The Itchies

Fall 2012

I have had a weird ass rash on my arms for about eight years. It comes and goes but mostly it comes. It has been biopsied three or four times by different ‘experts.’ So, now I have the lovely scars left from the rash and the scars left from the overly zealous biopsies.

I have been told it is everything from lichen planus to an immune system related rash of unknown origin.

I don’t know what it is but I know that it is caused by heat and chlorine exacerbates it. I have talked to other immuno challenged folks who say they have weird rashes too.

I have also heard it can be the harbinger of a flare.

Why is it that we know so little about these things? There seems to be a complete dearth of knowledge. The only ‘cure’ is prednisone or steroid treatment. I avoid that because it has nasty side effects for me. I become hungry, bloated, sleepless and bitchy. It is not a pretty scene.

I just wonder why no one could tell me when it all started that I was headed for disaster. It was really the first thing in a long line of things that told me I was headed down a road of crap. But, I didn’t know it.

The first year it happened I had just started a really stressful job. I was teaching middle school English in the same private school where my kids were in third grade and preschool. We had a forty five minute drive each way. I had a supervisor from hell. I kept getting really sick. It was a nightmare. So, I chalked it up to stress. It was so bad that year that my arms had to be covered. The pustules were gross.

I had flu and pneumonia.

The teachers who didn’t really want me there said I was too weak for the job. Bad scene: I went back to teaching college and had another sinus surgery. A year later I was diagnosed with CVID.

Wow. I had blocked a lot of that out: Too painful to remember.

It is really hard to ponder how much my health has dictated my life and my decisions.

God almighty but I have fought it. I cannot believe that it is now 2012 and I am no longer able to work. My teaching career is behind me for now.

I am a stay home mom.

Wow. How the hell did this happen?

Where do I go from here?

I try to figure it out. I will go backwards and unravel this. I will find out in reverse what has happened to me and hopefully, I can help someone else from falling down the same rabbit hole.

Because, the hole is deep and there are many strange animals inside. I am bruised all over from trying to climb out.

I don’t recommend it.