If I told you that I suffer from a condition called Pyoderma Gangrenosum you would probably have never heard of it. Well, neither had I until around Christmas time last year. My little problem started last October when what looked like a tiny insect bite on my shin developed into a rather nasty ulcerated area in a matter of days…urggh! My GP scratched his head, thought it was something to do with my circulation and prescribed me antibiotics and a dressing to cover it.Three months later he was still scratching his head. Tests had shown that my vascular system was working just fine but my leg looked worse and my gastric system did not like being overloaded with antibiotics one bit.
At this point my GP gave up the head scratching and sent me to the local hospital where the docs were equally flumexed and decided to give me IV antibiotics and asked to see me a week later. Having a nursing background I really felt that they were barking up the wrong tree and began investigating possible causes. Something I discovered seemed to tick boxes. It was a rare auto-immune condition that causes ulceration. I mentioned this at the next head scratching hospital session and within the hour a dermatologist appeared and would you believe it, he agreed that it could possibly be the cause!
Well, here we are almost six months later. Other conditions were ruled out and the diagnosis has been confirmed as PG (as us in the know call it) It’s a bugger to treat and it’s all down to trial and error. I am though, as I have discovered, one of the lucky ones. Yes, it isn’t nice. Yes, it is painful at times, but there are others who are far far worse off than me, who are in constant agony. In and out of hospital and need aids to help them walk. Since it’s been diagnosed I haven’t needed a day off work and am able to do all the things I did before with the exception of having a bath or going swimming. But I rarely did either so I’m not missing a soak or a few laps of breast stroke at the local pool. With my nursing background my consultant was more than happy to allow me to do my own dressings each day. It’s become part of my life but I do long for the day when I don’t have a shed load of dressings in the corner of my bedroom.
Summer is around the corner, and call me a bit vain, but I’m really sad and frustrated that the poorly leg restricts me in what I wear. I can only wear wide legged trousers and foot wear is a problem because I have one swollen foot and without socks the dressing is visible making sandals or anything with a heel tricky. I really am not ready for velcrod sensible shoes yet! Thankfully I am not into beach holidays as I’d rather not look like a beached whale turning a lovely shade of pink on a sunbed. My cossie days, fortunately for members of the public, were well and truly over years ago! I’m tempted to suggest a holiday in the Scottish highlands where waterproofs and sensible walking shoes are de rigeur and what I wear won’t be an issue.
I have a hospital appointment next week. I’m hoping for not too much scratching of heads. I would just love my doctor to say…”Mrs Ravenscroft, this is what you need to take and I can guarantee that it will work!” One can only live in hope!