BLEE was diagnosed with a type of vasculitis called Henoch-Schonlein Purpura, or HSP. It is pretty rare. In very layman's terms it is an allergic reaction to a cold virus that she had a couple of weeks ago that barely registered on the radar. HSP presented itself first as two sprained ankles and bruising on the bottom of her feet and in between her toes. We couldn't think of an instance that she had gotten hurt or complained - she isn't graceful though so we didn't think much of it and gave her some ice and firm kicks to wear. A day later the spots showed up. They were slightly raised and bright red. These spots were inflamed vessels that eventually burst, turning the spots into a deep purple bruise, in some cases they look like a blood blister.
It attacks the joints (knees, ankles and feet) causing arthritis, bruising and swelling. Swollen areas have an elevated temperature as well. It is quite painful, but happy day! not contagious. It is viral so there isn't much we can do but treat the pain and swelling with ibuprofen. We take her in for frequent urinalysis to keep a close eye on her kidneys. She should recover fully with no lasting effects (if we keep it out of her kidneys).
It could all be over next week or last a year. She has had it at least a week and not missed a day of school so far (she is quite motivated by a bike, helmet and bike lock a local business gives out for perfect attendance). She has been such a trooper though. Walking is quite painful because of the swelling. The bruises and arthritis probably don't help either. She thinks that it is cool that she gets to wear her slippers to school (seriously they don't make shoes for marshmellows) and being carried around the house has not gotten old yet. We are lucky that she is so young, just 10 years older and the prognosis changes drastically. Apparently adults just aren't as resilient.
Today was the best day that she has had since last Monday. She went to school while I hunted down a wheelchair for her. When I went to pick her up she came almost skipping out. I was so relieved. We shared happy hugs and huzzahs thinking that the worst was over, but during tonight's bath we found a new wave of spots and the swelling has come back with a vengeance (probably the almost skipping part didn't help). The spots are so numerous that they are melding together. She looked at me with her half numb face (she had two cavities filled today and is still very swollen and numb - can't win sometimes - just ask the Packers) and with her crooked little mouth, half smiled and said that it would probably not be over until Wednesday night...we have been saying since the beginning it could all be over on Wednesday.