Yes, this is my back. Can you see all those fabulous red spots? Not only does my back look like this, my entire body looks like this. I am ready to skin myself - that or rip my skin off one fingernail slice at a time. When I say my entire body looks like this, I mean my ENTIRE body looks like this! My scalp to my ankles. Not an inch spared.
It all started back on May 21st when I went to see the rheumatologist. I had my appointment and explained all the symptoms I'd been having (excruciating joint pain since February). We did x-rays of my hands & knees and some blood work. About a week later he called me back & said everything had come back normal (no Parvo infection, no rheumatoid marker & not sufficiently low vitamin D levels). Dr. Walker said other than joint pain he had no idea what was wrong with me. He wanted to start me on a medication called Plaquenil. It use to be used as an antibiotic but is now used to treat rheumatoid (yes, rheumatoid arthritis & yes, I said I didn't have the rheumatoid marker - don't ask). He told me that this particular medication has a tendency to make you very nauseous so to start taking it just once a day. If I could handle taking it once a day then increase to twice a day. He told me that it would take about 4 months to really get into my system & start working so I made a follow up appointment for the end of September.
I started taking Plaquenil on May 30th. I decided that if it was going to make me sick, I would just take it at night before bed. I took it faithfully every night for a week with no new symptoms. In fact, I noticed an extreme improvement in my joint pain. I was excited! So, on June 6th (1 week after starting Plaquenil) I started taking it once in the morning & once at night.
On Sunday night I was getting ready to get in the shower & I noticed a small red rash on my chest. At first I thought it was maybe just an eczema break out from perfume or something and just brushed it off. Monday morning came & I was itching like nuts but I thought maybe it was eczema. By Monday night I was dying! I wanted to itch until I would bleed! Flash backs to swim lessons when I was a kid & couldn't wash the chlorine off & I'd break out like this. I called the pharmacy where I got the prescription filled & told the pharmacist what was going on. He said that it sounded like an allergic reaction & to stop taking the prescription immediately and to call the dr. in the morning. Fortunately for me, my mom had some extra benadryl she was willing to part with so I could make it through the night.
This morning I called the dr.'s office at 9 am. I told the medical assistant what was going on & she felt so bad for me (and she didn't even see the rash!). She told me she'd talk to Dr. Walker and see what he wanted to do & get back to me. I finally got a call back at about 2 pm. The verdict: Stop taking the Plaquenil until the rash disappears entirely. Then, start taking the Plaquenil again, but only take it once a day & see if I break out in a rash again. Seriously?! What part of I want to rip my skin off don't you people understand here?!
So here I sit Tuesday night, 3 prescription times passed without taking the prescription, and the rash is continuing to get worse. Not awesome. I totally understand why bears scratch their backs against trees! In fact, truth be told, I was doing carpet angels at my girlfriend's house today in order to itch the backs of my arms without making them bleed! And yes, she thought it was funny!