I have had Raynaud’s for as long as I can remember. As a child, when my friends and I would go out sledding, I would always be the first one to get cold and want to go home. No matter what kind or how many gloves, socks and boots I wore, my fingers and toes would turn white and go numb. I just figured I wasn’t as tough as my friends. So, I would end up staying out with them, until my fingers and toes were numb, white, and extremely painful. It never occurred to me that it might be a condition. But then again I was just a little girl…
When I got into high school, I took an anatomy and physiology class. It was my favorite class and I did a lot of perusing through my book. I believe it was then that I came across Raynaud’s Phenomenon. More than anything, I thought it was kind of fun to say. But when I started reading more about it, I realized that that is what I had.
I have never been formally diagnosed as I am a person of self-diagnosis (mostly because I’m an RN) But it is quite obvious to me and the people close to me, that I have it. If I touch anything cold with gloves or without, or get overly stressed, my fingers turn white and go numb.
I alway seem to run across those problem solver people who think I am over exaggerating and give me the ol’ “Well what you need is some mittens, because it keeps all your fingers together and they keep each other warm.” Well, they can’t keep each other warm when they are all frozen! At 26, I have tried all varieties and combinations of gloves, hand and foot warmers, socks and boots. I have learned to manage it, but mostly it is part of who I am and I truly don’t know any different. I have never been a fan of taking drugs and knowing that I wouldn’t be compliant with the regimen anyway, I have forgone that form of treatment.
My hobby has always been my horses. I have rodeoed my whole life. I have been successful in Jr. rodeo, high school and college rodeo, winning 13 saddles and 80+ buckles. I am now focusing on training barrel horses and competing in 4-D barrel races. Winters are my down time. I usually give my horses the winter off. It gives them time to rest, but mostly it keeps me inside.
When I do do any winter riding I wear glove liners, inside a mitten with a hand warmer inside. For my feet I use sock liners under my Foot Hugger socks with the full sole foot warmers. I wear lots of layers and make sure I have good head cover. While I will still eventually get cold, especially if it is below 40 degrees, it will usually give me a little more time.
The best thing about Raynaud’s is that at least I have a condition with a name that is more of an inconvienence than a life threatening ailment. It has made me a planner…always thinking ahead about where I might be and what I might be doing and how many layers and hand warmers to bring along. I have taken up cooking and baking as indoor winter activities and look forward building up my sewing skills. Of course I would love to be out riding my horses, but hey, they need a break too…and even they probably don’t like to workout in the cold. 🙂
T. R. from Washington