A Little Progress

I took a walk around the block Monday afternoon, my first such excursion in three weeks. The weather is starting to clear, and so are my back pain and the sore ulcer on my left ankle. All the leaves have unfurled, and the streets are cloaked in green. Crabapple petals scatter like pink snow on neatly trimmed lawns. The red tulips in our rock garden have bloomed, and the blue hydrangea that Al gave me for my birthday is taking root.

It’s a relief to begin to feel like myself again. Over the past couple of weeks, I was able to rule out a compression fracture in my spine and see a physical therapist who did a thorough evaluation. She confirmed my sense that I had sprained my back. No nerve damage, thank goodness. Heat treatment, the right set of stretching exercises, and a better mix of acetaminophen and ibuprofen are helping me to heal.

As for the ulcers on my ankle and fingers, I received some very good advice from my excellent podiatrist, who also knows a great deal about wound care. Among other things, he gave me some Lidocaine gel that has made a huge difference in my ability to tolerate my ulcer dressings while I wait out the healing process. He also gave me a special mesh infused with silver that is helping my ankle. Silver has natural antibiotic properties, and the results so far are promising. I’m awaiting the outcome of a culture to see if I need additional oral antibiotics.

I plan to get a consult with a wound care specialist sometime in the not-too-distant future for advice about better ways to manage my ulcers. I’ve been using the same approach for decades, and there are new techniques and treatment options that I hope to discover so that my skin doesn’t break down as badly again. No guarantees, of course, but this has really been a siege that I don’t want to repeat, if at all possible.

Meanwhile, the gloomy rain and chilly weather that have encased New England for the past few weeks are about to end. We’re expecting temperatures in the 80s by midweek. It can’t come too soon!

So, here’s to the end of a downright nasty spring. Summer doesn’t officially start for another month or so, but I’m looking forward to Memorial Day. If you’re going through a rough patch yourself, I hope you find the good medical care and healing that you need, too.

Evelyn Herwitz blogs weekly about living fully with chronic disease, the inside of baseballs, turtles and frogs, J.S. Bach, the meaning of life and whatever else she happens to be thinking about at livingwithscleroderma.com.

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