Soaking, swimming and floating in very salty sea water sounds really good to me after a season of inflamed skin. Tonight, I am on my way to Bonaire with a friend for the sole purpose of spending hours of each day floating in that turquoise Caribbean sea. Skin rashes and redness are not something new in my life. They've come and gone for sixty years. But I am really tired of this latest round of red, itchy, burning, blotchiness. UT dermatologists and McGovern Allergy Clinic say they believe I have contact dermatitis. This after skin tests and patch tests and over a year of monitoring. These periodic burning, itching red patches of skin are driving me nuts and no one knows the cause(s).
That last round of patch tests showed sensitivities to dairy, corn, rice, eggs, soy and honey. Though they didn't test for gluten (why not?), I know well that gluten has immediate effects on my skin, just as it has effects on my three daughters. So, I've cut lots of foods from my daily eating habits. You could say I am about 85% compliant. It's the 15% that still brings me down.
I am eating bunch after bunch of kale, lots of cabbage and broccoli and cucumbers. Lots of fish oil, salmon and anchovies. I got my juicer out and make green juice. And then I succumb to brie or cheddar and am always sorry. Or I sort of forget and eat Vietnamese and then again, I'm sorry.
Sometimes, I think I am a human canary, simply reacting to all the pollution, food additives and genetically modified foods we ingest.
My daughter Mary says, "Mom, I think your cup is already full and when you eat just a little brie or a spoonful, or two or three, of Blue Bell, it just tips you over the edge." She's probably right.
Back to finding the root causes. I had yet another medical consultation a week ago. I was left in the examining room while, apparently, a group of doctors conferred about rashes and blotches. My nurse practitioner, whom I like very much and has been diligent about searching for 'the causes', said, "One of the doctors said 'Treat the symptoms.'" To which she replied, "The patient doesn't want another steroid shot or more cortisone creams. She wants to know the root cause of this condition." I thank her for persevering on my behalf.
In the meantime, I am flying to Bonaire, because I remember very well the healing properties of very salty Caribbean water. I am going to soak in that water until my skin is wrinkled, not red. I will rarely take a shower. That salt is going to dry on my skin and do its work.
The next step? Upon my return, I have an appointment with a doctor who specializes in kinesiology. In preparation for that appointment, I've just printed out photos of how my skin looks today. I'm taking them when I meet with him after a week in Bonaire so he can see 'before and after'.
FYI, I got my toes painted Caribbean turquoise yesterday. I'm ready.