Wednesday, November 27, 2013

And then there were three

A few years ago I started to notice some things about myself.  I was turning pretty white when it got cold, I would get random pains bad enough that I almost drove us off the road a few times, and chronic fatigue.  The fatigue was bad, really bad.  I didn't have time to deal with it, so I pretty much just ignored it for a while.  Until my shoulder decided to rebel.  And then my knee stopped working for a few days.  Then my hips started popping every day, and aching often.  And my ankles started to feel like glass shattering when I would stand up.  Eventually I brought it up to my doctor.  He quickly dismissed me.  He did a fast strength test on my hands and decided I was fine.  After all, I was too young for Rheumatoid Arthritis, despite having two children with Juvenile Arthritis.  Since it really took a lot for me to say anything at all, and my symptoms weren't bad, I didn't really argue.  I told him that I was pretty used to being invincible but something was starting to happen to me.  I told him I felt like we had to catch it before it got bad because I don't have time to be sick.  He nodded politely and sent me on my way. 

Eventually I gave up.  He wasn't listening.  By this time I had new stuff- my right hand was going numb every single morning, and my right foot would go numb when I was about due for my vitamin B shot.  Eventually I noticed it would still go numb after my shot.  Then my hands started "cramping".  That started to affect my work and my schooling.  I knew it was time to move.  I finally got myself a new primary care doctor, with a little urging from several JA friends.  I guess at this point you could say that I wanted to be tested but I didn't really believe I had anything serious going on.  I mentioned my kids' illnesses to the new doctor, but I didn't tell her I suspected RA for me.  When I started telling her about my hands she immediately asked if I had been tested for it.  I explained that our old doctor didn't feel it was possible.  She actually listened.  I felt totally comfortable with her.  It was nice!

Even though she felt that I probably had the start of it, I still dragged my feet on seeing a rheumatologist.  My labs weren't pointing clearly to anything in any direction, and I still didn't feel like I was bad.  I finally made myself go two weeks ago.  My rheumatologist was hoping that steroids would do the trick and it would disappear.  He said that he sees about one person a week that has such a mild case that steroids alone kick it out and they never come back.  I hoped I would be that case!  Nope.  My shoulder is about 50% improved, but my wrists tonight are aching enough to keep me up.  My knee is still not happy.  So, they also ran additional labs.  They ran a few that I hadn't seen before.  I didn't really have time to look at the prescription, but we talked about it Monday.  I tested positive for both Sjogren's tests.  And suddenly it all makes sense.  The neuropathy, the lighting bolts I sometimes feel shooting down my arm, my anemia, and even my thyroid are likely all related to it.  And then there is the leaky eye that I thought was a blocked tear duct.  That is most annoying.  I have made my peace with it over the past 24 hours.  At least I have some answers.  We are going to try Plaquenil to see if it helps.  It may take 4-6 months to kick in, but if it helps to keep me from getting really sick it is worth a shot.  The PA said that because I don't have high inflammation counts I will not likely see deformities or even a lot of degeneration of the joints.  I guess if I have to have RA, this would be the way to go.  I'm a little sad, but I am determined to stay on top of it and beat it.  My kids have been such examples for me.  I have to be strong for them.  

I still have like the best family ever.  That really helps to keep me sane.  My kiddo's are all amazing in their own way, and I cannot even believe how much I love and like my husband.  I still consider myself blessed.  Just burdened.  :p  

I am spending the next two days cooking!  I hope that everyone has a wonderful Thanksgiving!  Take care & God bless!

1 comment:

  1. Wow, I'm sad to hear but glad you will get and give yourself the attention you need. Love, hugs & strength girl!