Gawd, you guys. I hope I haven’t run into any of you in the past few weeks because you probably ran the other way. You see, I’ve been struggling with some crap on my face (not literal, but maybe that would be better since it could be washed away) since early this summer, but it just got so much worse that I was convinced I had leprosy.
While one who has celiac disease, and a family history of autoimmune diseases, should always assume that autoimmune is the culprit, my GP saw me and was like, “Ahhhh! Infantigo!!!” Or at least that’s what I thought I heard.
So after being treated with horrible antibiotics that made me writhe in pain for the infantigo, and that not helping (and having her repeatedly ask me if I pick my nose, which quite frankly, is none of her business), and then getting some kind of topical steroid that actually made it worse, I’ve discovered another super fun autoimmune response that I’ve never had before! It’s called perioral dermatitis and it’s living on my face.
My dermatologist, who also specializes in autoimmune diseases, called it out and now I’m on a 6 week regimen of anti-inflammatory antibiotics that could also make me writhe in pain if I don’t take them at the exact right time. So that’s going to make for a fun holiday season. I’ve also ditched my beloved Chap-Stick, as I read petroleum can sometimes cause this fun reaction. Not taking any chances, there.
But the real bitch of the situation is that I have to go about my life as if I look totally normal because, as all of us with celiac or other AI problems know; you may be shitting your pants and scaring the children, but you still have to have to show up at work/parent-teacher conferences/that cool networking event where you know everyone will stare at your face and wonder if you’re contagious. I’m also very excited to be living in a new, more social, neighborhood in LA where I can walk and talk to the people all the time. WHILE I HAVE A GIANT RASH OVER MY FACE.
I’m tempted to just tell everyone I have herpes.
My dermatologist did tell me that this will get worse before it gets better, so I do hope I’m in the “worse” phase right now. Because, you guys, it’s really ‘effing bad. And painful. And makeup is not helping, and most likely hurting.
But, yeah, here’s the lesson for all of you who may have a weird skin flare up around your mouth and nose: Don’t use steroid creams. That will make it even worse, to the point where you will wish that the other symptom of perioral dermatitis was a broken leg, so you’d have a good excuse to never leave the house. In fact, I’m advocating for that new symptom, and if the autoimmune gods had any kind of heart (which I know they do not, ‘cuz, autoimmune) they would abide.
See you in six weeks.