Okay, not melting exactly (it’s WAY too cold for melting), but I do feel like I’m falling apart. Over the past year, I’ve accumulated a number of small-ish health issues: psoriasis, nail fungus, and back pain. None of them are huge, but they are nagging things that won’t go away, no matter how much I ignore them.
About this time last year, something funky started happening to the fingers on my right hand: itchy, red, very sensitive patches that eventually became swollen. After a couple of months, when my half-hearted efforts to treat my [self-diagnosed] leprosy failed, I made it to the dermatologist, who, after a very cursory glance, proclaimed that I had eczema, not leprosy, and sent me on my way with a prescription for a topical steroid.
I never really used much of the huge tube of steroid cream, but my symptoms cleared soon after the doctor visit, largely due to the changing seasons (less cold, dry air) and possibly to some improvements in my mental state. (Eczema and psoriasis are similar in that they are exacerbated by stress, anxiety, etc.)
It’s baaaaaaaacckk! All good things must come to an end, and with the return of cold, dry winter air came the return of my skin condition. With a new twist. After a few weeks of the standard irritated skin on my fingers, I started noticing joint pain in the affected areas. Matthew already suspected that my skin condition was psoriasis, not eczema, and this new symptom seems to confirm his suspicion.
Not only do I have psoriasis, I have a fun and relatively unusual manifestation — psoriatic arthritis — lucky me! The joint pain is not constant; some days, I don’t notice this aspect at all, but there have been a couple of pretty bad periods, where I had to turn vegetable chopping duties over to Matthew because it hurt to hold the knife.
Anyway, since treatment of psoriasis and eczema is relatively similar, I’m working on using up that huge tube of steroid cream; applying fancy, expensive petroleum jelly (i.e., Aquaphor) every couple of hours; trying to work on some of the stress reduction stuff; and hoping the spring arrives soon.
I’d never, ever had nail fungus. Then, last February, I redeemed a pedicure gift card. (Note that this was the second, or maybe third, pedicure I’ve ever gotten in my life. It was likely also the last.) A few weeks later I noticed an odd spot on the nail of my big toe.
I waited around a bit, hoping that it was a bruise under the nail and would just grow out, but after a couple of months, it became clear that the nail salon had given me a special gift — nail fungus!
Treatment options seem pretty limited, since I’m staying away from the oral anti-fungals. This leaves topical anti-fungals, [very expensive] laser treatment, or alternate topical remedies. For now, I’m applying Vick’s VapoRub twice a day, after soaking the toe in warm water (hoping this makes the nail more porous / the treatment more effective). Like topical prescription anti-fungals, there’s a good chance I’ll have to keep this up daily FOR A YEAR. Then, maybe, if I’m lucky, my nail will be healthy again.
Ongoing back pain
From October through December, I invested a significant amount of time and money in physical therapy for my back. I felt like things were headed in the right direction, but I reached a point where I felt like I wasn’t making any more progress.
According to the therapist, the two rotated vertebrae were back in their proper places, and staying there, but I continued to have point pain whenever I pressed on one of the vertebrae. This didn’t seem to be going away or getting better, and some of the PT exercises seemed to exacerbate it.
I checked myself out of physical therapy, hoping that my spine just needed a bit more time to get used to things being back in their proper places (after all, things had been out of whack for three months before I sought treatment). But those hopes seem unfounded.
What to do? More physical therapy (with a different therapist)? Chiropractic? (Was going to try chiropractic initially, but had a hard time getting a good provider recommendation.) I also have not had any imaging done on the area, so I’m wondering about an MRI so we can see what’s really going on in there.
I’m not sure of my next step, but I probably need to do something. The pain is limiting my physical activity (most activities don’t hurt while I’m doing them, but they lead to increased pain later, so I’ve been avoiding quite a few strengthening exercises) and making me feel old and grumpy.