Calvina has been living with severe itching and large, brown bumps all over her body for the past seven years. She says the rash started after she was bitten by an unknown insect while she was mowing her lawn one day. Though it began as a single, quarter-sized mark on her ankle, the rash has since spread to her arms, legs, torso, hands, feet and even the back of her head. She says the itching is uncontrollable and keeps her up at night. She hides her body behind long-sleeved shirts and pants because she feels embarrassed by her skin and says other people stare at her like they fear she’s contagious.
Calvina says she has seen many doctors and has tried several different treatments to relieve her itching. After years of taking a myriad of medications to no avail, including allergy pills and immunosuppressants, Calvina reached out to The Doctors for help.
The Doctors send her to board-certified dermatologist Dr. Sonia Batra, who conducts a full panel of tests to try to find the root cause of Calvina’s condition:
Onstage, Dr. Batra explains that her tests showed that Calvina’s bumps, called prurigo, are actually a secondary problem caused by two underlying conditions that have gone untreated.
“This is the most interesting case I’ve ever seen,” Dr. Batra says.
She says the blood work proved Calvina suffers from hypothyroidism, a common condition in which the thyroid gland fails to produce a sufficient amount of necessary hormones. The resulting chemical imbalance can cause a variety of symptoms, including fatigue, unexplained weight gain, constipation, irregular periods, depression and dry skin. If left untreated, symptoms gradually can become worse.
Additionally, Dr. Batra explains that Calvina’s skin biopsies showed she has a rare autoimmune disorder called urticarial vasculitis, which causes inflammation in the blood vessels. The two conditions, hypothyroidism and urticarial vasculitis, easily can explain the severe itching Calvina has been experiencing, Dr. Batra says. She adds that once the underlying disorders, which are both easily treated, are controlled, the prurigo should slowly subside, granted Calvina ceases to pick and scratch at them.
The Doctors reveal to Calvina that board-certified dermatologist Dr. Adrienne Lam, located in Calvina’s home state of Oklahoma, has agreed to continue Dr. Batra’s recommended treatment plan to curb the urticarial vasculitis, free of charge. Dr. Lam adds that local endocrinologist Dr. Kimberly Hummer has agreed to work with Calvina on her hypothyroidism.
“I didn’t think that you guys would hear me,” Calvina says through tears. “But you guys heard me.”