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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: