The weekend of my first tri (feels like forever ago, when it was really only 5 weeks) I noticed a rash on my hands. After careful examination, some googling, and a doctors visit--- eczema. One of the first things the doctor said was, let's do allergy testing. She told me what it would entail- 36 patches being put on my back, no sweating/showering for 48 hours, and 2 follow-up appointments for reading the results. I decided almost instantly to plan it for this week (taper week for Musselman) so I wouldn't feel as guilty not working out. I thought I was being smart about it and the doctor agreed.
At first I was like, sweet...eczema, people have that all the time and it's treatable. The initial topical and oral steroids helped a little, but not much. Come to find out, hand eczema is a lot harder to treat than I thought, silly me. I was actually somewhat excited for the skin testing, gimme some answers and tell me how to fix it and what to avoid. Bing-bang-boom-done kind of deal right?
So Monday I went into the dermatologist ready to start my T.R.U.E. Test process. They put 3 strips of patches on me (12 each) and then covered it with a giant gauze pad and LOTS of tape.
|Whatever, it's my back covered in gauze at the docs: don't get your panties in a bunch.|
I did my best: sit still, don't itch, don't take any medications, no sweating.....I was miserable. It must have been mental because I was itchy, felt sick, and slept for like 10 hours Monday night. Tuesday was a little more bearable, less sickly feeling, a little less itchy but still uncomfortable. Folks its 80+ degrees and you're covered in gauze trying not to sweat, impossible.
Went in this morning to the doctors to get the patches taken off. I expected my back to look like a checker board with a bunch of little red reacted squares. I sat there while the doctor peeled off the tape (and the top few layers of my skin as well, not like I needed that or anything), and then I heard it....that deep sigh from her that I knew meant I wasn't going to like what she told me. Nothing reacted, a few were slightly irritated but not enough where she considered it a positive result. So much for that Bing-bang-boom-done kind of deal.
|But where is the checkerboard? :(|
I still go back Friday, as delayed reactions can occur; the doctor didn't seem hopeful though. So there I sat staring down at my scaly, itchy, painful, bumpy hands about ready to cry. I have issues gripping anything (my bike handle bar even bothers me after extended periods), and this testing got me no closer to an answer. The doctor gave me the literature about negative results, and told me we WILL find an answer, it's just going to mean me seeing an allergist now. The T.R.U.E. Test only tests for skin contact allergens, time to find out if it's something I am eating or breathing in that is causing the issues I am having.
So here I am 4.5 days away from my first half-iron distance triathlon: My hands hurt, gripping my bike for 3+ hours is going to be painful and I need to find gloves that breathe more, I gave up good workouts for 2 days for the testing, the doctor told me no swimming in Chlorine all week (and I can't OWS until Friday or Saturday...race is Sunday), I'm just plain old frustrated.
We (the doctor and myself) are both still convinced that the severe eczema on my hands is an allergy thing, not just stress or some of the other typical causes. I have had sensitive skin since I was a child, something just seems to be making it worse. So this means more testing, and more trial and error for treatments. More steroid creams, more lotions, more white cotton gloves, more shopping for perfume and dye free everything.
I think I'm just going through the Taper grief process, but the excitement is also building. Thank goodness I can run again as of this afternoon, I need it. I know that this is NOT going to make or break me on Sunday. I may be uncomfortable at times on the bike, and I may have to stash some cortisone cream in my tri-top pockets to have with me since I know my hands will get super sweaty all day. I'll make it work. Its just my damn hands, I'm just being a stressed out baby about it at the moment, sue me.
One fabulous thing, you can find forums on ANYTHING & EVERYTHING these days.....guess who found some fabulous tips and support about Cyclists dealing with eczema!?! I'm pretty sure this made me do a happy dance! Time to do a little shopping for some "dermatological friendly" products and things for this weekend :)
Have you ever had T.R.U.E. Testing?
Any tips for a newbie diagnosed with hand eczema?
Tell me something fabulous that'g going on with you right now, trying to channel some positive thoughts!