(This is not a request for advice. This is also not medical advice for you. But isn’t it good to know this info is out there and you can do some reading up on it?)

Today it’s my birthday. About nine years ago, a former friend thought he was being funny when he said that every year I was getting some new disease or ailment for my birthday. But he was absolutely correct.

I’m recovering from foot surgery at the moment. I actually had surgery on both feet for the same issue, which is that I busted through the ligaments on the top outside of each foot, and really didn’t realize it. (That’s the problem with Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome – our collagen isn’t stable.) When I asked for MRIs of my feet, I thought it was because of I was experiencing a specific issue (which I am), but the surgeon said, oh, hey, we gotta take care of these. So here is the wacky part: My body rejected the stitches. It happened really fast. These are actually my 16th and 17th surgeries, and certainly not my first time getting stitches. On the second foot, I had to re-cast because of issues, and the rejection happened in 7 days. Dead, black zombie flesh.

That isn’t my only problem at the moment. I also have an infection that started four days ago in my lower right eyelid. It’s super painful. This also happened about 14 months ago in my left eyelid, and I ended up having to get it cut out. The eye surgeon didn’t believe me about not being able to be numbed by Lidocaine (a common problem with people with mast cell activation syndrome), so I felt everything. I had tears running down my face the entire time. He cauterized me too. I tried to be super quiet because I know it can be distracting to have someone screaming and moaning when you are performing a procedure.

And then there’s hidradenitis suppurativa. It’s a crazy disease. I get tunnels of infection that form from the inside out. I’ve had laser treatments and surgery and I’m on steroids and other medications, but no one is ever cured of the disease, and it’s known as the worst dermatological disease to have. And trust me, it is. It can turn from a contained infection to cellulitis to sepsis within hours.

So, good grief, all of this infection. What now?

Manuka honey. I feel like one of those people who is telling everyone to drink green tea. Or to use tea tree oil. But Manuka honey has got some real merit, and it hasn’t let me down yet. The only thing is, I feel like the dad from “My Big Fat Greek Wedding” and his bottle of Windex, because I tell everyone to put honey on it. But Manuka honey is very, very specifically antimicrobial. In the grand scheme of things you can get regular honey and reap some rewards. Just don’t get cheap honey that is really corn syrup.

First, I’m using on my zombie flesh. I have to deal with infection and the wound not closing properly. It is not pretty. I didn’t actually know that wound care centers were using Manuka honey; I had just remembered that I had seen something on a nature show about a turtle shell being repaired when it had been catastrophically broken. They smeared it on like they were leaving it for bear bait. My left foot’s incision looks so much better, and has healed well. The honey helped to get rid of the dead skin as it was healing, and the infection is completely gone. So I didn’t mess around with any other ointment for the right foot; I immediately went for the honey. I’m not going to include pictures, because BARF.

Second, I AM doing a little dab under my right eye. Of course I’m being careful not to get it IN my eye. But the thing about honey is that it works on unbroken skin. It will still bring out the infection, or at least reduce inflammation. This isn’t hype. Wound care centers use Manuka honey on patients who have bed sores that haven’t broken open yet. The honey heals the bed sores.

Third, I put the honey on the hidradenitis suppurativa areas. Now, you have to be careful around certain areas that don’t do well with straight up sugar, like girl bits. But you better believe that if I get a spot on my neck, I’m smearing honey. I actually talked to fellow patients a few days ago, including a nursing mom who was having issues around her chest area. I suggested that she wear nursing pads and put honey on the affected areas, and that way she could still nurse but how she was treating her areas was non-toxic. Plus the Manuka honey doesn’t actually stick to the wounds, so it’s not painful. (Trust me, it’s not.) The honey also cuts down on odor from the bacteria. And because it moisturizes and exfoliates, there’s less scarring, which is a huge issue for those of us with HS.

I’m including a published study through the NIH regarding the benefits of Manuka honey.

And please, support artists.

Botanical Shower Curtain

Honey Bees Phone Case

Mind Your Own Beeswax Yoga Mat

Grey Honeycomb Wrapping Paper

Butterflies and Bees Folding Stool