/ The RE's Muse: It's not the itching, but the scratching...

The RE's Muse

After 4 years of infertility, 2 surgeries, 1 miscarriage, and 19 months of high risk pregnancies, hubby and I now have two little women in our lives--one a toddler, the other not far behind. Buckle your seatbelts, it's gonna be a wild ride.

Monday, January 10, 2005

It's not the itching, but the scratching...

Oh, who am I kidding?! It's both....

A few days before Christmas, I awoke in the middle of the night with a terrible itch on my left elbow. I blissfully scratched at it and went back to sleep. Fast forward a few days and I had a dry, scaly patch of skin on that same elbow. A few days later, the right elbow joined it. The itching died off and I thought nothing more of it. The skin on both elbows is still dry and kind of cracked in places but I moisturize thoroughly several times a day and all seems to be returning to normal. SIL the PA mentioned it was likely eczema as the elbows and knees are where it classically manifests itself. Okay, no problem...pregnancy induced eczema...moisturize (g-d bless The Body Shop's Coconut Body Butter), move on. How I wish I could say the same thing about my legs.

About 10 days ago, I woke up in the middle of the night (no oddity this, nowadays I normally wake up at least once, sometimes twice--and on a really fluid fueled night, three times--to whiz). But the difference in that night's awakening was the fact that I woke myself up by the scratching of my left leg with the foot of my right. I scratched so hard, I scraped skin off. There was a red bumped rash on my calf, but several of the bumps had been scratched raw from my toenails (which are, BTW, painted a lovely cranberry in honor of the recent holidays). Alas, the story doesn't end there.

Fast forward several days and there is a similar itchy rash on my right calf. Pass another couple of days and a patch above my right knee joins it rashy siblings. Soon my lower thigh gets in on the action as does a small renegade patch just above my left elbow. And every one of these fuckers likes to wait until I'm several hours into REM sleep to make its presence known. I wake up scratching vigorously most nights. Imagine the condition of my bumpy, rashy calves and upper legs...not v pretty I assure you.

Given my current "delicate condition," I've tried to go the non-medicated route to treat this pesky rash. I've tried ice, I've tried hydrocortisone 0.5% (on the OB's suggestion), I've tried Benadryl gel but nothing gives. This rash laughs at me with everything I throw at it.

I'm still waking up to pee every night and it's usually combined with some scratching at the same time. The itch has gotten so bad that I'd convinced myself I had some rare version of pregnancy pruritis (pruritis gravidarum or something to that effect--which is often indicative of some sort of liver dysfunction or something along those lines--thanks Google U). So I'd convinced myself I have some obscure pregnancy malady and am going to become deathly sick soon if the rash is any indication of what's going on internally.

Today, I could take it no more. Luckily, my dermatologist got me in this afternoon and off I went to seek skin nirvana. I show him my rashy spots and he pokes at them each and pronounces it "sensitive skin." Huh? I'm soon sent on my way with an rx for a topical cream to use twice a day (and before leaving I went up to my perinatalogist--whose office is two floors above the derm's--to make sure I could take the med, which I can, but for no more than 2 weeks' duration). It's a pregnancy category C, which worries me, but apparently it's not so bad because I'm now officially in my second trimester (I can't believe I just wrote that--and you should hear how weird it sounds to say it out loud).

But the best information the dermatologist gave me today? Don't shave my legs until the rash has cleared up. Yep, you read that right. I've just been given permission to let my hair grow in until I resemble something akin to Sasquatch (or as it's known here in south Florida, the skunk ape). A's gonna love that bit of medical assvice, ahem, I mean advice. It'd be one thing if I lived in a cold climate but hey, it's been 80 degrees and sunny every day this week. It's shorts and t-shirt weather all year round here. And me? I'll be confined to pants and capris until I can shave again. Let's hope it clears up soon so that my potential market value as a mate for the much feared, seldom seen skunk ape doesn't materialize.

Now if you'll excuse me, I've got to go wrap my hands in towels so as not to scratch the flesh from my legs...right after I slather on my topical cream (which may or may not be killing my fetus with each application but I won't dwell on that--I've got other things to worry about, like whether or not skunk apes like hairy human gals...but I digress).

*Updated to add that last night's initial application of topical cream was a dismal failure. Awoke at 5 a.m. to find myself scratching and itchy as could be (though that was later than my normal scratch awakening time). Sweet jesus gay, will it ever stop? Any (homeopathic/natural) remedies y'all could recommend?

8 Comments:

At 10:38 PM, Blogger amanda said...

Oh, man. That does not sound fun. I hope the situation improves forthwith.

 
At 8:18 AM, Blogger Rebecca said...

Have you tried aloe vera yet? Or gold bond medicated cream? The gold bond cream would help with the itching, and the aloe vera would help with healing. Use the gold bond when you wake up in the morning and before you go to bed at night. Use the aloe vera during the day several times. I used this combo during my pregnancy for my scaly rash, which sounds alot like your rash. Mine was mainly on my face and arms, but I havd a few places on my legs and tummy as well.

I hope this clears up soon.

 
At 8:19 AM, Blogger Day said...

I've got it the same as you - little patches of reddish scaly spots abound all over my legs and thighs. I am a SIGHT!
Congrats on your pregnancy and good luck on your upcoming level 2! Love your blog by the way...

 
At 11:37 AM, Blogger Toffee said...

After you apply the cream, cover with a layer of vaseline to seal it in. Avoid baths...only warm water showers less than 15 minutes. If your doctor lets you, use a beandryl at night so you won't itch and scratch. Trim nails (sorry, but sometimes people forget).

 
At 5:37 PM, Blogger Kim said...

Not to alarm you but there is a condition during pregnancy known as obstetric cholestasis, the symptom of which is "Itching, particularly on the palms and the soles of the feet, which may become worse at night and can become unbearable". You may want to talk to your doctor about this possibility. Good luck!

 
At 4:39 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Have you tried an oatmeal bath before you go to bed? Makes one heckofa mess in the tub, but oats are very soothing to the skin.

Good luck!

 
At 8:10 PM, Blogger Jenn said...

Oh gosh--that sounds unbearable. I hope you find some relief. You may want to purchase cetaphil-- both the cream wash and moisturizer--it works wonders. Good Luck.

 
At 2:42 PM, Blogger Rula said...

I have exactly the same thing, but on my arms, shoulders, neck and around my mouth. I went to two doctors (GPs not dematologists) who both assured me it's plain old eczema aggravated by the pregnancy. Aggravated? That's a good word. I hear you with the night time wakings, itchings and scratchings. I wish it was all over! At least you can cover your legs (even in 80 degree heat!) - there's nothing I can do about my face! And it's been pretty hot in Toronto this summer, so wearing long sleeves was a nightmare! Ugh! If you do find a remedy, please share!

 

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