picture this

I’ve taken to taking pictures of things like when my ears, hands, or face and neck (and chest) get red and hot.  And of my mouth, when whatever the hell is going on makes it red, spotted, and sometimes blistered.  It all started in 2002 when I had my (then) bf take pictures of my lyme rash.  It was huge and I thought “damn, you just gotta get a picture of that.”

That picture has helped me more than I could possibly have imagined when I took it.  When I took it, I didn’t know that lyme disease was anything other than a tick-borne infectious disease.  I had no idea that it was going to earn me long term effects, “post lyme syndrome” or “chronic lyme” or whatever the flavor/name of the month is depending on what side of the exceptionally contentious debate you’re on (personally, I favor “post lyme fucked”).  I never had an exceptional set of labs, some bands here and there on the western blot but nothing that fully met the CDC surveillance criteria (which is so commonly misused as diagnostic criteria).  And so this picture has been helpful.  “Are you sure it was lyme disease?” I have been asked at various first patient appointments.  And I bust out that picture and the response is always a resounding “yup”.

So, I had been trying to get pictures of my hands when they do that swell up and turn red thing.  Red doesn’t always come

picture of woman's hands with intensifying redness from knuckle to fingertip.

If it looks like it hurts, that's because it does.

out well in a picture, and swelling…well, how does the viewer know that my knuckles don’t always look like that or that my veins don’t always stand out like ropes?  But then there was the mouth thing.  In 2009, it was horrible so I took some pictures.  Again in 2010.  At my GI appointment, the doctor mentioned casually “but no mouth sores, right?”  Oh, mouth sores?  I got mouth sores.  Wanna see?  Voila!  Mouth sores.  On two dates, severity of pain correlating nicely with severity of how damned gross my palate looked.  I recently had occasion to show these to my primary care who was seeing me for what I thought was a returning thrush infection.  “This is not thrush.  I want this biopsied.”

Ok.  And at the endocrine appointment, while being grilled about what KIND of flushing I have, I said “you know what, next time I’ll take some pictures, alright?” and they said sure.  Last night, I had hubby take some.  Lovely red splotches on my face and, I hadn’t realized, neck, and chest.  Lovely.  No wonder nosey co-worker routinely asks me “are you ok?  You’re all red, like you’ve been scratching yourself.”

Next time I go back to the B.A.T.H. endocrinology clinic, they’d better get ready for a slide show.

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5 Comments

  1. Pop

     /  November 2, 2011

    Oh wow! That does look red and you are right about red not showing up. I have a splotchy rash on my neck that is really visible but fades on camera. The derm said it was eczema, but it’s smooth not flakey. I’ll be interested to see what they say about your rashes!

    Reply
    • Thanks POP…tough to get those pictures. My husband discovered that using flash but at a distance works better than “natural” light. So the trick here seems to use flash but stand a ways off and zoom in. That way the flash doesn’t overexpose or glare away the red but you get the full skin tone contrast. I’ve put together quite a little gallery of various “me turning red” pictures. :/ We’ll see if it’s worthwhile at all.

      Reply
  2. Juliet

     /  July 10, 2012

    Omg- thank you for posting this. I thought I was the only one, especially with this kind of “rash”.
    It feels as if my hands are been burned from the inside out. As if I had just taken them out of boiling hot water. Pain and swelling, yep. My wedding ring is a size 8- when my hands are “normal” I wear a size 5 or 6- when my hands flush….. The size 8 cuts off circulation.

    Reply
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