Summer's here - and so are my lupus bruises

Summer is here, and with summer, comes warmer weather. And with warmer weather, comes shorts, skirts, and the like. And with those guys, come the unveiling of unsightly bruises on my extremities. I wish it weren't so, but I've been bruising easily for years, even before I was diagnosed with lupus. Granted, it's only gotten worse since my diagnosis - and while extreme sun exposure is an issue for me, I'm not as photosensitive as I once was. So now it isn't the sun itself that I dread most. It's the bruising that I've been able to cover up all winter long that I don't like!

While I'm sure the effects of medicine (prednisone, baby aspirin and plaquenil) and the effects of lupus (low platelet count, anemia) don't help, there's not much I can do to alleviate my black and blues. I try not to be too self-conscious of the bruising, and comparing notes with other lupus patients reminds me that I'm not alone. (See comments on my previous posts on bruising.)

But what works best for me? Wearing pants. Even through the heat of summer, wearing pants that cover at least most of my legs works best for my emotional well-being. I walk taller when my bruises are covered, and the days I do wear one of the two pair of shorts I own, I just try and remember that bruises are only skin deep.

This time of bruise unveiling always serves another purpose. too - it reminds me to give people a little slack. I've said before that lupus has made me a more compassionate person (thank goodness!), but it's times like this when I'm specifically reminded that we really don't know what people are up against in their private lives. Little do people know that those bruises of mine are just a small manifestation of a major chronic illness. And little do I know why others look or act the way they do. So here's hoping that the next time you see someone who looks a little "off", you'll think twice before judging. I know I will!


Anonymous said…
Bruising is not the biggest problem, but getting away from the Sun. I wonder if we could sunbath from 6 pm or early in the morning? How much sun is allowed if allowed at all?
aKuna Kumara said…
I don't really think others judge as much as we personalize them to be doing. So just be that wonderful You and they will have to look past any bruising cause of that outgoing glowing persona you are.
"We aren't the energy of the physical but that which is within radiating outward"
mom of 2 adult daughters with
Aymie said…
Ah, the bruises!
Currently, I've got 12 on my legs, 4 on my arms and 3 on my sides. Add that to my petetchiae and spider veins, I hardly ever get my legs out. And it always takes such a long time for the bruises to heal. There's one of the leg ones that has been there since the end of April and there's still no sign of it going away.
Question: are the bruises something to bring up with a rheumatologist? Are they a lupus thing, a meds thing, or both?
Oli said…
I have bruises all the time so do u mean its a problem.
Sara Gorman said…
Anonymous - RE: sun exposure, you'll definitely have to check with your dermatologist or rheumatologist to figure out how much sun exposure is encouraged/allowed for you. I know I can feel that I'm approaching my limit after about an hour - and that's often in full sunscreen, with a cover up on and a hat. But I used to have about a 20-minute limit. Knowing is half the battle, I suppose!

And aKuna Kumara - Well said! It IS what's inside the shell of those bruises that matters. I agree!

Aymie - I think bruises are definitely worth mentioning - as it never hurts to give the doctor a full spectrum of how your disease/drugs/etc. are affecting you. Could be an anti-body thing, a drug thing, both, or neither - so always best to ask to see if the doc can help pinpoint it!

And Oli - At the beginning of each appointment, my doctor runs through a list of "have you experienced the following", and on his list is always "unexplained bruises". So if the bruises are of concern to you, then i would ask. As I mentioned, I've ALWAYS bruised a lot, primarily because I'm clumsy, but now that I have lupus, because there are other things at play beside my clumsy nature, I always mention the bruising, if applicable.
Anonymous said…
I've been bruising since I was 16. At the age of 35, I was diagnosed with lupus and rheumatoid arthritis. At the age of 36 (I'll be 37 in less than 3 months), I was labeled a "non-compliant patient" because I refuse the midication since I got diagnosed.
This morning I woke up with a whopper of a bruise on my extreme upper thigh.
I try to hide my bruises the best that I can because I live in a small town and people with no lives accuse my husband of giving me the bruises.
The bruising sucks, especially when I want to dress up nice & go out, but the bruises decide what I wear.
Anonymous said…
Two days ago, I noticed my first large inner thigh bruise. About 3 inches across, purple in the center area and framed by yellow. No pain. I still went on a 5 mile bike ride.

I was diagnosed with Lupus in 2008 after my hands swelled up. Shocked, I walked into an ER, and they did the ANA test. Since 2005, I had the giveaway symptom of red rash across my cheeks and nose in the shape of a butterfly. No arthritis.

I went to rheumatologist Dr. Bob Fisher in Santa Monica, CA. He saw the test results. i said, 'What do you think'? He said, 'You're unlucky' [Lupus Humor].

Apparently only 1 of 25 cases of Lupus involve men.
Since I was 51 when symptoms first appeared, the severity of Lupus is not as strong -- as when contracted by women in their teens and 20's. with strong immune systems.

Clearly, when a mutated and confused Lupus immune system attacks, it's preferable if the immune system is weaker. Not that this makes me feel much better. Lupus can get worse, and compromise vascular systems.

I was in Minneapolis in late 2012 when Houston Rockets basketball coach Kevin McHale's daughter Sasha died of Lupus 'complications' at 23 right around Thanksgiving. I tore up at the time :( Revisiting now brings more tears.
Unknown said…
I was told it was normal with people who have lupus and take the medicines we take.
Sara Gorman said…
I agree. Given our meds and funky lupus blood :), it's probably to be expected. But as a rule of thumb, i always mention it to my doctor. Don't want him to miss anything! Thanks for commenting!
Anonymous said…
I too experience bruising and it has been a humbling experience. I am more compassion for others with more revealing issues that cannot be covered. We have to learn to look deeper than what a person looks like. Enjoy Summer!
Anonymous said…
I too experience bruising and it has been a humbling experience. I am more compassion for others with more revealing issues that cannot be covered. We have to learn to look deeper than what a person looks like. Enjoy Summer!
Anonymous said…
I too experience bruising and it has been a humbling experience. I am more compassion for others with more revealing issues that cannot be covered. We have to learn to look deeper than what a person looks like. Enjoy Summer!
Sara Gorman said…
Thx for sharing. Always a good reminder. So much more to us than what's on the outside - i totally agree!!
Joy Carchedi said…
Joy Carchedi
I totally understand. I don't like wearing long sleeves because they are uncomfortable to me, possibly because of my fibromyalgia (tags inside clothing, seams, clothing that doesn't "give", etc. can even be painful to wear). So I wear short or 3/4 length sleeves whenever I can. I don't like looking at my forearms, which are covered with very dark bruises that my dermatologist has told me are permanent, but I have come to terms with it. But what I hate most about it is that when I am out with people, it almost never fails that someone will say "What happened to you?", or "did you have an accident?" and I have to explain. This also happens when I wear a bathing suit. I guess that they are just showing concern, but it is really annoying to me.

Popular Posts