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Forced Quarantine Before COVID-19: My Topical Steroids Withdrawal Journey

But despite all the hardships that TSW-RSS gave me, it also made me realized that beauty is skin deep

This article is to celebrate people of all shapes, size and physical conditions. Those didn’t matter at all, as long as you know who you are and what are you capable of doing.

Backstory first, I grew up not having that pretty face or that sexy body. But I am smart enough to know that I am blessed differently…

from being that bookworm, almost nerd, being so vocal about what I think to the point that they considered me “bastos” since I freely express my thoughts, being the black sheep and most of all, being the voluptuous one.

Yes, I was the thick, if not the thickest girl, during my teenage years, in the clan.

Being obese didn’t really bother me at first. But as time goes by, I get used to thinking that I was fat, in fact too fat. And in society that almost slammed you for being too thick, as if it was a mortal sin.

Didn’t know that it would be my motivation to get “sexy” as how our society define sexy.

I was the ugly duckling way back in high school. I wear eyeglasses, not the fashionable ones, and even wear cotton gloves(FYI I have hand eczema since grade school) for my sensitive, most of the times, wounded hands.

College days help me to become lean. Walking from one building to another one instead of taking the campus jeepneys. I love walking by the way. I got around 45 to just less than 50 kg at that time. I remember it clearly since I wasn’t able to donate blood because I am under 50 kg.

When I started working remotely as a research paper writer, I gained some weight. But still not enough to let me donate blood.

Then I entered the corporate world in 2013. I was enjoying everything at first but then I started to get stressed more than ever. Working six (6) days a week then instead of having your rest day, it would become your laundry day. I was living separately at that time from my parents and siblings. I resorted to drinking liquor every Saturday nights (Mucho beer is always in the house) or partying somewhere whenever I wanted to. Then an order was announced in the workplace, we can now EAT in our work station as long as we keep it clean. Nice excuse to get started developing my stress-eating behaviour.

When I jump from one company to a bigger one, I got more stressed. Didn’t knew that I had to do sales, marketing, customers service and administrative tasks at the same time. Sometimes, untimely reports are also requested despite our super hectic schedule. 

Then there goes my stress-eating behaviour getting worse. I have a sweet tooth since I was young. In fact, I consumed one to two Hersey’s

chocolate bars for snack time every single day. From having around 3 to 4 meals, I eat every time I feel so lazy, worried and or stress in general. Still thinking that I would not gain weight.

Little did I know, getting stress is one of the best triggers of my eczema. So I took medical check-up and consultations. Took those prescriptions steroids which eventually almost ruined my life and I got a lot heavier. A whopping 70+ kg for a short female (I am just 5’1″), I am already overweight in the BMI index. Blood sugar is at the verge already. Spots are now showing up in my body. From red to bright red until it turned black like bruises. Little did I know that these were already the early signs of having Topical Steroids Withdrawal aka Red Skin Syndrome.

So what the hell is Topical Steroids Withdrawal aka Red Skin Syndrome (TSW-RSS)? It’s a condition in which your body no longer respond to steroids. It manifests all over your body systems, particularly in your skin. Check itsan.org for more information. TSW-RSS is usually, characterized by the following:

  • “too much eczema”- like conditions in any areas of the body aka excessive eczema
  • Itchy, inflamed, wounded skin is all over plus you will be like a “walking dead person” (having decaying skin while you are still alive)
  • Yeah, your skin will be inflamed red like having red sleeves etc. 
  • Sensitivity to sunlight and sometimes to wind also occur.
  • Your body clock will also change. You can’t sleep at night then a little sleep time/ no energy in the daytime.
  • Even your ability in regulating your body’s temperature will be ruined. You are too  cold or too hot in a matter of a few minutes

My case was not an exemption to all of these. I even got glanuloma and eventually pneumonia. I was forced to be quarantined for almost two long years. I guess it was a blessing in disguise since it prepared me for the quarantine brought by the COVID19 pandemic.

But despite all the hardships that TSW-RSS gave me, it also made me realized that beauty is skin deep. I’d a fair, glowing clear skin before it got wrecked by TSW-RSS. This result of having scarred almost tan skin all over my body. The hardest part was the mental battle that I had to go through. I was worried if I can still go back to the corporate world after being “not visually pleasing” to the eyes. How will I be able to face our customers etc.? These and other questions surface in my mind. I needed to do something else. 

I managed to bounceback by upskilling, I learn digital marketing via Facebook Blueprint and got trained as an Elevate scholar to be an executive virtual assistant (EVA) under Connected Women.

My untold story of being a TSW-RSS warrior/survivor may remind each of us that there’s still light at the end of the tunnel, no matter what we are experiencing right now. It’s a well-kept secret before, now it’s my outspoken truth. An unexpected transition that made way to be where I am today(will not be writing and sharing stories if it didn’t happen). So please NEVER LOSE HOPE and be courageous enough to take that leap of faith. Be healthier and stay safe. Remember, your skillsets, attitude and character will always be more than your physical appearance.

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Marjorie Asidera-Omega

Marjorie considers herself as a Sales & Marketing Enthusiast (SME). Recently, she joined Elevate, Connected Women's Executive Virtual Assistant Training Program to transition herself from the corporate world to remote work. Follow her on LinkedIn.

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