Today I have an encouraging podcast for you from a surgeon who’s in my Conqueror Eczema Academy group coaching program.
Her story is encouraging because she’s suffered from eczema and dermatitis for a long time. She also went through topical steroid withdrawal (TSW), and as a result, has tried many types of treatment.
She originally sought the top dermatologist in her hospital and she also went to dermatology conferences to find a healing solution. In addition, she has also tried a lot of alternative treatments (I won’t share too much here so that you can find out in the podcast) 🙂
Her story is very encouraging because I think so many of us have been discouraged by the current conventional medical system. She is one of the rare doctors (she’s from Malaysia) who has tried both Eastern and Western medicine to help heal her eczema, and she understands both treatments.
I am so proud of her because of how far she’s come, how her story encourages people, and how she has been open to other methods to help her heal.
I hope her story can give you hope today.
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Full Episode Transcript
Surgeon: So I think I was pretty okay until probably in my late thirties where–I’m a medical doctor and a surgeon that specializes in breast cancer and thyroid–and with work commitments, and a lot of calls and all. I’m also a mother with two children. My [00:01:14] sixteen and eleven. Probably work commitments and all, I think the stress had fallen to me, and in the late thirties I developed…I had very severe back eczema and naturally the first thing that you know you apply without thinking is steroids. And I’ve always used [inaudible 00:01:42] But when the new thing came on full topic I also try that.
Surgeon: Then I realized that it is not going off and every time I stop, after the calls which is the recommended calls, when you’re just supposed to use steroids and it just keeps on coming on and getting worse. So much so that I have to visit several dermatologists and professors around the country, internationally. And then attend a dermatology conference just to talk to these international professors about why you’re coming here for eczema and all they tell you is, like, use more steroids and eventually it will go away. I wasn’t too happy about it. I’m an endocrine surgeon, I know what steroids can do to your body. You get Moon Face, osteoporosis and heart problems, cataracts and whatnot in the long run. So that’s why I started to look for alternative natural healing.
Surgeon: So I searched around and I came to know about topical steroid withdrawal and addiction. And also various methods of eating healthy. You know in Malaysia we have such very good food that is very difficult to eat healthily because its just so good. So I was beginning to go down that road, I was, you know, the dieting part, I wanted to try all the ways. The eczema was getting quite bad. I read a lot about topical steroid addiction, came to know about its signs.
Surgeon: And then, I think the most important thing was I came to know a group of Singaporean eczema topical steroid supporters who are going through topical steroid withdrawal. And I managed to be able to contact them and speak to them, go down to Singapore and talk to them. Some of them have actually done the withdrawal for a couple of years. I decided okay I will go into it. And was ready for the repercussions that is going to come on.
Surgeon: By that time I was also working, I’m already a consultant surgeon in the hospital, and I work, it can be a bit stressful because I can tell my juniors to do the work. And I’ve got senior consultants who are very supportive for what I’ve been through. And then I want to stop my steroids. While I was going through that as well, I understand that if I want to heal naturally it’s just not about stopping steroids outside. It’s also internal healing.
Surgeon: I’m lucky also that, sometimes, all the energies comes together and you meet the right people. And as I was looking for internal healing, I found a health coach. So I went into vegetable juicing, and I think currently she is now in Canada. And her blog is called Juicing for Health. Sarah Ding.
Surgeon: So she was my health coach. I met up with her and I told her about what I’m going through, and I really want to change and try to have a better internal healing. So she actually guided me and I was very lucky that my topical steroid withdrawal period took about a year, a year and a half to overcome. Right? Compared to many others who took years and years. So there are a lot of things that we maybe can discuss at another time.
Surgeon: So I actually did very well, in one and a half years I was fine. And basically ninety-eight–I think I would say almost eighty, ninety percent of my eczema withdrawal actually healed. And it was normal flare, and I was able to be able to get back to work properly. It just comes on and on. And naturally, I was having a very good diet, and then later on since I was better you forget about the diet and then you just go back to doing, eating bad. The wrong food.
Surgeon: And then after that I specialize in [inaudible 00:06:19] to do my subspecialty in breast cancer, and oncoplastic surgery, and all the added stress and poor diet, poor health. And I guess it was catching up as well, and I had my next flare, eczema flare. I think they call it the topical steroid withdrawal flare or, I’m not too sure about it. For the past years it was really bad. I didn’t know what went wrong again. I just refused to…no, I don’t want to go back to eating vegetables. So I was trying all kinds of things.
Surgeon: So I tried other alternative…like a lot of detoxes… I do coffee enema, I do a lot of vegetable juicing that still the same. And I even try alternative, like qi gong, some meditation and relaxation techniques. And the alternatives have really to be better. So the point in time came like probably one month ago I said, okay that’s enough, I’ve had enough of this and I think I better go and change my diet. That’s when I went on this diet that is an elimination diet, like everyone is talking about. No grains, no gluten, no soya, no dairy, no nightshades, and just vegetable juicing and very clean eating. And surprisingly within one to two weeks I can actually feel the effects, like my flares were always like…seven to eight out of ten that each was like, six, seven out of ten. The skin dryness and flakiness is like sandpaper.
Surgeon: All this practically reduce to less than five. It was very significant, I feel generally so much better. I’ve actually continued until now. This is basically my part of the story…what has happened over the past seven years. With regard to being a doctor, I’ll tell you that. So when I was going through the initial phase when I was having very bad…the first time, seven years ago the bad eczema. And I went to see my own hospital’s dermatology, so to get the free medication that they were giving me steroids. At one point they were telling me I need to take all steroids. And when I decided to go through topical steroid withdrawal, I met up with some of them and they saw that I was so red, and I was oozing and weeping.
Surgeon: I was working…I’ve never taken one day off, and see out of. Miraculously I don’t know how I was able to work with the withdrawal. And you know the hospital was very upset with me. They got the [inaudible 00:09:32] and tell me that I’m very silly and stupid for going through this, and as a medical doctor I should know about guidelines and protocols and you know, what is right and wrong. But I said “no, I’ve decided to take risk into my own hands” and then you know I had to go through the repercussions of it. And after I healed, after one and a half to two years. They met me again and then on and off they see me alone in the hospital. And stood there and see, I’m practically cleared, no redness and steroid free for one and a half years. One and a half to two years that time. I told them listen you are killing all your patients by unnecessary giving lots of steroids. And, I can’t change the protocol. One by one they start off [inaudible 00:10:31]
Surgeon: As a medical doctor sometimes its very difficult. Patients come to you, you know, for treatment and unless the patient is willing to change themself its very difficult for the doctors to tell otherwise.
Surgeon: I think that’s about in a nutshell what I have to say. I can take the whole hour.
Host: Thank you so much for sharing your story. I think it really encourages a lot of people.
Coach: This is Jen, I’m the other coach in this group.
Surgeon: Hi Jen!
Coach: Hi. I think it’s awesome that you, you know, went back to these dermatologists and showed them your skin and just basically told them that, hey I took care of it. I could heal myself without the creams.” Like, that’s what I hope that everyone will be able to do after they get through the steroid withdrawal. Cuz, they need to see this. They need to see that, like you said, it’s unnecessary to be prescribing these medications.
Coach: That’s awesome. I commend you on that.
Coach: How is your skin right now?
Surgeon: It’s great! Now, I’ve been one month, almost one month on this diet. It’s smoother now. The flakes are very fine, like powder. And it’s much, much less. The flare, I’m happy to say that its down to two or three out of ten. It’s only the itch that comes on and off. ON some days its less than five, on some days I just don’t know why, it’s very itchy.
Coach: Yeah. So, It’s not uncommon to have, like, a stress itch, or even like, itch just out of habit. Sometimes I even do that, like if I’m frustrated or something it’s kind of like a comfort or coping mechanism. And it’s something that you kind of gotta break yourself out of. Just be aware of it.
Host: I think it’s pretty amazing that someone from the medical field is in our group because usually a lot of us have had a lot of bad experiences with doctors and dermatologists who just prescribe us steroids.
Surgeon: I think it’s sometimes, we are going through the flares and we don’t understand the withdrawal flares, it can be very torturing. And sometimes you know where is the end. I believe that you will heal but, two things: diet is very important, the right supplements, and your positive mind.
Host: Yeah, I completely agree.
Surgeon: I feel these few things is very important. It’s not so much of…I try so many creams, I’ve buyed from one end of the world to the other end of the world and you can just buy a very simple, natural organic moisturizer. But of course you need different range. Because sometimes there is very dry, you need a thicker balm and its not so dry then, you need a cream base, and for those weeping stages, I find the zinc cream mixed with a balm helps a lot.
Host: Yeah, I agree with that as well.
Surgeon: But a lot of that is dealing with the internal healing. Right? So I’ve done coffee enema, I think that helps with the [inaudible 00:13:55] to improve the immunity and as well the gut healing.
Host: So what are you eating right now? What’s your main diet? I know you are avoiding a lot of things. Are you mainly just eating fruits and vegetables? Anything else?
Host: No meat, right?
Surgeon: Meat, yes, I take salmon. And I do bone broth, so I’ll take for the time being, I’m just going to fish occasionally. I stick in chicken and whatnot when I go out with people, but I just have a plate of stir-fried vegetables, vegetable soup, raw salads with dressings. You know? So far I’ve kept away from grains. Actually, I’m not such a gluten person, so that’s okay. But I love rice. I can have like two or three bowls of rice with a really good curry. I just stay away from spices as well.
Surgeon: So it’s a pretty bland… you know my sister was saying its like baby food.
Host: Hahaha. Baby food. Yeah it’s going back to basics. But it’s the clean diet that makes a difference.
Surgeon: It is. It is. Definitely, definitely. This diet thing is not something that’s easy to just go and do it. Right? THat’s why it took me so long to finally put my foot down and, okay, I wish I did that like, a couple of years ago.
Host: Yeah. Well thank you so much for sharing! It’s very helpful hearing your story and I know it encourages a lot of other people as well. So thank you so much!
Surgeon: Most welcome.
Abby is a Registered Holistic Nutritionist who helps clients achieve optimal health. She is passionate about seeing people use health and nutrition to transform lives. She hopes that her experiences and knowledge can help educate others on natural remedies that will help eczema. Follow her on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, or YouTube for more updates!
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