A "tongue in cheek" blog title for the experience that I will share about the all too quiet brown recluse spider who "attacked" and then defended itself to the death. Here is my day-by-day account of the fiddleback's tiny little parting gift that continues to unfold under my skin.
It has been one whole week since I was bitten by the brown recluse spider and at this point I think it's safe to say that I am in the clear. Yay! Today was a good day. Little to no pain. Full mobility. No muscle spasms/cramps. Mild skin irritation/itching, mainly on the pink skin where the poison has newly expanded and created an updated border for us.
An open letter to the BRS poison that is running it's course through my leg:
Thanks poison. It's nice to know where you are and what you're doing under there and I appreciate your choice to spread out and explore new flesh instead of staying stagnant and becoming necrotic. ;-) I appreciate your curious and happily uneventful course. I'd be quite happy if you could just go ahead and leave my body entirely and I do not feel apologetic for saying this, "I will not miss you!"
Here are tonight's pics! You can just barely see the sharpie line from yesterday, as the essential oils do a wonderful job at removing sharpie from skin, but you can see the new bright pink skin on the outer rim of the newly defined bullseye if you look close enough.
It's day six and this morning I was feeling great! So great that I met up with some friends this morning, did some stuff around the house this afternoon, cooked a nice dinner, and then ambitiously went grocery shopping this evening with my 2-year-old and now I am completely exhausted. My leg that was feeling great is now achy again. Dang it!! I definitely over did it. So I'm hitting the rack, but not before sharing a couple pics. ;)
I trace the border of the bullseye, because I'm curious how much it's spreading daily. We thought that we could also see some possible bluish coloring in the inner darker circle. So, anyhow...these were both taken moments apart tonight, one just has the border defined. It's sharpie fiddleback art!
I went to see our family doctor today and he said that my leg looks good! This is great news. When I expressed concern about it possibly getting worse in the next few days, his response was that "necrosis would have set in 24 to 48 hours after being bitten." While I love that statement...it contradicts everything that I've read online over the past five Arachnophobia obsessed days! I just really hope that he's right. Damn you Google and your infinite resources!!!
How's the pain? Much better! Decreased that is. :o) I am able to walk normally and can sit down without wincing in pain. The muscle cramps happened only twice so far today. Very good news. I am very leery a throw out hands in defense of my leg when any of the boys come running up to me ready to pounce on the couch next to me or even jump up to give me a hug. They can't seem to remember that Mommy's leg is hurt.
Arachnophobia or complete paranoia has set in. When I get dressed in the morning or when I reach for my towel from the shower, I shake it no less than 42 times and then further inspect it for potential spiders. If a loose hair falls from my head onto my arm, my first thought is, "Aaah! SPIDER! Get it off me!" Then I can breathe easy when I discover that it's just a single little blonde misplaced hair. *Sigh*
Pictures! Here is my leg on day five. While it may look worse on the outside, I can honestly say that it is feeling much better on the inside. The redness is still spreading out more and I'm having a hard time getting the whole shot of the raised infection without taking a picture of my ass! I suppose it's no worse than being at the pool in a bathing suit, right?
I am feeling pretty well today. Had some flu-like symptoms yesterday evening: weakness, nausea, joint pain. All of which are common symptoms of the BRS bite. Today the bullseye is very itchy, but I think at this point it's because it is healing. At least that's what I'm telling myself!
I have a significant rash on my back, chest, midsection, and right leg. I'm unsure whether it's from the bite, the antibiotics, or stress. May be all of the above.
I know that you all want to see it, so here's a picture of my new rash.
Today I am adding a compound of therapeutic grade basil oil and lavender oil. It smells great and my leg looks about the same as yesterday, so in my opinion...that's great news. It's not getting worse.
My friend and Young Living Essential Oils (EO) Consultant, Kelli also gave me some Pan-Away EO (which is comprised of wintergreen, clove, peppermint, and some other oils) and it is helping with the muscle tension that I've been having in my right hamstring.
Also, while walking and sitting are uncomfortable, they are not excruciatingly painful like yesterday. A little better everyday. Yay!!
I can feel the poison working it's way into the muscle. I find myself breathing through the shooting pains and the tightness that comes with the muscle cramps in my hamstring. Focusing on my breath in and out. Because I know that just like a labor pain, it will pass.
The wound has easily doubled in diameter and today I can see darkening spots that just look like bruising. However, I know that is the insides of my leg slowly being liquefied or digested and it scares the heck out of me. The dark spot is where it bit me. I read that the venom that the BRS injects is the same hemotoxin enzyme that you would find with the bite of an eastern diamondback rattlesnake or a pit viper. Yikes!! I'd rather be bitten by none of the above, but I guess that I lucked out by only getting such a small amount from the little spider.
Okay, so pictures...here is my leg on the afternoon of the 3rd day.
What am I doing for treatment? I'm taking the prescribed antibiotics, my probiotics twice a day, aloe vera juice topical application and taken internally (It's gross alone, but palatable when mixed with fruit juice.), and a friend of mine suggested using lavender oil (thanks a million Kelli!) so I've been adding that topically as well. After one application of the therapeutic grade Young Living essential oil, my leg went from an angry, swollen, enflamed red (pictured above), to the much calmer pink (pictured below). Randy (Mr. anti-homeopathic) was amazed at the drastic physical change that the lavender demonstrated within an hour after the first application.
Here is a picture of the lavender oil that is working wonders...
I know that tomorrow is going to be better because lots of my friends and family are praying and sending their positive thoughts and energy my way. Thanks everyone for taking the time to do what you do. :-)
Pain is moderate. Severe at times. Shooting sensations accompanied by muscle cramps and spasms are frequent and followed by a seemingly constant throbbing pain. These new symptoms are making walking difficult.
I never take Lortab, because I hate the way it makes me feel, but I am well into the itchy phase of this first pill and can still clearly feel the locked down cramps in my hamstring.
The red, swollen bullseye is rather hot to the touch. The bite site is nowhere near as itchy as it was yesterday. It is too painful to touch, so I dare not itch it. The redness and swelling has spread out a great deal, from a quarter size yesterday morning to what appears to be larger that a slice of bread.
I have developed some sort of rash on my right leg also and it spreads out from the bite site diminishing towards my foot. When I sit down or inadvertently apply pressure to site, it feels like there's a bouncy ball under my skin. But to the touch, it is soft and squishy. I'm guessing white blood cells? I don't want to know what's happening under there and I hope that the skin does not become gangrenous and necrotic.
I was bitten by a brown recluse spider on Monday, June 6th, 2011, at about 8:00am.
Day one pain level was a zero. I didn't take a picture of the bite site, but after about an hour it was very itchy. It was uncomfortable, irritable, but not painful.
Diameter of bite was approximately the size of a quarter after about 6 hours. It looked (but didn't feel) like that of a wasp sting. It was pink and raised.
Here is a picture of the fiddleback that bit me and in the process was killed! Notice the darkened violin/fiddle shape on it's head that narrows towards the direction of it's abdomen. It has long, spindly legs. As the other part of it's name indicates, it is reclusive and not an aggressive arachnid. They prefer to hide in dark, warm, dry places. Such as in my case, clothes in your closet. It will only bite if it feels threatened.
Since I've received so many questions about "the bite" from my loving and concerned friends and family, I thought it would be a good idea to tell the story and photographically document the days to come by blogging. Here's your warning folks! I don't know what's going to happen to my leg, but if it's anything like what I saw on Google images, then this may not be the blog to skim through after breakfast. ;-) Only time will tell...
So, It has been confirmed that I was bitten by a brown recluse spider (BRS) --also known as the fiddleback. Where did it happen? In the safety of my own home! Thats right...I went into my closet, grabbed a pair of capris of the shelf, put them on, and as soon as I buttoned them I felt a sharp poke on the right side of my leg, just below my buttocks.
Initially I thought it was a sticker or goathead. We do live in the country y'all and sometimes if a sock goes in the wash with a sticker on it, it'll randomly attach to the inside of a shirt or some other unexpected sinister location, just waiting to surprise you with a poke!
Okay so it obviously wasn't a sticker and I discovered this when I reached down where the pinch was to pull my pants away from my leg and when I did that "it" popped! At that moment I just knew that it was a spider, but had no idea that it was the BRS. I dropped my pants ever-so-quickly and saw the long, creepy, spindly legs of the culprit! I decided I should probably keep "him" and placed him in an old contact lens case.
About 6 hours later, I talked to my Mom who is not only a treasure trove of information with years of experience to draw from as a Mom, but also an RN. I sent her a picture of the suspected fiddleback. We found "the fiddle" after comparing it to other pics online. She convinces me to call my doctor, who in turn instructs me to go directly to the ER. I did.
At the ER, I am in little to no pain and honestly felt rather silly for even being there --even though I was certain at this point that it was a brown recluse bite, but I kept telling myself, "better to be safe than sorry!" Turns out there is nothing that can be done for a BRS bite. They gave me a tetanus shot since it had been more than 5 years since my last. Honestly, I think the last tetanus shot I received was upon arrival at The Parris Island Marine Corps Recruit Depot (Gimme One!!) 16 years ago. the doc also gave me some antibiotics for the looming infection in my leg, and some Lortab for the pain that was sure to also arrive in the hours to come.
So, what in the world is going to happen to me? Well, every person reacts differently to a BRS bite. It all depends on how much venom was injected, where you were bitten, and how your immune system reacts to the bite. There are some really disturbing images on Google and I am hoping and praying that this blog will be boring and uneventful. I do not desire a gangrenous, gaping hole in my leg. Eeew! So that's the story. Now we wait and see how tough I really am.