A few months back I told you I was experiencing wrist pain. I attributed it to carpal tunnel and blamed the knitting of the wedding sweater. At the same time I was experiencing some mild-to-significant pain in my feet and ankles. I attributed that to overdoing it with the hiking in Iceland. So I stopped knitting. And I rested. I googled symptoms and I waited for things to improve.
I finally saw my primary care physician and explained to her about the pain I was in and she ordered tests. And referred me to a rheumatologist. And that’s the new doctor I saw last week. He was kind and wonderful and knew my chart details without looking at them. He talked to me and listened, he asked questions and examined my hands and wrists and feet. And ultimately, he confirmed what I’ve been suspecting for weeks. I have inflammatory arthritis. There are many types of inflammatory arthritis, including rheumatoid and psoriatic just to name a couple that may be familiar sounding, and we don’t know yet which type of have. The doctor has ordered more tests to try and figure that out but the good news is that the treatment is pretty much the same for all of them: NSAIDs (anti-inflammatory drugs like Advile), steroids (like prednisone), and DMARDs (disease modifying antirheumatic drugs such as methotrexate).
I’m a week into the prednisone dosage and it’s helping immensely. I take my 2nd round of methotrexate today; it will take longer to know if that’s working and if my liver can tolerate the medication. My joint pain is fairly minimal at this point and I haven’t taken any Advil in a week, which is pretty miraculous considering that I couldn’t get through a day without it prior to starting this treatment.
The thing that is truly wonderful, though, is that I am feeling more and more like myself every day. It was a dark and dreadful fall in many ways. My pain was, at times, all encompassing. My ability to focus on tasks was curtailed. My emotional state was a mess and I cried a lot. Chronic pain, as I’m sure many of you know, creeps in and steals the joy out of daily life, leaving us feeling distraught and alone and frightened.
There are a lot of unknowns still, but having a diagnosis and a treatment plan has given me so much hope. Don’t get me wrong, being stricken with an autoimmune disease is the pits, but I also know (thanks to my very wise and wonderful friend Kym) that it’s possible to not just live with this but to thrive in spite of it. That I will never be in as bad a place as I have been for these last few months when I was in active disease without treatment. And that I have an amazing support network of family and friends and community.
I’ve never held back from sharing the details of my life with this blog, all the good and bad and in between. I don’t intend to stop now because writing is how I process my feelings, so you can expect to hear more about how I’m doing and coping with this in the days to come. Please allow me to thank you in advance for your kindness and caring and concern. I consider you all to be part of my circle of friends and I’m so very grateful that you are here.