Skin Turning

I may not be a werewolf, but I sure feel like one when I say that my skin is turning. The good days lasted less than a week, but I sure enjoyed them while they were here. My face definitely started turning yesterday. The skin got itchier, turned red, warmed up, became thicker, then the red turned into more of a purple today and it's starting to look swollen. And it's still transforming now! The dry patches are getting dryer and the itchiness is pretty bad and it's hot to the touch. Can you tell the difference? I know I can!

My beautiful face two days ago! 

My beautiful face two days ago! 

Yesterday. Those who don't know me may think this is what I always look like, but not so! There are bags and lines under my eyes, my eyes look smaller altogether, my complexion is worse, and I just look like a bigger mess in a can't-put-your-finger-on-it way.

Yesterday. Those who don't know me may think this is what I always look like, but not so! There are bags and lines under my eyes, my eyes look smaller altogether, my complexion is worse, and I just look like a bigger mess in a can't-put-your-finger-on-it way.

And this is me today with purply red and swollen skin. Super itchy! And the transformation is still going on.

And this is me today with purply red and swollen skin. Super itchy! And the transformation is still going on.

If my doctor and pharmacist hadn't accidentally given me a 6-day steroid pack yesterday, I would be starting my steroid pill treatment right now. A 6-day pack is too fast; it needs to be a longer lasting treatment or else my eczema will bounce back harder than before. I need something for at least two weeks ... a full month ... forever! Okay, that's too long. Steroid pills are unhealthy, I know. But wouldn't it be great to have the healthy skin permanently?! Let's deal with one day at a time for now. I'll stay out of the Houston heat this weekend and will get the correct steroid pack on Monday, then I'm off for my second babymoon (this time with a best friend) in London and Scotland next weekend ... with what better be amazing skin!

Steroid Conundrum While Pregnant

The thing about chronic eczema is that it needs to be treated continuously. If you're lucky, you'll find something that works for a good amount of time. Nothing will work forever, since the body changes and adapts. For me, herbal pills seem to help.

Steroid packs help, of course, but they're not great. Once the pack is finished, the body rebounds pretty hard at times and the eczema comes right back, maybe even worse. Wouldn't it be wonderful if steroid packs had zero negative side effects and could be taken forever? The reality is that they're pretty unhealthy and I try to avoid them as much as possible. What about steroid creams? I gave those up years ago after I lathered myself with them for years. I am quite certain that I permanently damaged my skin around my eyes and mouth (two main eczema-prone spots for me) and will likely look like a 120-year-old by the time I'm 60. Thus, I am super hesitant about using steroid creams. 

Insert my pregnancy into the mix. Now I'm unable to take my herbal pills and my eczema has crept into unbearable levels. My dermatologist confirmed the mess on my face is indeed eczema and nothing else. She gave me steroid creams and told me to hold off on the steroid pack, since "it could be worse." (It could be worse! Oh, eczema.) Both steroid creams and steroid packs are category C treatments. In the pregnancy world, category C is a label used for products that have been known to hurt animal fetuses, but enough studies haven't been done to confirm the same for humans. A pregnant woman is advised to only use category C products if the benefits outweigh the risks. Well, damn. Put that way, I'm going to avoid all category C products unless absolutely necessary. I'd rather not sleep well and tear my skin out rather than hurt the growing baby inside me. My dermatologist confirmed the munchkin isn't getting hurt by my flare-up. It's all superficial and only felt by me. Except the not sleeping well, of course. 

So I will continue to hold off. If, later on, I'm so unhealthy that it's affecting my pregnancy, I'll reconsider the steroid creams and packs. Even though my OBGYN is okay with my taking the medications, I'd rather stay on the safe side. Scratch, scratch, scratch ...

 

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Pregnancy Glow? More Like Facial Eczema.

The last few months, a few things changed my life: I got pregnant (yeah!), I stopped my acupuncture and herbal pills and my eczema went down a bad path. As is often the case with eczema, I don't know if the events leading to the flareup are correlated. I've been quiet about my skin, because I had nothing positive to say. No words that would bring hope to other eczema sufferers. But things have gone pretty far and I want to be loud about it.

One of the worst periods of my life is when I went through facial eczema years ago. My eczema moved to my body and I was so grateful ... And hoped it'd never return to my face. A wish unfulfilled.

I'm now in my 19th week of pregnancy and my face has deteriorated the last few months. Bright red, itchy, scaly, peeling, significant shedding and swollen. So very swollen. Over the weekend, my eyes were so swollen when I woke up, that I could barely open them. Oh and it's still all over my body. Bloody sheets and clothes are a daily occurrence.

I'm now working from home more often and asking my close friends to come to my house instead of meeting in public places. It's jarring for strangers and coworkers to see me. "What happened to your face?!" exclaimed a stranger at Old Navy while I shopped for cheap maternity clothes a few weeks ago. She thought I'd had a chemical peel. Others have thought the same thing.

At a time when I should be focusing on the growing child inside my belly, all my thoughts are focused on my skin. Pregnancy already causes women to lose sleep. My itchiness has kept me up for weeks and has me worried that I'm not resting enough for the munchkin inside of me. 

I'm back with my acupuncturist and am about to see my dermatologist. Usually I say a dermatologist has nothing to offer me anymore, but, in case I'm dealing with more than eczema and to watch out for the growing baby inside me, I'm going to play the safe card. Maybe modern medicine can help after all ... Fingers are crossed.

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