Tuesday, November 19, 2013

November 19 - More of the Same

I have tried to update my blog a couple times lately, but I find I am writing the exact same thing I did before. Right now I am not making progress. The following is from a post I made on the ITSAN forum in response to the use of hydroxyzine:

My itching is relentless and is only manageable with a hydroxyzine every few hours. What really gets me upset is my lack of self-control when I start a bout of itching. I know damn well that if I start to scratch anywhere I will go into a spiral that can only be brought back under control by talking a long bath (and more hydroxyzine). My body seems to have different types of itching. My arms and legs and torso are the type of itch that when I scratch it is nearly orgasmic. When I start scratching it feels amazing, but the crazy itch spreads like waves to everywhere else. Once I manage to stop, usually in a fit of rage and disappointment in my lack of self-control, my skin has become very wet, irritated, and red. The itching on my stomach/chest is different and has an electrical/nerve feel to it, and if I scratch it, will not spread. My neck and back are different yet with a normal response to scratching, that is it feels good and does not cause an out-of-control spiral. My hands and fingers itch too, and I will sometimes without really thinking about grab a finger and basically squeeze and twist it. It feels amazing, but the next day the skin will be all torn up.

The fact that I do not use moisturizer on my back and face and they are my least affected areas has me thinking about the moisturizer withdrawal thing, but that is another subject. I need to try something else though, as I feel like my progress is in a hopeless holding pattern.

Monday, November 4, 2013

November 3 - A Relapse?

Well, I have been steadily improving until a few days ago, but I am going through what I am hoping is my first and last relapse. It's not that bad, I think it has set me back about a month, but work is again difficult and the hopes of making it to a Texas Tech home game is not looking good. The itching... OMG the itching... I think only fellow TSW warriors know what it is like. It is impossible for me to resist and sometimes find myself doing it my sleep. This time it is my legs and forearms and the result from scratching is a return of the irritation and redness. A few weeks ago I was so happy to return to my real bed, sleeping with a real wife, but last night I was back on the downstairs couch watching The Science Channel. Sigh.

I was taking a lot of ibuprofen to control itching, but when I told my GP that he told me to stop and had my blood tested. So, I tried hydroxyzine to control the itching and it was really helping. It is not effective anymore for more than an hour or two, and the doc has said I cannot take more than one 25 mg pill every four hours. Since my blood tests were normal, hopefully a combination of hydroxyzine and ibuprofen combined will help control the itching without OD'ing on either. As I type this, however, I have taken both and I am a mess.

One drug that works and has continued to do so is Ambien (zolpidem) for sleep. I can personally attest that it's reputation for sleep-walking is well deserved, but that seems to have calmed down. From what I understand, it's not really sleep-walking, but rather its amnesia. For example, when my wife's sister came to visit, she arrived after I had taken an Ambien and gone to bed. Apparently I came down to greet her, made myself some hot chocolate, then went to bed and I don't remember any of it. My wife tells me though that I was acting perfectly normal.

I am trying to maintain a positive attitude. Knowing that relapses are certain, having one is a milestone and simply a pothole on the road to recovery.