Friday, November 13, 2009

Passing the torch

In the past, I've blogged about the fact that I can get a bit, shall we say, obsessive about uncovering the causes of my lupus symptoms. It's been awhile (thank goodness!) since I've experienced anything "unexplained" - like fevers, lip swellings, or hair loss - and even longer since I've been truly guilty of hyper-focusing...but when it used to happen, I would spend way too much time and effort trying to uncover the root cause of the symptom in question.

But it seems to be a natural tendency to have when you're dealing with lupus. Since there are so many symptoms/side-effects of the disease, it's hard not to do what you can to figure out what's causing what. Of course, just like everything, there's a limit to how much energy you can spend before the law of diminishing returns kicks in. Even the most well-intended energy can end up causing you unnecessary stress and anxiety...and that's never good.

As I said, while it's been awhile since I've experienced any mysterious, unexplained symptoms, baby doll Deirdre was carrying the torch for almost two months. Right around Labor Day, I noticed she developed a little rash on her chin, which ended up staying around and spreading. Poor little lady! She didn't care two hoots about the rash (which came and went periodically) - and she certainly didn't sacrifice one iota of cuteness, but as a mother, I just knew that I had a responsibility to try and uncover the cause. (Okay...as the kind of mother I am with the personality I have, I had to at least make an attempt.) So we tried everything. I first went to foods - ruling out tomato sauce, citrus, and watermelon. At various points in the past 8 weeks, she's been off maple syrup, corn, lunch meat, orange juice, eggs, sugary treats (like donuts...b/c her rash seemed worse after a few bites of donut one weekend), and about a dozen other foods. Of course, she didn't know these experiments were going on, so thankfully, she was quite the willing participant. Okay...she was a down right guinea pig (or is that guppy?). But no harm came to her...but no resolution either. Then we mentioned it to the doctor at her yearly checkup, who came up with another slew of things to look into: was there fluoride in her toothpaste (no), did she have any allergy to plastic toys (no), could it be a new detergent, softener, etc. (no), was it a certain fabric or clothing (no)...and on it went. I'm telling you -it's a good thing I'd been down the obsessive-symptom road before, because I was able to curtail my efforts. But while I didn't spend a ton of time trying to figure this out - I sure did think about it a lot.

I'd finally had it this past weekend. Deirdre and I went away for a fabulous girls' weekend with her grandmother, aunt and cousin, and the rash was at its all-time worst. On top of that, she started tugging on her ear and had a mini-meltdown (which she never has), so I decided to take her in to the doctor the day after we returned. I thought - oh good - now the doctor will see this rash in its full form. Of course, she woke up the next morning, the day of her appointment, and the rash was practically gone. Of course! Doesn't that always happen when you're going to the doctor? The symptom you're just dying to show your doctor subsides the day you go in. Ugh!

Nonetheless, the good news is that the rash hasn't come back since...and the doctor's diagnosis this time? Teething! That's the cause of the ear tugging, the testiness, and that nasty rash, in her opinion. So all of my experimentation was unnecessary. Good thing I'd ratcheted back on my R&D. One life's lesson learned!

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