Friday, March 28, 2008

Wait and See: Medical Mysteries?

To my friends who follow this and to all new visitors I apologize for the lack of communication these last few weeks. I thought that life would calm down once I was finished with both my restaurant job and my position as a cheerleading coach. What I hadn't counted on was the immense fatigue that I'm still struggling to overcome and the depression that has set in. I will expand upon that later, I promise, in addition to some (hopefully) entertaining stories about chaperoning 5 teenage cheerleaders at a state basketball tournament.

Tonight I need to talk about my daughter. My oldest, the one most like me, my Anime. Last fall Anime contracted a strep infection that manifested in the skin on her legs. Yes, she had the fever and fatigue that comes with strep, but her legs.......
her legs were monster-movie scary. What started as a small red rash quickly progressed to huge red/purple welts that were hot to touch and caused her intense pain. I had only seen pictures of an infection like that before. Her doctor ruled out MRSA (scary staph infection), treated with antibiotics, and it did get better. But for over a week her legs were painful to touch and it took a good month before the last vestiges of the rash was no longer visible.

Since then she has had constant, persistent pain in her legs. Pain that has made her cry after volleyball practice, pain that has her asking for lots of leg massages. Pain like she has never had to deal with in her 14 years. I know that there are many worse things out there that other people deal with but this is my child and it's hard to watch and not be able to do anything to help. She's taken another course of antibiotics because strep is still present in her system even though she shows no symptoms.

Today we saw a pediatric specialist in the city we will be moving to this summer. This wonderful doctor spent over an hour listening to her and listening to me. We couldn't get any definitive diagnosis yet but he gave me hope that he won't give up on this until we get it figured out. Poor thing, they drew SIX vials of blood today for all of the tests they are running on her. It's scary that there are so many things that her symptoms fit and none of them have actual tests that can be run to just say, "yes, this is what she has". The whole process will have to be based on differential diagnosis, which is where they rule out everything they can in the hopes of narrowing the choices down to what is really wrong. Then there are things that could be wrong but that eventually go away on their own, such as "post-strep arthritis" (never heard of that before). That would be a good thing to have as it does eventually work its way out of your system, but it can take up to two years before it does so.

I have been blessed in that, barring one bad winter in which Actress had three strep infections and was eventually diagnosed with mono, my children have been very healthy. I have never had to experience the worry that goes along with a child dealing with any long lasting illness. I'm learning that the worry can be downright soul-sucking. Especially when you just don't know what you're dealing with. It could be something major and yet it might be something minor that will just take time to work itself out of her system. There's just really no telling at this point. It's time to play "wait & see".


Vanessa said...

I am so sorry for you and your daughter. Medical problems can be so scary and they exhaust all our resources, mental, physical, emotional, financial. I hope they find the answer soon and she gets the help to treat whatever is ailing her.

Not trying to be doctor or anything, just know from personal experience, it sounds somewhat similar to Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy (RSD). Maybe check it out and see if all her symptoms fit the profile? Hopefully not, but if yes, treatment sooner is better.

Good luck and keep us posted.

Mr Lady said...

That is seriously FRIGHTENING. I hope it all works out!