I’m in month 51 now. Just went through a mild face and neck flare, even my ears shed. My nose is still peeling but other than that it was over within 7 days and just looked like I was sun burned and swollen. Funny I just read Juliana’s May blog post and it sounded like at 61 months she had a similar flare. My hands, wrists, knees, ankles, inbow and neck are still mildly itchy, warm to the touch, prone to swelling, elephant thickened skin. Those areas still flare every 3 months or so. But i havent had a face flare in years.
I saw Dr. Rapaport in June. He said I’m doing well, he thought it would be just a matter of months now, not years. The “tell” will be how I fare in the winter months. I have not made it through a winter without flaring and being in bed for weeks. If I make it through the winter without flaring, he will declare me recovered from RSS. Why am I still RSS flaring after years of steroids cessation? Dr. Rapaport seemed to think all his Eczema patients with RSS actually have an Autoimmune component underlying in the body and that when winter comes we are fighting the Autoimmune issue and repairing the RSS goes on the back burner. Which is why winter flares can be so rough. He said all of his Eczema/Atopic patients with RSS take the longest to heal.
My personal philosophy of what’s happening is slightly different though. I may have blogged about this last year, so I’m sorry if I repeat myself. But I though I’d share my current philosophy on DNA repair from the damage of Topical Corticosteroids.
I do believe I have an underlying Autoimmune issue that led me to using steroids in the first place. And typically throughout my life February and March are the most difficult months for my body. Except since RSS it’s been the entire rainy season of northern California that blows me out of the water. But my sparse 3-6 month RSS flares happen in the summer and fall too, though much more mildly and recovery is so much quicker that I have additional thoughts about RSS flares at 4, 5, 6, 7 years in.
According to a paper on the US government medical website (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12195445) it has been proven that Intramuscular injection of Corticosteroids causes damage to the Mitochondrial and Nuclear of DNA.
Obviously, to me, topical steroids must do the same damage after being used long enough to penetrate the subcutaneous layers of the dermis therefore damaging the DNA of our skin and subcutaneous layers, not to mention vasoconstriction leading to a blood coagulation disorder. So while the chemical of the steroids may actually leave the body (Although I think there is some pharma residue that settles in the body like most drugs do.) we still have to patiently wait for our DNA to repair itself. No DNA doesn’t heal itself all at once (and sometimes DNA damage is irreversible).
Its my limited understanding that the DNA repairs and recheck and repairs and recheck. When it sees the need for repair it destroys the damage and starts from scratch. The closer and closer it gets to being properly repaired the farther and farther the time goes by for recheck so that the body can address other issues. (The most critical issue gets the most attention.) Once it’s not critical than it moves on its merry way to the next issue. Again im not a scientist, thats my limited understanding. Which leads me to think that the flares that come months apart resembling RSS flares are just the latest repair of DNA damage. It can take years and years for damaged DNA to be corrected, if ever corrected completely.
This is why proper rest, exercise and nutrition are so important. Cause we gotta take care of our little hard working DNA repair guys.
It’s ever changing but that’s my current belief.