Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Holy Diagnosis, Batman!

I think I have mild psoriasis! (Note: this is a self-diagnosis, I haven't gone to see a doc yet.)

I've had an itchy rash on the right side of my chest for a couple of months now. At first I thought it was related to buying some licorice (my brother reacts to red food colouring with a rash, so it's an obvious suspect), but it didn't go away even well after I had eaten all the licorice. Then it changed a bit, and the itchy spot on my back (that has been bothering me on and off since last fall) manifested as something visible, and the two looked the same. (Ah ha! That means it's pre-licorice.)

I tried Aveeno hand cream, which normally alleviates my rashes somewhat. This rash just stung more when the Aveeno was applied, and didn't go away.

So I tried some expired corticosteroid cream that my mom had. It seemed to help somewhat, but, although the rash lessened briefly, it came back full force, and the cream says to not use it for more than a week. (I've been meaning to make an appointment with my doctor, but I keep not getting around to it.)

Since I have both, recently I've also tried swabbing the rash with rubbing alcohol and/or hydrogen peroxide. I figure if it's caused by germs, the rubbing alcohol might do something, and it also says it reduces sweating. (Bonus!) Hydrogen peroxide supposedly promotes healing by stimulating white blood cells. I figured that, at worst, they were unlikely to make things worse. (And I'd stop if they did.)

Although the rash changes occasionally, I would neither say it is noticeably better or noticeably worse... just different. Sometimes it gets scaly, sometimes it goes back to red dots on smooth skin, sometimes it itches like crazy, sometimes it's just visible.

One of the knit-night ladies suggested heat rash. I don't think it's that, although I did get something that I suspect might be heat rash recently. It went away after I washed and cooled the area... unlike the mystery rash.

Another knit-night lady suggested psoriasis, but I forgot to google it until tonight, when I saw an article on a psoriasis drug in my CBC news feed.

Looking at Wikipedia and this site, not only am I convinced that I have psoriasis, but I suspect it might explain my mystery arthritis that my doctor has never been able to diagnose! (I've always called my joint pain arthritis, but my doc tested me and says I don't have arthritis.) Although I don't want psoriasis, it sure would be nice to have a diagnosis for the mystery joint pain.

Symptoms that I think might be psoriasis:
• occasional severe joint pain that I've been getting since high school
• mystery rash on my front that I've had for a few months
• itchy spot on my back
• sometimes horrible dry, thick, cracked skin on my elbows (attributed to winter before)
• coin-sized dry "pebbled" patches on my upper arms that come and go (I first noticed and asked my doc about these back in junior high or high school... doc called them dry skin, although they don't respond to moisturizer)

Note to self: go see the doc, see if she disagrees, and find out what to do about the annoying itchy patch on my chest. :P


Tee said...

You just might be onto something. I've been diagnosed with Psoriatic Arthritis, and up to last year had not shown any symptoms of psoriasis, which confused me I might add. Last winter I developed those rough scaley elbows you mentioned, and some other patchy spots on my upper arms. I had the arthritis-like pain since I was a teenager as well, but no one really paid much attention to my complaints, other than to tell me I complained a lot.

I hope you are successful in getting a diagnosis, you don't want the arthritis to cause permanent damage before someone takes notice.

Good luck!

noricum said...

Thanks! Although I wouldn't wish it on anyone, it's comforting to know that I'm not the only one "imagining" joint pain. :P (No, they didn't say I was imagining it, but they also weren't able to diagnose it, nor did they seem to have much of an interest in diagnosing it.)

aniexma said...

Just so you know, my neighbour had a terrible dry-skin rash on his back and his doctor told him he needed more sun. Now he cuts the lawn and does all the gardening shirtless and his rash is gone.

Perhaps you could dance naked to the rites of the solstice this week-end.

noricum said...

Hmmm... the neighbours might object to that. (I'm not as "shapely" as I once was...)