Sunday, February 7, 2010

Autoimmune Urticaria Dermatographism IV

In my previous post I left the doctor's office feeling very hopeful and positive. I was to return after my visits with my general practitioner and my ob/gyn.

I made the appointments fairly close together. I visited my ob/gyn doctor and went through a routine examination. I did tell her that I felt I was entering my "year of jubilee" and explained all the symptoms I was having including my hives. I told her about my results from the allergist and she was very intrigued and said she would like to have some tests done so she sent me off to the labs for more tests. Although my previous visit she thought I was too young (family history says I'm really not) she confirmed that it was entirely possible that I was perimenopausal and gave me a list of supplements that I could take. She asked me if I wanted to take some hormone therapy even though it's not her favorite thing to prescribe, I told her absolutely not. I would stick with the vitamin supplements and pray for the best. The lab work results from the tests that she ordered were not different than the results from the allergist.

I went to my general practitioner and had a routine exam there as well. I explained all my problems and Dr. H. wanted to specifically test for Lupus and rheumatoid arthritis. The aches in my joints were still bothering me at this time as well as the lack of sleep and anxiety attacks. The tests came back the same as all the others and I am cleared from Lupus and RA. He said that he would be sure to test my thyroid every year. He had not received any notes from the allergist at the time but would review them when they arrived.

Some time had passed until my next appointment with the CNP J. and I was doing fairly well. I was taking the Zyrtec but still was experiencing some itchy scalp and joint pain. I switched to organic shampoo and used no other products in my hair. I took Motrin for my joint pain.

It was about late August during this time and I was still gardening. I noticed two very notable things. Even though I was doing fairly well with the Zyrtec, if a mosquito bit me, it would cause me to break out in hives. I also noticed that if I perspired my scalp would itch like mad. My husband calls it "helmet fleas."  He said that when they work fires or train they sweat underneath their helmets. When they remove them, their scalps itch like mad. I could not control these two things...and I didn't know how much antihistamine I could take if I had already taken a Zyrtec, so I took nothing more. 

God frequently puts us in places and situations for our benefit. He allows us to hear things, meet people because there is a blessing in the circumstance. Well, every Labor Day we have a church picnic at a member's home. This year they had a couple visiting that were professors in an Asian country. We had met them in 2003 or 2004 at a bible study and had not seen them in years. They had been back in the states for a while and were getting ready to go back to this country for a new post. I didn't realize who they were until we started talking. They overheard me tell my two friends all about my problems. They were sitting across from us so there was no avoiding the "overhearing." The wife told me that she had similar problems but hers were all food related. She said that she uses the Scalpacin on her head and she is fine after a few drops. She also said that she is allergic to mosquitoes and had some sort of allergy shots done somewhere in the midwest and the allergic reaction is not so severe. I had also mentioned while talking to my friends that I was even considering doing acupuncture because I was so desperate. She gave me some advice on that and told me to be very careful about eastern medicine - that it is not something to take lightly especially as it relates to Christianity. She told us that she had gotten very ill while in this and could not seem to get well. All of her pupils kept encouraging her to try their eastern medicine and would not stop until she did. Well, she finally acquiesced and went for treatment. She said that she got worse and became so very ill that she almost had to be flown back to the states. Her students felt bad and never brought up the subject again.I don't know what was involved in her treatment, she didn't give details so I prefer not to get into "discussions" about the pros and cons of it all and whether it is kosher for believers to practice it. I do know that acupuncture has worked for a friend's migraines. I would say that the wisest thing would be to seek God and stay with your convictions. Anyway, that afternoon before going home, I went straight to the drugstore and bought a bottle of Scalpacin. That evening I took a shower and used it and got instant relief. I used it for two weeks and I was back to normal with no itching at all!!!!  Yay!!  I continued with the organic shampoo to stay on the safe side.

When my final appointment with CNP J. came, I told her about my visits with the doctors. I told her that I didn't want to take the hormone therapy and she thought it was a wise did my doctor (she just didn't know if my desperateness outweighed the concerns of that type of treatment). We talked about the anxiety and sleeplessness..that was the only thing that I could not find a resolution for and she suggested that I get a prescription for some anti-anxiety medicine from my ob/gyn. I was given a very small dose of it to take daily and it has helped tremendously. I also got a prescription for Ambien from my GP for those nights when nothing worked.  I told her about the mosquitoes and the sweating and how it seemed to trigger the hives even after taking the antihistamines. She found that very interesting.  She said I could take some Benedryl on top of that and still be quite safe. I was glad to hear it. It was a good follow-up visit and I felt that I had enough information to help get me comfortable again.
When I left I told her that I hoped she was taking good notes because one of these days I was going to be completely healed of this... completely. She assured me that she was taking excellent notes. 

The one thing that I have to say that I was looking forward to was winter. Summer was killing me. The heat, humidity, and mosquitoes were making me miserable. I stopped gardening and had my son take over. I even tried getting medical scrubs to garden in but the tiger mosquitoes just bite through the clothing. I'll have to wear thicker material, get a mosquito magnet, spray regularly (but that defeats the organic gardening) or possibly get a bee suit (ha, ha, ha). Now that would be miserably hot!! I'll have to think of something.

I am looking forward to the spring but will face the coming summer with great apprehension. I had also hoped that as our youngest got older we might be able to make a trip to Nicaragua on a missions trip but I don't think I'll be doing that anytime soon. I'm sad about that aspect of it...really sad about it.

Today, I am enjoying winter and my body has been calm. I have not had a hive incident since winter started. I have had anxiety attacks at night though so I made a few more changes. For now, I take my anti-anxiety medicine at about 6pm along with the Zyrtec. I hope to be free of the anti-anxiety medicine soon because it is not something a person should take for long periods of time. I will be working toward this end over the next two weeks. To help with this, I have cut out all caffeine - no diet coke and no caffeine free diet coke either. My last few anxiety attacks came each time I had those.  Coincidence? Maybe. But since my days are full and I have to have my sleep, I don't drink it anymore. Every once in a while I will have some mild scalp itching but I have the Scalpacin to help with that and it takes it away. I also found that in the summer, I  shower with tepid water, wash my hair normally and rinse my scalp with cool water.  

I have found that snug clothing causes the dermatographism to flare up (it's mild) as well. I am talking about socks, waistbands, long sleeves with snug jersey wristbands...they are a problem for me. I have found that I am most comfortable when I am wearing long or short skirts although I prefer long. I wear leggings underneath or stockings that are a size too big so that they feel loose. Cotton clothing keeps me the coolest.   

What a learning experience this has been. But I know God will use this situation to help others. Oddly enough, my mother-in-law was suffering from the itchy scalp (not hives though) and I told her about the Scalpacin and she said she was so grateful for the recommendation because she too was going absolutely mad. She's much, much better.

 Last Tuesday (2/1) I met a gal at the quilting store whose sister has the same thing (AUD) but she herself doesn't have a severe problem with it.They are identical twins. She said that since her sister has moved to a cooler climate she has not had so many problems and said that the mosquitoes were a trigger for her too. She said she is slowly starting to develop the same problem, but believes she is "holding it at bay" because she does do eastern medicine and finds it helpful. She was very understanding though about my reluctance to do it. She too believes that diet change was helpful for her sister. She has altered her diet as a proactive measure. She wears long skirts and stockings for the same reason.

Well, my friend, I guess this will be my last installment on this topic until summer comes and/or something changes.  Until then, know that you are not alone and there are others that suffer with you. We are all searching and coping too. We just have to find what works for each of us.There are remedies but more importantly God is still THE greatest physician of all! 

God is in our journey...he'd never leave us to walk alone. He's in every aspect of our lives and he cares about every little detail. His timing is different than ours, so we wait.

Praying that your healing comes quickly...


0 friends said...:

Post a Comment

I'd love to hear from you

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...