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Thursday, March 13, 2008

Health Update

A couple of days ago I started worrying about this reddish rash/lesion I have on my arm. I've had it for a couple of months and didn't think much of it. It got really dry so I started moisturizing and it got less dry but still persisted. Then another similar rash/lesion popped up right next to it.

Anyway, now I'm worried it's leukemia cutis, which is when leukemia cells lodge themselves in the skin. It has a variety of presentations and can mimic many other skin problems. Generally, leukemic lesions on the skin occur concurrently with systemic disease, although in rare cases a leukemic skin lesion can precede bone marrow involvement.

The latter case would apply to me because I recently had blood drawn and my white blood cell count was normal. So, I would fall into the rather rare - but not unheard of - case in which a cutaneous lesion is the first manifestation of leukemia, and a very deadly leukemia at that.

Leukemia Cutis? I hope not.

A certain 'Joe Dude' thinks it's ringworm. I suppose that's a possibility. I had ringworm when I was a very young man. It didn't really look like what I currently have, but it could still be ringworm. I started using a presciption sample of a hydrocortisone cream I have and it doesn't seem to be doing much (although I've only been using it a couple of days). 'Joe Dude' recommends I try an anti-fungal agent. I think I'll try. But supposedly ringworm usually itches, and this doesn't itch.

I posted a question at the Medhelp website, where you pay $20 or so to ask a doctor a question. I suggested that perhaps I have leukemia cutis. His response:

No, not leukemia cutis. More likely nummular eczema, common in the winter. You'll need to see a dermatologist about this, for proper diagnosis and a suitably strong cortisone cream to treat it, because it tends to come and go and you'll want to be able to take care of it and not worry about it.

Anyway, he seems to think it's eczema - not a fungus. He says I'll need a suitably strong coritsone cream. What I'm currently using is a prescription strength cortisone cream, although perhaps I need something even stronger.

But all of this is assuming it's not leukemia cutis. If it is, cortisone or some anti-fungul agent aren't going to do a thing.