Sunday, January 27, 2008

Anatomy of an Itch

For the last two weeks I have been itching. It's a little after 5 a.m., and this is the second time I've been up since going to bed, finally, at 1 a.m.

I'm not talking about, ooh, a little itch that you chase around your back with a wooden backscratcher. I'm not talking about the kind you get your hubby involved in chasing around your back. "Aah, a little to the left there, dear. Thanks!"

I'm talking about an itch that is a full-blown, mind-altering, full body, tear-your-skin-off itch. It's making me itch even worse to talk about it, but I need to. It has taken over my mind, and I'm quite likely to be taking myself to the ER today because of it. I don't think I can wait another day to see the doctor (again).

Initially I thought I had developed an allergy to the Opana they had given me for pain. So I called the pain specialist last Monday and we discussed it. She asked me to discontinue that. No problem. I went right off of it.

By Wednesday, though, the itch was starting to get markedly worse. I was all but skinning myself with scratching. Clothes were starting to bother me. Since I work from home, I considered just sitting about in my PJs. I went to the store and picked up Eucerin itch-relief lotion. It helped some but not nearly enough. I am taking Benadryl, too. Nothing has helped overly much.

I've recently gotten myself off of soy, because I noticed after going back on a certain diet plan of late, my face began to break out pretty badly. So here I am, soy-less (do you know how difficult it is to find soy-free products these days?) and itching.

Thursday I called my primary care physician and got an appointment. He saw me and we discussed the itch. He felt it might be the dye in one of my medications. I agreed to switch to some samples of a dye-free version and give that a shot. He wants me to call if it doesn't work. Oh, I'll be calling alright.

Because he asked about any products I've started using that could be the culprit, I have switched to Aveeno body wash, Free/Clear versions of my laundry soap and dryer sheets, and have gone back to my old shampoo. But this doesn't seem like the garden variety contact dermatitis kind of itch. In fact, there isn't really a rash, just ugly redness where I've scratched.

On the phone with a friend last night, we discussed any other meds I could be on that might be the culprit. We figured it might be the Lyrica. So I didn't take my Lyrica last night. Got woke up about an hour-and-a-half into my night, in terrible pain. Still itching. Itching woke me up at 5. I'm itching now, for God's sake.

I don't know what to do anymore. I'm taking Benadryl and 2x a day Zyrtec. Nothing is helping. I just about fell asleep in an oatmeal bath last night. It helped while I was in the tub, so I'm not sure if it was the water or the oatmeal. I'm showering or bathing a couple of times a day, because the water and the Aveeno help for a time.

I've tried to think of everything this could be. I've even taken anti-anxiety meds to try to calm any stress that could be causing it. And I'm still itching. I feel as though I'm being bitten by ants, all over, all the time. I'm at a a loss. This is why I'm considering the ER. Maybe they can give me something strong, some steroids or something, to help ease my discomfort.

Life without my Lyrica would not be good. I'm really hoping that it was not the culprit. I would really like it back now, please.

*sigh*

I'm going to hit the Benadryl again and will let you know what trasnpires. For now, just sign me Scratchy.

Peace - D

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