By Rebecca Drew
GIVING up steroid creams after TWENTY-FIVE-YEARS left this mum’s eczema ravaged skin in so much pain that she avoided showers for WEEKS and was even left CRYING ON THE BATHROOM FLOOR after attempting a bath.
Licensed acupuncturist, Catherine Provenҫal (44) from Mill Valley, California, USA, struggled with mild eczema since she was a baby and doctors told her parents it would go away by her teens. Catherine had eczema on her wrists, knees and elbows and was first prescribed steroid creams when she was 16.
Over time the creams prescribed lost their effectiveness so Catherine would be given a stronger cream each year until she was prescribed the most potent, using them on her fingers and arms for 25-years and a non-steroid cream to treat patches of eczema that appeared on her face.
On a trip to Australia in April 2017, Catherine noticed she had patches of eczema appear on her chest and neck that wouldn’t heal with treatment. As the patches spread to other places on her body where she had never experienced eczema before, she was also suffering from intense itching, stinging and burning which led to her sleeping with ice packs and dreading showering.
When she came home Catherine started to research her symptoms and discovered that she was suffering from topical steroid addiction (TSA) and topical steroid withdrawal (TSW), when the skin reacts adversely after long-term use of topical steroid creams is stopped. Realising that her prescribed creams were doing more harm than good, Catherine went cold turkey from April 29, 2017, to improve her skin.
Within just a few days, Catherine’s skin reacted adversely, she was in agony as it oozed, bled and itched. For the first year, she slept with ice packs at night to calm the burning and avoided showering for weeks at a time as the water hitting her open wounds was unbearable. She suffered chills, found herself hoovering dead skin off the floor daily and one day, months after giving up the cream she collapsed on her bathroom floor crying in pain after having a bath.
Since September 2017, Catherine has been treating her eczema naturally using the Medical Medium information founded by Anthony William and has adopted a plant-based diet which is raw and low fat. In 2018, after reading William’s Liver Rescue book Catherine discovered that most skin conditions are caused by a pathogen in the liver.
Now Catherine’s skin is the best it has ever been, but her healing journey still isn’t over.
“Finding out I had TSA and TSW, I felt defeated, devastated and relieved, all at the same time. I felt devastated because I was advised by a friend that was just on the other side of going through TSW with her daughter, to buckle up for the worst and most unexpected journey,” she said.
“I will never forget our two-hour phone conversation where she informed me that going through TSW could take me anywhere from one to four years. This was very frustrating to hear.
“I felt relieved to know that I was not alone going through TSW and that I finally knew why my rashes were spreading and only getting worse and worse. I was also relieved to know that even though the Western Medical Community didn’t really know about TSW, some alternative health care professionals were understanding it and truly supporting it.
“This was before I found out about the Medical Medium and the truth behind the causes of eczema in the first place.
“I started to experience withdrawal side effects within the first week, basically as soon as I stopped using the steroids creams, my skin rebelled and reacted strongly. Topical steroids suppress the immune system, affects the adrenal glands and narrow the blood vessels in the skin so when you cease treatment, it is revenge time.
“Rashes that are red, itchy and burning come out in full force. Everything that people take for granted is non-existing while recovering. It can be summarised as a couple of years of intense and uncontrollable itching, oozing, bleeding, chills, dry flaking skin, swelling and deep bone burning pain sensations.
“Everything feels uncomfortable, painful, moving is very hard and nothing really provides relief. You just don’t want to be in your skin anymore.
“A lot of crying happened at the beginning and I will never forget one morning during the first months of this healing crisis, collapsing on the bathroom floor after taking a bath, screaming and crying in pain, begging for help. Giving up definitively crossed my mind for a minute, that is for sure.
“Although I was still itching a lot every day and not sleeping straight through the night, I was fully dedicated and healing with the Medical Medium information because I knew this was the truth and the right path for me to follow.
“This is when I started sharing my journey on Instagram, which was empowering because one, I felt part of a community and two, it was important for me to bring awareness around the overuse and over prescriptions of topical steroids for skin conditions.”
The most difficult thing about Catherine’s journey was the guilt she felt of her husband, Ben and daughter, Lily, having to witness the pain she was in.
Although her skin is much better now, Catherine showers once a week unless otherwise needed as she is committed to healing her skin completely. She shares her journey on Instagram under, @purelycatherine.
“My skin feels great at the moment. The best it’s felt in a long, long time. I don’t even use any moisturisers on my body and it feels naturally smooth and soft. If I have to use some cream, it is the most natural moisturiser with natural, non-medicated and non-chemical ingredients,” she said.
“My hands and neck take the longest to heal so I still have eczema on these spots, but they are easily manageable. I am currently two years and four months into this journey. I would say that months one to three of TSW were really painful, then again months eight to 10 and 14 to 20. That is my experience and it is different for everyone.
“The most difficult thing about going through TSW for me was the guilt that I was feeling of having my daughter and my husband witness my journey as I wanted to feel so strong and take good care of them. I was struggling taking care of myself alone, but I also wanted to be there for them.
“Physically the most difficult thing was getting dressed in the morning. I was so uncomfortable, and my skin was so painful in the mornings that it took everything out of me to remove my pyjamas, cloth wash myself and get dressed. I used to always have a huge itch fest as soon as I got out of bed which was such a painful and depressing way to start the day.
“Then, when you scratch, all of your skin is found everywhere so you have to vacuum daily and wash the sheets that you have slept in because blood and ooze were on them.
“I healed my skin by finding the true causes of eczema with the Medical Medium information. Taking baby steps, I completely changed my diet and lifestyle to incorporate only healing foods and supplements. I went from eating a “Paleo” diet for years and years to eating only healing fruits and vegetables, going plant based, high raw and low fat.
“In fact, I completely cut overt fats for almost seven months which was a pivot point in the recovery of my skin. Cutting fats was a complete game changer. Within 16 days of not eating overt fats, all the scabs and oozing disappeared on my face. It took me out of my last big flare and I have been going uphill ever since, skin wise.
“Educating myself with the Medical Medium information’s was truly life changing for me and I will forever be grateful to have found him through social media. I was able to successfully do many of the Medical Medium cleanses and with every new lifestyle, detox reactions happen and healing becomes a ‘Cha-Cha’ dance: three steps forward, two steps back.
“I have been on this healing journey for almost two-and-a-half-years and I am still embracing the Medical Medium lifestyle and I have never been enjoying my foods as much as I do now.
“Changing my lifestyle and diet with the Medical Medium information along with getting acupuncture treatments every two to three weeks and being followed by a homeopathic Doctor truly allowed my body’s ability to self-heal naturally.”
Finally, Catherine shared her words of advice to others.
“I am not 100% recovered yet, I still have some healing to do but I am definitely out of survival mode and it feels wonderful because I know I am on the right path. I am already thriving and am so excited for what the future will bring,” she said.
“As a health care practitioner and having gone through a healing crisis and chronic illness, my dream is to serve as many people as I can.
“My message is to always trust your body’s ability to heal itself and come back to homeostasis with proper nourishment, gentle cleanses, compassion and faith. Look up healing stories and reach out to people who have successfully healed naturally but don’t compare your healing story to others because comparison is never fulfilling.
“Instead trust the healing process you are in and surrender that it is exactly where you are supposed to be in the moment. Your time will come to shine the light and share your gifts to the world.
“Educate yourself with the Medical Medium information and understand the true causes of eczema and why your body reacts strongly once you stop using steroid creams which is half of the battle.”
For more information see www.instagram.com/purelycatherine/