August 2012 (and end of July): Here we go again. I had predicted another major outbreak. I knew it was brewing all of July. I need to take some portraits for a photography class I was trying to finish (I ended up missing the last 2 classes). I didn't know anyone within 6 hours of us. My family in CT was the closest I could go at the time to reach people I knew or at least seen before.
My sweet, distant cousin in Virginia, whom I hadn't seen in 20+ years, came over to to sit for some photos. I did not know she lived so close! We shot inside. Then, I had a wild hair and thought that since the sun was going down (it was around 6:30), just a few shots outside wouldn't hurt. I sweat so much--even inside I was already drenched in sweat! I knew what was happening. But, I was pretty sure I could shake it off if I could get into a cold shower soon enough. Within 3 hours, I was aching all over with high fever and chills. It was a miserable night's sleep. I woke up with only a few lesions, but by mid-morning, I was covered and they continued to multiply. I also had yet another new type of lesion that looked more like disgusting, giant blisters on my hands, face, neck and chest. I was covered everywhere else in these weals. No part/section of my body was spared. I worked that day, but I was so delirious I couldn't tell you what the crap I did or why I did it. (I ended up having to trash all those files the following week and start over.)
The next day wasn't any better. More fever, more chills, more lesions that were worsening, and aches so painful I couldn't rest in spite of shear exhaustion. Jeff wanted to take me to the ER, but I reminded him of the dog and pony show we go through every time. But, the following morning, I didn't argue when he insisted we go.
I think God was working to get us there at just the right time. Why? A resident derm, Dr. H, was on-call that day. The ER called him in. He was so concerned he called his boss, Dr. J, who then came into the hospital... on a weekend. It didn't take this derm to reveal his suspicion, "It looks like textbook Sweet's Syndrome." What? We had never heard of this. We had others still on our radar--still making sure it doesn't develop into SLE (a form of Lupus) or Vasculitis. Jeff had a long list he had made of possibilities too from his research. Neither of us and most doctors we've seen since have ever heard of it. Dr. J had. And, thank God for that!
Of course, he didn't want to commit to it without more biopsies (ugh, but I was willing to drink poison if I had to--why not, I already had morphine in me at that point).
Here's a shot of what my hand looked like (once I in the healing stage) after the biopsy. I'm not going to show you the really disgusting shots. I still get sick to my stomach when I look the photos from this latest major outbreak.