Tuesday, May 26, 2009


I've been spending more time out and about recently and I've noticed that my skin GvHD has picked up. When I say out and about, I mean sitting in the car while errands get run. Trust me, it's better than being cooped up in a hospital room and the scenery is constantly evolving.

The skin GvHD has been manifesting as dry, scaly patches on random parts of my body. No amount of moisturizing seems to have any effect other than maintaining some kind of stasis. I've had to take ativan more than once to help me sleep since the itching has started. It's not a habit that I want to get in to and I do my best to sleep on my own on the nights when the itching isn't so bad. There are actually some nights when I'm not suffering from itching at all and am able to sleep unaided. Of course, I usually wake up in the middle of the night scratching like a fiend.

The newest phenomenon that I've noticed involves being exposed to direct sunlight. As soon as sunlight hits any exposed skin, I start to get a prickly, stinging sensation on the area. It's not painful like a wasp sting, but rather more like a gnat bite, except it feels like it's happening from the inside in little clusters. If I move the exposed area out of the sun, it stops almost immediately.

I'll talk to my transplant doctor about it in July when I see her next. Although I love my local oncologist to pieces, he'll be the first to say that GvHD is not his area of expertise and then he'll ask me what my transplant doctor has to say about it. At the moment, I feel like it's a very minor thing and it doesn't interfere with my quality of life, so I'll let it ride.

Life is still moving along at its usual clip and the house purchase is still giving me heartburn. I know everyone is doing everything they can to make it happen in a timely fashion, but I feel like our definitions of "timely" don't quite gel. We've offered to rent the house from the seller while the fine print gets sorted and she has declined. C'est la vie.


Susan C said...

Very interesting how sun sensitive your skin is now.

Can't wait until you post about the house closing and post pics. That will be a happy day for all of us!

Nancy said...

I feel your pain or rather, prickling. I recently accidently spent about 30 minutes in the sun without long sleeves and am paying the price. I have gvhd bumps all over my upper arms and I know that these bumps will eventually turn very dry then the skin will flake off.. Gross... sorry readers, but that's the reality of skin gvhd. The good news is thats skin gvhd is the most minor of the rejection reactions. So, Yay! (I guess)

I also can't wait to hear about the closing of your new digs! : ) Hang in there, it'll happen!!!

Betsy said...

Ann, I'm sorry you're still having to battle the skin gvh but as we all know, a little gvh can be a good thing. At least you know the donor cells are still working and seeing your cells as non-self and hopefully doing the same for any bad cells they might see.

Dean's doing okay, still itching but dealing with it as best he can. It's amazing the things you SCT patients learn to live with as normal isn't it?!

I hope things go well with closing your new home and can't wait to see pictures too!!!

Ann said...


That's exactly how my GvHD manifests! It's really prominent of my forehead and I even wear a hat when I go outside.

As for the house, every time I see the word house, I imagine tiny little stink lines surrounding it. Not going to stress, though. :)

Dennis Pyritz, RN said...

Great blog! Hang in there. I am five years out on my transplant from leukemia. I have added you to my blogroll - Cancer Blog Links at www.beingcnacer.net
Take care, dennis

Ronni Gordon said...

An itch can be a terrible thing! I have that prickling too, but nobody has diagnosed it as anything in particular. Hey, love that Ativan!