The last few weeks have been hard : rain, snow, an exceedingly badly behaved ankle, and all the fun of never-ending chronic complaints. Ugh! The weather fronts just kept rolling in, sending the air pressure swinging wildly and my breathing and joints into their own little crises. “Will it never end,” I asked my ankle and MacKenzie? “Nope!” said the ankle with a little sneer in its rotten little ankle voice. “Don’t count on it,” said MacKenzie as he squirmed deeper into the current knitting project with one paw extended, claw flashing, reaching for my yarn.
As you can guess, I’ve developed a nasty mood of my own.
There was a nice week with sunshine that made me and the ankle feel better: I got some yard work done and planted flowers. Then the weather turned on me and once again I was in bed, listening to audiobooks and knitting with my ankle propped up.
What is up with this ankle, you ask? Good question! Three weeks ago it suddenly developed a hard, red, and hot lump that radiated pain ruthlessly. The infection began spreading under my rhino-hide scleroderma skin. I was started on antibiotics, but the pain continued, the redness continued spreading around the outside of my ankle, and a dent in my leg appeared where the redness was. I chatted with a doctor online and she decided that I should be checked for cellulitis. Cellulitis?! Off to urgent care I went, and as soon as that doctor saw my ankle he ordered testing: another blood clot hunt and x-rays to see if the bone was damaged. Limping and in pain, I headed off to get the testing done. As I drove home from the ultrasound a call came in with the results of the testing: a benign tumor was found, and I was being referred to a dermatologist for treatment.
It’s like they forgot about the cellulitis! “Where are my new antibiotics?” I asked MacKenzie when I got home. MacKenzie just carried on for attention and cookies, so I made the appointment for the dermatologist to look at my ankle before returning to my knitting and propping the ankle back up. I made a little cage out of a box to put in my bed so I could sleep without the covers touching the ankle… “I have a tumor,” said the ankle in its nasty little voice.
The next day the redness and heat were a little better, but the pain and lump on my ankle remained. I resolved to head back to urgent care if I got worse, and carried on with my knitting. Tumor, whatever. I have scleroderma and I was betting that was what made the lump appear unusual in the ultrasound. I was pretty sure this was just another chapter in the scleroderma adventure.
Two days later I got in to see the dermatologist. Wow. Just wow. I am in love with this doctor. This is the doctor that I have been waiting for since my first diagnosis FIVE YEARS AGO!
Aside: I have been battling eczema for months. All of my doctors have seen my eczema face. Since I have noticed that a dose of ibuprofen (which I’m not supposed to take because of my iffy kidneys…) will give me 24-48 hours of happy joints with no fatigue or brain fog symptoms, and some eczema relief, I have literally begged for some type of anti-inflammatory drug to help me. Even though I am taking drugs that are crushing my immune system unto submission, there is something else that I need. I have cried in my internist’s office. Evidently there isn’t anything that can be given to me that won’t hurt my kidneys…
This dermatologist entered the office, took one look at my swollen, red and itchy face, and said that this was unacceptable and she was going to put a stop to it. Then she said that she had looked at the ultrasound and that there wasn’t anything that worried her there: scleroderma had caused fibrotic tissue to form. Then she wondered out loud why they had forgotten that I had cellulitis? Then she prescribed antibiotics that are also anti-inflammatory along with an anti-inflammatory cream to get my eczema whipped into shape. I was told to email her in a couple of days if there wasn’t a dramatic improvement to my ankle and face because she was going to make more referrals to get to the bottom of the eczema with an allergy specialist. And that the ankle should continue to be watched.
By the next morning it was obvious that I was better. Much better. Within a week my face was clear and the eczema was gone. My ankle is also much better, the lump is gone, but it continues to ache and carry on when I walk. My brain fog is gone. Fatigue? What fatigue? It’s like I needed an anti-inflammatory antibiotic or something…
My new, most wonderful in the whole world dermatologist is going to maintain me on the antibiotic. I’ve been on this drug before so I’m not worried about my kidneys at all.
I’m sorry I said all those nasty things to you, ankle. All in all, you were a blessing in disguise.
But anytime you want to stop with the achy hurt, that would be fine!
16 thoughts on “The Scleroderma Chronicles: The Ankle Adventure”
Yikes! That was a wild ride. I’m glad you’ve found a gem of a dermatologist. I hope the ankle is back to normal soon:)
The ankle still hurts and aches, but nothing like what was going on before. It certainly isn’t disturbing my sleep any more, so all is good.
I saw a different dermatologist previously, but I am keeping this one forever for obvious reasons!!
Yay for competent doctors!
As you indicate, your ankle got you to the doctor you needed. I hope both the ankle and the weather continue to improve
Ironic, isn’t it! It just goes to show that every cloud had a silver lining.
So glad you found a good doctor who is helping you! Though sorry it took so much stress and pain to get there. Your flowers are looking lovely!
It was a shock to get a doctor who was so competent and decisive. Yay!!
This week we have had hail and thunderstorms. So far my flowers have dodged the worst of it. 😉
So glad you found a good doctor! The relief of finding someone competent to help manage the chronic illness is hard to describe, and I hope she keeps being a great doctor for you!
It sure was a gem of an appointment!
Glad your ankle feels better. Your dermatologist is certainly a keeper! Make sure you see the allergist.
My dermatologist sent me back to the allergist. I was tested. My eczema is triggered by egg whites and cow’s milk. Next step is eliminating them from my diet to see if the itchy and scratchy goes away.
Eggs and milk?! Wow, that is a lot to eliminate! Luckily there are lots of alternatives on the market for you to check out. I have so many diet restrictions that I do most of my own cooking. Sounds like you are in for the same.
My eczema cleared right up with the antibiotics. I’m grateful and will certainly be keeping this dermatologist!!
Eggs and milk are the new things to eliminate. I have oral allergy syndrome. My body thinks the protein in raw tree fruit and tree nuts is birch pollen. Cooking the fruit changes the chemical composition of the protein and then I can eat it. 🤓
I am glad antibiotics did the trick for you!
SO glad you’ve found a good doctor!!! What a relief to have someone who seems to get it!
I am so happy too. I’m still taking the antibiotic and my inflammation is way down and my brain fog and energy are up. What a silver lining to my ankle cloud!!