I wish I could be called a Phenomenon

For those of you who don’t know, I have secondary Raynaud’s phenomenon in my hands. Raynaud’s phenomenon (RP) is a condition resulting in a particular series of discolorations of the fingers and/or the toes after exposure to changes in temperature (cold or hot) or emotional events. (Go figure, I am such an emotional person!) Skin discoloration occurs because an abnormal spasm of the blood vessels causes a diminished blood supply to the local tissue in my fingers. Initially, the digit(s) involved turn white because of the diminished blood supply. The digit(s) then turn blue because of prolonged lack of oxygen. Finally, the blood vessels reopen, causing a local “flushing” phenomenon, which turns the digit(s) red. This three-phase color sequence (white to blue to red), most often upon exposure to cold temperature, is characteristic of RP. I was actually at Virginia G. Piper Charitable Trust with the plumber last Friday when I snapped this photo of my fingertips. It is a very odd feeling when the diminished blood supply occurs. I just do my best to get them warmed up as soon as possible. When I lived in Canada, it happened daily. I constantly wore gloves to mitigate the frequency.

Raynaud’s phenomenon most frequently affects women (children can also suffer from RP), especially in the second, third, or fourth decades of life. Thankfully, I am no longer in my second decade, but am about to leave my third, so perhaps after my fourth, this will be over. You can have Raynaud’s phenomenon alone or as a part of other rheumatic diseases. BINGO! The reason it is called “secondary” RP is because it actually accompanies my auto-immune disease.

Make it Count by always keeping your hands warm and your emotional stress at bay!

Ashley Stevenson