Tuesday, February 3, 2009

A Million Uncles

I love, love, love the movie, A Christmas Story. It's the one movie, Christmas or otherwise, that I can watch again and again. There's a scene in the movie that I particularly identify with right now. It's where Ralph, Randy, and their friends are being bullied in the alleyway. Ralph's buddy is getting his arm twisted by Farkus.

That's me for the past three months. My eyes are all pinched together, little tears coming out the corner, wincing in pain. I'm screaming "Uncle! Uuuuuhhunnnncullllll!" Just like Randy's buddy, I'm being tortured. But instead of my arm, it's my nips. That's right, my nips. And they are killing me.

It's called Raynaud’s phenomenon. This usually occurs in the fingertips or toes, but lucky for me, its the nips. Temperature changes and even stress can cause my high beams to lose all the blood supply, then the blood rushes back. The nips go from white, to dark blue/purple/black, to a dark red. The rainbow of fruity colors isn't the problem. It's what comes with the kaleidoscope - an intense pain like no other. If you were fortunate enough to have three older brother and sisters (like me), and have experienced the "titty-twister," then you know what Raynaud's feels like. Although, unlike your brother or sisters infliction, this torture lasts sometimes up to 30 minutes and happens 10-20 times per day. That's right. 20 times!!

There really aren't any cures for this if you're pregnant - if you're not, you can take blood pressure meds (which may or may not help). Heating pads sometime work. Hot showers sort of work - but those aren't too convenient when you're at work or have already taken your shower for the day. Rubbing them furiously definitely doesn't help (much to my husbands chagrin).

The only thing I've found that helps a teency bit is to unleash the hounds when they start barking. If the girls are being held captive, I've got to let them free. This means kind of pulling them (just the nips) out of my bra - folding the material back just a bit. This sometimes alleviates the pain (in about 10 minutes). I've contemplated not wearing a bra at all, but have decided that I'd rather not have my boobs end up somewhere around my knees by the time I have this baby.

So, that solution helps. However, it also means that the high beams are out in full force with nothing to soften their blow. They're like beacons in the night, visible from miles away. This isn't so bad while I'm sitting at my desk in my office, with my back toward the door, minding my own beezwax. But, when going to a meeting, decorum says that I must hide the offensive conical protrusions...which leads to eventual pain akin to an S&M session. You should see me squirm in my seat during a meeting as the gals begin their sadistic repertoire. I try to stay focused, but the intense pain searing through my breasticles is downright inhumane. Once, while in a co-workers office, I was in such immense pain, that without realizing what I was doing, I reached into my shirt and physically moved "them" out of bondage. The co-worker had his back to me, but I'm fairly certain he caught the act in the reflection of his computer monitor because he hasn't been able to look me in the eye since.

The other things that help, are keeping my house at about 75 degrees all the time. Staying out of drafts. Not going outside at all. And my favorite? Wearing handwarmers in my bra. This helps a little bit, until they get so hot they burn all that super sensitive tissue. I'm hoping I'll have some semblance of feeling after this is all over.

This is so much fun, really. I mean, driving down the highway at 65 mph with pain so intense you're crying, trying to fumble your girls out of your bra, and rubbing them furiously is SO fabulous and I'm sure is incredibly interesting/entertaining to passerby's. On top of it, I get an incredible headache just about every time an "episode" comes on. It's a lovely combination. Did I mention it lasts up to 30 minutes at a stretch?

Or, try waking up three or four times a night to excruciating pain that makes you wimper like a little puppy, and cry like a little girl.

The response from my doc? "I don't know what to tell you." If this pain was anywhere else in my body, and I wasn't pregnant, wouldn't they bend over backwards to figure it out? It blows my mind that they let it go on. Five more months of this and I will for sure lose it. And it could continue while breastfeeding! Waaaaaaaa???!!!


Martha said...

You poor baby! I am so sorry your nipples are so painful during an episode. Can you get a nursing bra that you could like unflap the front cup to relieve the pressure? I send my best.

Faith said...

OH MY! That doesn't sound like fun at all. I hope you/they can figure something out very soon.

areyoukiddingme said...

Ugh. That sounds horrible. Maybe you could try the nipple shields that they recommend for nursing. The fit over the nips and create a no rub zone. Medela makes some, I don't know of anyone else. I hope you can find some relief...what about tylenol (not that you want to take that all the time, but for a little relief...)? Good luck.

MNgal said...

I'm so sorry that you're going through this. And I totally did not know you could get Raynaud's in the girls.....That really sucks!