Not a Staph Infection, Again!
So when I felt similar symptoms arising in the same spot just a couple of weeks ago, I started to mentally and physically prepare myself for the worst.
The first time I had a staph infection
The first time I had gotten staph, I was homebound for almost 2 months. TWO WHOLE MONTHS! This infection took over the bottom of my lip and some of my chin making it nearly impossible to talk, eat, sleep, and function as a normal human being. It was so tight, crusty, and uncomfortable that it felt as bad as it looked.
I wore a mask to cover it up
To make things even more awkward and uncomfortable, I wore a mask everywhere I went before wearing masks was even considered normal. This meant awkward stares and responding to questions like, "What's wrong?" I even epically showed up to my brother's wedding with a silver decked-out mask that matched my outfit! (I wasn't going to let a staph infection get in the way of such a monumental event!)
So one can imagine where my mind automatically went to when I started to feel these gruesome symptoms again - fear, fear, FEAR.
I needed to change my perspective
But fortunately, I was able to quickly shift that mentality. I do not enjoy operating from a space of fear, especially when it comes to anything regarding my skin and body, given that it can (and often does) react to the fear negatively.
The past doesn't dictate the future
So I took a deep breath and noted that this was a new experience. I will not let my past hinder the endless possibilities that lay before me. Sure, I can use my past experience to think about what worked (and I did), but I will not allow the distressing moments to trouble me now.
My new staph infection is different
As a result of my mentality and taking immediate action, this experience has been completely different than the first time.
It's healing quicker
My staph is healing much quicker. From something that took months to heal and now it only takes weeks. The healing process has been quick, smooth, and efficient. I am not nearly as uncomfortable and in pain as I was the first time around. In fact, I am almost forgetting I'm dealing with staph as it's not affecting my day-to-day activities at all.
What did I learn from the experience?
Although I am not 100% healed just yet (more like 85%), overall, I am beyond grateful for my body, its power, and its capability to bring forth healing.
Here are a few lessons I’ve learned from this experience:
Act with urgency
Based on my first staph experience, I learned about the importance of antibiotics to treat the infection. So as soon as I was able to confirm – through a self-diagnosis – that it was staph, I took immediate action in getting antibiotics. (The first time, it took me a few weeks to realize it was staph and even longer to actually schedule a doctor’s appointment and get the antibiotics.)
I immediately called my general/routine doctor, but she wasn’t available for a few days. I decided to take immediate action and go to urgent care instead (thank God for insurance). I had a prescription for antibiotics within just a few minutes!
Create a new experience
Because my first experience with staph was so traumatic, physically and mentally, I did what I could to ensure that I didn’t allow my past to enter into this new experience. Although the condition may have been the same, my experience didn’t have to be the same. This has supported me mentally in building the confidence I needed to heal.
Even as I type this out now, the experience has been totally different. I just completed day 7 of 7 days of antibiotics and the symptoms are mild compared to where I was two years ago.
Step into faith
Rather than allowing the fear of past experiences with staph to overtake me, I chose (and continuously choose) to step into faith. To believe that this experience can and will be different. To undeniably believe that healing is possible through acceptance, compassion, and action.
On an average day, how would you rate your level of anxiety related to atopic dermatitis?