Okay, so it’s Poison Sumac

Hello, me here! My mil came and got the girls and I’m going stir crazy walking around with every appendage swollen and oozing. Decided to share the joy with you all and document this lovely process with pictures!

What a mercy though, that this poisonous process held off pretty much long enough for me to enjoy my visit with friends on Monday, because by Monday evening all bets for an easy recovery were OFF! Tuesday morning I was dying (yes, I know it could be a lot worse!) and called the pharmacist to ask him about a couple of products I’d heard could help me out. Zanfel and Technu. Apparently, Zanfel is a great product to quickly get you over poison ivy, etc, but according to the pharmacist, you have to start it right away, as soon as you break out with the rash. So much for that, then. (**EDITED TO ADD: I found out in the comments section below, from someone at the Zanfel laboratories, that Zanfel is proven to be effective at ANY time after outbreak!) Technu is a soap that removes the oils, again, you have to use it pretty much right after exposure. One of my friends recommended Burt’s Bees poison ivy wash…something I think I’m going to have to keep on hand after this…

So the pharmacist told me my only hope this far in the game would be to get a steroid shot. Normally I would tough this out, but my eyes were swollen shut Tuesday morning…everything affected was hot and in pain. With school about to start, I just could not imagine walking around holding my eyelids up with my fingers to see things! Add to that the fact that the pharmacist predicted this could last anywhere from 7 days to a month, and I was about to bawl! So I wasted no time dialing up our medical clinic to see if I could get lined up fast for the shot.

Thankfully I came to my senses. I mean, steroids are serious, have serious side effects…but–whine–I really didn’t care, so I set up an appt for that afternoon. Then I remembered our nutritionist and decided to call and see if she had any magic cures for poison ivy. But she’s on maternity leave, the receptionist reminds me. Within minutes of hanging up the phone, it rings. It’s Dr. T, the nutritionist, calling me from home–her receptionist had passed along my minor emergency. And Dr. T told me she’d meet me at the office at 2 pm and do a poison ivy/sumac treatment on me. And it would only cost $20! Cool! I called and canceled my appointment with the steroids and hoped for the best.

Hubby got home early to drive me to the appointment–trust me, I didn’t even bother to take my glasses along, can’t see anything anyway, right? Walked into Dr. T’s exam room and she first had to determine whether I had poison ivy or poison sumac. I’d told her I wasn’t sure, as I hadn’t seen any poison ivy, and I *do* know what it looks like after having been plagued by it for years and years!!!

Let me remind you that Dr. T is an applied kinesiologist. She determines, through muscle testing, what internal ailments her patients have. We’ve had great success with her before this…so back to the story…

She tested me with the poison ivy that she keeps in the office, and I resisted it with no problem, but when she had me hold a glass canning jar with poison sumac during the muscle testing…I had no strength to resist the muscle pressure… Bingo, guess I have poison sumac. This info was clinched when she asked if I’d pulled any reddish leaves on a vine up during my weeding. Um, yep, sure did. Boy, I wondered what that stuff was. What an unforgettable lesson!

So the desensitization process began. I held the jar of poison sumac to my forehead while she worked on my spine, then I rolled over and she worked on my hands and shoulders…hard to describe what she did, but it all felt great. I admit, I wondered how on earth this could do any good, but I guess we’ll see, huh. I’m supposed to start healing up w/in 24-48 hours of this treatment. By last night my eyes were less swollen, I could open both of them and actually attempt to read emails, my book, etc. (I’m not one that can stand to sleep the day away, and sitting around with my eyes closed was driving me crazy!)

In some ways, I’m worse. It seems like the sores in between all my fingers have gotten worse and are oozing more–and the backs of my thighs look like someone thrashed me with the leaves of this torturous weed. Nighttime is the worst…laying there, only able to sleep on your back b/c of all the sores on your face and arms. A cold wet washcloth is my best friend…I sleep with one draped on my neck and across my eyes, and everything else is slathered with Aveeno’s anti-itch lotion.

So I’ll keep you posted. Hopefully I make a turn for the better sometime today. The good thing is, my attitude has remained hopeful. I know that’s because of all your prayers. When I start to get down, a praise song comes to my mind, or I think about how much worse it could be, and how THIS TOO SHALL PASS!

I tried to get pictures of myself this morning…I think I look worse in real life, but I’ll let you be the judge! I should have taken pics yesterday when I could barely open my eyes, but you can probably get the idea from these…yes, it’s on my lips, feels like a thick callus of dried on food…just contrast that picture to the one in my header…you can see how distorted and swollen my eyes/nose/jawline, etc are. All these pics were taken after a lukewarm oatmeal bath followed by a cold shower…so nothing was actually oozing, which makes it a more palatable picture journey…believe me! Well, enough “poor me”…lol, I’m already planning on coming back to this post in the future when I’m tempted to groan that things are bad…reviewing these pics should put me in a great mood, don’t ya think? Enjoy your smooth skin, folks!