manly-beach

The last couple of months have been a whirlwind, and now I find myself living and working in Australia. I haven’t quite formed an opinion of how I feel about this, as my headspace just doesn’t have the capacity to do so. A lot of my time is spent checking off to do lists to set up an apartment, or trying to figure out the best way to run the research project I’m working on. And what time is left over is for sleep.

But hey, real beaches!

I’ve been dealing with psoriasis for over 4 years now… I just wanted to report a good day just so I can remember the hopeful feeling that my itchy and red patches of skin may return to normal one day.

My first patch appeared on my scalp near my forehead, and when I went to my GP he gave me a steroid cream and it quickly went away with less than a week of use.

Then fast forward maybe a year later – stress from being let go from work (the company moved to SF), a bad break up and moving out of the ex’s house – all of it added together led to the beginning of an stubborn patch near the same spot, small enough to ignore and hide with a little bit of careful grooming.

Then fast forward to uprooting my life to London, all of the environmental and psychological stress saw to another patch forming near my left temple. For half a year I ignored these, then finally gave in and saw a GP who gave me a fungal cream and a .1% hydrocortisone cream. Steroid prescription? Standard prescription.

I really wish that when doctors prescribe steroid creams they give more appropriate warnings about the possible side effects. From one doctor appointment it’s really easy for patients to keep the prescription and continue using it for years on end. It would have been very easy to continue rubbing this band-aid solution on my skin, thinking there were no long-term consequences.- luckily I was using my cream for maybe a month and tapered off when it didn’t seem to make my skin better.

When I stopped the patches immediately became more angry, more inflamed, and spread larger than the original size. Luckily all summer long during my holidays I wore very little make up, ate fresh, wholesome foods, had more exercise, plenty of sun and generally felt more relaxed away from all the London stressors. This seemed to have brought on many changes to my psoriasis, both changes in colour and texture.

It was only during this time that I found out about an entire community of people going through topical steroid withdrawal (thanks Reddit!) I felt terrible that I had kept using the creams past the two-week period, but also betrayed that doctors continue to prescribe these potentially harmful drugs for a disease that they deem “incurable” anyway. I felt relief that I didn’t use steroid creams to the extent of some cases reported in the community, but was concerned that it was long enough to damage my natural skin cycle.

Even though I can’t pinpoint what exactly I’m doing that is helping, I was happy to see more changes today when I woke up – the patch by my temple seems to have very small spots of regular skin colour coming back. I have heard some accounts of psoriasis patches healing from the center outward – almost looking like a halo – and I have my fingers crossed that this might be happening for me too.

From waking up at night feeling itchy and seeing red blotchy skin when I pass by mirrors, to dissecting every single thing I’m doing or eating and whether it’s an allergic reaction, to skepticism over which doctors would be able to help… Seeing a bit of normal skin is seeing hope after extended misery.

I wish I knew the answer to healing from this disease, whether it’s better stress management, or the no-poo method, or the blueberries I ate just yesterday… or none of those things? I can only hope this entry is proof that it is possible to get better, and to encourage myself (and anyone else reading this) to not to give up for the search for a cure.

lakedistrict-fields

On our way back to London after hiking Snowdon in Wales, we passed by the Lake District. It was as quaint and as beautiful as one would imagine from English novels.

Everyday started off with a full English breakfast from our B&B. These are probably the only breakfast sausages I would willingly eat again – Cumbrian sausages that have a distinct herb-y flavour and were something ridiculous like 90% meat.

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Keswick was a cute little village with lots of shops, some homey pubs, and a welcoming market. The cottages were especially charming as they were built from this beautiful dark blue-green stone.

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We didn’t do too much research for outdoor activities in the Lake District prior to arriving. Most English walks we’ve encountered have been quite tame, so we figured we would just rock up and see what’s nearby. We ended up kayaking on Windermere for a bit and found an easy fell called Cat Bells. Even near the summit we were greeted by sprinkles of sheep.

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