Let the pictures do the talking.
Thoughts on skin:
I have already forgotten how many months post TSW it has been for my skin, as it has not bothered me a single bit.
There have been no sudden major flares since I started MW (over a year back).
Physical skin recovery is obvious but slow. I look pretty normal, other than some battle scars, darker pigmentation, some scaly and slightly thicker skin (that I can confidently predict that they will go away with time).
Ever since I started the journey of doubting everything (and hence stopping the usage of everything on my skin – medicine, creams, and moisturizers), there is greater clarity on what actually affects my skin:
1) A large extent is highly dependent on my diet.
When having a high inflammatory diet(i.e. high carbs, sugars, sweet + allergic food – certain citrus fruits, tomatoes, nightshades), my skin acts up and itches for a day. Very small patches of broken, sometimes bleeding skin will greet me in the morning. Which meant I scratched at night, unknowingly. Which meant it is slightly irritating for 1 day. Which meant I have to watch my diet closely for the next day. Which meant my skin problems will go away after 1 day. Such minor physical symptoms are awesome reminders and signalling devices to keep my diet in check.
2) Weather humidity.
When I visited Japan last year, the weather was slightly cold and very dry. Skin acted up adjusting for the decreased humidity and it was probably one of the worst trips I had taken skinwise.
Post TSW, I visited Australia (Melbourne and Sydney) and the weather was equally cold and way drier. My skin was also adapting to the decreased humidity and I experienced relatively discomfort – peeling, slight flaring, but nothing serious.
Recently, I visited Korea (Seoul, Busan and Jeju) and experienced sub zero temperatures as well as very dry weather. This time, my skin was just dry and there were no irritation and problems associated with the typical TSW symptoms at all.
So I guessed I am healed? I hate to use this word as in some circles (ITSAN Forums etc), they put people who declare themselves healed on a pedestal. The things ITSAN do still disgusts me, for the many wrongful advice given by their vets as well as the way they ban members in need of true help. They like to use the word “veteran” widely. If applied to me, I hope I would be a veteran not because of my improved skin condition, but rather of critical thoughts and experience, and the added value given to others through this blog. To say I am completely healed may be difficult. As much as I feel great and look okay physically, I have no idea what other systemic effects internally were affected and are still in the stages of recovery. Rather, instead of talking about recovery, I see it as a learning process to understand better the feedback systems of our body.
I see healing as a continuum of sorts, a process of infinitesimal personal decisions that move your physical condition in the right way.
Infinitesimal decisions that moved my condition are plenty: TSW, MW, exercise, thinking critically on skin issues, journaling, reading food and diet related books, studying inflammation, not listening to doctors, calling bullshit when I see bullshit. Perhaps the biggest decision is to trust my gut/intuition. Some decisions have resulted in plenty of short term pain, but net long term positive. I am glad I made those decisions. They probably gave me back my life and more.
It has come to the point where continual updating of progress pictures is no longer of significance to myself (but certainly to readers).
There is no doubt that my personal interests have shifted elsewhere, from skin to my studies and new career.
Nonetheless, I still maintain my contacts with plenty of readers through email/FB, and it has been highly rewarding personally to be able to help them or at least provide a listening ear.
I thank fellow readers for your continued support and wish all of you a Happy New Year!
Chug on, skin warriors!