Monday, March 23, 2009

You Say Reynaud's, I Say Reynaud's...Let's Call the Whole Thing My Fingers Falling Off

How often does a Facebook status update lead to a blog topic? I just updated mine with the above and decided that might be something to ramble about tonight. It's on my mind because my hands are frigid at the moment and the tips of my right fingers are numb. Goody!

Now I know there are far worse things to be stricken with, but this one is no treat. And as far as I know, there is no cure, so that's a bummer. Thanks to my mother for diagnosing me, by the way. If she had been blessed with just a wee bit more self esteem and confidence, she would have been one hell of a physician. Lucky for those of us who know her, she's been accurately diagnosing friends and family free-of-charge for decades!

So when I freaked out in the fall with what looked like a frostbitten middle fingertip, she started telling me she thought I had Reynaud's. Being her daughter, I of course ignored her. At Christmas, when she saw my fingers turn porcelain white, she again told me she thought I had Reynaud's. And I again blew her off. Maybe if she hadn't called it a Syndrome. It just sounded so...official. This was just some weird circulation thing I was having.

Thanks to the lowered temperature at work, I've become increasingly aware of what my fingers (and sometimes toes) feel like right before they go completely numb and death white. Sometimes they start with blue, other times there's red, but when it's bad and I can't stop it in time, we move right along to white. Oh, we Caucasoids think we're white, but we have no idea how much color we have! Here, let me fetch you a picture:

Nice, huh? Those aren't my hands, but I've seen that lily white effect on my right index and middle finger more times than I can count hand.

It doesn't usually happen when I'm at work, but it gets started there. It's cold enough that my body temperature drops (it's already one degree below normal) and when I get outside and it's even colder, my blood vessels collapse and all the blood goes to my core to keep me alive -- at least, that's what they say online. Because of course I forgot to discuss any of this with my doctor at my annual checkup in January. Whoops.

Today was a nice one. It was FREEZING inside our building at work and even my heated gloves weren't doing much. But once I got outside in the sun, it was actually warmer. So I wasted the Hot Hands I had activated and put in my mittens before I left.

Yes, you read that correctly. I now have a Reynaud's Survival Kit nearby at all times -- mittens, Hot Hands, Toe Warmers, plug-in heated gloves... I just wish I knew how to pronounce the darn thing. I think it's Rey-nodes, but I've heard others call it Rey-nuds. It's going to bother me until I find the right answer. In the meantime, I may wind up in arguments on my own blog, but since I believe in "cold hands...warm heart," I must have one fiery ticker!

Goodnight, all. I'm off to stick my hands in a cup of hot tea.


justbeachy said...

I think the pronunciation is Rey-nowds...

AJ said...

Thanks, Mom. :)

Sarah said...

I say Ray-Nawds. I have it too, but way a way milder case than you! I just turn blue if I get really mad, and have to be a little careful in the winter. Mean stuff.

Jennifer said...

Hey - I have Reynaud's as well (and it totally sucks bricks!). When I approached my physician with my symptoms, she told me that I shouldn't sweat it. At the same time, I was starting to develop joint swelling and pain - but because I'm 24, she thought that it couldn't be anything too serious so she saw all of my problems separately. Treatments weren't working, so my friends urged me to get a second opinion - she was concerned right away and after some blood tests I was off to a rheumatologist. I wound up having an auto-immune disease called lupus. I was diagnosed just as Spring was approaching, so my rheumatologist was less concerned about my reynaud's, but she did mention that there is medication available to treat it. Now that winter is well on its way, my hands and feet are starting to experience more than that lovely numbing sensation - in prolonged exposure (like 15 minutes) to wind, cold, and rain, my hands go from numb to tingling to throbbing to feeling like I slammed them into a cardoor. Anyway, I'm going to look into the meds that she passively mentioned. And I'd suggest making sure that nothing more is going on with you. If a chronic condition is what is triggering your reynaud's, you might need more treatment than a hot cup of tea. Hope you find some relief soon!