Note: pink text is my internal monologue and bold indicates sound effect or action.
This past month has been a pretty good representation of getting stuck in an endless cycle of flairs. PANDAS and Angioedema - coming and going as they please (sometimes as an iconic duo), along with some kind of mystery infection as the cherry on top. When I get into a cycle like this, every day is like juggling cats and herding balls - wait, scratch that and reverse it. Every time I finally have one "good" health day, one of my illnesses comes busting through the door like the Koolaid man the next day.
*cue Kooilaid man's classic "OHHHHH YEAHHHHHHHH"*
First week, I have this sense of impending doom. I know that sounds ridiculous but once you've had flairs for 20+ years, you start to learn the early warnings and feelings. Spoiler alert: I was correct because then came the doom - some kind of infection causing a low grade fever (around 99.9F, which is strange because my temp has always run low) as well as painful infected blisters on and up into my nose. The infection riled up my PANDAS (increasing my anxiety, depression, facial tics, ADHD, and insomnia) and my Angioedema (nose swelled up). As the week went on, the nose sores continued to multiply and ooze yellow fluid.
Second week, sores in my nose dry up - only scabs remain. My PANDAS symptoms are calming down and I'm feeling as though I'm on the mend. I manage to function like an adult - working, chores, socializing…for one whole day. The very next day, the sores migrate to my mouth and I have a low-grade fever. Awesome. As these large, pulsating cold sores just keep multiplying inside and on my mouth, my lips swell up (angioedema) to the point where I have to drink through a straw and can only eat soft foods and liquids - not my BEST look.
Third week, my body feels like it has the flu. Everything hurts and my body is just so freaking tired of fighting this mystery infection IN ADDITION TO ITSELF (gosh it's always making things more difficult than it should be). I have permanent racoon eyes, a low-grade fever, increase in mental issues (honesty, felt like I was going crazy), facial tics, manic moods (up and down), and can't seem to keep any thoughts straight (despite being heavily medicated for ADHD). As the week goes on, all sores start to fade away and my face goes back to it's normal, non-oozing self.
Week four, I wake up in ZERO pain. ZERO! NADA! NOTHING! For someone who has chronic pain, this is a truly rare gift. I finally feel my age (27) instead of an elderly woman. I eat healthy meals, get lots of work done, manage to drive my car, pay some bills, and even kick some SERIOUS ass during my physical therapy appointment. I'm really feeling like all of my hard work is paying off.
I haven't seen my family in a while, but now that I'm feeling up for it today, I decide to visit some family in the next town over (still wearing a mask because my immune system sucks). It was a glorious day - I even wore JEANS y'all (hashtag that sweatpants life though). As I'm changing for bed, I notice my left knee is swollen - not totally abnormal, angioedema does that sometimes. The weird thing is - there are fresh bruises there too.
"Odd?" ,I think to myself, "Probably nothing. Thank God the cycle of flairs is finally over." *drifts off to sleep*
*wakes up in the middle of the night from excruciating left knee pain *
“Son of a - spoke too soon”
I bend my left leg, producing a startling loud popping sound. Being a lover of science, I of course test this theory multiple times for a larger sample size.
POP! POP! POP!
"WELL WELL WELL, IF IT ISN'T MY BUDDY, ANGIOEDEMA!"
Turns out, the bruises are from my knee swelling and being strangled by my jeans the day before. A few days later and here I am, swelling is gone but now I have another low-grade fever and body pain. Best guess is another infection or the original infection never cleared up fully. Either way, this flair cycle is kicking the crap out of me so *fingers crossed* I can escape to health freedom soon.
- The Real Stem Sadie
UPDATE: antibiotics broke the fever finally but I’m still extremely sick. Any small victory right?!