My wife was an extremely frustrating thing going on. Every 5-6 months, since 2 years ago, she’ll get these symptoms. We’ve had the hospital, an allergist, dermatologist, and family practice doctors look at it and they’re all stumped. So, maybe someone here has seen it before or has some suggestions.
It starts as tenderness and pressure sensitivity in her fingers or toes. It will be a thumb or a single toe. Then after a day, it spreads to the palm or ball of the foot. The toes/fingers turn bright red and start swelling. In a few days, they’re to the point where she can’t walk or can’t bend her fingers at all. This time around, it’s starting in her toes. 3rd toe of the right foot started it yesterday, and now it’s both feet, all toes.
Last time it started in her thumb. This was in May. It took about 3 days to have both hands bright red, front and back, and after 2 more days she woke up with her hands completely normal, but her feet starting to do it. It cycled back and forth for a couple of days and then her lower lip joined in. A couple days later it was gone.
The time before that was quite severe. We headed home for the christmas weekend and in the car on the way there it started. One hand severely swollen and unable to stand having it touched or to use it at all. After 4 days of that, it became a bright red rash on her upper and lower arms, back, stomach. Two days later it was both feet, both hands, and even more intense rash. At that point she was immobile, so I got her to the emergency room. $3500 later they still couldn’t do anything but run a ton of blood work that all came back negative. We’re still paying that one off. So, we went to an allergist and he gave her steroids, antihystamies, nerve pills - nothing touched it. I just finally went away on its own after a 2 1/2 week ordeal. That was the worst it ever has been.
So, it started in her toe and we knew what it probably was - so we went to the allergist again today. He did the full battery of food allergy testing and it turned up negative on everything. I’m rather surprised he didn’t do any metals, minerals, or stuff I personally had allergy testing done on - pet allergies, stuff like that. The previous blood workups came back negative for the other stuff like soriasis, lupus, diabetes, etc.
The only other thing of note that I can think of is that she seems to have some sort of reaction with the local water supply also. It’s nothing like this, but after taking a shower she’s got a slight rash and intense itch that lasts for about an hour. This allergist doesn’t see any correlation between the two. I’m thinking maybe it’s some mineral in the water - I’m looking into having it tested - and it doesn’t happen back home in Ohio. We’ve lived in a few different locations in the city, on different water supplies, and it’s the same wherever in Raleigh. However if it was the trigger for the intense episodes of swelling and pain you’d think it would be constant.
I do find it very interesting that it always happens at a fairly regular interval of 5-6 months. Here’s how it’s gone thus far. March 2005, Aug 2005, Dec 2005, May 2006, Sept 2006 - right now. Pretty regular. Varies in intensity from a mild 4-6 days to a crippling case that lasted 2.5 weeks. No drug seems to even touch it.
One other item… My buddy Ralph had this shit. Once. His was a 2 week shot of it, and while I didn’t see it, he’d heard me talk about my wife’s episodes before and called to tell me what was going on with him. Exactly the same symptoms. He said someone else he knew apparently got it at the same time as him although they were never in the same place together. He talked at length about his symptoms and there’s very little doubt it was different from what’s going on with my wife… except that his hasn’t been back.
I can’t think of anything she’d be exposed to every 5-6 months regularly that isn’t constantly present in the house. No change in pets, cleaning supplies, detergents, bathroom stuff, nothing.
I’m stumped, frustrated, and getting pissed off with the lack of answers from the medical folks. Anybody got any ideas?