Sunday, November 18, 2012

Here it is.

I finally saw a dermatologist this week. I have had a nasty, itching, flaking rash for ages. No two doctors have agreed upon what this actually is. Every measure they have taken has done little to nothing for the rash. In August, I took one of my children to a pediatric dermatologist for a different rash. Thinking they might be related I showed her mine. She emphatically stated I had Psoriasis. Psoriasis is an auto-immune disorder where the precense of stress causes your body to erupt into these lesions that look like rash. She was the only doctor to be so certain it was Psoriasis.

I was devestated with the possibility that I might have a third auto-immune disorder. I tried another caregiver and she tried treating the rash as if it was fungal based. It provided a small improvement of my symptoms but then faltered and did nothing else. I finally agreed to see a specialist simply because I was too miserable to continue to live like this, even though I have huge personality struggles at the idea of spending large amounts of funds to deal with my medical condition.

Today, mere days after I started the treatments under the guidance of the specialist, the lesions are 80% gone. Those that are still lingering don't hurt and rarely itch. My body is healing rapidly. It was so simple to fix yet so difficult to overcome my internal guilt and my inability to care for me to get there. So much for thinking I was making progress at taking care of *me* and not merely everyone around me.

My oldest asked me as this stuff rapidly disappeared from my body, when did this come. Honestly? I cannot pinpoint the day I knew I had some sort of rash on my body that I could not overcome on my own. My first clear memory of this stuff happened 18 months before Micah died. Immediately after Micah contracted influenza, I remember sitting in class, scratching behind my ears and realizing I was flaking all over myself in class. I have no memories of it being present before that point. I cannot guarantee I didn't have it, but I don't remember it.

I do clearly remember when Micah got influenza. We called his doctors and gave him Tamiflu immediately. However, influenza is terrible on lungs. On a healthy person, it can take approximately two years for their respiratory condition to recover from one bout of genuine influenza. For a Cystic, it is far worse than even that. II and I discussed way back then the chance that influenza might be the final straw that Micah could tolerate. 18 months later, of constant decline afterward, he was dead. To be the best I can determine, this rash was a direct response to the stress and turmoil of losing my son. I do know it stayed on my head and ears until the very week Micah died. The lesions appeared in all sorts of random points of my body only in the week that Micah died, and after he died they overtook my ability to function and think for awhile.

Psoriasis is an auto-immune disorder that you are not cured from. Once you have it, stress can always cause it to return. The doctor says we can absolutely manage this. We can eliminate this flare-up and put this back into remission. However, it can still happen again at any point in my life. I don't know if a lower threshold of stress will cause it to return or if it would require something as dramatic as my child dying again. I only know this makes three auto-immune disorders I know suffer, and every additional one increases my risks for Lupus, the one I fear.

It's been a long, struggling fall physically. Most of the research on grief I can find says your health will rapidly decline after you lose someone very close to you. They don't tell you that your physical struggles will make you lose yourself and you won't even remember you are supposed to BE grieving some days. This rash was the last piece to the puzzle of my physical ailments. However, some days it now feels like the grief is fresh and new when it washes over me. Now I have to grieve in process in the manner I wasn't doing so well when I was numb and sick from thyroid, blood pressure, asthma flare-up and psoriasis.

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