Saturday, April 19, 2014

What a long, strange week it's been...

If you're friends with me on Facebook (which most of you are, I imagine), then you have already been made aware of the 'drama' within my life this past week.

Last Thursday evening, I noticed a couple of "bug bites" on my left leg. One, near my knee, was rather swollen. I think I only noticed it because I had bumped it, and it hurt. On Friday, my mother-in-law and I went and had manicures and pedicures. During the pedicure, I noticed another 'bug bite' - because the girl kept bumping it. It was right above my right ankle. After that, I noticed several other bites.

The one by left knee kept swelling. By the end of the day, it was rather painful - and hot. I tried icing it. I sent a text to my ever-wise, aunt Barbara (a nurse practitioner) for some advice. She advised that I take some Benadryl - and if it got worse, to contact her in the morning.

Saturday morning, it wasn't any better. In fact, there were more and many others started swelling. ...and then, I noticed some bumps on my arms. Yes, a trip to see my aunt Barbara was in order. Thankfully, she only lives a couple miles away.

She hooked me up with non-expired Benadryl, and instructed me to take some ibuprofen to help the swelling. She believed that I had 'erythema nodosum' - and possibly Valley Fever. She said that if they got worse, I should see my doctor on Monday as soon as possible.

Well, it got worse. I was taking ibuprofen and benadryl every 4 hours. On Monday morning, I wanted to rip my arms off. The bumps that were on my arms seemed to merge into little mega cells. The small red welts on my legs seemed to merge into large, hot, red masses. I knew I was going to see my doctor; I had to. Although, I planned that I would go to work. Dan instructed me to stay home. (So thankful for him; most of the time, I need to be told what to do.)

At 8am, I started calling my doctor every 15 minutes. I didn't realize the office didn't open until 9.... At 8:43, I said, "God, please, let them call me." At 8:45, the receptionist tell me that there weren't any open appointments, but I could be seen at 9 on Tuesday. I told her that I had to be seen that day; everything was getting worse. She said that she would consult my doctor to see if she'd be willing to be double-booked. At that point, I began pleading with God for her to be willing to see me. At 9:05 I called back to see if she would be; she was.

About 10:20, I went back to see her. Immediately, she looked at my arms and said, "You have the chicken pox!" I said, "How? I had the chicken pox. I don't have the chicken pox...." She said, "Those, baby girl, are chicken pox."

Then, she looked at my legs. Rather than see what my aunt saw, she felt my hot legs and said, "This looks like lupus." I tried explaining that I thought it was Valley Fever, not lupus. She called in the other doctor who confirmed her suspicions about it being related to an auto-immune disorder. And, then, I went back to have blood drawn.

My left leg on Monday morning.

My right leg on Monday; if you zoom in, you can see the red areas on my knee and shin.

At this point, my doctor went into the waiting room and asked if anyone there had not had chicken pox. The one person who hadn't? My mother-in-law.... I think she must have some type of natural immunity, though, as all 4 of her kids had chicken pox, and she never got it from them.

I was informed that I would not be going into work for the week.

Which was good, because I didn't feel like doing much of anything until Thursday. ...and even then, I took at least one nap that day.

For the first couple of days, I would feel like ripping my arms off at least twice a day. I was taking Benadryl & ibuprofen like clockwork. Tuesday evening, I finally started taking the anti-viral med (another ridiculous story for another time).

On Thursday, the red welts on my legs and faded to to bruises, which is typical of erythema nodosum.
Left leg on Thursday

Right leg on Thursday
Right arm - Thursday

Left arm Thursday

On Thursday night, I received a message from my cousin, Valerie, a physician assistant, who said, "I do not think what you have Lupus." She and I have been in contact discussing my symptoms - and then my blood work when it came back yesterday (I don't meet with my doctor until Monday).

I cannot tell you all how THANKFUL I am for my aunt Barbara and cousin Valerie; they have helped explain my test results and provide feedback and direction. I do not have an auto-immune disorder; my labs indicate a rather healthy individual. As for the next steps to discover what might have caused this...well, we shall see on Monday.

I thought I was completely on the mend until this morning. I woke up with tiny little bumps circling a drying bump on my thumb, and little guys on my ring finger. Oy. Come on, body! Don't you understand that it's been a week? It's time to get healthy! :)

Legs - Saturday, 4/19

Damn you, baby spots!

Left arm - 4/19

Right arm - 4/19

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