Wednesday, February 19, 2014

On Being a Diseased Leper

Have you ever had a total "why me" moment?

Some of my earliest memories consist of having rashes on my legs. I used to get them in wide patches on my inner thighs, inner knees, and the backs of my knees. They were called "heat" rashes for a long time until eczema became known. Eventually, those rashes went away (and by eventually, I mean it took about ten years) but then I started getting what I called "nerve" rashes on my fingertips and knuckles of all things. As an adult, I still get rashes and my doctor now calls them "stress-induced eczema". If you're not getting the picture here, I've been plagued with freaking rashes nearly my entire life. I had one on my knee for about five years before I was prescribed with a cream that actually worked. Now I have rashes on the outside of each of my ankles that two different prescription creams haven't been able to cure. They look lovely on the beach with my flip flops. Please, hear the sarcasm here.

And now, I have a skin condition that reminds me very much of the time when I had chicken pox as a kid but without the fever and it lasts longer. It began about four weeks ago with this weird patch that I got on my abdomen. It coincidentally coincided with a juice cleanse that I tortured myself with (and one that I'll never be trying again). The side effects of this cleanse included "skin eruptions". I had no idea what that meant, but I figured they meant zits and pimples. When I got this patch, I was like, geez! Talk about a skin eruption. It's about the size of a quarter and actually looks like a healing burn mark. Then about two weeks after that, I started getting red bumps on my abdomen. Some itched, some didn't, but I'm so used to having some skin condition or another, I didn't really think too much about it. Then, a few spots turned into many and I wondered if we had picked up bedbugs on our romantic evening away. I did some Googling and didn't see any signs in or around my bed that would indicate bed bugs, but my spots were multiplying overnight. Finally, I broke down and called the hospital on Hurlburt Field to make an appointment. They couldn't get me in for over a week, but something was better than nothing. 

This past Saturday, the amount of spots was becoming alarming and the itching was driving me nuts. So, I put on my big girl panties and went to the urgent care here in town. The doctor took one look at me and told me that I have Pityriasis Rosea. He said I was a textbook case. That patch I had gotten several weeks before? It's called a "herald" patch and basically announces that you have this condition. Go figure. I still have to keep my appointment at the base because the doctor told me that this could also be latent syphilis, lmao. If I had syphilis to the point where I was getting skin lesions, I'd be a goner, lol. I'm not worried. But my blood pressure was also high, no big surprise there. He gave me a nice prescription for antihistamines which kind of works and it's also a mild anti-anxiety which I have seen no evidence of so far. This is such a low-dose prescription, that I have NO side effects of drowsiness and the itching is barely under control. 

I look like a freaking diseased leper and I'm generally feeling very sorry for myself. Why am I constantly plagued with some sort of itchy skin condition? Why did this have to happen right when the weather is warming up? Luckily, I only have a few spots on my lower arms (so far) so I can wear t-shirts and no spots on legs yet (knock on wood) so I can wear shorts and capris. But my wardrobe is limited to a couple t-shirts out of my own closet and a few t-shirts out of the Mister's closet. Other than that, I can't wear any other tops that show any of my chest whatsoever. In the meantime, my spots are still increasing noticeably on a daily basis. When I saw them in the mirror yesterday, I bawled for about an hour. There are two positives about this: 1) It isn't contagious and 2) It doesn't generally spread to the face or neck. I have to be careful of scratching so that I don't give myself an infection on top of this condition but the itching is unbelievable. Goody for me, I get to keep myself distracted with the mountains of homework that I have. 

Sorry. Sarcasm, mild hysteria, anxiety, general nastiness, and self-pity have become my norm of late. It's also nice that what is hopefully the peak of this condition is coinciding with PMS. You really should count yourself lucky you're reading this long distance. OH!! And I found out yesterday that Tricare is refusing to pay for my visit to the urgent care. I haven't been to see any doctor for over a year and the one time that I force myself to go, Tricare won't pay for it. Nice.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Big Announcement!!

Friends and family, please take the time to read.

This is quite possibly the biggest news I have ever put on my blog. ::Deep breath::

The Mister is taking the early retirement option and will be retiring from the Marine Corps this year. The paperwork was officially approved today and this a "no going back" decision. He will go on terminal leave towards the end of July. Terminal leave is when you take the leave you have on the books added with travel and job hunting leave. He'll still be active duty until September, but won't be actively working for the Marine Corps starting in July.

A lot of factors went into making this decision. A lot of soul searching. A lot of discussion. A lot of time. Hindsight is, as they say, 20/20 and if the Mister and I are completely honest, he should not have opted to reenlist clear back in 2006. We have been dissatisfied with the military life for quite some time. Did you know...The Mister is 36 years old (he'll be 37 this year.) He's been married for 18 years this May and will have a daughter old enough to enlist in the military herself this July. AND, he has to ask permission to buy a motorcycle. Or to travel to New Orleans over a weekend. We are simply, too old for this anymore. When you add in the current political climate here in the U.S., early retirement is, by far, the best decision that we could make. He will have his Master's degree before he officially retires and he has tons of experience behind him for job hunting. Basically, he's taking retirement while there's still any retirement from the military to be had. With our government downsizing the military, the Marine Corps will be significantly decreased over the next couple of years, there's a good chance he would have been forced to leave the military anyway. A better than good chance. Frankly, we don't like what we're seeing on the horizon and we certainly don't like the changes that have been made to the military overall that we have seen over the past almost 17 years. I'm trying not to get too political here, but it's really hard, lol.

I'll end this by saying that I hope the people that we care about most will support us in this decision and if you cannot, we didn't like you all that much anyway. ;) (I wink, but I'm not really joking.)

Thursday, February 06, 2014

Leon Ain't Got Nothing On Us

(Please forgive the poor grammar in the title ;))

The palm tree in our front yard covered in ice. And say hello to our OSU lawn gnome, lol.

I have to laugh at the extreme irony that the first named storm we had to deal with since moving to Florida was a winter storm. I mean, seriously?!?!

Leon brought our part of Florida a sheet of ice over the roadways and especially the bridges. You need to understand the amount of bridges around here. Like I said in my other post, the Mister crosses four just to get to work. During the course of the storm, every major bridge in the three counties of northwest Florida closed. The bridge that leads to the main gate of NAS Pensacola (where the Mister works) was closed. At one point, the only way he could have gotten to work was either by air or boat.

Something else you need to understand is that Florida isn't equipped to deal with winter weather. At all. Northern states have machines that salt and sand the roads. We had to wait for the ice to melt. I even saw on the news, workers who were chipping away at the ice covered bridges with shovels. I also think that it's ironic that whenever northern states experience widespread power failures that Florida sends up power trucks to help out. Where were salt truck to help us out?

My girls had three days off of school and the Mister had two and a half days off of work. And you know what? I really enjoyed having my family home while not being able to go anywhere. We didn't lose power, unlike the almost 50,000 other people in our area who did, and our pantry was full. It was nice being home, warm, fed, and together for those days. For the Mister, it was like free days of leave. However, Florida doesn't build inclement weather days into the school year so they have to make them up. Our county has applied to not have to make up those days, but so far and until and unless that gets approved, they are taking two days off of their Spring Break. We had planned on taking a family vacation during that time and now we don't know what we're going to do.

Overall, we made out pretty good during Leon's wrath. Some of the plants in the backyard are probably going to have to be pulled up in the Spring, but I've seen a lot more plant damage in my neighbors' yards. I didn't cover any of the shrubs or bushes up. What can I say? This is a rental and I think the shrubs in this yard are ugly, lol.

Did Leon visit your town? How did you fair?