Life's Path

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Answers with my skin...And stress is evil.

Okay, I have to apologize as I have taken more than a few days to continue with my story.  Again, life gets away on you and before you know it, time has flown by! 

I left off with me heading to the dermatologist to see if we had any answers as to what was going on with the invasion of red spots all over my body.  When my wonderful doctor comes in the room, she looks at me with hopeful eyes and says we have an answer.  I have discoid cutaneous lupus.  I ask her how I could have gotten this, due to my current health conditions being so good.  She says most likely stress, and at that point I burst into tears.  She immediately starts asking me about things in my life and is overwhelmed with what I have gone through in the last year.  She immediately takes out her notepad and takes me off work indefinitely.   She says that my body has been in defense mode for too long and it is shutting down because of the stress and it manifested itself this way. 

In some ways I am relieved to know what is going on.  In other ways, I am saddened to know that the effects of events in this last year have done this to my body.  But again, I look at this as a way to learn.  Never again can I let stress and life do this to me.  It is awful how I look.  I am so thankful that it did not spread to my face and that I can cover this mess up.

Now that we know what we are dealing with, we know how to properly treat it.  I start off with two types of creams, one and antibiotic as the spots are open and we don't want them to get infected.  Another is to help with the inflammation that has occurred from the spots.  We start that, go off work and try to get life stress free (is that even possible???) and I will come back in a month to see how things are going.

I end up back in the dermatologist office in early January and things are not better, they are actually worse with the spots.  We have talked things over and because my body is in such a state of flight and fight mode, we have to get it to calm down so that it can heal itself.  I have to go on the awful, yet helpful drug prednisone.  It is a strong steroid that will take much monitoring.  It is the only option at this point.  I have even talked to my naturopathic doctor and she is in agreement.  Sometimes, you have to take things like this to help the body out.  So I start my prednisone treatment. 

And it is a miracle drug.  Within a couple of weeks, my skin is calming down and the spots are going away.  I still have to do the two cream treatment twice a day as well.  We call that connecting the dots!  Thank goodness my husband is a rock star and no matter how awful my body looks, he graciously twice a day plays connect the dots. 

Within a couple of months, I am spot free and my skin has healed up very nicely.  I have minimal scarring, which we are incredibly thankful for!  I can live with some scars.  I am staying away from stress.  The doctors are continually amazed that I have not gone systemic with the lupus (where it attacks the liver etc)  They tell me that my diet has saved me from going systemic.  It looks like I will just have the skin lupus. 

Which means I have to be careful in the sun.  Cover up, sunscreen.  I will always have pale skin as I will not be exposed to the sun in ways that I used to before.  But it is okay.  I can get used to a life of floppy hats and long sleeves.  The sacrifice is worth it.

I am going to post some pictures so that you can have a little glimpse into what my skin was like.  If you don't want to see them, then the post will have to end here for you.  I post these as a remind to myself to not let stress and life get me back to this point.  I have to take care of me, first and foremost.

Monday, March 3, 2014

Things take a bit of a U-Turn...

Time to catch up once again!  2013 was such a whirlwind of exciting and life changing events.  It was hard to keep up with everything sometimes.  But even before 2013 and all it's events, I have to back up to 2012.  This is were things begin. 

How do I begin, where do I begin?!?!?  I am back on track health wise, doing better than I ever have!  Loving how Isagenix has cleansed my body, given me a body that I only dreamed of.  I was back in the work force, getting my feet on the ground in the working world again.  I had taken on a new and challenging position with a local school board.  I was excited for the opportunity to be challenged and stretched in my career.  Glenn and I were still planning very full and active lifestyles.  We were going here and there, many weekends away soaking up and taking in all that life had to offer.  After spending so much of my life not well and turning down opportunities and not living life, it felt so good to be in this season.

But not everything was all roses and fun and games.  Many painful experiences happened along the way as well.  Some of them are too personal to share, some of  them just come with living life.  And although it was a part of life, at times it can be too much and overwhelming.  But let me back up just a little bit....I am getting a little bit ahead of myself in the story!

We had spent some weekends of the summer out and about on different lakes and in forests.  We loved the hot summer sun, the long boat rides, fires on the beach etc.  But after one such adventure in August, something started to "develop" on my right shoulder.  It wasn't painful, wasn't itchy, just was there and wasn't going away.  It was a red ring type shape and it was on my shoulder.  I still felt fantastic.  But this thing was there.  So I finally went to the doctor in September.

Of course I did some searching online to see if I could figure out what it was.  It kind of pointed to ringworm.  But when I saw my doctor, he quickly ruled that out.  It was something else but we weren't sure what.  Because of all our outdoor activity, he sent me for testing for Lyme disease. 

When the results come back negative, (which is a relief) we scratch our heads and try to figure out what is going on.  In the meantime, there are more of these "spots" developing on my body.  My torso, my arms, my back, my legs etc.  Again, for the most part, they do not bug me or are painful but they are there.  I now need to go see a dermatologist.  We don't know what is going on.  In the meantime I am sent home with a cream that needs to be applied 3 times a day to the spots to see if this helps.

I see the dermatologist in November.  By now, my body is being overtaken with these spots.  The cream has done absolutely nothing.  Only 2 of the spots affect me now with minimal pain.  Sometimes they feel deep and burning.  The dermatologist thinks she has a pretty good idea of what is going on but only a biopsy of one of the marks will confirm her thoughts.  So we biopsy one of the spots on my torso so that if any scaring develops, it is the least likely spot that people will ever see on me.  And now we wait for the results.  It is going to take a couple of weeks.  I won't be able to get an appointment back with the dermatologist until January.

In the meantime, my life is taking some serious blows, one after the other.  In total by December, I have in this year experienced 7 very stressful situations that I have had to deal with/go through.  My working situation was one of them.  Without going into too much detail, as there was many, let's just say that by December, I am in tears every single day that I am at work.  The situation is not getting any better, nor will it.  I have exhausted my options in terms of asking for help, trying to get this current disaster sorted out.  But it won't.  So on top of everything else that has gone on in the year, (the other 6 traumatic events) I am now a mess at work for 7 hours a day.  My supportive husband tells me every day to quit, give it up and walk away as it just isn't worth it.  I am too stubborn/prideful/caring about what other people think if I do walk away that I don't.  So foolish when I look back on it.  Why was I hanging on so tight to something that was so destructive?!?!?

It is the very beginning of December and I know that my biopsy results will be back.  I can't wait for the January appointment.  I cannot stand to look at myself as I am covered in deep red scabby looking sores on all over my body.  I call the dermatologist office and they have a cancellation.  They can see me on December 13, 2012.  I gladly take it.

Things continue to escalate at work.  The morning of December 13, I am in the basement of my work, in absolute tears, talking on my cell phone with my dear friend in Ottawa who has been with me through many journey's.  I tell her this is it, I need to walk away now.  She agrees but tells me I should at least wait until I see my dermatologist later that morning.  We should probably know what is going on with my skin and body before I just leave my work.  I agree that it is wise to do that, I can hang in for another hour or so.

Again, I just want to remind you, that even though my skin was an awful mess, I still felt absolutely fantastic through it all.  If these spots were not on my skin, you would never know that anything was going on with me.  I am so thankful that I had that!!

So I pull myself together and head off to my dermatologist to get the results.

But just to keep the mystery of what happens next...well, you will have to wait for the next post in the next day or two!!  ;)