August 21st, 2019
Today marks 4 years since I stopped using any topical steroids on my skin and started my topical steroid withdrawal (TSW). I’ve come a long way since the days of being red from head to toe, burning, oozing, cut, sleepless nights, living in a bathtub and being housebound. It’s been one long exhausting life altering journey, definitely one of most hardest unimaginable things I have ever dealt with.
Originally, I was terrified to share my story and would have rather chosen to keep it to myself but I’m glad I didn’t stay silent. The outpouring support and positive feedback I’ve gotten has been mind blowing! People I went to elementary and high school with, friends of friends, co-workers and even strangers have reached out. I am so very greatly and appreciative of everyone’s love, support, words of encouragement and prayers. Thank you!!!
So where am I now? What’s happened since my last post over a year ago?
Honestly, where do I even begin? It’s way too long to write so hopefully my pictures posted below will give you an understanding of how insane and unpredictable it has been. I’ve heard that you can’t heal in the same place you got sick. So, I decided to disappear to Greece for a while to rest, breathe and heal.
This past year I’ve grown more than I ever thought I would. I travelled, lived alone and was independent for the first time in 4 years. I cooked, cleaned, drove on my own…. I did all the normal stuff I used to do before my life came crashing down. It feels amazing to be in this place again.
Prior to my health issues I had a social life, a good life, a busy life. I traveled a lot. I ate anything and everything. I laughed at dumb jokes. Then everything happened and I lost myself. I refuse to see my health issues as something that defines me or controls me anymore. It’s the choices you make that will shape the person you want to become.
Amongst it all, I have realized that this experience has changed me but at my core I am the same Maria. I just had to take a small pause and refocus and try to find myself as cheesy as that sounds. I’m slowly moving forward in my life and being challenged in ways I never thought I would and facing fears I never knew I could.
Life is good.
I don’t have it all figured out yet. My health is still complicated regardless of what it looks like externally, but man I’ve come a LONG way! It’s great to feel normal (a new normal) and independent again. There’s simply no comparison to how I was a year or two ago. I can finally wear make up again, of course non-toxic chemical free. The rest of the unknown internal stuff, including allergies and other infections that I’m dealing with is still a work in progress, baby steps and patience! What I do know is that my body is slowly healing itself and coming back to me. I am grateful for where I’m at now and all that I’ve accomplished.
Now my new challenge is getting back into the real world. I feel like a fish out of water. An entirely new career, a fresh new start. Attempting to date again (now that’s a whole other story)!
I know now more then ever that I can overcome anything that comes my way. Moving forward, I want to focus on sharing non-toxic eco friendly products, healthy recipes and allergy friendly/gluten free hotspots. Providing awareness on RSS/TSW and encouraging others to be their own health advocate will always be my priority.
Love, hugs and gratitude!