Scleroderma Pit Stops
On Christmas Day, a nice red bump appeared on the second knuckle of my right thumb. Yesterday it swelled some more and today, it’s bigger, the skin is splitting and I’m headed to the VA doctor tomorrow. Hopefully, there will be a rheumatology clinic or I’m going to have myself a nice wait in the ER.
Could this infection be a result of doing Krav Maga? What kind of nut with scleroderma takes a self defense class? A smart one. I can’t stop moving because I’m afraid of being hurt. I’ve tried that, and it backfired.
I have been getting infections in my hands for 18 years. The cause of these infections were cause by my knuckle(s) hitting an object. These injuries were bigger ones in the beginning. Tripping or misjudging distance and knocking my hand into something: There are too many to list and to be quite honest, I can’t remember all of them.
I would experience open and unhealed wound pain for months. It used to be when one knuckle bursted open, the other on the opposite hand would do the same, then another knuckle and so on probably resulting in a thousand or more wounds on my hands that have opened and healed. At first, I thought a thousand or more sound high, but this has been ongoing for 18 years now. Scleroderma is under control, but Raynaud’s will always be something I need to prevent and treat when it occurs. Raynuad’s isn’t the only gift scleroderma keeps on giving; there’s calcinosis, the”C” in CREST Syndrome.
Calcinosis is not a result of too much calcium, Calcinosis are calcium deposits. For me, these calcium deposits work their way up to my skin and break through causing an open wound. If I am not taking Viagra as prescribed, my wound heals slowly and is more susceptible to infection, delaying healing even longer and causing more complications.
So, why don’t protect my hands by not doing things that may injure them? The truth is; the more I sit still, the weaker I get. I tried sitting still and I still got injured. I got injured because I was not moving other parts of my body that could prevent injuries from minor incidents. Scleroderma is a progressive disease. I have slowed down the freight train, but it’s still moving. That means if tissue goes unused, I loose it.
One day, I couldn’t bend my wrists and I haven’t since. It probably happened over time, but how could I know if I was not moving them. I was so busy “protecting” my fingers from injury, my wrists fused. And, because I couldn’t bend my elbows, when I wanted to use my hands I injured my knuckles even more. My brain would signal my wrist to bend to react to small spaces, but because my wrists were fused, BAM! – Open knuckle. Good times. So, yes, I am going to get wounds and infections in my fingers and these are going to happen if I do Krav Maga or not. When these injuries happen, I will be sitting out on classes because I need to take time to heal, but stopping activity is not an option. I’ve got lung tissue to keep moving, my digestion is better when I exercise, so while sitting out my classes I will be doing Yoga or some walking.
Today, I sat on my couch and rested. My house is a disaster and I hate sitting in it, but cleaning may cause the wound I have to open. One good thing about this wound is the skin has not broken, yet. I want it to be drained tomorrow at the VA so that it can be swabbed for MRSA. Usually, MRSA is assumed because I have a history of it and that’s a whole other post. I declined to post the wound because it’s a bit gross and I am very desensitized to the look of it and I know it’s doing better than it looks.
I took the time to write this so that when the healing begins, which is when the pain is most intense, I can read this post and remind myself why complications of scleroderma, like ugly, painful wounds, will not keep me down. Scleroderma, even when stable requires life long maintenance to watch for symptoms and keeping my body heathy to fight the complications- not to mention the fun of normal aging. Yoga, Krav Maga, and a good diet are my ways of fighting for my life. My life is not perfect, it did not turn out the way I thought it should. Does that happen for everyone? You bet. Scleroderma or not. As Amy Farrah Fowler so eloquently said when asked about her life, “Just like everyone else’s. Subject to entropy, decay, and eventual death. Thank you for asking.”
And thank you for reading.