A story of frozen fingers and Viagra

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Good morning! What do frozen fingers and Viagra have in common? The answer is Raynaud’s phenomenon.

Let me tell you the story of the first time I experienced Raynaud’s phenomenon and how it led me to take Viagra pills daily.

Sjögren, Raynaud and the patch

Oh, the comorbidities of Sjögren’s syndrome for patients like me. Who knew that Raynaud would be one of the other associated illnesses? And who would have thought that Raynaud could be so vicious?

“RS Mayhem.” (Courtesy of Derrian Childress)

Raynaud first appeared in mid-July of last year and caused a cold and numbness in my left index finger (and it was in Florida). It was as if my finger had a miniature boa constrictor wrapped around it that cut off circulation while being stuck inside an ice cube. I was also surprised by the random coloring of my fingers.

The pain became unbearable when my first ulcer appeared. There really is something sinister about skin pain. My attending physician told me that my finger was necrotic and that we needed emergency treatment with a nitroglycerin patch.

At the time, I wasn’t taking any medication and the idea of ​​a patch freaked me out. I could feel my stomach drop and my knees start to shake. Even the doctor’s soft foreign accent, which reminded me of my father, could not comfort me.

Rx for Viagra

The wound healed and I went to see a rheumatologist. He looked at my fingers and told me I had to start taking Raynaud’s medicine. He wanted me to start taking sildenafil, aka Viagra, aka the “little blue pill”.

The Viagra ads immediately started playing in my head: “If you have an erection that lasts longer than four hours, …”

I laughed, because I never thought I would be prescribed this medicine. Later in my journey, I discovered that it was effective enough to manage Raynaud.

My doctor also wanted me to start a second medication in combination with sildenafil, but I stubbornly resisted due to anxiety and suffered from it. Read on to find out what happened.

Surprise! No more necrosis and an unexpected procedure

By the end of November, the necrosis had reared its ugly head again. This time it felt personal. I suddenly had tissue dying in three digits. No tickle ivories for me!

A few days before Christmas I had a stellate lymph node block, in which I was stabbed on both sides of the front of my neck (oh, joy) and injected with numbing drugs. I would have had the procedure sooner but had to postpone it due to an old acquaintance, hypochondria, rude and unexpected visit.

I was annoyingly patted on the shoulder as living lies whispered in my ear, causing me to gather inapplicable and inaccurate information. I was led to believe that I would be injected with… botulin!

The good news is that the procedure worked and I didn’t lose my fingers. Thank you to all of my doctors at the West Florida Hospital Medical Center clinic.

The bad news is that Raynaud is alive and well. However, I am able to manage it now with medication, a concoction of sildenafil and nifedipine.

If you have been diagnosed with Raynaud’s disease or think you have it, be sure to ask your doctor for advice before starting any medication or treatment.

This is my story about frosty fingers and Viagra pills. Am I right ? Yes, I have to leave you with something!

Warning: if you have Raynaud, take him seriously, take care of yourself, and act when there is a change, as she is a daring and cold witch who doesn’t show much mercy and cannot be trusted.

See you next time, I bid you farewell.

Bonus feature: Fun facts about some of the ways I handle my Raynauds

  • I have five pairs of gloves that I use often, depending on what I’m doing, the temperature, etc. My two favorites are the space gloves (they’re thermal, and you should see the looks I get when I wear them halfway up). August) and leopard print gloves (sometimes you have to look and feel fabulous). I also wear mittens when I sleep.
  • Every night I use a fidget spinner, stress ball, and heating pad.
  • Warm hands heaters during the winter are a must.
  • I won’t hold a cold can without a koozie.

Tell us about your experiences if you have Sjögren and Raynaud. How do you manage Raynaud’s? Please share in the comments below. And well done to Laurie! Thanks for your lovely email. You are strong, creative and kind.

PS I love the photo of the quilt.

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To note: News from Sjögren’s syndrome is strictly a disease news and information site. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or processing. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or processing. Always seek the advice of your doctor or other qualified healthcare professional with any questions you may have regarding a health problem. Never disregard professional medical advice or be slow to seek it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of News from Sjögren’s syndrome or its parent company, BioNews, and are intended to spark discussion about issues related to Sjögren syndrome.

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