Friday, June 20, 2008


For the last month or so, I've felt a little sensitivity around my lips. Couldn't figure it out, and just applied more topcoat or gloss or chapstick to soothe the area, thinking it was too dry. The area particularly under my bottom lip would get red and a little swollen. This happened off and on for a few days at a time. Sometimes the lips would also look chapped, or felt sunburnt. The Whitestrips I was wearing aggravated the feeling, So I quit using them. I worried a little about the wedding I was in, but when I wore chapstick to bed and lipstick the next day you couldn't really tell anything was going on.
This changed dramatically Monday night. That curious itchy, tingly feeling was back, and by the evening I had tiny blisters, of which I will spare you the icky details. My lips were sore and I looked awful.
Fortunately, I got into the doctor the next morning, because my lips were now cracked in the corners and looking like I'd been punched in the mouth. My doctor has a tendency to be sold on one thing, which can be both comforting and disconcerting. He decided within a minute that it was an allergic reaction to something, possibly parabens, because his friend had the exact same appearance once, and that's what she had. He gave me a scrip for oral steroids and a referral to the dermatologist across the hall...only it transpires that they couldn't get me in until August...and the second doctor I tried couldn't until September. They didn't even look at my referral form. I cried most of Tuesday, which was not helped by the two Lifetime movies I watched while I was hiding my hideous face from the world (I know---my melodramatic side was kicking in).
Wednesday, I was angry, sore, and still looked like a victim of violence. When I called the dermatologist (when I was calmer) to ask some questions, and to establish a better appointment time (July 25) she said, "Oh, well the doctor will take a look at the symptoms, and then if he thinks it's called for he'll do the test right away, with a followup Monday or Tuesday.
Excuse me? A-baking powder? You honestly expect me to look like this still in July? I'm so glad I decided to take pictures of this whole process (again, which I will spare you...they're gross) because I do not plan to look like this for another month.
To make a long story short (Too late) it's been a depressing week, and I've spent not a little time frustrated with the medical establishment. The good news is, my lips seem to be healing up, only this involves pretty much all of the skin on them flaking off little by little, and was told not to put anything on them at all. Not even chapstick. It's infuriating. I've stopped jogging because the wind aggravates them. I have to eat little bites of food. I am currently being proactive, printing off lists of ingredients and doing skin tests of a few lipsticks and topcoats for lipsticks on the inside of my arms. It looks silly but I honestly don't care. If this does turn out to be my favorite lipstick I'm going to pitch a fit, so I'm rooting for a reaction in the one I got recently, which has a different formula. When my lips have healed, I'll cautiously try a product or two. Hopefully, I'll have the answer in July. Through all of this, my mother has been a champ, fielding phone calls and emails and looking stuff up for me.
All of this is just to say that I am kind of embarassed about my appearance right now and might not see you for some time over the next month or so, but I'm hoping to look normal next week.


Anonymous said...

Oh noes! Here's hoping it's just a reaction to a new product.

It's common for dermatologists to be booked into the next century. I read an article about it last year. I can't remember all the points made, but not enough people are going into the field, and more and more people want treatments with new dermatological technologies. Last time I needed derm help, I got somewhat faster service by going to a big practice and agreeing to see a certified assistant instead of an MD. Anyway, you're not alone.

Good luck!


Abs said...

I didn't even think about a certified assistant...hmm. I wonder if they could do the needed testing. Really, there aren't very many dermatologists in the area, which backs up the article. My insurance book from a few years ago doesn't list any in my county, so this one across the hall from my Dr. must be newish. This is my first experience with the lack of doctors crisis everyone is predicting!

Carrie said...

What is it with it being so hard to get into specialists? Paul has been calling people this afternoon for his issues, and they're like, see you in August. Thanks. Take your time- I'll just be here, dealing with my uncomfortable lip or belly or whatever issues.

I was glad to see you this weekend, and don't feel too self-concious. I didn't notice anything before you brought it up!

Did you try searching online through Medical Mutual for a different doctor? I've looked into dermatologists before, and thought I remembered one being in BG.

Abs said...

Hi! It was good to see you, too. And Monty!
I hoped Paul might have better luck...tummies are more important than skin, I should think, and he shouldn't have to wait.
I did look on Med luck, unfortunately. There's one in BG (the one I have the appt. with) and one in Perrysburg, and the rest are in Toledo or Findlay. That's not terribly far, but I can't imagine they'd have any earlier appointments.
Ah, well. What are you going to do?