Friday, November 5, 2010

Autoimmune freak-out.

You probably think that my boys’ immune systems were satisfied with killing off the beta cells in the pancreas.

Not so.

Their immune systems had other ideas and thought it would be fun to plague my cuties with other auto immune ailments.

Even though these ailments are harmless and cause no pain…they still tick me off.

Can’t autoimmune jerk face stop causing issues for our family??

J was the first one to encounter said issues.

It started four years ago with a spot on his leg, about the size of a quarter. That spot grew and grew and grew until it became the size of a jam jar lid. (A wide jam jar lid.)

Then more spots came.

Then more.

We brought him to the doc a few times. Brought up the subject at endo appointments. Everyone was stumped. It was when J refused to wear shorts to school I took him to the dermatologist to do a biopsy and put a name on this sucker.

Granuloma annulare.

Here is what it looks like on the outside. He only has them on his legs. The leg with the smaller spots used to be his bad leg. It gives us hope that one day they will just go away.

A granuloma is a medical term for a spherical mass of immune cells that forms when the immune system attempts to wall off substances that it perceives as foreign but is unable to eliminate. In J’s case the substance that the immune system finds to be foreign is keratin. Keratin is the key structural material making up the outer layer of human skin.

Here is what it looks like on the inside.

Anyway…his immune system is attacking something that it shouldn’t be…sounds familiar, right?

These spots do not hurt. These spots do not itch. They are just there. We tried topical lotions to no avail, and even had the spots injected with something to lessen the redness. The shots helped a bit, but not enough for J to go back for a second round. The pain of the shots was just too much for him.

Fortunately they are smaller and less red than they were. J isn’t embarrassed to wear shorts anymore, mostly because he knows what they are now.

Knowledge is power I guess.

L was the next to be blessed with yet another immune system freak-out.

It was after eating pizza one day that L was asking me quite a lengthy question. As he was speaking I caught a glimpse of his tongue and almost fell off my chair. I had him open wide and this is what I saw.

So of course I think he has tongue cancer or ring worm, or something. I Googled “funny looking tongue” and searched like a mad woman for the answer.

Luckily the answer came quickly.

Geographic Tongue.

This is another harmless auto immune thing…much like what J has, but on the tongue. It gets worse, (or more funny looking,) when he eats spicy foods. Luckily it is completely harmless. The rings on the tongue move around and often disappear too. Actually, it is kinda cool.

A little freaky. But thankfully…nothing to worry about.

So, I’m going to take this opportunity to publicly ask the boys’ immune systems to please stop the madness.

Enough is enough.

Don’t make me come and kick your arse. I have friends all around the world! Strong, sleep deprived friends! And I’m NOT afraid to use them!


  1. Seriously - go pick on someone else!

    Peanut allergy is an autoimmune issue too and yep, Caleb haz it.

  2. OK Connor my non-D kid had that tongue thing too a few times!! I never knew what it was and I really did not look in to it because it was gone as quick as it came. Thanks for filling me in :)

  3. This disease needs to give your boys, and therefore you, a break from itself! You are a walking encyclopedia of knowledge, you know that???

  4. Bryce has geographic tongue too....the dentist told me about it. He only gets it sometimes, usually around the time he has a dentist appointment!

  5. I never even thought about having to deal with other auto-immune issues. UGH... the disease that keeps on giving, right?

  6. Damn call on your sleep deprived friends to deal with the Auto Immune me when I say I know of no one tougher than a D Mama. 'Nuf said.

  7. I have a freaky tongue too - strong cheese and it looks like a map of the world!

  8. I already believed that you have more than your unfair share.
    More, you have more?
    Not fair!

  9. Oh honey ...... what a post.

    I totally freaked out when Ellie got bruises from the shots. Actually, pissed off was more like it. She has diabetes and now she is going to have bruises???? Stop messing with my baby girl!!!!

    K, little moment to myself, there. Hehe.

    Yeah. Count me in on the arse kicking. Doing the kicking part, not the receiving part. Yeah. I am amoung the sleep.

  10. We go through the same thing Meri. Kelsey gets both of those too. Then she also gets a different kind of skin reaction when she eats avos or bananas or comes in contact with latex or any type of sticky from glue or tape. (And sometimes it pops up and we have no idea why...haven't nailed it down yet.) You should see her when both skin reactions hit at the same time. It's not pretty and takes a toll on her self esteem. HATE HATE HATE IT.

  11. Hey Meri, I have read your blog for quite a while now and I must say that I admire you and your family. I am a 21 year old girl who lives in Norway and has type 1 diabetes Therefore I know how much work lies behind such a disease.

    I have, like your son, these spots on my legs, not many - maybe 2 or 3. But I also have another skin disease, nekrobiosis lipoidica. This bothers me greatly. I hate, hate, hate it! I do not like to show my legs without clothes, but you just have to bite your teeth together. My head keeps thinking that it could have been worse.

    Good luck and I am looking forward to more blogpost,

    hugs from Heidi!

  12. Oh yeah. I am NOT in a good mood. Stop messing with us you stupid autoimmune monster. You do not want this angry, sleep deprived Mama coming after you. Because I'm thinking revenge.

  13. Meri ~~
    I'm not a doctor ... but I do believe that very low doses of certain hormones will clear up this problem ... you may want to check with your Endo next visit. My Mom (who is Adult T1) had similar problems ...she was tested and supplemented with thyroid and female hormones (I think, it was many years ago) but the problem resolved. I hate diabetes! It screws up EVERYTHING else in your system! I know taking more meds is probably another headache for your already heavy work load ...and brain-strain, and I guess boys aren't as sensitive as girls are about these skin spots.

    You are really a Super-Mom ...I don't know how you do! You and your boys are in my prayers daily!

    It's OKAY to be mad and HATE this horrid disease ... but use ANYTHING in your power to beat it!
    {{{big hug}}}


  14. You've hit a chord with me here as we have just been informed that Frank may have thyroid issues now and would need to take oral medicaiton for the rest of his life if he does. I felt hugley upset when I heard that as if having T1D should have protected me from anything else. Not the case, eh?
    But he is alive and I will do my damndest to give him the best life I can.
    Oh, and let me know when you need me and I'll be there for the ass kicking!
    Hugs from England.

  15. Those damn faulty auto-immune systems! We need a re-education program for them. Let's send them all to boot-camp!

  16. The tongue thing is actually kinda interesting (well for now of course)...Ya, I too hate it that having Type 1 can open your system up to other ailments...Not particularly what we need when already busy living with the D. It would be nice if the boys didn't have to deal with the spots...((Hugs))

  17. Your description of strong sleep deprived friends rallying around the world to fight against the immune systems put the funniest image in my head. I suddenly saw us all as kinda zombie-like, shuffling in a large group. Braaaaains...

  18. Wow! I had no idea it was an autoimmune thing! I was told by our old ped that Bumble Bee has a Geographic toungue before she was even diagnosed with T1. (Just a couple of months before) I never thought anything about it but this is very interesting to know!

    This stuff needs to leave you alone. You have more than enough already!

  19. You tell me when that ass kicking is and I am SO there! And I love how you called it autoimmune jerkface. I totally agree.

  20. HI there...
    i have something similiar to your son but mine was diagnosed as: Necrobiosis lipoidica diabeticorum (NLD). I saw several dermologists and finally one that dealt with numerous diabetic patients helped. He was able to stop the silver dollar from getting larger and he was able to take away the reddish color away so it blended in with my skin color. He did laser treatments on my leg every 2 weeks or so...It didnt hurt or anything. NLD is very common in young women lower legs but your sons also sounds like NLD. You may want to throw that name at your doctor if it keeps coming up. Just a thought.

  21. I'm with you on the auto immune thing...Emma with Type 1 and celiac...I have Crohn's Disease, Graves Disease and Rheumatoid Arthritis. It's the gift that keeps on giving. Why are some people so prone to it and what can be done about it!?!

  22. As if D isn't enough, huh?!

    When you need to round up the D mama posse, call me! I'll be right there to kick some arse!

  23. oh wow J has that on his tongue too!! Anytime u need im down to kick some d ass!!!

  24. Hi.... I, too have DM and granuloma annulare. we must be related!!!!! I live in Florida, so shorts can't always be avoided. good news... it'll likely go away as creepily developed...

  25. Awe I feel terrible for your boys. I'm so sorry! I hear you I actually have BOTH! I'm 27 (28 soon) and pregnant with #2 and now have those same spots on my tongue! Last year my Dr diagnosed me with Granuloma annulare when a round circle appeared on my breast (of course I freaked out!) I'm hoping its stressed induced or hormonal since I've only had one incident of each and my Granuloma annulare circle disappeared after about a month. but it did itch slightly since the skin in the center was dead..about half inch in diameter and now 2 on my tongue that are pea sized and the other about 2 peas sized.

  26. Stoopid autoimmune issues! My d was dx with hypothyroidism in may.


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