Diagnosis: Prurigo Nodularis

After 40 years of going to dermatologists in Carrollton, Newnan. and Atlanta, Dr. Ganz (Olanski Dermatology in Buckhead) was able to get a biopsy that produced a diagnosis.

Apparently I have a rare condition where nodules form under the skin that itch intensely. Excoriation causes sores. It is almost impossible not to scratch, so having sores is inevitable.

This condition has almost driven me crazy. I hope there is a treatment plan available.

I Want to Believe in Unconditional Love

I am wrestling with feelings. Strong emotional connections to someone who has destroyed the trust so many loved ones once had. Love is a powerful fruit of God’s spirit. It is the most important.

My favorite chapter in the Bible is 1 Corinthians 13. It speaks of the excellence of Love. Verses 4 -6:

4 “Love is patient, love is kind, and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant, 5 does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered, 6 does not rejoice with unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth: 7 bears all things, believes all things, Hope’s all things, endures all things. 8 Love never fails.

And verse 13: And now these three remain; faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is LOVE.”

But how do you show love to someone who is an addict? Someone who blatantly denies taking anything? How do you help without enabling? How do you get them to acknowledge their habit? To realize it has cost them their family?

The hardest thing for me, is knowing they’re homeless, sleeping in the car. They are cold and hungry.

I have food, and a spare bedroom. But they can’t come here. The denial of the addiction has caused open hearts to close.

It is a pivotal point in one’s life when they own their problem with drugs. Only then, can healing begin.

I want to have the love described in 1 Corinthians chapter 13, by the apostle Paul. I really do feel love. I am stumped. Praying incessantly!

Post note: I received wonderful advice from a dear friend: “I think you can still love a person unconditionally and just not like what they are doing and need to show tough love. And sometimes you need to protect yourself from their actions.”

Orlando BFF Week 2018

Brittany picked me up from the Orlando airport about 11:30 last Monday. When I got in the car she handed me a bottle of water and a protein bar, This was the first of the extra TLC and nurturing I would get that week. We shopped, took a selfie on a giant beach chair. Then off to her house. I fell so in love with her house! I even had my own wing! It was like staying in a five-star resort!

A couple of days before I arrived, Brit was stung on her foot by something we thought was a bee, but later decided was a scorpion. The redness was spreading, it was hurting itching and could be infected. So, since we had a big week planned, we decided she should see a doc. She was able to get an appointment that day. He set her up with meds to control infection and itching.

Later that evening, I finally got to meet their extended family. Steve’s mom, Deb, sister, Kelli, brother in law, Brian Sr., their nephew, Brian Jr., niece, Emma. I felt like I already knew them, though. We had some tasty pizza. Afterward, Steve brought out this delish Donut cake. It had “Friendship” written in icing, That was a cool surprise!

I will miss waking up to the smell of coffee, already made, being chauffeured everywhere, having my bestie hang out with me every day, chatting with Steve, and snuggling with the pugs!

Tuesday was a beach day. We decided we’d drive to Melbourne. The day was sunny and hot! We braved the hot sand and wrestled with the umbrella tent, then relaxed and enjoyed our view, We waded out into the water and let the waves beat us up. Actually, the waves only beat me. It was so much fun. We relaxed, talked, and watched clouds form into shapes.

Later that day we ate at Tijuana Flats, the most amazing Mexican Restaurant, ever! After that, we enjoyed ice cream at, Twistee Treat, a place shaped like an ice cream cone. It was so creamy and delicious!

Wednesday was Magic Kingdom Day! Brittany’s mother in law, Deb, is a cast member. She went above and beyond to assure we got in the parks. I’m forever grateful. It was nice to get to know her. She is an amazing woman! We were able to cram so much fun into that day! We enjoyed Carousel of Progress, Hall of Presidents, Space Mountain, Monsters Inc. Laugh Floor, Muppets Theater, Buzz Lightyear Space Ranger Spin, People mover, and It’s a small world. I’m probably leaving something out, though! One of the highlights was when Brit tried out for and was chosen to be the teapot in the Beauty and the Beast attraction! We ate lunch, at Cosmic Ray’s Starlight Cafe. My grilled chicken salad was super good. We ate supper at Pinocchios. They had the best flatbread pizza! We had planned on one more ride, then staying for the fireworks, but it came to storm, with lightning, so we decided to go home to relax. We wanted to get psyched up for the next day at Disney’s Hollywood Studios.

When I first got to Brittany and Steve’s house, she told me she wanted to get me a lanyard so we both could trade pins. When she explained it, I was thinking I would not like to do that. She bought us both a Toy Story lanyard, then set me up with some pins to trade. The next day at Hollywood Studios, we were prepared and ready to trade. I have to admit I was wrong. It was so much fun!

We were especially excited about the new Toy Story addition. Toy Story Mania was one of my favs. Sweet revenge on Brittany’s impressive win on the Buzz Lightyear Space Ranger Spin, We did the Star Wars simulator, saw Beauty and the Beast on stage, and braved the Haunted Mansion. Fearless Brittany talked me into the Tower of Terror, and the super scary Aerosmith ride. The picture from that ride is epic! We had lunch at Sci-fi Dine-in Theater Restaurant. It was so much fun! You eat in old classic cars and watch old movies! It began to rain early evening so we decided to head home and relax for the next big day at Disney Springs. We ordered Chinese Food and watched the Braves with Steve.

We had a great day at Disney Springs. Shopping, then lunch at Splitsville, the Disney Bowling alley. After we ate, we bowled. It was so much fun! We were Sissy and Beatrice! After bowling, we went to the Outlet Malls. I had to buy another suitcase to carry home what I bought, and all Brittany gave me!

The last day we had planned to take their boat out but decided to have a relaxed last day. We had done so much walking, we both lost weight, even though we ate so well!

Brittany helped me pack. At one point Miles and Molly got into my suitcase! We watched the latest Jumanji movie with The Rock and Jack Black. We laughed so hard!
Ah, but we became melancholy as my flight time closed in, and they drove me to the airport. But they surprised me by walking in with me. I was glad to have help getting checked in. Then we shopped a bit.
I hope to be able to visit again soon. I had the time of my life!

That Inexplicable Disease I’ve had for 40 years

When I was seventeen, I started having insane itching spells which produced sores. I began my long search for a cause and cure. Many dermatologist were seen over the last forty years. I’ve been biopsied, scraped, given handfuls of sample creams, steroids, and sent away with no clear diagnosis. This went on year after year.

It never has been so terrible consistently. I would have spells, then periods of time with minor issues. However, this year it has been worse than ever. I’m broken out with sores on my legs, hips, neck, shoulders, arms, hands, chest, and have them throughout my scalp. I’ve had these sores inside my ears, nose and on my lips.

It’s rather embarrassing. I look like a crack addict!

In desperation I went to Newnan dermatolog again in the spring. A biopsy was taken that produced no answers. They said I had a staph infection. I was treated for that and was dismissed from their care. Yeah, they gave up on me. They referred me to a neurologist. I couldn’t get an appointment there before September, so I decided to see if my primary care doc could help.

I am broken out so badly and having many itching spells. These spells are so intense it is maddening. Like a thousand mosquitoe bites! I am up all night, some nights.

Dr. McDonald tried steroids for a week with a steroid cream. He gave me Doxipen to be taken at night.

None of that made a dent, I went back today with more sores, looking tired from so many sleepless nights. He tried Hydroxyzine.

Leave it to me to have a chronic condition that has stumped all my doctors. Just know , when you see me, that I am not on Meth! Just dealing with a disease that apparently, doesn’t exist.

After months of no improvements, Dr. McDonald suggested it was psychosomatic and suggested I see a psychiatrist, and a neurologist. He later told me it was because that was what was suggested in the notes from Newnan Dermatology. He felt like he had done all he could do for me. I left in tears. I knew it was a real condition. These sores did not arise from a neurotic chronic scratching session.

I had to go to Emergency Room, Saturday, November 24th. My lymph nodes were swollen and painful all down my left leg. I had knots in places I was concerned were blood clots. An ultrasound revealed no blood clots But they said I had an infection from a wound. I received non narcotic pain meds. (Yeah, disappointing) and was sent home with antibiotics and Tylenol #3 (Yeah, disappointing.) I was so sick with chills and fever of 102. But in a day or so, antibiitics kicked in. I’ve had migraines every day for a week. I think I may have had a virus. The itching resumed. I was up all night and had to figure this skin thing out.

Out of sheer desperation, I got up the nerve to ask a friend who is also a retired dermatology pathologist. He examined my wounds, asked questions about my medical history. He said it was a real condition. He even named something he thought it might be. He wanted to see my pathology report from my last biopsy. When I sent it to him he said a new biopsy was necessary and referred me to a colleague in Buckhead, Dr. Ganz.

When I called their office to make an appointment I was told she was booked through February. I told them I had hoped to get in sooner as Dr. Lee had spoken so highly of Dr. Ganz. I was put in hold, then told something had become available that Thursday! I was again filled with hope after all these years of suffering, I’d finally get a diagnosis, and treatment plan.

Today I saw Dr Ganz. She was a delight. She seemed certain she could figure this out. I was asked to undress and put on a paper gown. I was donning gown and sitting on the exam table when she entered. She put me through a thorough examination of my sores. I was turning one way, then another, lying down, sitting up. I was flipping around on that exam table like a pig rolling in the mud. Never have I felt so fat and gross. I looked down to see the paper gown around my waist like a big old paper donut! I said, ” Well, this was pretty useless!”

She did a biopsy, and they drew blood. Maybe this will result in some idea of what is happening, and has been, for forty years. Hope is a good thing.

My sister, Brenda, came over and prayed a very heartfelt prayer. The rest of my friends and family have been praying. I am blessed.

I Am So Much More Than My Politics

Last Saturday morning I was driving my little CRV, with three stickers on the glass of the hatchback. One has the acronym, O. A. R.. another on the far right has 311, the one in the middle just says Trump.

I was leaving the Farm, after setting up for Jan’s party. I decided to stop for a drink on my way to my son and daughter in law’s reveal luncheon.

I stopped at Family Dollar on Temple Avenue. After purchasing my drink, I left the store.

As I approached my car, I noticed a woman standing at the back of my car, just staring at my stickers! I was thinking WTH! When she noticed me, she started yelling at me!

I can’t remember everything she said, but I know most of it was extremely vile! She was in my face, almost inviting a punch in the nose! She asked, “Why do you have all these conflicting stickers on your car?”

I still don’t know what she meant by that. I said, “Beg your pardon? What are you talkin about?” She said something like, you got this KKK thing over here and I don’t even know what this is ,,,,what does that mean, O. A. R? I tried to reason with her, telling her there was nothing wrong with my stickers. The two on the outside are bands. And there’s nothing evil about their music.

Then the real rant began! She screamed “The one in the middle is f****** Trump!” Then began to curse at me in a very loud and freakish way. Calling me every name in the book, including the c word!

She was dropping f-bombs like crazy. I lost my cool, briefly, Saying “I could f****** vote for anyone I wanted!” She then told me to go s*** Trump’s c***!

This woman was white, with a tall skinny build. She had long blonde hair on one side, shaved on the other, and was wearing a long skirt and blouse. The only thing missing was her p***y hat!

I had never laid eyes on this woman before in my life! I was not going to get in a fight with her on account of her stupidity. Why should I risk going to jail over an idiot?

So as I was getting into my car, she looked at me in a very condescending way. Sarcastically, she said, “Look at you with you patriotic shirt!”

I was wearing a shirt with red white and brew! It had a picture of three beers in front of a flag background.

So at that point I got into in my car, rolled down the window and said, “God bless you!” She turned to me threw her cigarette towards my car, stepped towards me and stomped it out!

Why is a total stranger so freaking angry at me? When I see someone who supports Hillary, Obama, or any other liberal politician, even someone wearing a Malcolm X, or Bernie Sanders shirt, I would never confront them, much less, curse them. What has happened to human decency?

Everyone has a right to their beliefs, and a right to affiliate with any political party of their choice! We’re in America!

Whether I agree with someone or not, I do not despise them! I have friends who are not conservative. I love them, dearly. There are so many more things by which, I am defined.

There is an old adage about not bringing up politics or religion. But should I be free to display my political preferences without being verbally assaulted?

Seriously, did this woman think that I was going to say, “OMG, you are right! I will scrape these evil stickers off immediately! I will never vote for another Republican again! You have opened my eyes!”

She was so filled with hatred, she didn’t care what her rant would prove. I think she made an ass of herself! But I wasn’t going to change her either. So saying little was the thing to do.

As I drove away, I felt bad. I felt, maybe I should have cold cocked her! I was angry to be assaulted in this way! I was angry at the bistanders, who seemed to enjoy it. Mostly, I was worried about my grandkids being raised in a society with lunatics who are filled with hate.

Gathering my composure after that, took a minute. . I won’t let her spoil my day, I WILL enjoy the gender reveal! (and I did)

The left preaches tolerance, but it doesn’t seem to apply to Christian conservatives? I feel as if, for us, they have no tolerance at all! To surmise this opinion over this one incident would be foolish. I don’t want to make blanket observations. But this is not the first time someone has gotten in my face over my politics.

Trust me, I do not like confrontation. But on my own property, and my own vehicle, I reserve the right to support any candidate, or musical artists, I want!

But get to know me. You might find I’m not so bad, in spite of our political differences,