Thursday, October 11, 2012

Beginning Once Again...

As I begin this journey, or rather I say continue this journey, I am embarking upon a new "raging river" per se'. I have posted, blogged, written on Face Book, had my own MSN and Yahoo sites and groups, running the entire gamut of the latest and greatest in the realms of communicating with other "like-minded individuals". Yet, it is NOT the "latest and greatest" that brings me to do this new challenge. It is a desire to reach out to you, the audience, with my own very personal powers of what has ailed me off and on for many years. Years before I even knew what "chronic illness and pain" were...definitely well before the majority of us knew one thing about Lupus, Rheumatoid Arthritis, Degenerative Joint and Disc Disease, Fibromyalgia, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and even MS (Multiple Sclerosis) was an illness we really new very little about. I can recall the very first time I ever heard of anyone that I knew having Lupus. She was back then a girl I had went to high school with, and she was a couple of grades ahead of me. She married a local "home town" boy, and they were making life, with home and family. When I was in my mid twenties, possibly a bit older, I had heard about "Kim" having the chronic, incurable disease of Lupus. There was so little known about this disease at that time, other than there was NO CURE for it, and basically it was a death sentence back then. Even the world of Medical Professionals had really not figured out what was going on, other than the body was actually attacking its own self, from skin, to internal organs, heart, brain, kidneys, lungs, and more.... there were no real tests to find out for sure if Lupus was a correct "diagnosis". At that time the very distinctive symptoms are what gave doctors a clue as to if you had this disease since some of the are often vague, and others very specific to the Lupus illness. The "Wolf's mask" or what now is known as a "Mylar Rash" is probably the most distinctive symptom of Lupus. IT has a very definite look, feel, and way it comes on, so that in itself is a very good hint into whether Lupus is the correct diagnosis or not. Then there are the much more vague symptoms, which are more "ongoing flu like" in nature. Extreme fatigue, other unexplained rashes on the hands, feet, legs, low grade fever that lingers on with the other symptoms, a severe "migraine type" headache, aching joints and muscles, usually several of them over the body, often an almost "allergic reaction" to being in the sun causing the facial rash to be much worse, changes in weight and appetite (loss), problems with hair falling out, swollen lymph nodes under in the throat, inflammation of blood vessels (Vasculitis), swelling of hands and/or feet, Raynaud's phenomenon which is caused when vessels in the fingers and toes seem to not get enough oxygen to the small  causing then to turn blue, and almost feel as if they are frost bitten, very cold and tingling or burning. Anemia can be another symptoms of Lupus also.

Thus, as you can see, there are a variety of symptoms that could be associated with any number of illnesses, some possibly serious, and others a mild 24 hour flu. The "markings" of the "Mask" happens to be one of the most prevalent of signs of Lupus. Since there are two types of Lupus, one that involves strictly the skin, (Cutaneous Lupus) and the other that can effect everything from skin to internal organs which is called "SLE" (Systemic lupus erythematosus), both can have this particular hallmark feature of the disease. Lupus is a chronic illness that at this time has no cure. Over the past 2 years although, there has been extensive research yielding new medications that are on the market to help Lupus Patients. I will get into more about these new medications in a later blog post.

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