Friday, April 26, 2013

The Freedom of not being Pretty

I am not pretty.

This isn't me being down on myself. I'm not saying I'm ugly or deformed or anything. I'm not fishing for compliments. I'm just not pretty.

It used to bug me. We are taught that we need to be pretty. Dye your hair, lose the weight, get the surgery. Screw that.

My worth does not lay in the way I look. It is in what I do and who I am.

I scratched my finger yesterday on a needle. When checking it to make sure it wasn't getting infected, I noticed something. I have a scar that runs paralel to it. I kept looking. I have a scar on every finger.

What does this say about me? I'm not scared to get my hands dirty. I'm a worker. I have calluses and hangnails. I also have silver nail polish on cause I'm contradictory like that.

I'm short and solid. Wide shoulders, wide hips, wide feet and a wide smile. I'm built sturdy. I won't blow over in a wind.

Once upon a time, a long time ago, I had two little girls talking about me.
Sarah " Miss Kristen, why do you have so many freckles?"
Cynthia "Sarah! They aren't freckles. They're beauty marks. And since she has so many, she must be the most beautiful girl in the world."
I laughed so hard.

I figure that this saved me some pain in life. And tons of maintenance. I don't straighten and blowdry my hair everyday. I wear makeup maybe once or twice a week. I shave my legs on a monthly basis. Even when I was thin, my hips had me in a size 12.

Gracefulness was never an option, delicate is not who I am. I'm not a Princess who needs protection. I'm capable and strong and independent.

I'm good with that. People want to get to know me for my personality. Now my personality is pretty damn good. Or at least I think so. I have a lot more friends than enemies. And my close friends are some of the best people I've ever met.

Besides the truth is this. If someone really loves you, they think you're gorgeous. They see the beauty of your kisses, not the freckles on your lips. They see the flash in your eyes and not the circles underneath. They fall for your soul not your body.


Wednesday, April 10, 2013

The Ugly Disease - Hidradenitis

I finally went to the doctor. I had an open lesion on my inner thigh and one on my rear end. None in the armpits for once. I've had so many there that my armpits and the skin just below are a mass of scars and pitted skin. Not to mention the blackheads that no amount of scrubbing gets rid of. My inner thighs are almost as bad. Friction from walking generally makes those boils burst quicker so I don't have to deal with it as long. I also have some light scarring under my breasts from some popping up there ocasscionally as well.

This disease, what it does to me, is not new. It's just newly diagnosed.

I didn't know what it was for years. It started slow. I had a blister or something under my arm. Oh well, my bra just rubbed me wrong. It healed. Then I'd get these boils that felt like there were little peas under my skin. Oh well, I need to lose weight so my skin won't rub together like that. Bring on the baby powder until I realized I couldn't use it at night without waking up with a sinus headache from breathing it in. No sleeveless shirts and must have a skirt on the swimsuit. Whatever you do you mustn't raise your arms in public.

It started getting worse. It got to the point that I pretty much had an open wound at all times.

I still didn't go to the doctor.

Then I had a conversation one night at the bar. Chatting with a friend, she told me about her skin condition that she was going to have to have surgery for. Hidradenitis Suppurativa. It all clicked. I asked lots more questions and did some online research. Then I went on Google and did an image search. Trust me. It is not pretty. But one of the moderate cases looked exactly like what I had going on. She gave me a bunch of helpful hints on using special cleanser and bodywash and of course told me to get to the doctor.

I still didn't go to the doctor for 2 more years.



Fear of embarassment. It's ugly and raw and there is puss and blood. It's gross.

Fear of it being true. Hidradenitis is incurable. Treatable but incurable. If I went to the doctor and it was true then I would have a "pre-existing condition" What if I switched jobs? Would I be covered? What if I have to have surgery? I'm too young to have a disease I have to deal with for life.

Fear of the unknown.  So much of what I read about it was vague. They don't know what causes it. They don't have a solid treatment plan. Worse case scenario is they would have to remove sections of skin that are too infected and scarred to be saved.

Fear of worse down the road. Hidradenitis is often paired with some other fun diseases. Crohn's, Hashimoto's thyroidosis, and a few other immune disorders.

So what finally made me go to the dermatologist? 

My butt. I'd never had a boil there before. It was spreading.

No more excuses. No more delays. No more giving in to the fear.

March 21, 2013- I went to my appointment.

I have Hidradenitis. It's confirmed. No samples, no cultures were needed.
Since I haven't had any treatment ever for this, they started me on a 10 week course of antibiotics, two topical creams, and a high dosage of Zinc. They hoped that it would shock it into remission for awhile. Remission. That's a scary word. It means they hope to buy me some time away from the pain and infection. But that it'll probably come back. Just wait and see.

There is more of this tale to tell but it'll have to wait for another day.

If you want more info on what I'm dealing with, this link is a decent one to check.