How I overcame full-body eczema – Took a year off & channelled it into a new life

A message to those going through anxiety from the change, be it eczema recovery or COVID

If you had seen me in Circa 2013, you would immediately assume I had a terrible sunburn. This was my normal life: a crippling case of full-body eczema. No matter how many specialists I consulted with, they all suggested one thing said, cortisone steroids. To ‘get on top of it’ they said. Unfortunately, what they didn’t know was that it was the cortisone that was fostering my eczema, a vicious cycle that kept getting increasingly worse.

Full body eczema recovery
Full body eczema recovery picture. Me working naked in the office boardroom
after full eczema recovery
My life nowadays after recovering from eczema. Living my best life on a tropical island

Luckily for me, I found the reports published by Dr Marvin Rappaport and lapped it up like an excited puppy quenching his thirst. The scientific reports were staggering, with almost all patients recovering entirely from eczema that had plagued them all their lives. Best of all, there were no drugs, no tricks, just getting off the cortisone and living a healthy lifestyle. Even to my sceptical brain, the data seems undeniable; to me, it was too good to be true.

The patients all had monthly photos taken during the recovery, and they got worse before they got better. Each one went through the same symptoms. In picture after picture, you could see that very same transition. They all wrote the same experiences, and the same problems, but in the end, they all came out healed. So for me, the test was obvious, I had to give it a go. Just a few weeks in, and I knew immediately that I was on the right path.

It’s strange because my body was falling to pieces. I was very red, very itchy and skin was weeping with ooze. However, I had seen this was going to be stage #1 of purging myself of cortisone, and so I took it as a positive sign. What the papers hadn’t prepared me for, was a number of friends telling me I was stupid for going against my GPs advice to stay on cortisone. However, I’m strong of character and had read about 100 hours of this data, so I was pretty confident and stayed the course.

Across the journey, I blogged the results. You can see my weekly reports and watch the videos here:

Blog: http://redskinrecoverydiary.blogspot.com/
YouTube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/user/RedSkinRecovery

Cortisone eczema recovery month by month
Cortisone eczema recovery month by month

The Positive Outlook
I used the time stuck at home to my advantage; twelve months of work. Countless hours were spent planning who I wanted to be presented as, and how I wanted to live going forward. It fuelled a burning desire and made taking a risk seem like the right idea (which it almost always is). For a little inspiration, check out my friend Craig Lewis and his epic year off video.

Any Regrets? Any Benefits?
In hindsight, I would go through the recovery all over again: tomorrow if I had to. Coming out the other side, I had a zest for life and motivation to burn. My life got turned on 100% extra, and amazing opportunities started to appear. These opportunities were largely due to ‘letting go’ and just being present at the moment, connecting with those around me, and not being afraid to swim against the tide. Therein, I made amazing relationships, and found myself within several great business opportunities… all as if by magic.

In one strange course of events, I met Mike Cernovich a popular media personality in the USA. We formed a relationship online, and to this day, were I to reach out to him, Mike would almost certainly have time to chat. That’s the power of using your free time to offer value, and strengthen relationships! -- a topic I’ll cover in another blog post.

It’s hard to explain positivity and how to focus on it. For me, it comes from control. I have done a heap of academic reading on my recovery, and hence as the symptoms got progressively worse, I was able to double down my optimism. Had I not known what to expect, it would have been harder I believe. I believe there’s something in that for you.

What can YOU do?

Tips For Those Recovering
These are the questions I get asked daily on the red skin recovery channels for me to comment on :

Moisturisers: QV natural paraffin & QV intensive
Supplements: Vitamin D oil, Cod Liver Oil, Primerose Oil
Bathing: Super short showers or baths with bath oil
Sleeping: Doctor prescribed sleep tablets
Community: www.itsan.org
Recovery Period: 12 to 18 months on average

Note: There are no speed hacks. Believe me, I’ve tried everything. Your body will recover at the pace it can. Your cells need to renew themselves. It’s a marathon, not a sprint.

Diet -- Does it Matter?
Does what you eat matter? This is a point of much contention in the cortisone recovery community. Most people argue that you can recovery no matter what you eat, and to that end, they are right. However, I like to argue two points:

  1. Eating healthy leafy greens and avoiding sugar definitely won’t hurt.
  2. If you are aiming to improve your life, why not lose some kgs?

Personally, I’m a huge believer in diet. I’ve read hundreds of hours of experts opinions on body composition, and concentration maximization, not to mention disease and aging. The commonality from all these experts is that diet matters. I gave up processed sugar a near-decade ago, and focus on getting 1 — 2 bowls of vegetables every day. At age 35 I am at my leanest and fittest of my life, it feels good and my productivity is through the roof. So for me, there’s no question it’s a good idea, but be warned, it’s a lifestyle you have to make work for you. I strongly recommend reading Tim Ferris’s ‘4 Hour Body‘ which covers a lot about a 6-day diet that you can actually follow. I’ll write about an easy and healthy diet in another blog.

Life After Recovery?
When your hormones are out of whack, and you’ve been taking medicines like broad-spectrum anti-biotics for years on end, you come through the recovery with some things about you changed. I don’t know if these changes will ever revert, but fingers crossed.

The temperature monitor in my body is now dialled right down. I don’t feel the cold like I used to (I use to always be cold), and I don’t overheat either. It always just feels manageable.

I became sensitive to wheat (or gluten, not sure which), and need to avoid drinking beer or eating bread. If I do succumb to either of those, then other allergens like our cats will cause me to flare up a little. However, staying off those foods I can manage anything.

Most changes, however, were for the better. My skin is now oily and youthful. I can run, and swim and do everything I could as a kid. In 2019 we spent a couple of months surfing Costa Rica, something I never could have done while suffering through full-body eczema. This ability to train has seen be get fit, strong and healthy, so overall a huge win and well worth the sacrifice over that one year off.

Parallels to COVID Quarantine
This quarantine period is taking me right back to being trapped on the couch, albeit having the freedom to move around much easier, and internet speeds that are substantially better.

This period can be transformative in your life. You won’t have all the answers right away. In fact, you might not even have the next steps. That’s alright. You don’t need to have an exact path to where you’re going. Simply focus on painting a picture of what success looks like. Knowing what you are trying to achieve is most of the battle.

In my life, I knew I wanted profound change. I wanted to live overseas, near the water, preferably. I wanted to travel, and not be tied down, and I didn’t want heavy financial burdens in my life. Just this alone was enough of a ‘scorecard’ to validate ideas against. When Sensis offered me a big-money job, I was confidently able to turn it down as it didn’t meet the scorecard in my mind. Now fast-forward almost a decade, and I live on an island in the Caribbean, travel circa 6 months out of the year, and my business contains 15 people working in 15 separate countries. There is no way this would have been achievable without the kick-in-the-ass the year-long recovery gave me.

Amazing Friendships & Thank You’s
There are a few people I have to thank in particular for their assistance in my recovery. First and foremost are my amazing parents Leigh & Joe. They took me into their house, cooked for me, helped me do simple life basics. Dad even learned how to massage swollen feet just to give me some relief.

Another couple is my good friends Jake & Libby Killeen. I found their blog online about their recovery process. Jake was similar to me, and ironically almost a carbon copy of one my by best friends Iain Rowe, so we took to each other like a duck to watch. They have always stayed in touch, and remain people very close to my heart. Thank you both.

The team at my office were incredible. I came back to work a few hours per day, and couldn’t help but scratch at the super red dry skin (it was gross). They welcomed me with open arms, supported me and put up with the grossness. They are very special friends to me: Martyn Miller (my now business partner), Matt Perkins, Kelvin Jewell, Simon Dortmans, James Deagan, Jamie Nicholson, Laura Fitzpatrick & Shane Houstein.

Finally, my university friends welcomed me back to society with open arms. I went to a wedding of my friend AB, while I looked like a cancer victim. While it shocked a lot of people, they also rallied around me, made me feel like a champion and I will be forever grateful for it. hope you have wonderful people in your life also. Sometimes being vulnerable and letting people into your world is all the invitation they need to help. Just remember to return the favour when they need you.

Seeking Business Advice
In the video above this article, I mention business advice for reinventing how you do business and leveraging online. If you want assistance, feel free to reach out to us at JMarketing Agency

What Lessons Can We All Take Away?
It’s hard not to be cliche or dramatic, but the truth is, a lot of those sayings like “life is short, live every day as if it’s your last”, were written by people who had seen life reveal itself already, they wrote them with hindsight, and they were right.

Life is short, life is for living, and life is meant to be fun. Now that doesn’t mean you can abandon all responsibility. You still have to play by the rules. However, there are some rules to live by, and some to break. What I learned is swimming against the stream and doing things differently is my recipe for happiness. When someone tells me I am crazy to question conventions, it makes me lean into my research and look for different solutions to the problem. This is how we were able to structure our blissful life overseas, build a highly profitable business in a saturated market, and travel the world for prices that seem impossibly low (read my travel hacking blog here).

The biggest lesson is not to be afraid to try something new. Burn the boats as Jeremy Chen told me. Burn them to the ground and focus unashamedly on creating a life you are proud of, that makes you happy every single day.

Thank you again to everyone that helped me get where I am today. The most essential thing in this world is friends. It’s a lesson my father Joe taught me, and I believe to my very core. In these hard times, reach out to those around you and offer support, a coffee or simply share a joke, a smile on someone’s face makes the work a better place.

Never afraid to swim against the tide. I believe in questioning the norm, and finding new, more efficient solutions to problems. Don't accept a life that is average, chase your dreams and be the person you aspire to be.

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About Joshua Strawczynski

About Joshua Strawczynski

Joshua is obsessed with efficiency. He tests and trials different ideas and technologies to share them with you!

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