Sunday, November 04, 2018

My Battle With Psoriasis 02: Coal Tar Adventure Part 01

I guess I have to pick up where I left off...

Continuation from my previous post
It was after a month, my treatment with the strongest BVC given. My skin was flawless! It's like I've never had psoriasis in my life before. I was considering whether or not to even start wearing knee length shorts again. My confidence was back and I was all ready to show it off to the world that I have normal skin just like the rest of us.

Then again, I have to meet up with the doctor to see what was her comments and suggestions for my treatment. And this was what she said to me:

--Conversations Starts Here--

Doctor: Your skin looks so good already! Now, back to reality because you can't be on strong steroid cream for too long because we all know that steroid has their side effects and it will not do us any good for prolong treatments.

Me: Yes, doctor. (nodding vigorously)

Doctor: Shall we try coal tar this time? As I have mentioned it earlier.
(Back track a little, the coal tar that was suggested by her the previous round, she did not prescribed it into the prescription bill. Hence, it was their version by acting fast on the medicated treatment on the severity of my skin condition was back then.)

Me: Okay, I don't mind trying.

Doctor: It's gonna stink, and does your workplace accepts such stench in a working environment?

Me: I guess it should be alright.

Doctor: Alright then, we shall see you in a month's time.

--Conversations Ends Here--

I am now given with 3 bottles of medication. I didn't think it would be so heavy until I was carrying it back to my workplace. It is all topical creams and ointments. Mind you, the coal tar bottle has a strong smell and it's really oily. I wasn't expecting it so but then again is bearable.

This is how I was advised to put on all 3 of the topical creams and ointments by this order (after bath of course) - 2 times a day:

1st Layer: Aqueous Cream
2nd Layer: Coal Tar Ointment
3rd Layer: Betamethasone Valerate Cream [BVC] (Ratio 1:4)

Outcome (after a month)
Trust me, my psoriasis came back like a wave of uncontrolled disease. It is still a struggle for me to see such confidence being tarnished in this manner. I wasn't at all happy with the outcome but then again, I am reminding myself time and time again that this is only one of the many ways to treat psoriasis. Let's be patient! I meant it for myself.

So, I went back to see the doctor and have a few sets of my questions ready. Naive as it might sounds, I just want to know the immune in me, the psoriasis in me and the battle in me that's fighting it's way victoriously to find my ultimate treatment!

Next up... (Following post will still be on coal tar treatments... ha!)

Saturday, October 27, 2018

My Battle With Psoriasis 01: Coming Out

Hello there, how is it going?

Actually, I'm not here to rant about how sucks my life is with Psoriasis, I'm here to share how I have journeyed with this autoimmune deficiency in my body that breaks-out into this thing called Skin Psoriasis. I've made up my mind to come out and say that, yes, I am a Psoriasis patient for 9 years now.

And no, I am not going to bog you down with the definition about Skin Psoriasis. Well, I guess if you're here and you're reading this, my guess would be either you are a victim yourself or one of your family member is currently suffering from this condition.

In 2009, I was travelling and I've discovered that there is this small patch (maybe the size of a medium coin) just positioned above my right ankle. I thought it was eczema kicking in again in which I always suffer from since young. The usual lesion that occasionally heals by it's own for no obvious reason and still, that puzzles the hell out of me. So, I ignored that patch by just putting on self-bought Betamethasone Valerate Cream (BVC) only when it itches.

In 2010, I was diagnosed with hypertension. Doctor gave me a chance to exercise it away instead of putting me on medication for life. Hence, I sign myself up with a Boot Camp. The session was about 3 times a week and long after it ended after 5 months. Eventually, it has aggravated the small patch into larger patches, which seems like a burnt scar. And now my knees area are badly affected. Still I continue to ignore by putting on BVC with Aloe Vera gel. Still it wasn't helping.

In 2011 - 2017, I suffered silently through a series of flaking through my entire room. I kid you not, my room is like snowing on a daily basis. Even by putting on moisturizing cream (Rosken, just in case anyone would ask) on a daily basis, it just doesn't help. Sometimes, the red patches clears up for a little 1 - 2 hours but when it dries up, so much so fast that I can't keep up with how fast the production of skin is during a Psoriasis attack. I've tried many silly things and remedies, still it doesn't help. Trust me, it really doesn't help.

Until Sep 2017, my younger brother could not endure the pain that I was going through anymore. So, he wrote me a referral letter to the Dermatology department in our local General Hospital. It is always a blessing that my brother is a physician in which the letter helps subsidizing my medication fees for each and every visit that I'm paying.

Diagnosis - Coming Out
Okay, here I am in the hospital. A junior medical officer has been diagnosing my condition with much curiosity and pain in his eyes. Hence, he referred to his senior, a Specialist Consultant (SC). This is how she conveyed/break the diagnosis news to me about my condition.

--Conversations Starts Here--

SC: Now, do you know what you are having?

Me: I think it's called Psoriasis?

SC: Yes, in your case, it is called Plaque Psoriasis. It is an autoimmune deficiency that causes you to have skin breakouts.

Me: Okay...

SC: You have to accept the fact that, with your condition, there is no cure to Psoriasis. But this is able to control it with medication.

Me: Okay...

SC: So, you have to go through counselling session on your condition. And...

(I have no choice but to interrupt)

Me: Can I avoid oral medication with steroids?

SC: Here me out, there are many ways in treating different types psoriasis. This boils down to different individuals on how each case reacts to different types of treatments. I hope you understand that. Oral treatments means your case is very severe.

Me: (nod nod)

SC: Ok, good. Make an arrangement with your doctors on how should you be medicated. Ask questions when in doubt. And ask your doctors if you are on any alternative so that it doesn't clash on the treatments that we are providing.

Me: Okay. Understood.

SC: Good. Now, get yourself acquainted with your doctors. Take care.

--Conversations Ends Here--

So, she's one heck of a doctor with an intimidating aura. I am sort of intimidated by her stern representation as a doctor. Yet, she's knowledgeable in her field of expertise that she's in, however inter-personally, she's really intimidating.

Maybe I'm here for the first time, and there's this tendency that the people in this country does not trust how Government Hospitals treats their patients. Hence, the attitude. I don't know, I'm just saying without a substantial fact, please do not quote me.

Moreover, we are part of Asia, and the skepticism on Western medication is always a stigma. Various stories and myths about how patients are at the mercy of Western medication and do not get the treatment as expected. With this, the tendencies of seeking alternative is very much a norm in this our society.

On the first day of my consultation, I was advised to be medicated with the said prescription that was given by the doctor in charge.

1. Coal Tar Ointment
(Doctor said that this ointment is going stink bad. Do I care? Heck no! I was on my way to recovery, who cares whether it stinks!)

2. Betamethasone Valerate Cream (BVC) - Strongest
(Let me clarify, the condition I was in, my skin looks really bad, they have no choice but to put me on one of the strongest steroid cream to subside the entire wounds that looks horribly disgusting in the eyes of many.)

3. Aqueous Cream
(This is truly the basic stuff that has to be the base for all the affected area before putting on the above both medicine.)

Outcome (after a month)
The medication that was prescribed to me, lasted me for a month before my next visit. Might I say that the given strong BVC has made my skin flawlessly beautiful. And I was so thrilled that I was on my way to full recovery. Yes, I remembered what the consultant reminded me that Psoriasis can only be controlled and not completely cured.

With the results that came out of it, I was ecstatic to see how this would progress into such a state that I was really impressed.

Until when I see the doctor, I didn't expect her to say this...

(Catch me on my next post!)

Tuesday, January 02, 2018

Read Scripture - January 01, 2018 (@joinbibleproj)

Hello 2018, it is not an excuse for me to skipped Bible reading for the year 2017. Have I ever been disciplined in doing so after being a Christian for the past 20 odd years? Not even once. Did I ever successfully completed the Bible? Not at all.

So, here I am, attempting my countless tries to follow the Word with no excuse since the ReadScripture app is easily available via our electronic devices, in this time of age. So, I want to start the new year right, I will begin to start it right with the Lord.

Genesis 1-3
Chapter 1:
River that flow out of Eden divided into 4:
Land 1 - Havilah (River Pishon)
Land 2 - Cush (River Gihon)
Land 3 - East of Assyria (River Tigris)
Land 4 - (River Euphrates) [West Assyria?]

Chapter 2:
In the midst of Chapter 1, the sub-chapter for Chapter 1 is actually Chapter 2. The creation man and woman. God's ultimate creation is the being in His likeness. Which the purpose of how the story of man and woman leads back to who Jesus is.

Chapter 3:
The epic episode where God's ultimate creation has choose the route. All 3 of His creation were cursed by God. In such a heartbreak, God has to punish them by what seems to be a glorious creation was then brought forth the darkest of sin.

Eden was not the only thing that was forbidden but also the Tree of Life was being guarded by angels so that no one could ever go near it (in this context, find it).

Here we are, being introduced to sin on the 3rd chapter. The very first act of disobedience due to the temptation of wanting to be on par with God.

And this is God's first curse towards His creation. How sad this could be for Him when all He ever wanted is to enjoy His own creation with the glorious creation He has prepared for us.

Psalms 1
Woh... This is a solid introduction to Psalms. I will never thought that the Bible's poetry is as direct and powerful like a double edged sword. The righteous one will definitely be blessed by God and the wicked will be forgotten and will remain perished.
Our God is ever merciful, never forget His grace for us.
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Friday, January 08, 2016

Read Scripture - January 08 (@joinbibleproj)

It's been quite some time and it is no excuse for me to delay such an important date with the Lord. I've been so busy with work and I have to say, I literally took my rest above the Lord and neglected Him. Ashamed, so ashamed.

That being said, I have experienced 2 miracles in my life after reading the Bible. And it all happens on this very day. Day 08! I don't know where to begin but surely I'll get into more details right after this.

Genesis 25-28

Abraham took another wife named Keturah. It wasn't stated clearly whether or not she was taken in during Sarah was still around or after Sarah's death. They, too have descendants of their own. As Abraham sends all his kids away because all he wanted to do is to leave everything to Isaac. That being said, Abraham give gifts to his kids too. Abraham died at the age of 175 and both Isaac and Ishmael buried him.

Side track on Ishmael's side, he has 12 tribes of his own living near the borders of Egypt, however all 12 tribes were very hostile among each other.

Rebekah was barren. I was unaware the struggles that Isaac has to go through, and he prayed on behalf of Rebekah where she was completely healed. Both of them gave birth to twins named Esau and Jacob. Esau sold his birthright to Jacob for a bowl of stew!

(Bro Joseph Chean of YWAM Singapore illustrated why God would hate Esau more than Jacob even though Jacob was all the bad things anyone could mention. Esau sold his birthright, which was an eternal gift, for just a bowl of Lentil Stew (Dal), which was only a temporary hunger satisfaction. Men always forgo what God has to offer for something that is ONLY temporary on the face of this earth! -- 17th January 2016)

Esau marries both a Hittite and a Canaanite. Both Isaac and Rebekah were very upset and never to make the same mistake on Jacob ever again. Remember how Abraham ask his servant to swore to to allow Isaac to marry both the Hittite or a Canaanite.

Jacob deceived Isaac to get Esau's blessings. Now, Esau lost both his birthright and blessings, he was furious! Hence, Jacob flees to Laban (brother of Rebekah). By his action of fleeing to Laban because Rebekah felt disgusted in living with a Hittite. He was advised to marry anyone from Paddan Aram. When Esau came to terms that Isaac and Rebekah wasn't pleased with his marriages to both the Hittite and Canaanite, he goes to marries one of Ishmael's daughter for an addition.

Jacob had a dream at Bethel. The Lord promise him this land, where his descendants would be like the dust of the earth. Jacob named that placed Bethel and will promised to give tenth of what he has if the Lord has promised him all that has been declared.

Psalms 8

It is so beautiful of how God loves man no matter how wicked they are, He still put man as a dominion over all that the Lord has created. Yes, indeed how majestic is the Lord's name in all the earth!

Videos to watch:
Genesis: Read Scripture: Genesis Ch. 12-50
Psalms: Read Scripture Series: Psalms

Disclaimer: Picture Illustration taken from "The Bible Project"'s video.

Thursday, January 07, 2016

Read Scripture - January 07 (@joinbibleproj)

As interesting as this might sound, there are moments of happiness and there are moments of sorrow. Somehow, this time, it kinda got me wondering whether God cries when He sees his creation has to go through death.

Genesis 22-24

Here we are, reading the iconic story of how Abraham was tested to sacrifice his son as told by God. Many references and metaphorical where Isaac serves as the Lamb of God, as to how Jesus is the representation of all mankind. No matter how much Abraham loves Isaac, Abraham will still obeys God's request. Is this how mankind should be in the first place? To obey God and to live in His name for all eternity!

A sadder tone where Sarah has passed away at the age of 127. Even when Abraham is trying to buy a cave from the Hittites, they were so kind and gracious to Abraham where Ephron was trying to give away that plot of land which contains the cave for Sarah's burial. However, Abraham did not take for granted and paid what the exact amount that Ephron has told Abraham.

I think I would leave this part for yourself to read on how Abraham is asking his chief servant to search for a wife for Isaac. The story is so beautifully written in the Bible, I rather you read it instead typing it out here which defeats the purpose. Trust me, God is involve this mysterious ways which made it even more romantic.

Psalms 7

David's confidence on the Lord whom will save him from agony of pain and fear even though he is praying/speaking to the supporter of King Saul -- Cush, in which he was fearful how King Saul is going to tear him apart.

Videos to watch:
Genesis: Read Scripture: Genesis Ch. 12-50
Psalms: Read Scripture Series: Psalms

Disclaimer: Picture Illustration taken from "The Bible Project"'s video.  

Wednesday, January 06, 2016

Bible Gateway interviews The Bible Project (@BibleGateway)

I do hope I do not have to explain the existence of Bible Gateway. It is an online free Bible for everyone who wants to refer to the Bible for references and encouragements. I've been using Bible Gateway for so many things and I can't even remember when I did I start using them. And I do remember subscribing to their Daily Verses & Easter Devotion by Mel Lawrenz back in 2011.

They (Bible Gateway) did an interview with Tim Mackie & Jon Collins! I was so pumped that I wasn't able to concentrate with my work. In fact, I've read it the moment I finished my work, it was a long day. I know I'm weird, I can get excited with things that doesn't matter to many of the folks my age nowadays. But hey! This is really good stuff!!!

Below is the link, and try to get to know what The Bible Project has to offer in this interview. This is so good!

The Bible Project: An Interview with Tim Mackie and Jon Collins

Read Scripture - January 06 (@joinbibleproj)

Now, the story of Abraham is gradually building. I cannot imagine that the Bible can be this dramatic. I don't mean this in a bad way, but more like a "How-come-I-didn't-know-about-it-all-this-time!" kinda way. Let's dive.

Genesis 19-21

I didn't realized how bad Sodom was until and even the people of Sodom would want to have sex with the angels, the situation was so bad that I was shocked of how sinful it is. After the event of how the Lord destroy Sodom, Lot has offspring with his daughters, in which I noticed that this was before the law. Was it acceptable even if it was before the law? Why then the daughters need Lot to be drunk in order to lay with him?

Now, remember in Chapter 12:10-19, when Pharoah realised that Sarai was the wife of Abraham? This might be an example of how the Lord appeared to Pharaoh in Chapter 12. Also, in the midst of how the Lord appeared Abiemelech's dreams/vision, the Lord has officially declared that Abraham is a prophet. Moreover, Abraham prays for forgiveness on Abimelech's behalf for the things he might have done, so that Abimelech will have descendants of his own.

In Chapter 21, the birth of Isaac. Then the Lord assured Hagar that a great nation from Ishmael's descendants will come. This is the third time the Lord promised in the Bible. There is a treaty made between Abraham & Abimelech.

Psalms 6

This is the first prayer I've read with healing in it. You can feel that the prayer is very childlike, that God is only for himself and not for those who did not seek Him. How nice it is to pray such prayers like how David does.

Psalm 6:1-2
Lord, do not rebuke me in your anger
    or discipline me in your wrath.
Have mercy on me, Lord, for I am faint;
    heal me, Lord, for my bones are in agony.

Videos to watch:
Genesis: Read Scripture: Genesis Ch. 12-50
Psalms: Read Scripture Series: Psalms

Disclaimer: Picture Illustration taken from "The Bible Project"'s video. 

Tuesday, January 05, 2016

Read Scripture - January 05 (@joinbibleproj)

We're still in the development of Abraham's story. There are so many fundamentals and basis to discover and learn from, which made it a core foundation of reading the Bible, I must say. Let's see.

Genesis 16-18

I was even more surprise that an Angel visited Hagar and told her that her descendants will be a a nation too great to count. However, in Chapter 16:12, there's this implication of a nation that seems to be very obvious in today's context. Then again, let's not jump into conclusion and assume what was told back then is a direct fulfillment of what's happening right now. It isn't fair to discuss it that way.

Here is it, the official changing of names for both Abraham and Sarah. Both names have their significance, that's why the Lord changes their name so that to signify what it really means. Back to the subject of Ishmael, the Lord confirms a second time with an assurance that his descendants will have a great nation too.

There were 3 men visited Abraham, 2 of which are angels of the Lord and 1 is the Lord Himself. Their visitation are in a form of men, it's not a metaphor and it's not a sign. This is a straight up visitation in a form of men. Abraham recognizes them in an instant, does this mean that most of how Abraham built the altar for the Lord, the Lord comes in this manner to speak to him?

For the Lord assured to Abraham that Sarah will be conceived even at the old age. Surprisingly, Sarah laugh it off and thought to herself that how can that be? The Lord reprimanded Sarah, and just because she was afraid, she lied once in front of the Lord that she did no such thing. The Lord once again assured to Sarah that she lied. Now this was intense! I didn't know reading the Bible can be so dramatic. This is what I'm talking about man!

Yes, the Lord wanted to wipe Sodom out. Abraham here pleads with the Lord numerous time, and God is so patient with Abraham, He listens to men when they plead, you can literally feel how God feels because He loves His people so so much!

Psalms 5

Now, when I read this, it has a total different feeling towards this prayer or song. The prayer of asking the Lord for attention. Listen to me, hear my voice... etc, to name a few. And then, the prayer goes on by seeking the Lord's protection and path because of the enemies King David is facing. At the very end, it's like a prayer of behalf for those who take refuge in the Lord. 

Still a very good reminder that sins cannot dwell in the Lord's presence. This is to reassure that the perfect goodness of our God.

Psalms 5:11-12
But let all who take refuge in you be glad; 
let them ever sing for joy. 
Spread your protection over them, 
that those who love your name may rejoice in you.

Videos to watch:
Genesis: Read Scripture: Genesis Ch. 12-50
Psalms: Read Scripture Series: Psalms

Disclaimer: Picture Illustration taken from "The Bible Project"'s video.