Tests - Take Two!

Recently, my legs started breaking out again and I was soon covered in itchy red bumps from knee to ankle. Fun!

I quickly called my new found doctors in New York and asked them what to do. The response was "Get a biopsy quick". So I found myself back in the waiting room of my local dermatologist. It didn't take long to get shuffled back to a room by the nurse who carried my chart like a heavy suitcase. I was not new to this office.   

After the friendly nurse practitioner walked through my history she stepped out to pull the head doctor into the room. He recognized the name of my New York City specialist immediately and had actually trained under him at some point so he was happy to follow the recommendation and wondered how I'd managed to get in with him (I didn't mention the countless calls, prayers and flower deliveries it took... Ok the flowers might be an exaggeration).  

This time they wanted to be safe and we would take TWO biopsies (who needs pretty legs anyways - OVERRATED, that's what I say). I waited impatiently for the results which took two weeks. My phone finally rang as I pulled into the parking lot of Space Camp in Alabama (a long awaited vacation spot for my boyfriend and an entirely different story).  

"Ms. Miller, this is so and so from so and so's office and I have your results."

"Ok", I said as I sat rigidly in my car, bracing myself for the results.  

"It was actually a severe reaction to a bug bite. We don't know what type of bug, it actually could of been anything but we don't think it's related to Celiac and we can't really stop it from happening again because it's a very strong reaction to whatever it was. You may still have dermatitis herpetiformis too, we just can't be sure. We can only be sure that this was a bug bite reaction. And we'll have to biopsy any reactions in the future to determine what they are." 

I hung up the phone and my boyfriend who was sitting next to me reached out to grab my hand. "Are you ok? I literally watched your shoulders drop as you were talking to her." 

The problem was that I had finally accepted that I had dermatitis herpetiformis and as awful as it was, the diagnosis was mine. I didn't have to worry or wonder anymore what was violating my skin and my life, I knew. But the truth is nothing is ever final and I was back at square one. 

And Now We Wait...

After the spots started duplicating in rapid succession, my gastroenterologist decided I should visit a dermatologist to confirm exactly what was going on. He suspected DH (celiac's dermatitis herpetiformis) but a biopsy would confirm. Fortunately, after only a little pleading they scheduled me the same day. 

I was really over sitting in doctors offices and by the time they called me back, I felt bad for "Ruth", my sweet usher through the office maze. I tried to smile and be happy to rattle off my "medical history" but it was obvious spending time with her wasn't top on my priority list. I was even less thrilled twenty minutes later when the doctor finally came in. 

She thought this was just a follicle rash, brought on by shaving or something but "A-Ha!" I hadn't shaved in days! Now, before you judge, I have fine blonde hair and after a week, I still can't visually identify whether or not I have grown anything successfully. Shaving is more of a cultural habit than necessity. I have to pencil in my eyebrows in for heavens sake!

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She could tell I was hoping for an answer rather than a guess and offered to do a biopsy as what seemed to be a peace offering, most likely out of pity. Unfortunately for her, I don't mind pity! I would take it!

It will be two weeks before I hear back and in the meantime, I wait. Not patiently mind you. And not happy to have only a wash and cream to soothe my itching and achy legs, but nevertheless, I went for twenty plus years without being diagnosed with Celiac so two more weeks won't kill me. I hope.