My name is Debbie. I'm 43 years old. My face turned pus when I was exactly 40 years old.
I never had any problems with pimples, let alone acne. My skin was always smooth like a baby's buttocks, neither oily or dry. On Fitzpatrick's scale, I land on skin type II.
Nobody knows what triggers PF. I wonder if PF is an autoimmune disease.
If I had to guess my personal trigger from the list of suggestions, I would say it was severe stress for too long. Something had to give.
Of course the disease didn't exactly help in reducing the stress levels that had triggered it in the first place. Doctors demanded to get paid for not knowing a thing about PF. I consulted three dermatologists before I ran out of steam. Two were very nice but not able to help, and they admitted as much. The third was equally ineffective but, unfortunately, he was also prone to making stuff up. (If you have nothing to say, say nothing. Mark Twain, I believe.)
So, after the dermatologist fiasco, I started my own research as if my life depended on it. As far as I was concerned, that was actually a possibility. Now it sounds dramatic. Then it was real.
Once convinced that PF was the culprit, I arranged all my findings in a manila folder and consulted a fourth dermatologist. He wasn't in the loop either, but after some double verifying in his library, he agreed with my conclusion. Hooray. The enemy has been identified.
Then there was the job that I consequently lost, and my social life that snapped to a freezing zero. I felt like an exhausted turtle on its back.
The nights were the worst. Sleep became elusive. Not being able to rip off my face was just unbearable. I applied cold water to ease the discomfort, but it only helped for 15 seconds. Some fever went along with, I believe, which makes sense seeing that the entire face turned into one huge inflammation.
The sinuses were filled to the rim. To this day, they haven't recovered to their pre-disease condition. But it's completely manageable now.
So that was that for several months. Then, a pus drainage system established itself and created two skin pockets left and right on, as gravity would dictate, the bottom line of the chin. I looked like a hamster with mumps.
It is impossible to exaggerate the amount of pus that accumulates with PF. It is so dreadful, there are no words. A box of Kleenex is nothing.
A quick remark with regards to the impact on one's mental and emotional balance. "Crushing demoralization" and "utter devastation" seems appropriate. I will just mention this aspect briefly, and its severity would vary depending on the reliability of your social support system, but I believe that the effect that PF has on you psychologically way overshadows the by no means small amount of physical distress.
Now... I haven't mentioned the second attack. Oh yes. I believe it set up camp 6 to 12 months after the first attack had completely healed up. I can't be exactly sure about the timeline, I was basically denying existence at the time.
But the second attack was considerably less ferocious than the first. We could speculate as to why that was. Maybe because PF's second attacks are less vicious by definition, or maybe because the entire face was already covered by a tight net of scar tissue. How pimples could still find a few healthy spots to assail is beyond me. But they managed. My nose had been more or less spared by the first attack, a fact that I had, as it turned out, celebrated too quickly. Behold the second attack. But it cleared up much faster than the first one.
Well, there you have it, that's my story.
Food, Drink, and Sun
If you would press me to take a patient's (not a doctor's) guess, I would say that in my case, pyoderma faciale had nothing to do with what I ate or drank. And sun exposure felt rather nice and didn't seem to make anything worse.
I don't believe that there is a cure for PF at the moment. Some claim that something has "delayed the outbreak," but I doubt that they confronted a full-blown PF attack. And the argument, "it only works if you treat the condition at the time of its onset" is utterly impractical, because by the time you know what you're dealing with, it is too late. PF develops literally over night.
Then others say that certain treatments show regression after 4 months. I would like to point out that if you leave it alone, it starts getting better after 4 months by itself.
On this somber note:
If you are currently suffering from pyoderma faciale, please know that bad days are like bad people, they won't last forever.
Let me sign off by giving you a sincere hug, and a great big kiss (pimples notwithstanding).
If you wish, you can email me at
mail [at] pyodermafaciale.com
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