There is never a dull moment having multiple myeloma, so I wasn’t sure what to think of it when my fingers and toes started suddenly freezing up. Over the last few years I thought it odd that 1 or 2 fingers would freeze up on me whenever I’d get a slight cold feeling in my body. My concern became deeper when I would look down at my hands to see my fingers turned stone white in appearance and be literally frozen from movement. Could this be Peripheral Neuropathy? What is going on?
Well to my surprise, watching an episode of the show “The Doctors” helped me out when they mentioned Raynaud’s Disease. I dropped everything I was doing and took seat in front of the tube.
What is Raynaud Disease?
Raynaud is a condition where some parts of the body, usually the tip of fingers and toes, turn white and frigid, and at times numb. Blood supply is restricted by the response of cold temperature and stress. The color of the area affected usually turns white or blue as there’s obvious changes to circulation. However, it a condition that is not considered life threatening.
How do I Know?
It’s easy to know if you have been the victim of this; your fingers turn frigid and white, as if circulation has left that area.
When Should I tell my Doctor?
If circulation in that area affected doesn’t return after some time then YES, alert your team. It never hurts discussing any issues regarding your health that may or may not come about through you myeloma condition. Your team can always guide you the best in what to do.
Is there a Real Concern?
If circulation doesn’t return to the areas in question, it’s a good idea to warm up the area affected and observe the transition from limited blood flow, to increased oxygen, and finally the full return of blood to fingers and toes.
Some people with immune or autoimmune problems may experience Raynaud's Disease. If you have experienced this, here are a few things to consider before freaking out:
Mindful of Temperature
If you know the temperature in your current environment may drop, then be prepared. This can be anything as minor as going to the supermarket and entering the freezer section or a highly air-conditioned building.
Raynaud's Disease, though not painful, can be very uncomfortable and stifling. If you suffer with this, carry around a pair of light gloves to warm up the area until the blood returns to the affected area.
Warm Those Parts
Try to warm the area quickly as possible. For the fingers if it means placing your hands between your legs or armpits to warm up area then do so. As for the toes, an extra layer of socks and gently massaging the area helps.
If you'd like to learn more about Raynaud's Disease, click here.
about the author
Myeloma survivor, patient advocate, wife, mom of 6. Believer that patients can help accelerate a cure by weighing in and participating in clinical research. Founder of HealthTree Foundation (formerly Myeloma Crowd).