Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Why I've been AWOL from all letter writing

I didn't get to do much at all with LetterMo this year. Again. I had great plans and I owe so many letters, postcards, and such it's sad. I'll get to them eventually but about 18 months ago I developed a skin issue that affects only my fingers.

My GP said it was contact dermatitis/eczema and prescribed a cream that helped for a few days but the problem came back with a vengeance. Two months ago I saw a dermatologist who refused to test for allergies, performed a biopsy that was fairly inconclusive, and believes the problem is eczema. All she will discuss with me is the expensive Xtrac laser procedure her office performs. I'm not necessarily opposed to that but I wanted to know with some certainty that the problem wasn't an allergic one so I initiated the visits with the specialist I'm now seeing.

At first the issue was simply minor irritation that interfered some days but not all. Now it's a constant problem. My fingers stay red and raw, bleeding almost daily. If I reach into my purse for something and bump a digit just right, it bleeds and I want to sob with the pain. Water is agonizing. I haven't been able to work much for the last two months and am currently out of town undergoing patch testing. I found out yesterday I'm allergic to Para-tertiary butlyphenol formaldehyde resin and see the specialist tomorrow for the final patch test reading and hopefully some guidance. 

The specialist is pretty sure the allergy isn't the actual cause of the problem but thinks it might be a trigger for an underlying condition. I don't know just what condition that could be but the standard treatments of corticosteroids under occlusion, tar oil soaks, and such have made no difference in my skin.

My life has been turned upside down because of this skin issue! Most days I can't hold a pen or pencil without bleeding. Hell, I can't even zip and button my jeans anymore so I now wear pull on denim pants. Ridiculous. Holding a steering wheel might or might not cause existing fissures to widen and bleed. Cleaning my apartment is almost impossible and handwashing dishes is out of the question. I generally wear white cotton gloves when I leave my home and wear them at home many days. I've developed a fear of just about anything that might cause my skin to crack and bleed. Some days using my cell phone is doable but most days the computer is a no no. Simply touching the keys can cause real problems so I usually wear rubber gloves when I need to do something online. 

Anyway, Limner's comment on a previous post spurred me to create this entry. I truly am not ignoring my letter-writing friends. In fact, I miss the people, the paper, stamps, pens, markers, and the simple joy writing brings me but for now I'm at a loss.

Hopefully the near future will bring a solution and I can write again. Until then, no can do.

The above is a picture of my right thumb, taken on the 8th of this month. It's a little better now but the other digits are horrible.

So there you have it - the reason for my very long absence. I miss you all!