Remember when I had the man cold? I whined and was basically pathetic for one week. Yep. One week. That's all it took to kick it. And then I was feeling pretty cocky again, because everyone else battled it for weeks. I only prayed for death for a couple of days during my week-long illness and then I bounced back and was feeling great.
Exactly two weeks later, I noticed a rash after I worked out. Wasn't a big thing, just an itchy rash under the elastic of my sports bra. I chalked it up to a sweat rash. But that stupid rash persisted over the weekend and began to spread. I didn't worry much about it, I just figured that I had spread the rash my scratching. Most sweat rashes are fungal, so it was absolutely possible for me to have spread it by scratching.
By Monday, the rash had spread from the area under my sports bra to my entire abdomen and I started to get concerned. Not to mention the amount of time at work I was spending scratching. It's hard to type curricula when one or both hands are otherwise occupied. I made an appointment with my Nurse Practitioner for Tuesday morning, opting not to go to the gym on Monday night just in case whatever I had was contagious.
By the time I got to my appointment at 8:30 Tuesday morning, the rash had spread to my armpits and back from my abdomen. Even more scary, it was trying to move south. Now, I don't mind scratching my torso like a monkey, but I wasn't going to be scratching *down there* like a male toddler who just figured out what was in his pants.
My Nurse Practitioner is an amazingly smart woman, who took one look at my rash and asked, "have you been sick? Had a cold or anything?" I told her no, forgetting that two and a half weeks earlier I'd been dying a slow, pathetic death because I had a head cold. She continued to look at the rash and said that it looked like pityriasis rosea, which commonly appears a couple of weeks after a viral infection, at which time I remembered my man cold.
Great. Now I had a diagnosis for my rash. What on earth was she going to do about it?
It's viral. Tincture of time is what's required.
So, armed with the knowledge that it's not contagious and it was okay to continue to go to the gym, I went for my usual workout with my trainer that night. I did okay during the workout. My trainer did a good job of keeping me occupied; I almost forgot that I had the rash. Until I finished my workout and the sweat started drying - then it was like taking an acid bath. Miserable.
The rash continued to spread in places I didn't want it to. By Thursday, my torso looked a lot like this...
It was sooo attractive. Let me tell you, you've never seen anyone change in a locker room as fast as I did. I was afraid that if anyone saw my rash they'd kick me out of the gym. It was a lot harder to concentrate on my workout, but I finally got completely focus and ROCKED my workout. My trainer and I were talking about my rash and when we were done, I thought I'd show it to him, so I lifted my shirt just high enough to show him my abdomen. He looked at me like I was the world's biggest wuss and said, "that's not nearly as bad as you described."
Huh? Was he blind? Did he not see the horrible rash that literally covered me from neck to hip? I wasn't sure how much worse he had expected it to be. In disbelief, I looked down and saw only a few spots. What the ..? Just two hours before I would have scared small children with the hideousness that was my skin.
I couldn't figure it out. It was like a miracle cure. I was seriously perplexed, but shrugged it off, only a little chagrined that my trainer thought I was being a wuss. I dragged my sorry butt to bed and fell asleep with minimal scratching (for which I'm sure RCC was thankful), hoping I'd started to kick the rash like I'd kicked the cold - in just one week.
Still with me? This is the part where I get super impressed with my sleeping brain.
About two a.m. it dawned on me...moderate to intense exercise releases epinephrine and cortisol - both of which are used to battle inflammation. Instead of using cortisone cream, I had inadvertently released my own cortisol systemically.
Instant cure for pityriasis rosea.
At least until it wears off, which was approximately the same time I woke up absolutely impressed with my sleeping brain.
Too bad my awake brain isn't that smart.