My body seems to have gotten stuck in a cycle of inflammation after that house-wide contamination a few weeks ago. I tried to use topical steroids a little less because my skin was getting inflamed, but my switch to tacrolimus (Protopic) on my body was doing nothing for my rash. The inflammation feeds the development of more rash, and treatment was causing inflammation. My eyes have been itching for two weeks now, and my sinuses need rinsing at minimum every two days or I start to feel like I’m developing an ear infection. My scalp is dry and flaky and itchy, especially around the edges; it gets worse when my body’s inflammation levels rise. Moisturizing my skin didn’t do much of anything. On Sunday I helped to rearrange my daughter’s bedroom and clean up places that hadn’t been cleaned in a long time, and that didn’t help. To top it all off, the rash was getting worse and worse in the areas where the serged polyester seams in my cotton shirts touched my body. I have been trying to save up for cotton serger thread so that I can take apart and re-sew my shirts, but the cost is far higher than the typical polyester, and we just can’t afford the expense right now.
Wednesday night was the worst so far. I was itching so badly on Wednesday that I decided to wear my cotton bath robe all day. Halfway through the day, I noticed a rash forming on my rib near the side seam of my robe, so I turned the robe inside out. This placed the seams on the outside, and the rib rash faded. That night, my rash was the worst yet on my neck and upper back/shoulders. It felt like 200 mosquitos had all bitten my neck at once, both painful and itchy in the extreme. I stayed up late because I was so itchy, and slept for 2 1/2 hours before waking up in so much pain/itchiness that I couldn’t sleep again.
Thursday morning I applied a liberal helping of topical steroids and wore the bath robe again. My husband had agreed to go buy a small amount of cotton thread for me to use in the serger until we could afford to get full-sized cones. I felt so awful that I was ready to go to the doctor, but my family doctor is closed on Thursdays. I think I was/am a good candidate for systemic steroids this week, plus my topical steroid cream is almost gone.
As I sit writing this, I am again torn. I know I need to go to the doctor soon, if only to renew my prescription for topical creams. At the same time, going to the doctor means more exposures and more reactions in the days to come, unless I can convince him to give me systemic steroids. It also means wearing a shirt again, and I haven’t made any of my shirts 100% safe yet. The topical steroids have given me a bit of temporary relief so that at least I’m not crawling out of my skin every minute of the day, though I have a few extreme itchy spots. I shouldn’t have such an aversion to going to the doctor; after years of bad care I actually have a good doctor now. I know I should do this, it’s just a matter of making myself act.
Instead of today, I will be taking Monday off for Remembrance Day. Join me next Friday when I hope I can provide a more positive update to the situation and share what I learn.
Have you had a tough time working up the courage to go to the doctor for help with a rash? How did it turn out? Comment below.