I wanted to share something with everyone. Not that this has much to do with TTC at all, but I suppose it might in a roundabout way. Bear with me and my ramblings; you’ll like this, I promise!
I was born a beautiful child. I was huge for my age (not fat, just big), which is almost assuredly where my son gets it; he’s only 2 but is wearing a solid size 4T! I was what they called a “toe-head” in the deep south back in the day; my hair was so blonde it was almost white, but I’m not an albino. I was just a Super Blonde!
I towered over my classmates until the 6th grade, at which point they all caught up; by 7th grade however, they had almost all passed me up in height – standing 5 feet 1 inch tall (about 155 cm for you metric fans), the only people I tower over now are children!
While my claim to fame as the tallest in the room went by the wayside in middle school, I maintained my almost flawless complexion clear up into high school. I managed to escape puberty almost completely unscathed by the dreaded acne that plagued so many of my peers, with the exception of the occasional hormone related pimple close to the day AF was supposed to arrive. I wore makeup almost every day, but not to cover blemishes – my biggest concern about my face was the fact that unless I wore mascara, it was hard to see my blonde eyelashes at all!
About midway through my high school years, I began to notice that the skin on my face and neck would break out in red blotches that felt hot to the touch after a really hot shower. They never really stuck around for very long; once the steam from the bathroom disappeared, so did the blotches! All in all however, I was still a beautiful young girl!
As I got older, the skin problems I had on my face and neck began to change; I began noticing that the events that would trigger what I could only describe as a “flare up” were not always as simple as the heat/steam of a hot shower. I would begin getting blotchy during the moments of my life when my stress level was highest, and especially when I would drink wine of any sort. But as long as I limited the triggers and managed my stress level, my flares were limited as well. Not exactly what I would’ve chosen to deal with in my early 20s (when you’re supposed to be your most vibrant), but it wasn’t too terribly bad.
I didn’t begin having REAL troubles out of my skin until I reached the “Dirty 30s,” particularly this past year. Hell, the past 6 months have been AWFUL! After we received our son John’s diagnosis of autistic disorder, I not only had to deal with the stresses of raising a special needs child and the unpredictable life of a supportive Army Wife, I also had the job of getting said autistic toddler to and from his very intensive therapy. And he goes to “school” EVERY. SINGLE. DAY. Oh, and did I mention that my mother is suffering from advanced Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) as well, and while she’s been doing great lately, she wasn’t a year ago. What does this all mean for my face?
I’ve been in almost a constant, never-ending flare up, and now the triggers have changed AGAIN. Hot showers, mowing the lawn, stress, anger, sadness, anxiety, hormones, alcohol of ANY kind, and arguing with my husband are just a FEW of the triggers that will cause a massive flare up. EVERY. SINGLE. TIME.
About 9 months ago, I had finally had enough. I got a sitter (I actually roped my niece into keeping Bubby for me), and went to see a dermatologist. And wouldn’t ya know? My face didn’t have so much as a red spot/blotch the ENTIRE time I was there! I had a feeling that would happen, so I came armed with pictures. I was so afraid the doctor would tell me that it was just allergies, and that there wasn’t a damn thing they could do.
But that’s not what they said.
It seems that (since it had gone so long without ANY treatment at all), I have some rather severe Rosacea. But what exactly is it?
Basically, Rosacea is an inflammatory skin condition that, like rheumatoid arthritis or lupus, is characterized by flares and remissions. I won’t bore everyone with all the details, but for anyone curious to know more about it (or has a friend who is/might be suffering from it), you can find out a wealth of information here. I will say however, that Rosacea isn’t something that can be cured.
The dermatologist gave me a topical gel called Mirvaso that helps to calm the blotchy redness (called “flushing”) for up to 12 hours; for me it only works between 6-8 hours. And while it works a miracle in removing the flushing caused by my Rosacea, it does nothing for the pimple like bumps that show up in the middle of a bad flare. What the hell am I going to do about those?
My husband/family/friends swear up and down that my Rosacea doesn’t bother them, and my husband can not understand why it bothers me so. I’ll tell ya why. Because I’M the one wearing this on my face. I’M the one that children point to and ask their parents, “What’s wrong with her face, Mommy?” I’M the one who has grown people walk quickly away from me while standing close at the buffet serving line like they’re going to “get it on them.” And I think part of it is because I wasn’t born this way. I used to be beautiful.
There’s evidently laser treatments that can act as a long term treatment option, but after some research I’ve discovered that not only does my insurance not cover it (they say it’s just cosmetic), but that each treatment costs $250 out-of-pocket. Oh, and I’d need 4-6 treatments every 6-8 weeks until the Rosacea was under control, and then 1-2 maintenance treatments a year. I don’t know about you, but money don’t grow on trees at Frosty Acres!
So this isn’t really an option, after all. What am I going to do with this kumquat I have I have growing out of my neck that contains my brain? All I could think of is that my husband (good lucking husband, I might add), doesn’t deserve to be seen with someone who looks like a circus freak.
So … I decided to do what women have done for centuries – I would find a way to hide my Rosacea from the world. But how? The Lancomé makeup I’d been using for years was good stuff, but it didn’t have enough coverage to hide my Rosacea completely. I started doing some research, and came upon a brand called Dermablend that was specifically designed to hide scars, stretchmarks, tattoos, and yes – skin conditions. I’d try anything that could potentially hide my true face.
I went to Dillard’s and had the cosmetic lady there help me try several different brands, but I still kept coming back to Dermablend. (I’m totally not trying to sell this makeup, just to relay how important it is to me. The color looked OK in the store so I got it, but the results from the first time I used it at home were even more remarkable.
See for yourself!
How does this apply to TTC at all? It’s hard while TTC to keep the romance alive in the bedroom; BD tends to become more like a job than something we do for pleasure. And when you add the type of self loathing I was feeling for myself on top of it all – well, let’s just say that it’s very hard to be sexy when you don’t feel sexy! I’m still struggling with getting my weight down, but at least for now, my hideous Rosacea is one less elephant in the room I have to worry about.