Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Personal Trial: Leg Sores (Back Story)

It all started in 2004 when I was diagnosed with Ulcerative Colitis, an intestinal disease that causes ulcers in the colon.  This condition also weakens the immune system since it distracts it into fighting one's own body instead of other real threats.  Since I was diagnosed I've mostly been in remission but have had a few flare ups over the years.  Some time last year I was bad and stopped taking my medication for no good reason, just got out of the habit and didn't get back in.  Needless to say it caused a flare up of the UC.  Since the beginning of the year, however, I've been very diligent in taking my daily medicine, although this did not get my condition back into remission.  I finally went to see my doctor (I was embarrassed that I had stopped taking my meds and caused this flare up, which is also a bad reason) and started taking more meds to help get the UC under control.

A few weeks ago I developed something called Erythema Nodosum, a condition on my lower legs that involves warm, red, tender bumps or nodules under the skin, which can make it become pretty painful to walk.  One of the ways it is brought about is by some other autoimmune condition -- like UC.  I have had a case of EN a few times before so I knew what was happening and was taking steroids to help get rid of it.  It was going away and all was fine until...

Last Sunday (May 25) I noticed I was developing some sores on top of the healing EN.  They were becoming increasingly painful.  They looked like blisters and were mostly light in color and I could see dark spots that looked like blood was hanging out there.  I had three -- one small one the size of a dime on my left leg, and on my right leg another small one the size of a dime along with a very large one the size of a quarter.  I was getting desperate and thought they needed to pop or something.  Wednesday late morning as I was walking into the kitchen I felt something liquid-feeling on my leg.  I looked down and the small sore on my right leg had popped all on its own.  I dabbed it with tissue until all the stuff came out, which was more than I expected.  The blood was dark red and it looked sort of creamy like there was puss mixed in as well, and it was really goopy, not runny.  An hour or less later as I sat on the couch, I moved my leg and the huge one the size of a quarter started draining.  I helped all the stuff out, which was A LOT -- it took a few minutes.  My leg was feeling better already!  The sore on my left leg opened and drained as well.  The drained and open sores kept bleeding though, which was a little concerning.  I just thought it would take a little time for them to clot or something and I would be on my way to recovery.  I covered them up with what we had on hand at home (a cut up diaper and ace bandages) and went to a meeting that night, and then re-bandaged them and went to bed.

I actually waited around all day Thursday because I don't have a primary care doctor and I don't like the doctor who is usually in the Quick Care.  So I wanted to wait until Friday to go in to see the doctor I like.  On Thursday when I changed the bandage to real gauze, an off brand of neosporin, and medical tape I noticed the sores were literally holes in my legs.  There were two where the large sore was and one where the small one was.  I didn't think much of it, covered them, and went on with the day.  Except that this is when the new pain started.  We didn't have crutches or anything so that night I actually sat on the floor and scooted to the bathroom because it hurt too much to walk.  :(

By the time Friday came around I was in more pain and had a really hard time walking.  Like I said, I scooted on the floor when I needed to get somewhere.  Adam had an appointment in the morning so he took Eli over to Grammy and Grandpa's and when he came back home he helped me get ready and we went off to the Quick Care.  We got there at about 11:20am and finally got in to see the doctor around 1pm.  I don't know what was going on back there, but there were only 2 or 3 people ahead of me.  Anyway, I showed the doctor pictures I had taken on my phone and he actually looked at the small sore on my left leg.  He had never seen something like this before, told me to get blood work done, prescribed me some pain medication, and told me to see a dermatologist to have them check it out and get it biopsied.  So we got the blood work done and went home.  I made an appointment with a dermatologist for Tuesday.  Then I finally took off the bandage on my right leg to change it, as it was obvious that it had bled quite a bit underneath.  What I found was a surprise -- there were now 3 holes instead of two where the large blister was.  I thought that was odd and took a picture of it, something I had been doing as this was progressing, and actually posted this one on Facebook.  I was curious to see what any medical people would have to say about it.  The overwhelming response from loving and concerned family and friends was to go to Urgent Care or the ER -- right now!

We packed Eli back up and took him back over to Grammy and Grandpa's and headed over to the Oro Valley Hospital ER (my brother said there is hardly ever a wait in that ER -- and he was right!).  We arrived at 6:30pm.  We walked up and walked in.

To be continued...

Some pictures for your viewing pleasure if you care to see this sort of thing.  If you have a weak stomach, skip it (seriously, it gets pretty gross).

1 day before drainage (27th)

Morning of drainage (28th)

Right after drainage (28th)

A couple hours after drainage (28th)

1 day after drainage (29th)

2 days after drainage (30th)

1 comment:

  1. Oh my gosh, Kami! I had no idea the situation you were in- scary! I'm in suspense. I want to hear what happened next!


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