As soon as we got up today I called her pediatrician. Their computer system was down, but when I explained what was wrong, the med assistant says "I can't even see what's on the schedule so can you come in now?" Sure! My thought was to rule out infection so her rheumy couldn't blow us off, and also to get our pedi to call him since he won't return anyone else's phone calls. I got the newer, more conservative doctor. She is still learning, but she's okay. She's one that only likes to prescribe oral steroids yearly or upon dying. I can understand that. They are harsh, can cause brittle bones, can mess up internal organs, make a child gain a ton of weight. Even she agreed that she would give steroids to my bean. She said that she couldn't see any infection, though it was possible that there was something viral. She had a viral infection the week before we met the Congressman, which was Sept. 13. Anyway, she called our rheumy and he actually talked to her!!! I was shocked. He wouldn't even call back the nurses on the same floor as his practice last week, and we were there for 2 hours. Anyway, he wanted to see her, so we made a 1PM appointment. Somewhere something got lost in the translation because somehow I was under the impression that we were going to the Infusion Room. That would mean IV Solumedrol, which would be a wonderful choice at controlling the inflammation.
I should have known better. He did a thorough exam and could definitely see the inflammation, but decided that she probably had strep that just couldn't be seen yet. The new nurse practitioner (who was an infectious disease nurse) asked me what lab we use, but then he popped up with "I want her to see her pedi on Wednesday for a throat culture to check for strep." Okay. Hmmm. It gets better. During her exam he noted that her eyelids were really pink. He also noted a spot that she's had on her elbow that I always think is an RA nodule. It has gotten bigger. Those 2 combined with different areas that were causing her pain, and then looking at her labs he determined that she most likely has Juvenile Dermatomyositis. (Why not, right?) I had heard of it, but I hadn't read up on it before because it didn't apply. Now that I've read up it makes sense. I had been wondering if there was a muscle issue going on because often she would point to non-joint areas and say they hurt. The symptoms? Weak muscles, fatigue/ lack of endurance, stomach issues, weak voice... a whole list that just makes sense. I'm not sure what it was in her labs since by this time my head was spinning, but at some point he & the NP decided that there was *something* in her labs "that's not good". Judging by the context I assume it was myositis related, but I'm not 100% for sure. They also said that this can be why her white cells keep crashing. They are still too low to go back on her MTX. And finally, they mentioned an MRI, but I don't remember if it was the elbow, the knees (where she has flexion contractures) or where.
So, after he left the room I realized that we hadn't settled on anything to help her MOVE. We called him back & I asked him about a round of steroids. I don't want to give my baby narcotics, though I do have a bottle of Tylenol with Codeine in it from Zach's arm break. I would rather give her something that will control the inflammation. Nope. "I really think it's from the strep, and after she's on antibiotics she'll feel better." Okay, I had pointed out before that after 9 days her Orencia vanished from her system and left her like this, and since this dosage was half the first it would make sense that it would wear that much more quickly. He was totally focused on strep. I was ticked off that nothing would be done for the pain, but what could I do, right? Sometimes it takes me a while to get really angry.
So, I get home & start reading different things, talking to people. I have a friend that was telling me how when her son with JA got strep, it was in his eyes, & it can cause full-blown inflammation. Her rheumy & pedi worked together to treat it, using a month long course of alternating antibiotics, IV & oral steroids. My jaw probably dropped when I read that, thinking wow, we got brushed off. But then I read this: http://www.curejm.com/info/jm.htm , which is info on the myositis. I about lost it when I got to the treatment section. "
What is the treatment for JM?
There is no cure for JM yet, but there are treatment options to help manage the symptoms. Early and aggressive treatment is usually the best predictor of a better outcome of this disease.
Can you feel the anger? Really? So, despite really not looking forward to the drive, I am finally angry enough to have decided to try a rheumy 3 hours away. Why? They are the next closest ones. Pediatric rheumy's are a rare breed! One doesn't have many choices! Maybe then we will have proper treatment, we will not be brushed off, we will have phone calls returned when you tell them your child cannot get out of bed, and her issues will actually be addressed. I really didn't want to switch. As a person, I really like her doc. I absolutely adore the nurses! They are so sweet, such good people. You can tell they really care, and they are genuine. All 3 of them. But I can't let her live like this, either. She has: RF+ (adult type) Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis, Scleroderma (linear- skin only, they say), Raynaud's Phenomenon, Myositis, & Mixed Connective Tissue Disease. The only thing being treated atm is the arthritis... kind of. I pushed for calcium channel blockers for the Raynaud's so she wouldn't get frostbite in school again and was denied. There are other meds aside from MTX that can be used for Scleroderma, but not for us. And now it's just deal with the pain???
My head is still spinning. It's been a long day with a lot to absorb, and I'm still angry, but I have to be up soon. I think I'm too angry to sleep, but I guess I'll have to try.