Raynaud’s is a disease that is signified by reduced blood flow to fingers, toes and sometime other areas too causing them to get very cold and discolored. (See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Raynaud’s_phenomenon for more details.) In my case it is mainly my feet that are affected and at times my fingers and hands get cold too. As I just started developing symptoms at the end of last winter season and was just diagnosed last spring this has only been part of my life for a year or so now and I have come to realize how things have changed so much in 1 year. Below is a list of reason why suffering from Raynaud’s sucks!!
– first and foremost the COLD – being so cold that your bones feel like they are made of ice is painful and annoying.
– literally feeling like you are freezing from the inside out.
– feeling like I have an ice cube permanently inside the middle of my left foot sucks – just imagine being warm all over then having 1 spot frozen and no matter what you do it won’t warm up for more than a minute or two.
– sometimes I get so cold that my body literally shakes and my teeth chatter.
– there are times it hurts so much all you want to do is to cry and maybe crawl into a fire to heat up.
– having to wear socks and layers of clothing sucks for some one used to being barefoot all the time and hot almost all the time. I used to be the person that people asked “Aren’t you cold dressed like that?” Now I’m the one who is wearing many layers and shivering.
– last year during the winter months my house was a cosy 71 degrees. We’d raise it to 72-73 degrees when a storm was headed our way incase the power went out so during the storm and I’d be sweating and hot wearing shorts and t-shirts – no socks! This winter, I am a frozen popsicle wearing extra layers of clothes and socks all the time and the temperature in the house is set to 74-78 degrees. (And yes, all the floors have radiant heat too.) My kids are walking around in shorts and I am all bundled up – extremely frustrating!
– in the past I’d wash my hair whenever I felt like it… now I have to plan it out making sure I am warm enough, making sure the weather is not too cold and that I don’t need to be near any open doors when it is still wet as I let it air dry.
– speaking of open doors – just the simple act of letting the dogs out can freeze me for hours at a time… last year I could stand in the doorway and call the dogs to come in dressed in shorts. This year, I am all bundled up and waving treats to make them run in faster.
– last year I’d tuck my kids into bed with a hug and a kiss… this year I also place my hands on their backs so I can use their body warmth to warm up my hands. (They also offer up their backs and their breath to blow on my hands when they are cold).
– last year I could stick my hands in the freezer and not have them feel like they were frozen solid, this year they freeze every time I open the freezer and on bad days the refrigerator too. (The only good thing is that once in awhile it saves me from buying food that might not be cool enough – as one of the supermarkets I frequent sometimes has issues with their freezers and if my hands don’t get cold it is more likely that the food in that freezer has freezer burn so I don’t buy it).
– just imagine… every time you touch something cold that that cold transfers to you and freezes you down to the bones – kind of like Elsa freezing things in the movie Frozen.
– last year I could play in snow in the backyard with my boys, this year I could not. Though I did manage to take them sledding today as I was having a good day and the sun was very strong today.
– last year I’d know right away when I got a cut on my foot or hands… now I don’t realize I hurt myself until I see blood and look for where it came from.
– last year I’d heal quickly when cut or bruised… this year it seems to take much longer to heal.
These are just a few ways in which my life has changed in the last year due to the disease… I know others with this disease suffer much more than I do and for that I am grateful that so far I have not had it as bad as they do, but I also know that will change and that I can be in their shoes at any time. I know my inaugural winter with Raynaud’s has been an unusually harsh one and so I hope that next year will be better and that spring will come soon. But that has not stopped me from thinking about moving to a warmer climate in search of some relief if this keeps up.