Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Dreary Lupus Details, or Tales from the Land of the Immunocompromised

When I began my blog 400-odd posts ago, it was my intention to relate tales from my daily life with lupus. Many other things have been discussed, but when the disease takes a turn that controls my day-to-day activities, I have to make it the headline. I'd rather be talking about the mittens I'm knitting for afghans for Afghans, or my current obsession with slouch hats, or a design in my head for a vest, or even the wild and interesting dreams I've had lately. Instead, there's this lump...

I keep a good eye on my skin, staying alert for rashes and bruises and lumps and bumps. When one is immunosupressed as I am by prednisone and rituximab, infections of the skin can come frequently and progress quickly. Anytime I see a little infected hair follicle gone wild with redness and swelling and tenderness, I take a brief course of antibiotics. Once in the past I delayed too long, and developed an infection in a closed, very painful space that had me calling my doctor out of church to lance it and put me out of my misery. I try to avoid that scenario. Last week one got by me. Midweek I noticed a painful swelling about waist-high on my back. If it had been where I could see it, or where something pressed on it, it wouldn't have gone so long. Anyway, it was maybe 1 x 1 cm and the skin over it was very red. I started antibiotics the next day when it had grown and was even redder. It took 48 hours for the antibiotic to control the swelling and redness as the infection continued to develop. It peaked at about 5 cm, exquisitely tender and squishy, indicating the pus within. It never drained. From there it shrunk every day, the redness diminished, the infected, cystic space becoming consolidated. I'm left with a 3 cm, firm nodule that must be removed, capsule and all.

Alongside all this is my scheduled rituximab treatment. I had to miss the second dose last week, as I can't take immunosupressive treatment when I have an infection. I rescheduled for this week, but I still can't go. I'm on for removal of the Big Lump Friday. I don't know what I do from here, so I've got a call in to my doc.

Okay, so the real nitty gritty. I missed knitting last week because I had a huge, fluctuant thing on my back that I was afraid would open and drain in the middle of the meeting. That is neither convenient or sexy. Or hygienic. It is stuff like this that can crop up and take control of my life. Just another piece of the lupus story.

On a much better note, grumpy post not withstanding, I received a lovely Valentine's phone call from a lovely man. Who knew?


1 comment:

  1. I'm so glad you're open about lupus, life, and all that it entails. You've been a source of inspiration for me many times.