Thursday, January 29, 2015

A mysterious Rash, possibly solved.

Two months off maintenance and I had a checkup this week with my amazing hematologist/oncologist.  My numbers are the best they have ever been since my diagnosis almost 2 years ago!  This is wonderful news!!

However, we had the talk that I knew I deserved...that I knew was time for and didn't want to hear:  I need to see other doctors when I get a cold, rash (yep, have one), or other 'healthy people' issues.

Its tough to hear, because you rely and depend on this one doctor to do all the worrying for you.  She is amazing, and I am alive because of research and her.  She pushed me, and she held me when I needed it.  She always answered my calls and I will continue to have more checkups with her, however now I also am blessed to have other doctors diagnose normal people problems, lol!

So, in parallel news, kinda where the talk came from:  I have a very itchy face and neck.  It started in the beginning of January, and I let it go until last week, about Jan 21.  I saw a GP, who said it looked like contact dermatitis and sent me home with a script for some Medrol pack.  While taking the steroid pack, I was fine and dandy, but a day after finishing it up, I started to itch again.  The rash hasn't reappeared yet, but I really think it was from my constant itching and scratching.  My doctor at Rush gave me a talk and told me its time to see a dermatologist for a better understanding and testing.

Voila!  I called on Tuesday and the derm had an opening that just cancelled on them for the next morning!  It was a miracle.  This Derm doc is amazing.  She put a thought in my head, asked if any of my scripts were made by different manufactures?  I said no, but then I woke up early this morning and immediately thought of the generic Zyrtec my dad got me, and I used it when I ran out of mine, about the same time, maybe a few days/week before my itchy-ness started!!  I am now thinking that the generic Zyrtec might have been the culprit!! 

I hope everyone who is reading my blog is healthy and well.  I know many reader who message me to let me know they are experiencing the same or another leukemia.  Its important to remember we aren't in it alone and that other people are going through the same thing.  I pray for all cancer patients daily, and I just want you to know there are others like me who want nothing but cancer eliminated from our lives.

take care and be well!

Friday, January 23, 2015

Note to Gramma Honey

Gramma Honey,
Do you remember when I was younger and I got a bunch of Neutrogena samples?  I gave you some of them...I remember you were very excited about moisturizer.  I remember we were listening to my tape of oldies, I think it was the soundtrack from My Girl.  We were living in Munster at the time, and I might have been 14 or so.  You told me all about how moisturizer would be a necessity and my best friend as I got older.  Do you remember?

Well, it is something I need so much all the time right now.  I need you too, Gramma.  I miss you and I know you are up there helping me out and staying by my side.  Oh God, I wish I had you near me.  I wish I could let you know how much you mean to me.  I love you so much and I am so disappointed in myself in how I acted in my 20s.  I didn't visit you enough.  I didn't spend enough time with you, and it hurts me so much now. 

I don't know where that memory came from, I was doing something completely different, and I had the memory of giving you those samples and thinking about how I desperately need moisturizer nowadays.  My skin is so dry, I don't know what from.  My body doesn't want to seem to get back to "normal" and it is taking a mental toll on me.  I just want to be me again, and I don't really have anyone to talk to about it without worrying them.  Somehow, I know you would understand.  You would tell me you were sorry I was going through this, just like mom would (I'm sure).  I just wish I could have a hug from you and some of your cookies, lol.

I always tell Neil to keep close to his Gran, she is so great, she reminds me of Aunt Kay.  She speaks her mind, and she is independent and wonderful.  I love her.  She also makes me miss you and Grandma W, too. 

Thank you for being such a wonderful and loving gramma.  I miss you every day.  Oh, I know why I probably thought about you.  I used my trunk today, and I keep that little pink rabbit I sewed for you back in 6th grade.  I got it back after you went to Heaven.  I put it in my trunk of my car and kept it there ever since.  Maybe tomorrow I will take it out and wash it gently and move it to my bedroom.  It reminds me of you and how much I love you. Always.
Your Granddaughter,

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Update on life after chemo and maintenance: Itchy Rash!

Yep, chemo is done, maintenance therapy is done and I was feeling on top of the world.  Until 2 weeks ago:

I've been working hard, trying to lose weight (oh my gosh its so hard!), and now I have the worst dry skin ever.  Its funny, because I thought I had dry skin when I was on the ATRA or Tretinoid pills, but this is worse.  My face is so dry, I peel and flake all day.  It itches.  Its annoying.  Moisturize, Moisturize, and Sarna!  Plus, now my neck itches and has red marks on it.  I think I gave myself a rash.  The Sarna is starting to work a bit.  I've been dousing myself in Clinique moisturizers (two different ones) trying to soften and heal my skin. 

Well, I go to my primary tomorrow, hoping he will have an answer.  Part of me thinks its from my Zyrtec.  My skin and throat were very dry about two weeks ago, and I stopped taking my Zyrtec.  I thought I was overdoing it and maybe it was time to stop.  It has been almost 2 years of taking it off and on, and this last time I was on it over 2 months, every night I took one.  Zyrtec is an antihistamine, and it worked very well.  I took it at the advice of my oncologist when my nose wouldn't stop running after I came home from my induction chemotherapy (first round, the worst).  Zyrtec does make me sleepy, but you only take one a day, so I would take mine before bed.  Put me out like magic.  The only problem I thought was when I would stop taking it, I would wake up in the middle of the night and have a hard time falling back asleep.  Of course, I still take naps during the day and sleep about 10 hours each night (8pm-6 am, roughly).

After the neck started itching a lot, I googled "Zyrtec and Itchy face neck" and saw a lot of sites where they talked about this happening to people and it taking sometimes over 30 days for the itching to subside.  Yikes!  I don't know if this is the case for me, though.

In the meantime, I've washed all my bedding and coat/hat/scarf in that fabulous Dreft (hypo-allergenic) for babies.  Now, I smell like my nieces, Sara and Izzy.  They always smell so good, lol, ha!  I know your secret!! 

I've also been moisturizing and not showering every day.  Makes it hard, but with short hair and it being so cold and dry outside, I'm always in a coat and I'm thinking no one will notice. 

The smell of the Dreft detergent will whiff them away to babyland anyways.

Any takers on this one?  Have you experienced any itchy skin/rash after quitting Zyrtec or maybe just part of the adjustment period after chemo or maintenance?  Just curious.