About Me

My photo
I'm a mom, a wife, a best friend. Sick with CFIDS/ME/CFS and Fibromyalgia since 1975 as a result of a nasty flu while still in grad school, it wasn't until the late '80's that I received a diagnosis. Until that flu I'd never really been ill before. With each year I get progressively worse and add to the bucket load of symptoms I'm living with. I've been blessed with an incredible family and best friend who've stayed with me through my struggles as we continue to find a way out of this monstrous illness and its complications. We've tried seemingly every approach to find my way back to health. Often I think our best weapon in this undesirable and unasked-for adventure has been laughter.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Friday Tidbits: Three Medical Quirks

Experiencing motion sickness but already suffering migraines...

It's Friday Tidbits time, the day of the week when I can make a few points without needing transitions between topics.  OK: I know that this differs very little from my usual way of writing, but I do like just a few teeny-tiny delusions in my life.  We'll pretend that I always have beautiful transitions.  Fine: end of ramble and on with the subjects at hand.  

I have three medical quirks you might not have noticed before which I found fascinating.  These I bring to you from what I've learned from my rheumy/immunologist over the years.  I'm not sure what we can actually DO with them, but hey!  That's our lives (those with CFIDS/ME/CFS and/or fibromyalgia) on any day with anything, so why start making too much sense now?

And so, on with: Did you know that...

  • You can get reptilian/lizard-like skin from fever and swelling?   Ha!  This is a good observation and tidbit, no?  (Yes!) When I got the cellulitis in my hands and left foot, my hands swelled up enormously, with extremely tight skin and tremendous hotness and redness to them.  After the high dosage of antibiotics finally kicked in, the swelling, redness and hotness started to come down, but my hands had a very strange texture to them.  I kept looking at my hands and thinking, "what the heck is going on here?"  (You DO realize that you're getting the cleaned up version of what actually went through said mind?)  My hands didn't look chapped, they didn't get a rash and they weren't dehydrated either.  They just looked sort of scaly, almost reptilian or lizard-like.  (This "reptilian/lizard-like" description is uniquely mine, I believe, not found in medical journals, though there is no doubt about the phenomenon.)
I discovered that a good description of what happened is "local inflammation that creates a glove of dead skin."  The top layer of skin dies and then flakes off.  When the top layer of your skin is no longer alive, but hasn't yet flaked off, it gets rough.  Oh my, "rough"?   Well, that's just putting it mildly.  But, now, a few weeks later, my hands have a wonderfully soft texture!  Think about it: I underwent a natural exfoliation process!  It's not the IDEAL way of going about doing one, but the end result WAS gorgeous. (I'm TRYING to be positive here, y'all!)

  • That itchiness can be associated with a viral illness such as the flu?  No one knows why this happens.  It's called "pruritis," which is just a fancy word for "itching."  There's a spectrum to pruritis as there's a spectrum in almost everything.  Some cases are simply due to dry skin but others have more serious causes.  It's not an allergy.  It's just a non-specific reaction that may be due to a toxin or a virus, but again, no one is exactly sure why this happens.  (Oh, we can talk unmyelinated C-fibers, nociceptors, histamines and all sorts of medical theories till we're blue in the face but it all boils down to "No one really knows, folks!" and  besides, they are not the point.)   
The itching can be as benign as seen with dry skin or even pregnancy.  However, it can also be a sign of serious illnesses and/or conditions.  These include liver disease/liver failure, kidney failure or when other organs malfunction, such as the thyroid gland.  I have this symptom a lot and am happy to finally have an explanation for it since I always knew it wasn't simply due to dry skin nor imaginary.  (Remember: I have hypothyroidism but there's more than just one candidate for what causes this with my body.)   Furthermore, this is an itchiness that is definitely "invisible": it's not a rash or hives, just itchiness so bad that you want to get out of your skin.  So, next time you or I are in a hospital and complain of itchiness that's driving us nuts and the nurse gives us a disbelieving fish eye, we can be prepared!  I can tell you that when I've had this invisible itchiness, rashes and hives all at the same time, it was the invisible itchiness that was the worst - by far. 

  • Children destined to become migraine sufferers have a warning of what is to come later in life by suffering motion sickness accompanied by vomiting.   I can vouch for that!  I'd give my camp counselors a desperate look and was immediately excused to get out of church QUICK: all it took was barfing a couple of times as a 5 year old and I was set for 13 summers!  This is the fate of the migraineur: he/she is sensitive to stimuli, be it to light, sounds and smells, a "state of being" for one who is extremely sensitive to these stimuli, even when without a "headache."  This certainly explains a lot of my childhood, though I had migraines even as a very young child.  (I know: I'm so wonderfully lucky, aren't I?  Excuse me as I keel over!)

And so there you have it.  A few little tidbits to mull over in your mind - or not, as you wish, though I'd rather hope something here is of use.  In any event, I wish all of you a wonderful weekend, with you feeling your very best, only better.  Ciao and paka! 

No comments:

Post a Comment