H.S

So last week I wrote about how poorly I have felt over the last week to two weeks and I have finally got to the bottom ( no pun intended ) of what has been causing this dip in my health – well I think.

I have several chronic conditions some rare some rarely diagnosed and one of them is a skin condition called Hidradenitis suppurativa . I don’t talk about it a lot mainly because of the embarrassment caused and the judgement you can get from ignorant people. When you say you regularly get abscesses people either assume you are a junkie or your personal hygiene is lacking. I can assure you none of these are true. If you read the link above you will see it is caused or connected to the sweat glands. The weird thing that separates HS abscesses from “normal” abscesses is the fact that when swabs are taken from a HS abscess nothing grows in the petri dish. That is what separates it from standard abscesses which are normally caused by a staph infection. 

The problem is that with HS it is very common for you to get a secondary infection like cellulitis. And just because HS doesn’t have any nasty bugs contained within it doesn’t mean the bloody things hurt any less. From Sunday into Monday this week  I developed a large  abscess which immediately also turned into cellulitis. It was reasonably sore, I have had lots of abscesses in my time and the majority of them have been a lot more painful than this one. HS doesn’t just give you abscesses it makes you feel very poorly when you are in the middle of a flare up. I can run a temperature which is unusual for me, get whole body aches like I am coming down with the flu. I feel very run down and tired. With an abscess brewing this has obviously had a knock on effect with the rest of my conditions and explains completely why the last two weeks have been so difficult. Just by way of explanation its not uncommon for me to have abscesses that I have no knowledge of being there until they rupture. It really just depends where they form and how close they are to nerves and lymph nodes. Sometimes the smallest ones can be the most painful, it really is just the luck of the draw.

I have been quite lucky with my HS it has never really gone further than stage 2, I have never had to be hospitalised with it, I’ve only ever had one lanced at A&E many, many years ago. I have friends who have endured skin grafts in an attempt to stop the disease progression and multiple hospital admissions and operations to drain them.  Last year was the closest I got to be admitted to hospital when one the size of a hens egg developed over a few days. I was waiting for my doctors surgery to ring me back as I was going to beg them to lance it, when it ruptured as I sat down on the toilet. The location was my bikini line inner thigh. I sat there for a full 30 minutes whilst this just drained and drained. The relief was instant as this one had prevented me from wearing clothes on my bottom half and from walking. It then continued to drain for the next 7 days and required dressing changes at least 4 times a day. I have never seen anything like it. I really hope I never see anything like it again.

Now all of that may seem pretty disgusting and I would have to agree with you. You have no idea how much courage it has taken to even talk about this horrid condition. For me though it gets worse as I really don’t tolerate the antibiotics used for this condition. I can’t take doxycycline as I can’t keep it down I will projectile vomit within 30 minutes of taking it. I don’t do particularly well on any of the tetracycline’s . I end up having to take Flucloxacillan  which a) give me rampant diarrhoea so I end up eating Loperimide (imodium) like sweets to stop it. I think its because they contain a hefty wack of lactose which I don’t tolerate and b)  I can end up having an allergic reaction to it – facial rash. So it’s not even plain sailing when I do get the antibiotics. So on top of feeling crap from the abscess I have the side effects from the course of antibiotics to contend with. Oh and I forgot to mention the non stop nausea I can get with these as well and the burnt oesophagus where they get stuck in my throat due to swallowing issues caused by EDS.

I have had over 24 hours on the antibiotics now and the cellulitis has subsided. The abscess is still there, blind so will need some attention to draw it out. I have problems at the moment though as my skin has become very fragile and any adhesive dressings are removing a layer of skin with them. Making it too painful to apply my usual cure a dab of Vicks vapour rub and a mepore dressing. I am having to rely on heat alone.

The whole point of the post is to raise awareness of this condition. Since I was diagnosed in 2011 I have helped around a further 5 people get diagnosed and those people in turn have helped others get diagnosed. I was lucky that I switched surgeries and my new gp was on the ball. For the 12 years prior to that I had been fobbed off with antibiotics and no real help. I was made to feel ashamed and that it was something I was doing or not doing that was causing these flare ups. 

HS can occur pretty much anywhere on the body that has sweat glands. So if you are having continual flare ups of abscesses under your breasts, in your groin or armpits or on your bottom, anywhere don’t suffer in silence. Arm yourself with some information and ask your gp if they have heard of Hidradenitis Suppurativa. Being diagnosed won’t cure you, there is no cure but it may get you better treatment. When I have a flare up I just have to ring my doctors surgery and ask for antibiotics. I could push to see a dermatologist but I will admit I am too embarrassed and as I can manage most of the time myself, I just get on with it.

Am I moaning?

I think I am going through what a lot of people with chronic illness / chronic pain go through where they wonder if they have turned into a bit of a moaner. Obviously a lot of us have pretty reasonable things to moan about but I am started to get paranoid that maybe I have crossed an invisible line from previously what was an acceptable level of moaning to an unacceptable level of moaning, for those whose lives aren’t blighted by chronic illness.

 

I usually say very little about my health on social media, its like my own dirty little secret that most days I am wracked with pain or have ptosis or feeling anxious or whatever the hell is going on that day. When I do post it’s usually because things are much worse than normal. I have posted a lot this summer about my health because things have been the worst they have been for a long time. The heat wave although helping my joint pain no end made my PoTs symptoms absolutely horrific. Every movement kicked off palpitations, my blood pressure was horrendously low in the 80/70 range most days. Leaving me feeling faint and exhausted. I could barely manage to walk some days. Many, many days were spent in bed feeling very sorry for myself. And do you know what? I get very angry  when I feel sorry for myself because I feel weak and vulnerable.

 

Regular readers will also know that my CSF Leak has come back, although it’s not at the level it was in 2016 I have had several days over the last few weeks where I have been unable to leave my bed because the pain is so intense. It makes me want to vomit. I described the pain to someone as feeling like both my eyeballs had been removed and dipped in acid then rammed back in the sockets. Whilst the back of my head feels like I am being beaten to death with a shovel. Now if you were experiencing those levels of pain do you not think, honestly that you may mention it once or twice? Or however many times that you want to. Because believe me when you are dealing with that kind of pain you just don’t care what people think.

 

Along with the pain the CSF leak brings I have also had some additional symptoms like vertigo that only goes away with lying flat. Losing my balance very easily and being unable to bend down / lean forward repeatedly as this is triggering the leak headache. As I say I am lucky it’s not as bad as it was in 2016 but it’s bad enough.

 

In the last few months I have also had my migraines return, I have ended up having to take amitriptyline every night as a migraine preventer. It’s kind of working since taking them at the start of July I have had one migraine. However my migraines have come back as if they are amped up on steroids, I have to lie in a darkened room, vomiting into my bedroom bin because I can’t get up.

 

Bizarrely I have also had my left big toe, nail fall off, out of nowhere. I had an intense amount of pain in my toe. It actually hurt to touch the nail. I lifted up the side of the nail ( I had both sides removed over ten years ago due to repeated ingrowing toenails) and the nail came off in my hand. It hurt but it didn’t hurt anywhere near as badly as it had done just before the nail came off.

 

Have I bored you yet? Because believe me I am bored with it. I feel like I am in a never-ending soap opera where shit keeps happening and I have no control over it. So yes I may have mentioned on social media a few times over the summer how fucking awful I am feeling and to be fair I haven’t even touched on about 50% of the health stuff that’s been going on of late. This is just the stuff I can think of off the top of my head.

 

Admitting you are sick on social media is a dangerous game, post happy cheerful stuff and you are judged to be not as sick as you make out. Post stuff about how fucking awful you feel and you’re moaning. You can’t win. I don’t want my life to revolve around my health conditions but there will be periods of time when it does because all I can do is just keep my head above water.  To feel that I can’t express what is going on in my life, when I can go weeks where the only person I see or talk to in the flesh is my husband, just seems cruel. It’s not that I want someone to talk to – and thank you to all those who have offered me a safe place to vent. It’s just sometimes even I don’t believe what is going on health wise. I don’t think I have ever been completely honest with anyone because there is always more than one thing going on with me. I always just give those closest to me the headline news not the full story.

 

Any way that’s me, I am bored with this subject already and if I am bored with it I have probably sent the rest of you to sleep also. Mr Myasthenia Kid has been on holiday the last two weeks ( well just over ). It’s the longest holiday he has taken in years. We’ve really enjoyed the time we have spent together. We’ve managed to work on a few projects together, which I first touched on in my blog post upcycling.

We had so much paint left that we decided to upcycle our lounge coffee table  taking it from this – those dots on it are from dog drool

To this

 

Jay did the lions share of work because I am just not physically able to. I did a small amount of painting, basically just catching the bits that he missed. We have painted the stripped pine with hard wax oil which means the wood is now water-resistant and has a lovely finish. It took several days to dry and for a while we were concerned that the top of the table felt very rough. However as the hard wax oil has dried its left a silky smooth surface.

 

Jamie’s work also got the thumbs up from John Scott and Jo Carter on the Sewing Quarter. I don’t think I have ever seen Jay so proud as when they both said how lovely the table looked. I am very proud of him as it was no mean feat sanding the table top down.

 

 

 

Not happy with doing  just the bedside cabinets, the lounge coffee table on bank holiday Monday 27th August 2018 he also painted our kitchen chairs. They look fabulous and make such a difference. And we still have paint left from the 750ml of Scotch Mist Frenchic Furniture paint.

 

I also got a shout out on the Sewing Quarter Saturday 25th August – cheers John xx