So it's been a little over two months. I shared with you all previously how I didn't know what was next... well let's just say I NEVER GUESSED it would be this! December 6, 2011, I went to the park, December 7, I woke up with a small rash on my elbow... thought absolutely nothing of it, threw a little cortisone cream and moved on with my day. That night while at church, I started to feel a strange burning feeling on my ankles, then up my legs. But I was at Refuge... so needless to say between that and the subsequent Applebee's visit, I wasn't so focused on the strange pain.
I got home to find my legs completely covered in blisters. The next morning, when my father saw them he made himself very clear that I needed to go to the doctor. I made an appointment and went in as soon as possible. My doctor said it was an auto-immune response to some (and by some I mean a truckload of the stuff) penicillin I'd taken about 10 days previously for a throat infection. She gave me a Prednisone dose pack and sent me on my way.
Four days later, my mom saw it. By then it had begun to grow, spread, and get darker. She cried when she saw it. My mom's not the crying type. Believe me it takes a lot for her to cry. It was quite overwhelming.
She told me I needed to go back immediately to the doctor and show her that it had not improved. Upon seeing how much worse the rash got, she sent me immediately to a dermatologist. They were able to see me right then, and they diagnosed me with Boullis Leukocytoclastic vasculitis (I forgot to mention the massive blisters that were accumulating on my ankles...hence the "Boullis"). They did a biopsy to confirm.
I was put on a much higher and much longer dose plan of Prednisone, and given two separate ointments to use on the blisters. Each night was horrible pain and discomfort. I was not allowed to take certain pain killers because they believed I was reacting to medication, and they were therefore hesitant to give me anything that could have any real side effects. So that meant nothing more than ibuprofen...lots and lots of ibuprofen. I kept my use of it to a minimum.
From my understanding of Boullis Leukocytoclastic Vasculitis, the leukocytes (a white blood cell) form in the blood vessel walls, causing them to erupt. I could feel each one breaking on my feet. It took ice packs and elevation to keep them from blistering further on my feet.
I spent two weeks in a wheelchair. That was by far the most difficult for me, to know I had to bother someone in my family for every need to took me away from my bed.
The blisters continued to grow until about a third of them burst. I'm currently going through daily wound care waiting for them to heal. Under the broken blisters were ulcerated skin...meaning pretty much that I had no skin under them, just raw tissue and exposed and damaged nerve endings.
I also spent 3 days in the hospital, where I received three doses of IV steroids.
I'm still trying to figure out which was worse...the rash or the accompanying stomach pain. Those nights were by far the most frightening. I was unable to take thoughts and form them into words. I would try to ask for a cracker and couldn't get my mouth to say cracker. That was definitely the most terrifying part, not being able to get my brain to do what it needed to do. The pain was so severe that the next morning, if I had even the slightest hint that it was returning I would break down crying.
Just when I thought the worst was over, the blisters started to break on my ankles. As I said before, I'm still going through wound care daily with my incredible mom and dad. I honestly don't know how they've gotten this far with it, it is emotionally trying, to be doing something to your daughter every day that you know is causing her pain that brings her to tears.
Today I'm still trying to get my energy back and walk in spite of the painful open wounds.
I share all of this with you not to make you feel bad for me, but to let you know how much God has been showing me. I hope to in the next few days gather all my thoughts on the amazing things God had made so clear to me through this trial. Then of course I'll have to ask God which ones He wants me to share and which were for me alone in the moment, but hopefully He'll want me to share it all, because the journey has been incredible! So for the next few posts, keep in mind this condition I was in, because even I don't want to have to go through all the icky details again!