Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Afflicted, Part 2

Okay, god knows y'all (shout out to Paula Deen!) have heard enough whining here nowadays. "I don't want to write!" "I have the plague!" I'll try to rein it in forthwith. Since there's so little out on the net about the experience of pityriasis, however, I wanted to document the down and dirty (or down and spotty?) day-to-dayness of it. Warning: graphic descriptions ahead!

As of tomorrow, it will be three weeks since my symptoms first presented. Yesterday was my first day without significant itching---quite a relief. According to the numerous websites, a small minority of people experience the itching; most people just get the spots. Well, in most people the spots only occur on the trunk, but I've got them in significant quantities on the insides of my thighs (yummy. I'm sure there's a porn fetish in there somewhere), a few on the back of my knees and the insides of my elbows. The spots and the itching are also worse (more red, more inflamed, more prone to make me want to use a cheese grater to scratch) on my bathing suit parts. Extra points if you've figured out the common denominator here. My theory is that it's all the body parts that get hot and sweaty (I don't have necessarily super sweaty boobs, you understand. But 90 degree heat plus bra plus shirt=more warm than other places with a single layer). The upside to all of this is that people really stay away from you when you're scratching your crotch all the time. So good for us introverts.

There was a brief and shining moment just before week two when I thought I was in the clear; the spots had flattened out and started to peel (charming to look at, but certainly less itchy). That was when the second string appeared---all over my back and butt. Round two of scratching, except this time it was hard to reach. And sitting--say, in front of a computer--was no fun, as it aggravated the field of bumps on my ass. So, lots of laying on the stomach in front of the laptop.

I don't think it's unusual to have the second round of bumps, it's just depressing. I may have aggravated it in one of two ways: it was, for a few days, wretchedly hot and humid here. That could have set off the symptoms. I also caved in and went to the gym. Twice. It's probably not a coincidence that the most resilient itchy bumps are in the channel between my shoulder blades (you know, where you sweat).

Should this ever befall you (and if I had had a choice, I'd have gone with the locusts or the river of blood, for sure), a couple of cautions and suggestions. What I have done this past week is take doses of evening primrose oil, which has a compound that's good for skin. I read about that in Andrew Weil's column, and thought "what the hell?" It may be coincidence that the leprosy has dried up since I've been taking it, but there may be a connection. If at all possible, I'd avoid the heat and any kind of friction you can. I've never spent so much time without underwear on, but it was an absolute necessity. If I could have conquered my prudery and gone to work that way, I would have been more comfortable. One might also want to warn one's roommates and spouses that being itchy all the time makes one cranky. (Note the use of the third person here.) One might also want to warn one's spouse that no matter how cool he might think being called "Leopard Woman" is, it is definitively not.

So there you have it, folks. The anatomy of a skin condition. I'll let you know when it's totally disappeared, but all praise the gods Cortisone and Anti-histamine for their non-itch benevolence.

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Blogger Beth said...

Ugh, this sucks. The ex said the heat irritates pityriasis even more, so I know you're going through summer hell. If it helps, he hasn't had an outbreak since I've known him, and I've known him twelve years.

Friday, July 06, 2007 12:08:00 PM  
Blogger kfluff said...

That is HUGE help. Once with this is bearable, but twice would be grounds for suicide, I think.

Friday, July 06, 2007 1:57:00 PM  

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