When the weird gets weirder (Twilight Zone-ish)
The longer you ride the medical merry-go-round, the more likely it is you will encounter something strange. In 2006 I unwittingly climbed aboard that crazy carousel via a cancer diagnosis, and I've been going in circles ever since. One of these days I expect to open my mailbox and find (amongst those countless medial bills) an honorary medical degree for all the stuff I've had to learn over the past several years. Stuff I could have happily remained oblivious to for the rest of my life (really). I have to say though, that this particular medical misadventure ranks near the top of the Uberweird Liter Board
From the medication with a side-effect of random hiccups to digits that turn raspberry red and urple purple. Yep things are definitely weird around here, that's for sure. After all, who could guess that the simple act of washing your hands or buying frozen peas could turn into a major challenge? Not me.
What is Raynauds Phenomenon? - Medically, it is known as a vasospastic attack or vascular spasm
When those bodacious blood vessels suddenly constrict, it is called a vasospastic attack, or vascular spasm.
Apparently, I really AM a spaz. At least from a medical standpoint ;o)
What does it feel like?
Extremely unpleasant (with an exponent)
Okay, it actually hurts like crazy. Think about taking your hands and/or feet and plunging them into a bucketful of ice water. For those of you who have had physical therapy, you've probably already been there, done that. Now picture yourself unable to remove those popsicled appendages from said ice water.
Once started, the spasm will not stop for several minutes no matter what you do. This includes: belatedly putting on your gloves, briskly rubbing your hands together, sitting on your hands, putting them in hot water, or sticking them in the oven*. This means that preventive measures are of the utmost importance.
*Okay, I didn't actually try this one (but I have definitely thought about it; more than once ;o)
Winter is the worst
BUT things like air conditioning and cold areas at the grocery store can trigger a spasm year round.
Agloves: I found them through a Raynaud's forum - and they really work!
Made with silver woven into the material, these gloves help retain body heat in your hands. My husband bought me a pair for my birthday, and they really do help to keep my hands warm. Yay!
Even if you don't have Raynaud's, you may want to give these gloves a go. The silver in them also works on touch screens which means you can use a tablet and/or your smart phone WITHOUT having to take your gloves off. How cool is that?
What does it look like? - Something from the Twilight Zone. Literally.
Did you know?
There are two types of Raynauds: Primary and Secondary
The lesser of two evils
Which is, of course, still evil; not to mention annoying. The primary form of Raynauds affects people (mostly women) between the ages of 15 and 40 and occurs independently from any other disease. It is considered more of an annoyance than anything and is the more easily managed of the two.
Primary Raynauds is milder and much more common than Secondary Raynauds. Biofeedback is sometimes used as a management practice for this form of the disease.
I have two friends at church with this version of Raynauds.
Look what I got from my daughter for Christmas - Talk about a handy-dandy present!
Although I love my Agloves indoors and out, they don't work so well if I want to work on a crochet project. When my hands start to feel a little too cool, I just tuck them inside the cozy for a minute and warm them right back up - infinitely easier than putting gloves on and taking them off over and over again.
Rating: 2T (Toasty and Terrific ;o)
Why am I not suprised?
that as a chronic overachiever, I would find myself here...
The "eviler" of the two evils
Secondary Raynauds is usually not diagnosed until after the age of 40 and is always in conjunction with another disorder. Often the Raynauds is the initial sign (as in my case) of an underlying connective tissue disease. Unfortunately, it can be years before seemingly random symptoms converge into a definitive diagnosis for the underlying problem.
As of the writing of this lens, I am in year three of such strange symptoms and without a diagnosis (other than the "There is definitely something autoimmune going on, but we don't know what it is yet." answer).
Injuries can be slow to heal too; my last finger-stick test at the doctor's office took 29 days to finish healing. Isn't that ridiculous?
Raynauds can be quite serious - (an unfunny factoid)
This is what happens when I wash my hands during cooler weather or in cold water... - See? I TOLD you it was weird ;o)
I keep a pair of gloves tucked in my purse year round. I also have a pair in my car, one in my school/work bag, home office, family room, next to the bed, and...
Well, you get the idea ;o)
Would you like to meet my other new best friends? - These are wonderful in the winter!
I'm a sign language interpreter, which means I am constantly using my hands to communicate. It also means my digits need to be dexterous at all times. Fingerspelling with painful, frozen fingers just doesn't do (and no kidding, right?)
I keep a pair of the Hot Hands in my pockets at work all day; they last for about 10 hours and work wonders!
Farewell my flippy-flops
I shall miss you....
Although I do still wear them periodically at home and a few other places, I have had to stop wearing those sassy summer sandals to work. School classrooms are, for the most part, freezing. No matter how cute the shoe, there just doesn't seem to be a way to attractively showcase those urple purple toes.
I have, however, found a marvelous new podiatric passion; zany socks. Stripes, polka dots, animals, vegetables, minerals (well, maybe not) and some scrumptious chenille for the fall and winter (woo!)
Hey, when life hands you lemons go buy some silly socks ;o)
Ready for your own silly sock wardrobe? - These are a ton of fun!
Strangely striped, clown socks AND Wonder Woman - I just have to have a pair - they're absolutely awesometastic! Does sock shopping get any better than this?
Want to know something weirder?
It can also affect the tip of your nose
And how stupid is that? While a cold nose may be a healthy and desirable thing in a dog, for people it's a bit more problematic (and not so healthy).
Of course I have this problem too. *sigh* Do you have any idea how hard it is to keep the tip of your nose warm? I feel silly putting my hands over my nose to keep it warm when I am indoors, but what's a girl to do? It's cold!
Speaking of silly: Maybe I should try wearing a clown nose to see if that would help. I wonder if you can heat those things up in the microwave first...
How about it?
Had you heard of this mysterious malady before today?
Do you have Raynauds or know someone who does?
For more on Raynauds - Visit these folks (they are far smarter than I ;o)
- The Cleveland Clinic
Offers some excellent information on this phenomenon for those of us without a medical degree.
- The Mayo Clinic
Gives a description of the disease, its symptoms, causes, treatment, etc.
- NIAMS from the National Institute of Health (NIH)
Some common questions and their answers from the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases.