It’s not every day you hear this news, especially when you’re 25 years old and six weeks pregnant.
But my diagnosis isn’t where my story begins — because every illness has a unique symptom that internally whispers something’s wrong.
Mine seeped out the summer of ‘98 in the form of a faint, recurring itch that danced across my leg. Then my cheek. My back. Inside my ear.
The gradual progression of this assumed allergic reaction to my dog or detergent blossomed from a rash-like itch into a maddening sensation of fleas infesting my skin.
Nothing helped. Not topical anti-itch cream, allergy medicine, or violently scraping with my nails until red welts appeared.
Four months spent at allergists, dermatologists and two different primary care physicians, attempting to explain my skin discomfort typically ended with, “This is all in your head.” Each doctor prescribed Xanax, the wonder anti-anxiety medication. As soon as the prescription was slipped into my hand, my head slumped in defeat, and I knew another appointment had ended with no answers.
After all, what 25-year-old has anything seriously wrong with her? And my blood work — the main code they knew how to read — was indicating low iron, which could easily explain why I fell asleep at my desk midday.
“Nothing to be alarmed about,” my doctors always said.
A month later, while lying in the backseat of my friend’s SUV, driving home from a girl’s getaway weekend, my flip-flop slid off my moist foot. I wiped the underside of my insole with a beach towel and went back to resting. But the water reappeared. Examining the flipside of my foot a little closer, I watched beads of sweat resurface, almost like my body was crying out from the misery of all my odd symptoms: itching, extreme exhaustion, insomnia, brain-fog and now excessive perspiration.
With much apprehension of yet another doctor labeling me with a psychosomatic disorder, I tracked down a third primary care physician. With one swipe of her tissue across my wet foot, she commented, “I’ve never seen anything like this in my 30 years of practice.” She ended my consultation with a promise to research her medical journals in search of the ailment plaguing my body.
Only, I didn’t make it to my next appointment.
Six days later,…(read the full article in the Palm Beach Post by clicking here)