Sunday, February 1, 2015

Carcinoid Syndrome Flushing

Not very pretty: melted mascara; mangled brows; sour-puss expression; no foundation, cover-up, or blush of any kind. But carcinoid syndrome ain't pretty. This is tell-tale flushing (which happened while relaxing on the couch - no rhyme or reason to it). My other symptoms are on high alert too. No one likes an ugly picture of them blasted on social media, but I made a commitment to be honest about my journey.
Carcinoid Syndrome Symptoms
Flushing feels hot and uncomfortable - like an internal, tingly sunburn. It starts on my cheeks by the bridge of my nose and spreads across my face and chest in a matter of minutes. For me, it usually happens in times of stress or when eating too much sugar. Lately, however, it happens for no reason at all. (I don't drink alcohol, but many have a reaction to that as well.) It is not menopause - got tested for that. Nor is it Lupus, got tested for that too. So it's not rocket science to put carcinoid cancer and carcinoid flushing together.

In the past, doctors have remarked how "good" I look... maybe now, with photographic evidence of clear flushing - everyone can get on the same page medically. Advice for zebras: gather as much evidence of fleeting symptoms as possible - you may just look too fabulous for doctors to consider you ill!

Admittedly,other than regular Sloan Kettering appointments, I've avoided my recent follow up visits with specialists. I feel a bit guilty about it, but sometimes you feel even more sick staring at yet another set of plastic chairs and fanned magazines on a faded coffee table, waiting to be called - only for the doctor to shrug and order more needles, more tests. But now it's time to get back on track and get my symptoms under control again