody!!

Wednesday, 26 September 2012

Day #21 Update - Swollen feet & Ankles

Swelling is the latest of the side affects that is driving me crazy.  My legs and feet look similar to a swollen balloon, which from my readings of other people's blogs is not uncommon.  For myself, what I am most frustrated by is the lack of control, there's not much you can do, but stay the course and hope it fixes itself.  I would love to go for a massage, but my skin is still broken and healing in places and I would feel quite embarrassed having anyone have to work on that, so for now I guess I just put up with it.

There is not much pain at the moment, so it's not like I can't live with it.  I guess it's more about our natural inclination as humans to touch and rub things that aren't right.  As an example, I can't stop scratching my scalp as I can feel flaky hair up there, but yet it's causing me no discomfort, so why am I doing it?

As much as this is a medical process that we have to get through, there is a psycological element that is worth exploring.  I like to rtionalise things with myself, try to understand my actions and almost promise myself that I will or won't act is a certain way.  In doing this, I've improved my diet, minimsed scratching and learned a lot about my own body.  Now don't go thinking I'm a hippy, or smoking the good stuff, it's more that you should always try to take the psotivies from every situation.

Good luck to us all.

Monday, 24 September 2012

Leaky gut syndrome & Red Skin

One thing I explored before I found out about cortisone addiction was Leaky Gut Syndrome.  Basically what this is, is the concept that we have damaged our intestinal walls and created small cracks through which undigested foods can escape.   I researched this thoroughly and found a lot of people with leaky gut were suffering bad inflammation, much like mine.  What I learned didn't cure me, but my now smarter diet has made a big difference.

Leaky Gut - The main antagonists
If you are following my learnings, here's the first and major things to cut from your diet:

Processed Sugar
Known as 'the white death', processed sugar is a real killer for our systems to digest.  I use to think sugar = energy, but in fact, sugar = mineral deficiency, as the body needs to steal nutrients from other places to break down the sugar and dump it from our systems.

Getting off sugar is really hard, it takes about a week before the hunger pains go away and you constantly eat trying to supplement the feeling.  I've read multiple accounts of quitting sugar being harder that quitting heroin and it was hard, but now I feel a million times better.

There are lots of accounts of people cutting sugar and eating lots of natural fruit and veg to find their ailments have disappeared.

 I found some really interesting research that links gluten to inflammation.  The more i read and studied my own eating habit, the more I noticed a connection.  Cutting gluten is not hard physically, but it can be hard initially when you have to really think about the products that contain gluten.  For example, bread is a basic one we all eat regularly - take the time to read the packet and try to cut it out.

This one wasn't as big for me, but it's a common foe so I've cut it out of my system just to be sure.  The last thing I want is a little milk, or cream causing a flare up.

The Result
I benefited greatly from going through this process.  My diet nowadays is excellent, with lots of fruit and vegetable (all leaky gut approved), as well as fish, meat and juices.  I've even got into slow cooking, which is pretty funny for a guy in his 20's, but it rocks!

As a result of doing this, my skin flares much less often and my guts which had been a little queezy have completely fixed themselves up.  I use the bathroom daily now, with good consistency, size and shape to my stool, which is something that has been missing over the past few years.

I recommend eating healthier to anyone and please read up on how bad sugar is for you!!

Cortison & Hives on hands & feet - Day #19

The hives that appears on my hands and feet about a week ago have now mostly gone, although they have left in their place sore, dry, cracks on the underside which are quite painful. This area of the body can't really be moisturised, so you have to grit your teeth and bare it. I expect another week and they'll be back to normal, which is not too bad.

Interestingly I use to get this occasionally when I used cortisone, so I'm not surprised to be getting them again now, it's just another sign the body is giving me that this was a drug I needed to get out of my system.

Pleasingly the red on my hands is much reduced

Interestingly the redness on the back of my hands and up my arms is much less significant at the moment. It's almost like it has faded in the sun, and even broken up into a more spotty complexion. I know this can change with the hour, but it's giving me lots of confidence.

Today I have no pain in my body, the cracks under my arms are healing well and the movement in my neck is improving. It will be interesting to see if this persists over the next few days. A buddy has arranged me a grand final ticket to see my Hawthorn Hawks play in the AFL grand final in front of 100,000 people on Saturday... I really hope I am feeling good and can go along!!

Sunday, 23 September 2012

Persistent Red Skin Improvement - Day #18

Things are looking better, no real pain in my body and whilst I still look terrible, definite improvements are occuring and this has given me a world of confidence that I might overcome this red skin syndrome.

Western dependancy on cortisone cream has really frustrated me now I know the affects of long term use, but you can't complain.  You've got to always play the hand you are dealt or as the Month Python boys would say "Forget about your sin, give the audience a grin, enjoy it, it's your last chance of the hour'.

Always look on the bright side of life. 

Red Skin Recovery - The worst 4 days

Things are looking better, no real pain in my body and whilst I still look terrible, definite improvements are occuring and this has given me a world of confidence that I might overcome this red skin syndrome.

Western dependancy on cortisone cream has really frustrated me now I know the affects of long term use, but you can't complain.  You've got to always play the hand you are dealt or as the Month Python boys would say "Forget about your sin, give the audience a grin, enjoy it, it's your last chance of the hour'.

Always look on the bright side of life. 

Red Skin Recovery - Day #15

The reaction of my body since starting to treat the red skin / cortisone addiction has been significant.  My body has flipped out, red skin all over, dry, cracked skin, lots of peeling and seeping.  It has been very uncomfortable to say the least.  That said, it's actually a good thing, it means we are onto a winner.

This is toughest period I am told, the initial phase where you cleanse your body of the stimulant that has been causing you problems.  Whilst it's still a long run, probably months at the soonest, the fact that this reaction is happening and I'm going through it all, appear to be a good thing in recovering from red skin syndrome.

Tuesday, 18 September 2012

Red Skin Syndrom Day #11 Update

A couple quick interesting things I noticed about my red skin syndrome.

#1 Last night I had a shower before I went to bed, it made it much more comfortable during the night and the flaking was significantly less severe when I woke up. This said, the skin in now more dried out, so it's a win and lose situation. Overall, I have to call it a win, as I'm looking respectable and can go into the office today.

#2 Hives have appeared on the palms of my hands and soles of my feet. I've read that these are expected, and interestingly when I was using cortisone I use to get this from time to time, but didn't know why. In my mind, this strengthens the relationship between the two. I know they will remain there for the next 1-2 weeks which is frustrating as it makes closing my hand harder.

 #3 My legs have started to dry out and flake. Like the whole body flare ups I would get when on cortisone, the redness goes all over my body before it would go away. You can always tell when it is about to hit a new area, as that ski becomes hot, itchy and very soft. If you rub that area, the top layers of skin fall away and a juicy new layer is exposed... within 24 - 48 hours that area has become flaky and dry. Oh and finally, I'm freezing cold all the time. This is because my skin is bright red (all over) and giving off heat, so subsequently I feel very cold. It's a vicious cycle as rugging up causes the red skin to exfoliate more.

Day #9 Video Update

Day #5 update

Thursday, 6 September 2012

Red Skin Recovery Day #1

I've been looking for a solution to my red skin for some time now.  This red 'rash' comes and goes, and seems to be getting worse with time.  Every time I see a dermatologist they tell me to use more cortisone steroids, which clears it up temporarily, only for it to come back and over time this has got to the point where parts of my skin are always red.  These places at the moment are my face & neck (last year) and my arms (last month or two), and to a less extent my hands themselves.

I thought for a while it was leaky gut syndrome, which is when the body doesn't fully digest food and your system caused inflammation as an immune reaction to it.  Over the course of a month or two I went on various diets to cut out the rubbish i was eating and only eat extremely healthy (salad and salmon etc), and whilst this helped, the rash didn't really go away.

So now I've stumbled across red skin syndrome and it mirrors all my symptoms.  A few video's i saw looked exactly like my rash and the cause I am told is over exposure to cortisone steroids.  The solution I am also told is total avoidance of them, so that's what I'm going to do.

I'm actually very worried about it, because I don't want my skin to go flaky again, nor to crack or weep the way I know it can.  I hate when my face is all red and there is no sign of relief, but I trust it will be worth it in the long run.  They say it takes 9 months - 3 years to recover and I reackon I can stick it out til then.

That all said, I need your support - So post comments and lets help each other.

Here's my first Australian Red Skin Syndrome Video, hope you like it: