Burn Baby, Burn

Sometimes it’s not the pain you are experiencing that is so troubling, it’s not knowing what is causing the pain.

For two weeks now, my face has been red, peeling, and in extreme pain. On that stupid pain scale they show you at the Emergency Room, it would be a constant 9.


Being in relentless pain for two weeks has made me nauseous, lose my appetite, cranky, and depressed. I have been to my doctor three times and she keeps saying “it’s stress” or “you need to be patient, it’s  probably just rosacea and stressing about it makes it worse.” She didn’t seem to think that there was a problem.

I wasn’t happy with that answer because the truth is- I’m not all that stressed. The only stress I currently have is stemming from the fact that my face is falling off and my doctor is saying “try to not think about it.”

So today I took matters into my own hands and saw a dermatologist/cosmetic surgery specialist. He walked into the room and immediately said “what did you put on your face?” I told him about the Vitamin E episode and he said “I hope you’ve stopped the vitamin E because your face is severely burnt.” My mouth fell open (I was halfway expecting him to say it was just rosacea and I needed to stop stressing about it) and he elaborated. He said that this is caused from a severe allergic reaction OR just a sensitivity to something applied to the skin. In my case, a severe reaction to the Vitamin E. I showed him the pictures of my swollen shut face from last week and he was in awe of how bad it had gotten. The reason my skin is still red, peeling, and in pain is because I fried off so many layers. He said he could see the exact markings from where I applied the vitamin E.

My favorite part about this quick doctor’s visit was when he was scrolling through my swollen face pictures on my phone. Apparently he had come to the end of the face pictures and moved into the “awkward images on my phone” section because suddenly this appeared on my phone screen:


I could feel my already red face deepen a few shades with embarrassment. The two PA’s present stifled their giggles and the doctor said “…and what is this?”

“Um…that is an angry otter eating watermelon.”

“Okay, interesting. I wonder why he is angry?”

“I’m not sure, I just like having it in my phone.”

The whole exchange has left me laughing the rest of the day, even as I’m typing this now.

So after the doctor, PA’s, and I stopped giggling about the angry watermelon-eating otter, he came up with a plan of action. He said that my immune system is currently in freak out mode because of the severity of the burn. That means that anything I put on my skin will make my immune system think it is being attacked. Yippee! He gave me a very low grade steroid to apply for the next week and I have to track its progress with pictures each day. In one week, I’ll go back for a checkup.

Leaving his office this morning, I couldn’t stop the tears of relief from falling down my raw, burnt face. It is hard, both emotionally and physically, to have a doctor repeatedly tell you that you are basically causing your own pain and misfortune, especially when you know in your heart that something else is going on. Now it makes sense. A burn! Of course! Have you ever burnt your hand on the stove or a hot dish before? Now imagine that on your face for two weeks. Then imagine someone telling you it only hurts because you aren’t doing enough deep breathing exercises. Argh, so aggravating. I’m trying to not be too disappointed with my regular doc though, after all she is only human. She may have the letters M and D after her name, but she is really just making educated guesses about what is going on.

I’m feeling optimistic about the steroid treatment (even though I’m not the world’s biggest fan of steroids) and am hoping that this time next week I’ll be a little less cherry-like and a little more peach-ish.

And the silver lining? At the ripe old age of 25 I treated myself to a full face chemical peel (maybe just a few layers too deep) without any supervision from medical personnel. Don’t middle-aged women pay big bucks for this type of service?!


I feel your pain, Samantha

39 thoughts on “Burn Baby, Burn

  1. Hoping you are feeling better! How funny you used that pic of Samantha! I was thinking of that scene when I read this!
    I just had to stop by and say I LOVE your writing style! I coud read your stories all day! But I still think that they need another button besides LIKe … it just didn’t seem appropriate to click on it when you were in pain!!!! OUch!

    • I am starting to feel much better, thank you! It’s looking MUCH better and while I’m still in pain, I’m glad the monster-ness aspect of it is subsiding.

      Thank you soooo much for the wonderful compliment!! It means a lot to me to hear that others are enjoying my sporadic ramblings and babblings. You are too kind! I know what you mean about the “like” button! Sometimes I wish we had options of “hugs” or “read this, sucks, thinking about you!” haha 🙂

  2. I love lists…I have no idea why….anyway…

    1) I am glad that you are finding some way that will soon stop the redness and the pain.

    2) Angry otter and watermelon? Awkward photos? I just got a new phone recently. I will no avoid all photos of angry melon eating mammals! lol…that was funny.

    3) You have not asked for it … but I forgive you…and Amber….for totally blowing my email in-box up with your talks lol. (Actually…Amber is super cool…I am glad you are finding a friend in her *smiles*

    • Um I love lists, too. They are my favorite way to read things haha! So that being said…

      1. Thank you! Today is the first time I feel a little bit more like ME in almost three weeks. My skin is starting to look like skin again!!!

      2. Melon eating mammals, hahaha. That sounds like a good coffee table book if I ever heard one.

      3. hahahah so sorry about all the emails! Which post of yours were we blowing up, I can’t remember? Is Amber someone you know in this bloggy world or real life? I enjoy our convos for sure!

  3. I hate when doctors try to avoid actually treating something! The dermatologist was my hero when I had a shingles outbreak and I think they’re more aggressive with treatments because they’re so specialized and they know you’re there by choice rather than based on your insurance. If you do ever find yourself too stressed, I learned through the shingles episode that Reiki really works for me. Totally didn’t buy it at first but was desperate and LOVED it.

    • Yes! I really wish my doc had said “maybe you should see a dermatologist”…but oh well.

      I’m glad you had such a good experience with your derm! I’ve heard how awful shingles can be. I’m really glad you mentioned Reiki because I had a woman perfom just one session on me a few years ago and I liked it, and I had totally forgotten about it! Did you learn it yourself or have someone else do it to you? I’m absolutely desperate right now, I’ll try anything!

  4. Ok, I totally snort-laughed here in my cubicle when I got to the animal photo, LOL. OMG! Hiiiiiilarious. That’s incredible. I’m so glad you were able to find/get to this other doctor! Wow. Which sort of steroid ointment did he give you? I have Desoximetasone. I had to dab some on my face the other day, grrr….

  5. Haha, I love that the pain and annoyance of all this was broken up by that darn cute otter eating melon. You have a true gift of seeing the humor in negative situations 🙂 It is crazy that Vitamin E would provoke such a strong allergic reaction that it literally burned your face – I wish I knew why a NATURAL VITAMIN OCCURRING IN NATURE could be so bad for a person. I hope the steroid creams help and that your pain and redness fades away soon!

    • Hahha he’s the best isn’t he?! I think he popped up in my phone that day solely to make the doctors visit less miserable! It worked.

      I know isn’t it crazy what a VITAMIN can do?! Yet my regular doc still said she didn’t think vitamin E had anything to do with my reaction. Ummm…okay. Last time I checked “stress” cannot cause a chemical burn on your face. Silly doctors.

  6. I hope the steroid cream is working and well done for trusting your instinct and getting a second opinion. Love the picture of the otter, brilliant, really made me laugh.

    • Thanks, Rosie! I put it on last night and while I think (maybe?) my face looks a little better, the pain is a little worse. Maybe it’s a “gets worse before it gets better” thing! 🙂

      Glad you liked the otter too. It is so dang funny, definitely a good pic to have on hand for bad days!

      • I hope it’s a gets worse before it gets better thing!
        Yes, there’s nothing better than an animal doing funny things to make you smile on a tough day. The screensaver on my iPad is a cat wearing a collar and tie, which always makes me chuckle at the most inappropriate times, like the middle of a meeting.

  7. I just laughed so hard at that picture that I actually snorted which in turn caused the baby to laugh hysterically! Hahahahaha!!
    I told you today how I feel and it will always hold true, if I could take your pain away and have to deal with it then I would. Just to give you an ounce of relief!! Keep that picture on your phone because that my friend is an excellent pick me up!!! Love you!

    • hahahah I thought you would like that! Isn’t it hysterical?! I look at it a lot, it is definitely not leaving my phone! Think of all the weird pictures the doc could have stumbled upon? Isaac in a onesie, Isaac wearing a centaur costume, Isaac doing any of the weird things he does. So perfect.

      And thank you for your constant support, I know you are being 100% serious when you say you would take some of my pain/rashes from me and it means SO much to me. I love you!!!

  8. Aww you must be in so much pain! I’m glad you can still laugh and see the silver lining though. Hope the steroid cream helps and that you feel better soon!

    • It’s definitely been rough! To be honest my pain has FINALLY dropped today. I spent the weekend snuggling my nephew and niece, I can only assume that they are really good for my health!! 😀

  9. awww, I was wondering how things were going. Does misting it with water make it feel better? A very fine mist.

    severe allergic responses can be so strong. I think if this allergic you best not consume any foods with E in them.

    On the happy note, well you made me giggle a lot while reading it. Omg Imagine if there were some other photos on the phone… in the extra awkward section. 😉

    *hugs carefully*

    • Yes! Cool, damp wash cloths on the face feel amazing, too. I wish I could just lay in bed all day with one on my face!

      I agree, I’m going to stay away from Vitamin E foods. The good thing is Vitamin E isn’t as common as I thought it was. It’s in a lot of foods, but it’s also NOT in a lot. I guess the main veggie to avoid would be spinach! Do you know which other veggies are naturally high in E?

      Glad it made you giggle, and yes you are right. It could have been much more awkward hahaha!! I should be thankful it was only an angry watermelon-eating otter! 🙂

      • Spinach, asparagus, chickpeas, cress, chestnuts, broccoli, tomatoes from a google. oh no, not chestnuts… *giggles* Now some have much lower levels and leaving them exposed to air and light reduces the vitamin e, perhaps some careful experiments, far down the road… can let you enjoy them still. I would avoid all of them for a while though. Your body is likely hypersensitive to it right now.

        Darn the fist three are favorites.

        you are a vegan?

      • Very interesting.

        Spinach I showed up as allergic to on my most recent allergy test. I stopped eating beans and tomatoes a few weeks ago because I felt like they were making me itchy. I ate broccoli last week and my face turned beet red when it had actually looking better that day! Looks like until this is all cleared up I should still avoid that stuff! Thanks!

        And I WAS vegan…due to this allergy discovery I started eating some meat again. Still haven’t had much dairy (maybe twice in the last two weeks?) but I’m happy eating some meat for protein! I was starting to get VERY hungry not eating dairy, meat, beans, and several veggies! Thankfully the transition back into meat has been great. My belly is very happy still 🙂

      • I think it seems you should avoid all E foods, At least until your face clears up.
        Salmon is high in it, so google the food you want to eat and vitamin E to see if it is going to bother you.

        take a mist bottle to work so you can spritz now and again. 🙂

        also handy when switched over to long distance squirting for annoying people. 😉

        • Good idea about googling the food before I eat it. I’m already deathly allergic to salmon so I can cross that off the list haha!

          Squirt bottle weapon, I like that. Just like with dogs! Although I’d rather use a shock collar for SOME annoying people in my life 😀

      • lol, squirting can be fun and then smile innocently and tell them it is to reduce your stress levels, make a funny face and look at the bottle menacingly again.

        salmon, hmmm because of E or something else in it. Darn your list of foods is shrinking.

        • Yep I’ve tried other types of fish and had problems with salmon, tuna, and grouper. Really interesting about eggs and nuts being high in E. WHAT IF I’M ONLY ALLERGIC TO E AND NOT ALL THESE OTHER FOODS?! hahaha. The thought is kind of pleasant, actually.

      • That is what I was pondering. When they do the allergy tests, it is too bad it isn’t reduced to the base cause. Then you could perhaps eliminate future risks and still enjoy foods that are grouped erroneously with the food you tested positive for.

        experimenting is scary though.

        • True. But on my last allergy test I showed positive to beef and chicken, too. Which both have vitamin E. I still eat both because what the heck am I supposed to eat if I’m allergic to EVERYTHING they test me for. Once this burn goes away and I’m all better (after the wedding, haha) I’m going to have my allergist just test me for vitamin E. It will be very interesting.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s