Thursday, February 25, 2010

Bad News Bears

I was going to try to turn this blog into an Anthro-only blog but it turns out I need to vent and ponder sometimes and it is my many musings after all… I received some bad news yesterday when I saw my rheumatologist. I’ve had this thing on the top of my foot since October (you can see it in some of my shoeless review pictures) and it has turned into some sort of hard mass/tumor with palpable nodules under the skin, subcutaneous edema, inflammation, swelling, occasional localized hives that do not respond to medication, etc. Sounds lovely, huh? I first saw an ER doctor about it in December when it would not go away and the entire top of my foot swelled up bad enough that I could not even bend my toes. He didn’t know what it was and told me it was probably cellulitis (deep tissue infection) and put me on two strong, horrible antibiotics which messed up my intestinal tract. Thankfully I took a lot of probiotics from Whole Foods and got that straightened out.

After a month the swelling went back down and it seemed like my foot was on the mend. I didn’t think much about it for a couple of weeks after that. It was still a visible mark but didn’t bother me. I made an appointment with my dermatologist who is impossible to see right away and of course it was on the mend by the time I got into his office. He didn’t know what it was and told me it appeared to be healing and just to put Vaseline on it to moisturize the area until it was gone. Then it grew! The swelling returned along with all of the other symptoms. It itched like crazy and nothing would make that stop except for my mom’s wonderful idea of what I will call “cowboy medicine” – damp tobacco applied to the area for 30 minutes. FYI, this also works on bee and wasps stings. A couple of weeks ago I saw the dermatologist again and he was still baffled. He said if it was a bug bite or fungus or any typical type of dermatitis it would have gone away by now and recommended a biopsy. I looked at the scar on my leg from the last biopsy he performed to diagnose my vasculitis and told him I wanted to wait and see. He gave me some steroid ointment to apply, “so I didn’t have to use the tobacco anymore.”

That brings you up to date and to my appointment yesterday with my rheumatologist. She told me that the mass feels and looks autoimmune but not like my normal vasculitis and that I should get the biopsy done to confirm what type. If it is indeed an autoimmune process, I will have to start the chemotherapy drug, Methotrexate, which we were putting off as long as possible. Of course I couldn’t get an appointment with the dermatologist for the biopsy until March 10th so I will be stressing out until then. But it had been a few months since I was diagnosed with a new disease so I guess it was time… meh! It seems there is something called Multiple Autoimmune Syndrome (MAS) where folks get 3 or more diseases. It happens to 25% of people with an autoimmune disease. This is my 3rd, 4th or 5th one depending on your views of fibromyalgia (autoimmune components) and pseudotumor cerebri (who freaking knows). I feel like an episode of House. Apparently my immune system went to the buy one get one free sale.


CheesyGoodness said...

You have an amazing attitude! Humor is the only thing keeping me save most days. Love the "buy one, get one" graphic to go with your story.

A quick funny: My grandfather was having some problems. He went to the emergency room, they told him he had pinkeye. A day later, he was stopped by the cops, lost, an hour away from home, after hitting four cars. Doctor says: A stroke! (Decidedly not pinkeye.) Gotta love the black and white world of the medical profession!

Kathleen said...

I'm sorry to hear all this, Leslie! Hopefully you'll get good news soon!

(In the meantime, perhaps a little retail therapy will cheer you up!)