Something like a Raynaud’s Phenomenon

As part of my fun with Lupus series, I wanted to talk about one of the annoying (amongst many) afflictions that I face.

Raynaud’s Phenomenon

Raynaud’s phenomenon is a condition in which cold temperatures or strong emotions cause blood vessel spasms that block blood flow to the fingers, toes, ears, and nose.

Yep.  Snow or anything slightly chilly or being annoyed basically make my hands and feet to go numb and cut off all blood flow to my extremities.  I am basically allergic to anything that is remotely cold.

Raynaud’s was the first indication that something was wrong with me.  It started when I moved to London about 11 years ago. I had never lived in any climate that was that cold, so I was at a bit of a loss about why my fingers seemed to turn white when it was cold outside.  And then my toes started to feel numb.  It looked very very freaky.  No blood at all.  Plus it is pretty painful, as you can imagine not having blood to your hands would be.

Over the years I have done my best to cope with it.  In the last year in San Francisco it has gotten particularly bad.  Probably the damp weather mixed with wind give me an extra chill.  I think that main thing that I need to be careful for is not denying my hands of too much blood.  When that happens, the skin starts to ulcerate and my nails crack and peel.  Fun stuff!

So I bundle up.  All the time.  I always have a pair of gloves in my pocket and I wear extra layers and scarves + I always always always take a jacket everywhere I go.   I also carry around those ski heat packets sometimes and Uggs are my best friends.  The doctors have tried a few different medications to make my Raynaud’s better, like beta blockers and even Viagra, but none of them really worked that well and insurance doesn’t cover Viagra (plus it gives me a massive headache), so I’ve taken to staying inside and staying warm as much as possible.

Anyone else out there suffering from Raynaud’s?  I would love to hear some of your tips on how you stay warm.