February 7, 2011

My Vanity Suffers a Blow

Hi! I'm Serene. This is me.

Well... okay fine. Technically speaking, this was me last summer BEFORE I was pregnant. Can you blame me for using a skinnier picture?

No, you can't.

Anyhow, that's me on a typical, non-pregnant day.

Well, my dreadful Quasimodo transformation all began a week ago, Sunday morning.

I awoke with this slight pain on the bridge of my nose.You know that feeling like a gigantic, all face-consuming pimple is coming on? Ya, that feeling. But when I looked in the mirror, I was just as horrified to see that the whole bridge of my nose was swollen and red!

Okay okay, so it wasn't THAT noticeable, unless I pointed it out to someone. Which I did, to my hubby and my neighbor while at church.

Both reactions? Oh yaaaaa... it is, isn't it?


But Sunday night, it was worse and I had developed this big, red, painful splotch that spread from the bridge of my nose, down onto my right cheek.

Hoping it was just a weird... something, and it would be gone in the morning, I went to bed.


I woke up to the feeling that I had been pummeled in my sleep.

Not that I've ever been pummeled before, but I think I can now imagine the feeling.

To my great dismay, the red splotch now looked like a butterfly across my nose and both cheeks. It was hot to the touch and a little itchy.

But what surprised me the most, was just how much pain was in my face. My jaw, cheekbones and nose felt especially battered. Touching my skin was very painful and the glands just under my chin were swollen and hurt like crazy.

Remember my belly post last Monday when I cut off my head and mentioned my face was all weird?

I wasn't exaggerating.

Because I NEVER exaggerate. Ever. Never ever.

In this case though, I really wasn't, like I mentioned already.

Not knowing where else to go, I called up my OBGYN and set up a last minute appointment to have him check out my face.

He looked stumped, and I didn't feel reassured by that. But, due to the nature of the butterfly rash, he guessed it was either Rosecea, or possibly even Lupus.

Awesome... not.

He prescribed some anti-biotic cream for the "rash" and said if it didn't get any better, to let him know and we'd get an appointment with the dermatologist.


If I thought Monday was painful, Tuesday was twice as bad. Again, having never been punched in the face, I could only imagine that I now know what it feels like. It hurt to talk or eat, and anytime I bent over or looked down, I felt like my face was going to explode.

Not my finest moment, I know.

And you! Ya you, I heard that horrified gasp! You owe me some chocolate for that!

So rude.

Anyway, I called the doctor's office and set up an appointment with a dermatologist for the following morning.


If I thought Tuesday was painful, Wednesday was twice as bad! By now I was ready to smash every mirror in the house.

The dermatologist inspected my face and finally determined I had something called Erysipelas, or St. Anthony's Fire.


He then went on to declare that it is a rare infection, even rarer to see it on both sides of the face and that he hadn't seen the infection in years.


He even brought in another dermatologist to show me off. Apparently I was a cool patient.

At least, that's what I keep telling myself.

So, antibiotics were prescribed and I was excited to get on with the healing.

But by Wednesday night, I looked like this.


Have you ever had an eye completely swollen shut? I would like to state for the record, and you can quote me on this, it is highly annoying!!!!

No it... really is.

I kept trying to pry my swollen eye open just to get some relief from the annoying situation.

The good news is, the antibiotics had helped a lot with the pain. It wasn't nearly so intense, and I was so grateful.


Yes, I had just rolled out of bed in this picture, What gave me away?

The pain continued to lessen and the swelling was slooowly starting to go away. But I was still super self-conscious about the was I looked.

Cause I'm vain like that, obviously.


Most of the swelling had gone away although you could still see a little in my right eye. My skin was also peeling from where it had been swollen and inflamed.

It was like having a sunburn without the nice tanning side effects.

I also kept trying to strategically style my annoying hair to cover the right side of my face.

I was only mildly successful with that.


There is still a slight red splotch or two but the swelling in my right eye is barely noticeable.


PLEASE NOTE: If any of you laughed at or plan to use any of theses pictures against me, I will send my 2-year old to your house. You know of whom I speak.

I know, you should be scared.

Disclaimer: As you read this voluntarily, I am not liable for any mental or emotional damage sustained with viewing these images of me without make-up.

39 super cool people speak:

Kristina P. said...

Oh my gosh! I am laughing so hard! You weren't kidding. That is some major swelling! Glad you are back to your normal, beautiful self.

Shelle-BlokThoughts said...

Okay that's horrible! you didn't even look like yourself! I may have laughed a little... but you look amazing pregnant or not pregnant btw!

Charlotte said...

I'm glad you got all better. Good for you for taking those photos, that was REALLY swollen. I can't imagine how painful that would be. The movie Hitch with Will Smith will have all new meaning for you now.

Hil said...

OH my goodness.. how scary!! So glad you are feeling better. Way to be a cool patient. :)

Jocelyn Christensen said...

Oh...MY...WORD! You deserve an award for that post! And I am going to send you my psychiatrist's bill.

Sara Lyn said...

SOOOO glad it's getting better!

Amanda Joy said...

I am so glad that you are feeling better. I am also glad that the dermatologist was able to figure out what was wrong. It sucks when you go to the doctor and they can't help you becuase you have some new rarely been seen ailment, with little to no relief:)

ldsjaneite said...

Well, I wasn't laughing as soon as you mentioned a possibility of lupus. I had that scare myself, and it was one of the most devastating things I ever learned/faced. Every day I am thankful that I ended up NOT being diagnosed with that, and I try to assist in the research of that when possible.

But that aside, this looked so painful and awful you have every bit of my sympathy. Even if you're better now. Glad you are so and I hope that doesn't happen again!

P.S. This makes me wonder what some guys I know would have done and how bad it could have gotten, considering some of the males in my family won't ever go to the doctor for anything.

Megan Jones said...

Sarah I am so happy to see/hear you are feeling better!

Mama Smith said...

I am thrilled to see your beautiful face...Now...I will be able to recognize you...when I stop by...in a week or two...(smile)

Living the Scream said...

That looked SO painfull!!!! I am so glad your are feeling better. You deserve a treat everyday for having to go through that!

T said...

oh sweetie - that looks painful and just... well, not like you at all!!!

I would have breezed right past you in the grocery store never guessing you were related to the Serene we know and love!!!

Glad that the Dermatologist knew how to help!!! I've done the whole swollen shut eye before... because allergies suck like that - but let's be honest - I didn't allow pictures to be taken!!!

Ben, Heather and kids said...

ohh.. OUCH! glad to see that smile again!

Valerie said...

I'm so glad you are doing better! You look great. You are so brave for posting all those pics. :)

Wonder Woman said...

Oh. My. Gosh. I had no idea how horrible and painful it was! I'm so glad the meds are working!

Emily C said...

THANK THE HEAVENS FOR ANTIBIOTICS. I am so, so, so sorry that you had to deal with this. As if pregnancy and four kiddos underfoot isn't enough!

Umm . . I'm counting my blessings. right. now.

Neisha said...

oh you poor dear!! glad to see you back to normal :)

the Gardners said...

Oh, Serene! Those brought back some good ol' memories! And, yes, I owe you some chocolate! lol You will be glad you have those pics later when you are needing a good pick-me-up!

A similar thing happened to my mom, just after her 5th pregnancy. It ended up being some sort of bacterial infection they think she got from the baby scratching her face. Any picture you see of her at that time she looked like she had the face of a 300 lb woman and the body of a 120 lb woman. I still laugh looking at those pics! She had to have a nurse come once a day to give her a shot for a week or 2.

Thanks for the laugh...maybe I'll email you the pics of my swollen and numb face after I got a tooth removed. Only if it will make you feel better!

MommyJ said...

Holy cow! That did look painful. I"m glad you're back to normal. So, how does one catch such an infection? (You know, just I can be sure to never actually do the same thing...)

Garden of Egan said...

Wow! I had never heard of that!
Unbelievable how fast it "hit you in the face"
Glad you are back to your darling self.

I did not laugh.
As a nurse I'm trained not to.

I don't want the two year old ....so I totally am NOT laughing!

The Martos Fudge said...

You poor girl... I am so sorry you had to go through that. I am glad you are doing better. Is that rash contagious? Do you have to worry about the kids getting it? and is it pregnancy induced? I hope you have a great rest of pregnancy you seam to be having a hard one so far. But I love how you keep positive about things...

Serene is my name, not my life! said...

Well, that's the thing. The doc said it's caused by any kind of scratch, cut, pimple, etc. that gets infected. So no, not contagious and not a pregnancy thing.

Just a weird, of course I would get it, thing. :D

Morgan -Ing said...

I'm not laughing at all. It looks like it was MISERABLE. I'm really sorry. Glad it's better now!

Kazzy said...

Holy BEEP! That is unreal. But you are looking a lot better now. Take care!

Patty Ann said...

Oh, I am so sorry!! did they figure out what caused that? Just sayin, cause I know you wouldn't want to do it again!! I won't say anything about laughing because I would so not want you laughing at me when it hurt like that. Hope you have a much better week this week and that you don't have any more instances of this.

Sue said...

Serene, I am thrilled (sorry to say) that this was an infection, because I looked at it and thought it was lupus. I have lupus, and I would never wish that on anyone, as it is a major drag.

What a relief!

You look great at this point, and I'll be you're glad. Now it seems like you need to get lots of rest and eat lots of fruit and vegetables to build up your immune system, which seems to be hurting a bit with this pregnancy.

Hang in!


iamwoman said...

Unlike so many others, I did not laugh at all. My heart filled with compassion yearned to take away your pain. And bring you chocolate.

Bonus points in heaven, people.


Seriously...LOL...I am so glad you are doing better.

Nicole said...

You looked like a completely different person! So glad you're feeling better!

Laura, Ben, and family said...

Yes, I laughed. To be pregnant and have something that miserable at the same Time? nobody deserves that!!!

Cherie said...

That was kind of like watching a blogger horror show - I COULD NOT LOOK AWAY!!!
I have never heard of anything like that. So weird. I am glad you were able to get something to take it away pretty quickly - that was soooo dramatic!!
You are gorgeous to begin with so it really didn't look that bad on you - You were brave to post the pictures though!!
Glad you are doing better.

Teachinfourth said...

I was going to ask who'd beat you up...glad it went down and you're back to normal!

Amy said...

I am SO sorry you had to go through that!!! No fun AT ALL. You look gorgeous by the way. :)
You are definitely a brave, brave woman to post the pictures of your condition. Wow. I tip my hat to you.
It looked so painful!!! I'm glad you got it fixed though.
I do kinda know how you feel. I am prone to infections myself and sometimes get staph infections ON MY FACE!!!!!
Yeah. I hate it.

Brenick said...

man, wierd things always happen to me when im pregnant too. im counting my blessings that it was never anything THAT bad!

you poor thing! i will confess that i laughed on a few of the last pictures, i couldnt believe it was you!!!

Jessica Macdonald said...

I am laughing so hard I am crying! You poor dear! You are a trooper. Love ya!

Katie said...

First of all, St. Anthony's Fire is a pretty awesome name for a skin problem. If you're going to be in agony, might as well be able to call it something fitting.
And second, Josh and I had the whole "cool patient" experience when we moved to Madison. I went to his first appointment with the new cancer follow up doctors, and you would have thought Josh was a celebrity, because they were totally enamored by him. They kept talking about his five hundred page file, and how impressed they were with his scars and stuff. Kinda a weird experience to be the cool patient, you have to hope the doctors actually know what they are doing...

Hannah said...

oh my goodness! that is way scary! I am glad you are feeling better now, though.

Kira said...

I'll admit. I did not laugh. Seth said a strep was involved. I am trying not to cry. Strep cause our bout with peri-orbital cellulitis, 2 weeks in the hospital, surgery, a month of meds, and months of dr. appts. Not happy, very dangerous. Thank Heaven for modern meds. I am glad you healing. Watching my daughter's eye swell shut was horror to me. I am VERY glad you are healing.

SKH said...

UNREAL! I had what looks like the same thing back in 2008. You can read about it here


CRAZY! Good to know there is a name for this thing...and I feel for you! Your posts are so fun, love reading your blog.

Faith Koch said...


I found your blog post from a google search and would really like to connect with you as I am confident I have Erysipelas myself.

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