Personally, I’m still not convinced we don’t have a case of ebola on our hands. And remember that disease in the movie “Outbreak” with Dustin Hoffman and Cuba Gooding Jr? Yeah that one has crossed my mind this week as well. However, I have been assured I am not contagious or infected with some type of disease that requires me to be quarantined. I’ve also been told it’s not hives or measles! Please be warned, if you have a weak stomach, you should probably skip this blog entry!!!
So, about a week and a half ago I woke up with a couple of small marks on my neck. I showed them to my husband and we didn’t think too much of it. At the time, I figured they were just small blemishes or scratches. I went about my day and honestly didn’t think about them again. Thursday morning as usual. I woke up early, brought my daughter to school, came home, took a cat nap (yes, I nap in the morning now), got dressed, took my dog for a short walk to the mail box, and then jumped in the car to run some errands. My eyebrows needed some serious TLC, I had shopping to do, and I needed to pick up a few things for my daughters upcoming volleyball tournament. As I sat down to get my eyebrows threaded, the gal noticed some spots on my neck/face and asked me about them. The moment she mentioned it, I figured she must have X-ray vision eyes because there was no way she could have seen the little things I saw the day before. Without thinking about it, I looked down at my neck and was greeted with a HUGE surprise. How in the world did I go all morning without noticing this???
I was SHOCKED when I looked down and saw at least 20 other of those same little marks (image below on the far left)! She said they looked like hives, but because I wasn’t itchy or anything, I wasn’t totally sure. I’ve also only had hives ONE other time in my life and they were from a severe allergic reaction to antibiotics and aside from a little eczema here and there over the years, I’ve NEVER been allergic to anything! I hadn’t taken any antibiotics or any other medication for that matter so it couldn’t have been a reaction to that. I left the salon totally puzzled and went ahead with my other errands. Within 1/2 hour, the 20 marks I had on my neck spread to new marks on my face, my arms, AND I was now getting to the point where I was feeling itchy everywhere! Great. I have hives. No problem. Let me grab some Benadryl and I will be good to go within a few hours. Easy right?
This was the progression of my skin over the course of 5-6 hours AFTER the Benadryl…
I could not get over how fast everything was spreading! Little bastards were multiplying… exponentially! I wasn’t even really itchy to start with and all of a sudden, I felt the need to scratch everywhere. Nearly every inch of my skin was crawling by the afternoon. As we tried to get a same day appointment to see a doctor, my husband and I went over everything I had eaten over the last few days, but NOTHING stood out at all. For people who track their macros/calories, we always have a pretty good picture of what our meals and food look like each day. And for someone like me who eats a lot of the same things/ingredients each day (huge salads, protein waffles, scrambled eggs, a TON of veggies, Greek yogurt, chicken, etc.), I knew it couldn’t possibly be anything I ate. So then we looked at medication… nope. Haven’t taken anything except the same supplements I’ve taken for months/years. No new deodorant, soap, make up, animals, environment. Nothing was new. All I knew was I needed to see a doctor ASAP because this was getting ridiculous. I couldn’t help but get worried that I was having an allergic reaction to something and within a few hours, my throat would close up and I would die. Yeah, thats kind of how my mind works. Totally irrational, I know.
Luckily, I was able to see a doc that evening and with some prescriptions in hand, I headed home with my first doses taken right then and there at the pharmacy (no way I was going to wait a minute longer). Relief should come soon enough and I can put these awful things behind me.
I woke up the next morning covered completely HEAD to TOE! At this point, I didn’t even itch anymore. My skin was SO painful I could barely move. This is where panic started to set in and my mind began to wander all over the place… like the internet. Bad bad idea when you look medical stuff up. Yup, I definitely have Ebola. I’m going to die, I know it. Off to urgent care to receive my fate.
The waiting room was already filled with at least 10 other patients. The lady checking me in could barely look at me. No hard feelings girl, I can’t look at me either. Within 3 minutes of sitting down to wait patiently while everyone else got called in, I was called back! Not only that, instead of getting bed behind a curtain like everyone else in urgent care, I was brought into my own ‘private’ room at the BACK of the department… WITH a door! Yeah, it’s Ebola and the entire staff will now be going through the precautionary steps and protocol of hazmat suits for deadly diseases.
OK doc. Lay it on me… how long do I have to live?
It certainly isn’t very reassuring to have the doctor come in, shake my husbands hand, then turn to me and say “I don’t think I’m going to shake your hand in case you do have something!”
What the actual F*#k? Did he really just say that????
Oh My God. I am dying. I know it.
After about a two minute chat, the doctor admitted that he had no idea what I had, but was certain it was not hives. He told us he would need to consult with another doctor first, he left the room, closed the door, and we waited for another 10 minutes or so. Doctor returned carrying his phone and proceeded to text message with another doctor about my condition. At that point my husband and I were getting a little frustrated. If this doctor didn’t know what I had or how to treat me and was consulting with dermatology AND allergy, why not just ask one of those docs to come see me or send us to that department? We questioned him about it, talked about HMO’s and red tape, then he left the room again. He returned with his phone yet again, but this time had the chief of dermatology on Skype for me! That was pretty impressive. Guess our complaining and frustration gave him a little extra push to get something done! It also goes to show that even in an HMO, doctors CAN stray outside of “protocol” every now and then IF they really wanted to.
Anyways, after a 5 minute Skype ‘exam’ and chat, we had a plan of action for treatment, a long list of blood tests & cultures were ordered, I would need a referral for allergy and dermatology, we were going to treat my skin condition with a heavy dose of steroid injections, oral meds, and cream. OK sounds good. Let’s get this ball rolling! I wasn’t satisfied not knowing what this was exactly, but I was hoping that it would get knocked out by the steroids asap!
Now, most people are sent home with a tube of cream… not me, I think the doctor cleared out the pharmacy for me LOL! I suppose one little tube will only go so far when you are covered head to toe with something. I can’t help but laugh when I see my TEN tubes of cream!
Unfortunately, the next couple of days were horrific. Everything hurt, my skin was burning at this point, I felt disgusting (and looked even worse), and every inch of skin that was covered with some type of clothing burned. I took these pictures on day 4 and this was an actual improvement from days 2 & 3! I will spare the world those images. I can barely stomach them myself!
My skin seemed to be getting better though after the 4th day or so. Thank GOD! Can you believe that I’m considering this ‘better’? Yuck. Looking at all of these now, I don’t blame the doctor one bit for not wanting to shake my hand. Disgusting. And please don’t tell me Ebola doesn’t cross your mind as well!
I’m now on day 11 and finally feeling better and back to my old self. Just as the rash began to appear on my body last week, it started reducing in the same manner. My face began to clear first, then my neck and chest, and as of a couple of days ago the marks on my back and stomach began to lighten up as well. Instead of the bright red spots/welts, everything is completely flat now and looks much more like bruising which gets lighter as each day passes. To be perfectly honest, by day 7 & 8, I actually felt really really good overall. I still had marks on me (similar to minor bruising) and itched a little bit, BUT my back and cyst issues were nearly non existent during the day! Nights are another matter, but for the first time in months I felt ‘normal’!!! I was even able to go for a much longer walk than I normally do and WITHOUT any pain. This is HUGE. I either walk for 1/4 mile and it starts to hurt too bad OR I walk further and pay for it the next two days. Whatever this is/was, it tamed every other symptom of my other condition! What a trade off huh???
Back to my Ebola… last Thursday we spent at least an hour with two doctors (allergist/immunologist). We went over previous allergies, current health conditions, medications, procedures, vaccinations, supplements, food, and family stuff, and my blood work was all totally normal. As of right now, the only thing we do know is these are NOT hives, Ebola, or something other contagious disease. Thank God. However, that does leave things very open ended which I don’t like either. They would like me to discontinue use of all supplements, avoid any new medications/products, and avoid changing up my diet until I can get in to see dermatology next month. Best case scenario is I had a strange viral infection (like a cold without typical nose, throat, fever, head symptoms) and this was how my body responded to it. Added with the extreme stress my body has already been under over the past four months (more on that HERE & HERE, it definitely make sense. It definitely was not prepared to fight against any type of infection since my immune system is already down so it stands to reason why my body has gone completely crazy.
At this point, I’m just happy my skin isn’t burning and red. A bit itchy, but I can manage that pretty good with my stock pile of cream! I’m also happy that my face is 99% clear and I don’t look like I’m walking around with Ebola… luckily I can keep my arms, tummy, back, and legs covered to hide everything else 🙂 There was a solid 3 days where I could not leave the house at all and I avoided looking in the mirror like I had the plague (oh the plague, I hadn’t thought of that one before!). I should look 100% like myself by next weekend! Typical viruses last anywhere from 7-21 days so I’m on track for it to be out of my system by Christmas!!!
Also, aside from having some manageable pain in the evening time the past 2-3 days, my days have been PHENOMENAL!!! I’m feeling so good I may even attempt to workout next week… please send me ALL those positive thoughts guys!!!! My road to rehab is right around the corner, I can feel it!!!