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.

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