I was wondering if there was anyone out there that could help me figure out what might be going on.
Starting about 1 year ago I began gaining weight and staying at home a lot. The lack of movement and exercise caused me to gain a HUGE amount of weight. I went from 200 to 320 lbs!
Luckily, however, I am a tall woman, 5'11.
About 6 months ago I began getting edema (pitting) in my ankles, feet, and lower legs. At first the edema would come and go but as time went on it began to 'stick'.
I went to the local urgent care and they did an x-ray to check my heart and lungs. The x-ray results turned out fine and the doctor said the edema was due to the excess weight.
Just before Christmas last year (2010) I began having much more difficulty breathing than normal (I have mild asthma) and the edema had not gone away. (I could barely walk 100 feet without getting totally out of breath.)
I decided to go to a weight loss MD. When I told him about my breathing troubles he sent me to a pulmanologist for lung tests, a cardiologist for an echo cardiogram, and a sleep MD for sleep apnea.
The pulmonary test showed no problems with my lungs other than my asthma which I have had since childhood. The echo cardiogram results were great. Blood work showed no symptoms of diabetes or anything. The sleep test, however, revealed that I had severe sleep apnea so they sent me home with a lovely new CPAP machine.
Fast forward to 3 weeks ago. I had lost some weight and the edema actually went away! It would come back for maybe a day but for the most part my ankles, legs, and feet were looking normal again!
One week ago something strange started to happen. My legs swelled up but this time it was different. The swelling was more than I had ever had before. The big difference, however, was that my skin was extremely red and a bit 'flakey'. It also hurt REALLY bad to put any kind of weight on my feet (i.e. standing, walking).
I didn't really think much of it but then my friend came over and when she saw my legs her mouth dropped to the floor! She said "Jan, I am taking you to the ER right away."
We went to the ER and when the doctor examined my legs he told me I had what was called cellulitis which is a skin infection that can be serious if not treated.
He immediately gave me an intravenous antibiotic and sent me home with 2 prescriptions for oral antibiotics, Cephalexin (500 mg) and Sulfameth TMP DS (no mg listing on bottle?) to be taken for 10 days.
Great news! Literally within one day the swelling began to decrease as well as the redness.
One strange thing though is I developed this rash on the top and sides of my feet that looked like poison ivy. There were patches of little bumps on my skin. If I applied pressure anywhere on the rash a clear liquid would come out. It didn't seem like pus it actually looked more like plain water. Clear with very low viscosity.
I applied both over-the-counter cortisone cream as well as triamcinolone cream to these spots and slowly, one by one, they all went away!
Now I only have the slight redness and dryness to deal with. The redness is very minimal and seems to be reducing day by day and for the dryness I am using Aveeno cream.
The strange thing about this whole story is that here I sit, weighing as much as I did a month ago, but my edema is almost totally gone. And the only thing I have done differently is to take those antibiotics.
My questions are:
What do you think is my diagnosis?
Could my edema have been caused by an infection and not by weight gain? Could I have gotten this infection 6 months ago causing the edema but the redness/pain did not occur until last week?
Other than losing weight and eating better and exercising, is there anything I can do to prevent this from happening again?
Thank you all very very much!!!!!