Rash

If you are looking for an educational or uplifting post, today’s isn’t it.  Sorry.  Not today.  Today I saw my rheumatologist.

I waltzed into the appointment feeling great.  A few sore joints here and there, but nothing worth mentioning.  By the time I left, I sat dejectedly in my car and sighed.  What did I do to deserve this?

It was not a happy experience.  Every appointment has routine paperwork.  When I first arrived, I buzzed happily along marking “no, no, no, no…”  At “new rash” I hesitated.  Well, there are those funny red bumps that showed up symmetrically on my shins and forearms – but they went away.  Something similar showed up on one of my hands, but it’s almost gone.  I hesitated because if I report anything, then she has to investigate.  That could lead to more tests or a referral to another doctor – not something anyone in their right mind would relish.  I sighed and, since a new crop of red dots showed up yesterday, marked “yes” to the “new rash” question.

This rash is peculiar.  It doesn’t hurt.  I’d say that it doesn’t itch, except that I first noticed it when I was scratching my shins.  Mindlessly reaching down to my legs, I was startled to feel bumps, and then looked and discovered a bunch of red dots.  Pondering this odd development, I realized that I was scratching the same thing on my arms.  So… it doesn’t itch, except that it must if I’ve been scratching it.

After those rashes went away, something similar appeared on one  of my hands (am I the only one to heave a sigh of relief when something is not  symmetrical?)  Then it went away.  Yesterday I was rubbing the bottom of my foot and discovered new bumps.  When I looked, it appeared to be a bunch of tiny blisters.  This morning the appearance was completely different:  just like the red bumps that seem to be migrating about my body.

My inclination is to shrug it off.  It doesn’t hurt, and the other rashes went away.  This probably will, too.

Doctors don’t tend to shrug things off.  My rheumatologist looked at the rash and asked a bunch of extra questions.  She also took photos.  I’m sure her differential diagnosis contains more than the two options she mentioned:  (1) vasculitis or (2) something peculiar that will just go away on its own.

Reading about vasculitis is frightening, and I’ve decided that I know all I want to know about it unless that becomes a definite diagnosis.

For now, it’s just a possibility.  The doctor says that these bumps should probably be biopsied, but she doesn’t want to take a chunk out of the bottom of my foot.  I appreciate that.  Then again, that sounds as if the procedure is rather painful and not something one would look forward to (nor look back on fondly).  Since we already know that RA has affected the nerves in my feet, maybe that IS where we should get the sample.  Anyhow, no biopsy for now, but if the rash shows up somewhere else I’m supposed to phone.

With any luck, I’ve seen the last of this rash.

May you have a terrific weekend – and no rashes.