Tuesday, October 27, 2009

A Downdate

O.K. now this totally sucks! I have Psoriasis. Recurring. chronic. Immune system disorder. Question is did the two different reactions to those two anti-biotics have anything to do with it? After all, each one fouled up my immune system for weeks and there was no time at all between them. Now I get to look forward to my skin going haywire here and there as it chooses, coming and going as it pleases for the rest of my life. Nice. Red patches with peeling silver scale. Fun. Itching and peeling and oozing. Just ducky!

Bad things: Possible disfiguring lesions on my hands or face where the public at large can see them. Possible discrimination during those times due to fear of contagion. People with psoriasis are turned away from restaurants, beauty parlors and pools. They lose jobs. The old Biblical "unclean, unclean!" Leprosy is actually easier to treat in this modern world than Psoriasis. Psoriasis has a lot of variables. Every person is different. Symptoms, triggers and treatments vary widely. What works for one patient will make another worse. Psoriac Arthritis. A rarer form of the condition. Hopefully really and truly rare because I sure as hell don't want it. It is a chronic degenerative joint problem. They compared it to rheumatiod arthritis, which I have seen and it is awful.

Just the idea of itching more and more often. Having to toss all my pretty toiletries because I can't use them. The thought that I may have thin dull hair for the rest of my life when my hair has always been thick and nice. The discomfort, occasional burning or stinging. Ointment and lots of it.

Good things: Just because it can happen doesn't mean it will. I also don't have to lie down and take it without fighting. Dead Sea Salt can help, which is cool. I kind of like having short hair. I get all new toiletries. They aren't quite as fun, being fragrance free and not in pretty packages but I can deal. There are online support groups where you can post questions and get opinions. Cats and dogs don't care if you are red and scaly so my animal friends won't mind a bit. Maybe I'll tell people I have sand trout. "My skin is not my own". hee hee.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Oh, crap!

Forget it, I can't take anti-biotics. I guess I can't ever get any infections unless they are major enough that the reaction is worth it. On Day 7 of taking the sulfa I had a massive migraine style headache. Day 8 I had fever, chills, nausea, headache and general achy-ness. That afternoon I broke out in a rash. Not hives, like last month, a totally different kind of animal on my arms and legs. By dinner time I was in bad shape, everything was pulling towards the right. Walking to the bathroom was like walking on a ferry in a storm and even after several hours of sleep and warm blankets I was still freezing so I had my Mom take me to the Emergency room. My heart rate was 120 and my temperature was 103.2. The doctor thought I had swine flu, but the blood they took out of my arm said otherwise. So what was it?

Serum Sickness! Not an allergic reaction, but an immunilogical reaction. In an allergic reaction you release histamine and a bunch of other chemicals from your mast cells to combat something your body has decided is an evil invader. That's what causes the hives and the itching and the stuffy sinuses etc. etc. This new reaction, however, is caused by your white blood cells making anti-bodies against whatever your body has decided is bad and they catch the molecules of whatever it it and then hook onto cell walls. I'm simplifying here, but you get the idea. It's kind of annoying to realize just how much of "being sick" has nothing to do with the virus or bacteria and is, in fact, your own body reacting to them that causes you to feel so lousy.

Serum sickness is when your body decides that proteins in your bloodstream are really viruses and attacks them with antibodies. It is mostly experienced by people who get anti-venom for snake or spider bites and people who need rabies shots but it can, on rare occasions, be caused by anti-biotics. Mostly Penicillin but Sulfa drugs can cause it too. It feels like you have the flu until your system manages to flush out the offending proteins and stops the reaction. Eight days I had a high fever and was taking delightful cocktails of Advil, Tylenol, Antihistamine/anti-nausea medicine and Orange Gatorade. For days I couldn't stomache anything but popsicles, saltine crackers and poached eggs. Even chicken soup made me sick. Hot turkey dinner sandwiches ended the fast and they tasted so good!

Now I'm just waiting. The first anti-biotic I took knocked the infection down, but it came back five weeks later. It's been three weeks since I stopped the Sulfa and hopefully this time it's gone. I'm hoping whatever the Sulfa didn't kill the fever did.