Dr's have finally gotten to the bottom of things!
Thursday, August 18, 2011
I have to apologize for not being around much since my holiday. I have had a number of e-mail's from my wonderful sparkfriends so I figured I should update you all at the same time. Easier on the poor hands.
Last week was an incredibly difficult week for me on so many different levels. On Tuesday I woke up with 4 nodules, one on each finger on my right hand. Wednesday I woke with an additional 4 nodules in the same spots on the left hand. There is only one disease that produces nodules and happens symmetrically...Rheumatoid Arthritis. By Thursday I woke with even more nodules and my hands swollen so badly that they were stuck in a rather deformed position. Three fingers point downwards and my pinky finger slightly straighter sticking off to the side on both hands.
I learned that I could no longer hold anything in my hands as I was unable to grip, pick up or hold any objects nor was I able to type. If I wanted a drink I had to hold my glass between my wrists. I am unable to turn door handles, get up from sitting unassisted (leg weakness and my knees and ankles give out on a regular basis) as I could not use my cane because of my hands. The list of things that I could not do over a three day period was devastating. Each time I attempted to do something for myself I was met with failure. I cannot tell you how difficult those three days were. Finally on Sunday the swelling had reduced considerably and I was able to move my hands and hold a number of things again. The weakness seems to be staying and if I do too much of anything the swelling returns. New nodules continue to appear I am up to 22 on my hands and today a couple on my knees. I am thankful that they are smaller than most of the pictures I have found on the internet of them.
Saw my Rheumotologist Dr. M on Monday to follow up on the blood work I had completed 3 weeks prior. I knew the diagnosis before I saw her. There is only one disease that produces nodules, pain, swelling and curiously enough on both sides of the body. The confirmation of Severe Rheumatoid Arthritis was given. My anti-ccp blood test was more than twice the acceptable limit and the appearance of nodules and swelling were all they needed to confirm. I was started on some pretty nasty medications one an anti-malarial drug the other a chemotherapy drug and then a new NSAID along with two other medications to deal with the side effects of the first two. Blood work every two weeks, visits with an Opthamologist every 6 months just to be able to take these medications safely. Even with all of these medications to combat the side effects I still feel like I was hit by a truck. I slept for 16 hours Monday after taking them. I was so tired, nauseated and dizzy bed was the safest place for me. I remain tired, nauseated still and the dizziness comes and goes. I hope there is an adjustment period for the medications and that these side effects go away sooner than later.
Learning all I can about this disease and found a wonderful website/blog www.rawarrior.com that provides a wonderful source of news, encouragement and hope. Some days the depression is really bad. I guess all of these diagnosis (three in as many months Hashi toxcosis, Fibromyalgia and Rheumatoid Arthritis) are taking a cumulative toll. Time to adjust, time to relearn what I can and cannot do and then onward and upward. I will fight this with all I have but I have learned enough that to know you can't actually win.
I will be around as I am able but being honest it probably won't be much at all until I get my head wrapped around all of this and my symptoms are better controlled. I hope that everyone is doing well and having a WONDERFUL summer. It is the time to enjoy the great outdoors and show off your hard earned bodies!! Wishing you all continued success with your healthy lifestyles!!