Thank you for taking the time to read my healing story. I want to caveat that what I share in my story is not a prescription for you or anyone else to use for their own healing journey. Always use your own discernment. I am not a licensed medical professional. My healing path and recommendations are to be used as inspiration for you to think about or try things differently.
I had so many fears about healing naturally. I tried my best to do as much healing as I could on my own. It was a difficult path. Honestly, I don’t know how I survived it, which I believe is mostly compartmentalized. I was mostly alone in my journey with no help getting up with my toddler son and ensuring my daughter made it to kindergarten plus picking her up at noon each day. Despite it all, there was always food in the house and diapers changed and laundry done. My husband was gone from 7am to 7pm working each day. So you must think I was CRAZY for not wanting to put steroids on my body anymore. I didn’t have a choice. My body reached its steroid poisoning tolerance, and it was shutting down. Steroids were no longer the answer to my skin issues, and I wish they never were in the first place.
I will share a brief summary here, and you may read more about my withdrawal symptoms in my previous blog post. I was prescribed every type of steroid for eczema, allergies and asthma for 26 years, plus I was at the maximum dosing concentrations towards the end. I noticed my body was starting to reject steroids in the summer of 2018, and then I quit using all forms of steroids on July 6, 2019. I started to notice symptoms a month later. I didn’t sleep because the pain was agonizing. I was oozing lymphatic fluid, my body couldn’t regulate its temperature, my skin was hot to the touch, and nerve pain was beyond comprehension, the itchiness was maddening, my skin was a constant open wound, bleeding and swollen, my hair fell out, my adrenals shut down completely, and I was highly susceptible to bacterial and viral infections. I was also hospitalized for 3 days for a blood infection and eczema herpeticum.
Yes, an OTC/prescribed drug did all this to me. It not only poisoned my body for 26 years, but it poisoned my thoughts and my life. My will to live was poisoned, and I was not entirely sure if I was strong enough to pull myself back up again. Plus, I gravely mistrust western medicine.
I had hit my rock bottom moment in May 2020, I had been watching the documentary HEAL for the umpteenth time at 3am because there’s not sleeping when you’re in this much pain, and shut it off. I was about to truly give up on life, and I looked up and said, “If this is my life, please, whoever is up there, take me to be with you. I no longer wish to live in hell and bare this suffering.” I also prayed to the healing angel, Archangel Raphael, asking him for help too. This is pretty shocking for someone, who turned away from religion a long time ago. I ultimately made a choice to fight another day, and I cried myself to sleep.
I didn’t even realize I was asking for a sign because it was a prayer of desperation to the Universe, but I received it. The next morning, I woke to two messages. One was from a friend recommending to do research and look into intravenous nutrient therapy and another message from a naturopathic doctor, who was branching off from a different practice and starting her own business. After doing research for IV nutrient therapies near me, and having a consultation with the doctor, I scheduled my appointments using my birthday money. I embarked on my healing journey with my whole heart and soul know that this time things will be different.
That next year, I made major shifts in my healing journey. I turned my knitting hobby into an official small business in April of 2021. In May of 2021, my husband and I found an amazing deal and were able to vacation together for a long weekend in Boulder, Colorado hiking the Flat Irons multiple times. Here is where I did my soul retrieval, embraced spirituality (not religion), and I will share more about this is a future blog. A few weeks later, I experienced my spiritual awakening. For my birthday in June, I was able to go into the ocean for the first time in two years. The breaks in my flare cycles were extending from weeks apart to months apart as deeper healing continued. As I am writing this, I am currently in a two month flare, but it is not as bad as it was 1.5 years ago. And so I share my story in hopes that no one ever has to experience this agony, and if you are in the midst of suffering, know that you are not alone. I see you.
I researched and tried various types of healing modalities to change my life from one of suffering to one of thriving. In the section below, I share most of the healing techniques and tools that I personally found successful.
Functional Medicine Doctor - Dr. Ghuari of Salus Wellness
When I had to opportunity to meet and work with a functional medicine doctor, Dr. Ghuari of Salus Wellness in Newtown, PA, I was very excited. It was a great experience to have a doctor arrive on-time, sit with you and go through your entire medical history, ask questions about your health and give you more than 20 min of your time. It was so nice to finally be seen and heard especially after the absolutely terrible experience I had with a dermatology group. She put me on a path to a very strict gut healing protocol with recommended intravenous (IV) nutrient infusions. My experience with IV nutrients is absolutely life-changing. We pass most vitamins through our gut with little absorption, and the IV’s by-pass the absorption process giving you a more potent dosing right in to the bloodstream. I highly recommend everyone try them at least once. For my condition, I proceeded with several treatments of “mini-C with a glutathione push” IVs and ozone IVs.
Mini-C with a Glutathione push
My first ever IV therapy was a mini-C with a glutathione injection into the IV port. I was truly amazed at how my skin cleared up during a terrible flare plus my joints felt so much better. The concentration of the vitamin C is equivalent to eating eight oranges in one sitting without all the citric acid. Vitamin C has many benefits, but I was focusing on its antioxidant properties (neutralizing free radicals) to help with detoxing the steroids and waste from my system. The glutathione, which is another antioxidant, not only enhances the antioxidant properties of vitamin C, but it also repairs tissue and support immune function.
IV ozone treatments are a powerful antioxidant treatment. Note that this is different from inhaled ozone gas, which is toxic. And here are some excerpts on its amazing benefits, which makes you wonder why this therapy isn't one that is being used regularly (sources cited).
"Ozone therapy has been utilized and heavily studied for more than a century. Its effects are proven, consistent, safe and with minimal and preventable side effects. Medical O3 is used to disinfect and treat disease. Mechanism of actions is by inactivation of bacteria, viruses, fungi, yeast and protozoa, stimulation of oxygen metabolism, activation of the immune system."
"Diseases treated are infected wounds, circulatory disorders, geriatric conditions, macular degeneration, VIRAL DISEASES, rheumatism/arthritis, cancer, SARS and AIDS."
"Ozone therapy disrupts the integrity of the bacterial cell envelope through oxidation of the phospholipids and lipoproteins. In fungi, O3 inhibits cell growth at certain stages. With viruses, the O3 damages the viral capsid and upsets the reproductive cycle by disrupting the virus-to-cell contact with peroxidation. The weak enzyme coatings on cells which make them vulnerable to invasion by viruses make them susceptible to oxidation and elimination from the body, which then replaces them with healthy cells."
People with any respiratory and any autoimmune issues, please do your research on the benefits of ozone therapy - this is highly recommended for you. Plus you can get joint and fascia injections too.
After 90 min of my therapy, I feel like I can run a marathon. I had so many tears in my eyes after my first treatment because I couldn’t remember the last time I felt that good, truly feeling energized after feeling sick for so long.
If you wish to work with Dr. Ghuari and/or receive IV Nutrient Therapy, here is the link to Salus Wellness and Salus Hydrate – note there are several location for IV Nutrient Therapy in the Bucks County/Philadelphia area. Let her and her staff know that I recommended you:
Naturopathic Doctor - Dr. Kadijah Douglas of My Infinite Wellness
Steroids are a synthetic hormone. When synthetic steroids are introduced to your body, your adrenal glands are disrupted from their natural production, slowing the production of the body-made steroid hormone. Overtime with extended use of steroids, your adrenals shutdown completely. As you can imagine, my hormonal system was off balance in so many ways, and my primary care doctor wouldn’t run all the blood work to assess the hormonal issues. That is when I hired Dr. Kadijah Douglas, a naturopathic doctor. She was very thorough in her examination of my entire body and my condition. Plus, she ordered all the bloodwork required to look at my entire body as a full system to assess the imbalances in my hormonal system. She prescribed lifestyle changes and supplements to support the body in healing itself, and I absolutely loved how approached healing from a holistic perspective. Dr. Douglas takes the time to explain the body, how hormones are created and used by the body, and how hormonal pathways be disrupted causing imbalances. I felt so validated and heard in “all the things” I was experiencing.
If you wish to work with Dr. Kadijah Douglas, she sees clients in her office as well as virtually. Here is her link and let her know that I recommended you:
Prior to my journey with topical steroid withdrawal, I was working with an energy healer located across the country. Energy healing is an amazing compliment to other healing modalities. It opened me up to different perspectives and also how to see that for everything we experience in life, there is always a lesson or a message we must be open to learning or growing through to better understand ourselves and offer different perspectives. I also learned to use my own intuition and trust my gut responses to other people and situations plus healing modalities.
Energy healing was is so validating for me because I came to see and understand that each body is different, and so each body requires a different healing path. I was able to learn that what may have worked to help alleviate symptoms for one person may or may not help me physically or even energetically. So all the feelings I had about my own path were valid, which was choosing to break away from the “normal” and choose to heal naturally and free of as many prescribed and OTC drugs as possible.
I worked with several healers using various modalities that were for my highest good in the moments of our healing appointments. The information and healings that came through always propelled my healing journey forward in such a profound way physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually.
As I became more attuned to the Universal energies available to all of us, I unlocked my energetic gifts (the story to be shared in a future blog post), and I now share those gifts in helping others heal and believe in their own physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual powers.
Massage Therapist - Phil of Stoic Bodywork, LLC
From clenching in pain, my body was holding onto so much stress from the healing and the trauma. Much of that stress was stored in my upper back and neck – two areas that weren’t terribly troubled with the skin wounds. I received a recommendation about a person that not only would be empathetic to but also understand my condition and support my body in its healing process. That is when I met Phil. The time I spent with him allowed me to freedom of movement plus he helped awaken the body by signaling it where further healing was required. When it comes to his practice with the body, Phil know how to listen and read the body in order to restore it to balance.
I would like to add that Phil is more than a message therapist – he is a healer. He not only knows and understands the physical body, but he can also heal and move energy in the etheric body as well. If you wish to learn more about Phil and his services, he is the owner of Stoic Bodywork, LLC. Here is his link and let him know that I recommended you:
Specialty Healing Cream – Homemade Whipped Tallow
My skin was in a constant state of dry, cracked, itchy, raw skin. I formulated a natural cream recipe with the help of the Energy Healer I used during my worst phases of healing. It helped to heal, hydrate and protect my skin, plus I think it feels amazing - WHIPPED TALLOW.
Tallow prevent moisture loss from our skin, and our body readily absorbs it. It is rich in vitamins A, D, K and E. It is antimicrobial and antifungal and anti-inflammatory. My fav quality is that it promotes skin regeneration!! It can even be used for diaper rashes too. The recipe is low cost and simple to make at home, plus it can also be modified to fit your needed, and so have fun experimenting. The recipe I share is for healing of the skin.
Other useful items while coping through TSW:
People frequently ask me about Dupixent or Duplimeb and why I didn’t chose to do on those. I have several personal and subjective reasons. As someone who was prescribed all forms of steroids for most of her life, I was done with medicines that trick the body to do X while creating a host of other side effects. I wanted to heal on the most natural path as possible to avoid and other catch-22 situations. Secondly, those immunosuppressant drugs, well, suppress the immune system leading to another life sentence of another drug dependency. Instead of suppressing the immune system, further masking the problem and paying into the Big Pharma illusion, why wouldn’t I want to understand the root of the issue?
The natural path was not always easy, and many times I asked for the physical and emotional suffering to end. I shifted my perception. I chose to live. I chose to heal. I know that I am on the correct healing path for me learning so much more about the healing powers of the human mind and the human body. I believe after all that I have experienced that we need to give our bodies the opportunity to heal and support its healing. I quit all forms of steroids 2 years and 29 days ago. I am presently in a flare, but I know that my body is more than capable of healing itself.
The Final Flare
Ever had that feeling where you know there's something wrong with you, but you can't quite figure out what it is or why this is happening?
That was the 1st wake-up call I had with my skin, & in the summer of 2018, & I confronted the dermatologists as to why they kept putting steroid band-aids on my eczema condition. The response-life-long condition to be treated with steroids & immunosuppressants.
For me, that was unacceptable.
In the early part of 2019, I finally found others who were suffering as I was & didn't want to believe this is a life-long sentence. We all reached a point where prescribed and OTC steroids prisoned our bodies, & our organs were shutting down, including our biggest organ, our skin. For me, this was 26 years of poisoning.
I finally mustered up the courage to make the bold move on July 6, 2019 to quit ALL steroids (creams, ointments, pills, nasal, and injected).
It only took one month to enter into Topical Steroid Withdrawal.
There were many, many battles with drs, others, and myself. I looked like a burn victim with my body oozing and my skin sloughing off of me. The pain was unbearable. The itching was maddening. I was hospitalized at one point. My body had no idea how to function naturally.
I got down on my hands and knees and I prayed to Archangel Raphael, the healing angel. I asked him to please take me to heaven because this isn't living. This is hell. I could barely show up for myself let alone my two babies.
Instead, I was shown another way. And soon, the right healers came into my life, changing my whole perspective on healing physically, emotionally, mentally & spiritually. I picked up knitting needles too & started my own small biz making "hugs from my heart".
My last skin flare was in June of 2021 - yes, 9 months ago! I can swim in the ocean and the pool. I can bathe my kids. I can wear any fabric. I can sleep at night. My hair grew back. I regained my stamina.
I can, I can, I can & I chose, I chose, I chose!
I am almost healed approaching 3 yrs of healing - my hormones are still balancing. My skin is the strongest it's been in a very long time.
All of you in a dark spot, I see you. I am holding a bright light for you!
How Lava Yourself rose from a dark place with Topical Steroid Withdrawal
I can’t believe it as I am even typing this, but ASHLEY POLING LAVA YOURSELF, LLC is officially OPEN for business selling luxurious, chunky, knitted, chenille BLANKETS and raw-cut healing crystal EARRINGS!!
Life can get hard, and we can all use some extra love. So I created a brand around loving yourself infused with my love of Geology. Life needs to start with self-care, which, as you know, comes in many forms. When you are healthy, happy and present in your life, you are truly an unstoppable force of love and light.
This business originated from my time being a health and fitness coach, but has evolved so much. I am so grateful for that opportunity to open my world up to being a small business owner. However, that was all put on pause when I learned that after decades of applying prescribed topical steroids to my skin for my eczema (a metabolic, autoimmune disorder) randomly stopped working and sent me into withdrawal. I had no idea by blindly accepting the application of steroids to my skin would lead to poisoning of not just my skin but my entire body. Steroids are the “cure” to skin rashes, right? WRONG!!!
I learned the hard way that getting to the root cause of my issues is the best method. I no longer had eczema. I had steroid induced eczema, which led to steroid induced asthma and more allergies overtime. My skin was so thinned, infections were easily infiltrating my body, and an angry red rash kept growing and growing, which progressed my journey from over the counter cortisone to betamethasone to triamcinolone to the most potent class of steroid, clobetasol propionate. And over the years, I had steroid inhalers, prescribed prednisone, and even steroid injections. I blindly kept accepting the poison to the point my body was so poisoned, it finally had enough!
I stopped all forms of steroids on July 6, 2019.
I had already begun to enter into withdrawal. At the times, I was a mom to a 2 year old and a 5 year old, I had no idea what to expect next. I had no idea that even my will to live was going to be tested.
My skin was addicted to steroids. It was thinned, nerves were shut down, capillaries were closed off in all three layers of my skin, steroids infiltrated my bloodstream, my body was now in a heightened immune response trying to purge the excess and artificial cortisol, my lymphatic system was severely clogged (trillions of cells trapped), my liver was/is overworked, my adrenals no longer need to created cortisol so they shut down altering my H-P-A response affecting all my hormones. You get the point now of where I am at after 27 years of trusting a prescribed "quick fix".
TSW for me is red skin syndrome (RSS) with a breakdown of my skin with it literally shedding off of me, oozing lymphatic fluid, hot to the touch, nerve pain to the extreme, skin's inability to ward of antigens making me highly susceptible to bacterial and viral infections (hospitalized for MRSA and eczema herpeticum), pain is an understatement, itchiness to the extreme, cracked-open-bleeding skin, swelling, hair falling out/baldness, adrenal fatigue with insomnia, loss of collagen and elastin (elephant skin), and the body is unable to regulate core body temperature ALL AT FREAKING ONCE!
Dermatologists were of no help to me. In fact, they wanted to inject/wrap me in “hospital grade” steroids. They would not listen and belittled me as I was already so vulnerable and fragile. I learned to get really good at saying NO, and I learned that it wasn’t my job to educate those unwilling to listen to me. I learned how to be a strong advocate for me. I poured hours of my time into researching my body, detoxing, and steroids. There are published medical papers on the dangers of steroids dating back to the 1980s. This is information that doctors either don’t know or don’t care to share the entire picture with you about the poison they are prescribing to you to put on your body for two weeks twice a day, which, by the way, is the window of time it takes for steroids to enter your blood stream and potentially start the addiction cycle.
In my darkest moments, the only reason I chose to get up off the couch with just a cotton sheet wrapped around me was for my children and my husband. I truly know now why someone suffering so terribly would choose to end it all. I was lifted out of this darkness by my will to live, and the unwavering support of my husband. He pushed me to seek therapy and alternative therapies to heal.
How did I heal my body? There are a few main points to address when answering this question. I came to realize healing required more than physical healing. I needed to heal my mind and my soul since those three are deeply connected to one another. Time is ultimate healer. I also required a healthy lifestyle of clean eating and exercising when I could, researching how to body works and how to support detox and healing, the topical steroid withdrawal community (yes, there is a large group on FB, which is growing daily ranging from infants through adolescents to adults and the elderly), an energy healer, a functional medicine doctor, intravenous vitamin therapies (specifically vitamin C and ozone), mental health therapist, naturopathic doctor specializing in female hormones, therapeutic massages, a supportive group of family and friends, God and many angels, mediation with crystals (coming soon to my website) and journaling, knitting, and prioritizing so much self-love and self-care.
Knitting entered into my healing journey when I truly needed an outlet to distract me from the pain, and distract me from the intense itching as my nervous system learns to work again. I wanted to create something that was soft in my hands. At my worst, no one could touch me, and I could not bear to have anything touching my body. So I found a material that was wonderfully soft, tolerable to my skin, yet 100% machine-washable. When I made my first blanket for my daughter, a gift to her for being to brave and helpful as I struggled to show up for her and her brother, I filled it with affirmations of love and gratitude. This led to Christmas presents of knitted, chunky, chenille blankets filled with many loving affirmations. Then with a little nudge from two beautiful Earth angels, I started a hobby making blankets that helped me to heal while sharing love with others.
This is why it is so important to love yourself FIRST! If you don’t take the time to ask the hard questions, be your own advocate, do your own research, and heal your mind, body, and soul, then you are not able to be present in your own life and in your family’s life. Lava Yourself is blankets and earrings and so much more. I want you to wrap yourself in your cozy blanket to remind yourself that you are truly loved, and I want you to admire your reflection showing off those beautiful earrings complementing how gorgeous you truly are. Please pause and look at your blanket and earrings as a reminder take the time to love yourself in every possible way and spread that love with others.
Choose love. Lava Yourself.
Lava Yourself rose from a dark place with TSW