I’ve written this post in my head probably a hundred times since my last TSW post. Why I haven’t committed to putting the words on paper screen yet is simply due to avoidance. By the time I get to write at night, it’s my veg out time. Charlotte’s in bed, and for the first time all day I don’t have to worry about any of my shortcomings as a mom in this situation. The last thing I want to focus on is my skin, so I typically watch stupid shows like The Bachelorette or read pages and pages of lifestyle blogs about people I’ll never know. They’re the guilty pleasures I’ve stopped feeling guilty about because don’t we all deserve an escape? I’ve mentioned how I don’t blog as often anymore, and the deeper reason for this is because I don’t enjoy reflecting on my life as much these days. In a way it feels fake to post sweet and funny stories about our daily life when in reality I’m really struggling to be happy. (There is nothing fake about these posts, I assure you. It’s just that I feel like I am leaving out an ugly yet significant truth to our lives right now by never posting about it.)
I know. Get a grip, right? I have everything I’ve ever wanted – Chris is my dream, a teaching job I couldn’t have hand-picked any better, a house of our own, plenty of food to eat every day, a supportive loving family, and, of course, Charlotte: My everything. These things, these people do make me very happy, every day.
And yet, I can’t shake the blues. They’ll creep up on me on a night like tonight, after I had a good day, and then it just happens. I’m sobbing in the tub, the only place I can cry without my tears burning my face, while Chris has taken over making dinner or doing something else I should be doing instead of crying.
But I did really need that bath because my skin was a mess, like it is every day still. This is what is so hard: I expected to be better than this by now. I thought this summer would be better than last, and so far, it’s shaping up to be much of the same. I’m still trapped inside most of the day, chased away by the sun that is still agonizing me. Last fall, I thought my sensitivity was getting better, but now I’m not so sure any more. The sun, which has been such a great healer for everyone else I’ve “met” online, is my nemesis. I’ve been doing an experiment on my legs this week by spending just five minutes outside every day, and, from the looks of me, you’d think someone slashed my shins and ankles with forks. So what do I do? Never go outside before dark? Tell that to my two year-old. It’s all very confusing and hard to track my progress when it is so back and forth. One night a few weeks ago one of my arms felt really good. But then, the next morning, back to normal (bad) again. What the hell? This is making me insane.
I still believe I am going through topical steroid withdrawals, but now I doubt this is all there is to it. I’m concerned there is something else going on inside of me. Something complicated. Something we can’t figure out yet. I can’t do anything about this, so it’s scary. I don’t want that to be true.
I am realizing that probably none of this makes sense since I haven’t updated about my skin in two months. Months 13 through 16 have not been kind to Katy. Maybe if we all chant together, get better get better get better, month 17 will be the corner I need to turn.
So anyway, here are lots of pictures I’ve taken over the past couple of months.
This was what my face looked like mid-April through early June:
The area around my mouth is such a problem zone. It gets so flaky and then I pick it so it looks even worse. I have no idea why this area gets bad, but I’ve read that others experience similar problems around their mouths, too. Sadly, that makes me feel better.
The next series of photos were taken in mid-May, when I tried to get a few minutes of sun late one afternoon after work. Actually, I don’t think I flared any worse after being in the sun that day, but I have every day since then. This sort of answer-less questioning drives me CRAZY.
You can see that I’m red, red, red again. Scratched up and swollen ankles. Skin so dry it wrinkles when I move (see my back).
Then, this weird thing happened to my inner thighs. It was like a severe wind burn or chafing (but it was not chafing) – so raw and tight and painful. I could barely walk. You can see the red lines on my skin like stretch marks. Thankfully, that went away after only a few days.
Here’s a picture of Charlotte and me taken around that time. I was never going to post it anywhere because I think it’s a hideous picture of me, but after showing you all these photos, what could be any worse, right?
(Charlotte, as usual, is adorable as ever!)
At the end of May I got shingles. Shingles! Isn’t that the disease that the 80 year-olds get on the commercials? Yeah, May was not a good month for me.
At least my shingles patch was small (about the size of a quarter), and the pain subsided after only a few days. I’m hoping you can’t get shingles twice, because if that’s true, then I’ll feel lucky that I had it and got it over with. Ha!
After my shingles started to clear up, my skin rebounded. My hands in particular have been giving me problems this summer after being good for many months. They’re a bit swollen, very red, irritated, and dry. Sometimes the dryness makes my skin crack, like it did here on my hand. (I did not cut my hand. It actually just cracked open like that. This sort of thing sort of blows my mind.)
The next three pictures taken in mid-June: my back (a big problem for me from the start), my chest (so dry here!), and my arm (lobster red after I probably scratched it).
*Never mind about the arm pic. It showed up HUGE when I uploaded it, so I took it out. Just imagine a red arm here.
Yes, I’ve been scratching a lot lately. I do so without abandon because I’ve realized it’s not worth trying not to. I will fail trying not to and then feel guilty about failing. It’s impossible to ignore the itch most of the time, and in a matter of seconds, I can undo days of no-scratching. So I let myself scratch.
As a result, my fingernails have taken a beating. Last week, this fingernail split apart. The tip of the nail was still hanging on to the underside of my nail, until eventually it broke off, too. I’m glad I got a picture of this because in a gross way it’s kind of cool.
So…..that’s my 14 through 16 month update. For all you ITSAN readers, I’m sorry I’m such a downer right now. It comes and goes in waves, so there are good times, too. (The rest of this blog proves that.) That said, the later months have been so much harder emotionally than the early months. But then, I’ve had these symptoms now for almost five years (before I knew I was addicted), so it’s suddenly been feeling like a lifetime for me. Don’t even get me started on “the lost years of my twenties.”
Right. Okay. I’m not going there.
Thank you all for letting me feel safe enough to vent.