maidenbedlam: (silhouette)
That's what I got: rheumatoid arthritis. Whee. STILL testing negative for what they call an "RA Factor" but apparently that's not unusual.  The doctor, who has the wonderfully fun-to-say name Dr. Damaraju, said that my symptoms are consistent with RA, so that's what we are treating.  The inflammation and swelling in my hands is in the knuckles and bottom joints, and if it was psoriatic arthritis, it would be in the top joints and around the fingertips. Weird, but whatever.  The psoriasis, then, seems to be a completely separate issue - still autoimmune, but not part of the RA. So that brings me up to THREE autoimmune dealies: RA, psoriasis and the Hashimoto's thyroiditis.

Can I get a "sheesh!"? 

(Incidentally, the psoriasis is the most minor one, and it's the one giving me the most grief, because it ITCHES.)

Back to the RA: The doctor wanted to put me on prednisone, but I've taken that twice and both times it made me violently ill. Plus I know what some of the long-term effects of corticosteroids are, and even if I didn't puke every time I took prednisone I wouldn't take it for the RA.  She then said she'd put me on Plaquinel, a drug that was developed to treat malaria, but which turned out to have a pretty good effect on RA.  The big caveat there is that it can mess with your vision, so before I start taking it, I need to get the OK from an opthamologist, as well as a good eye exam so they have a baseline from which to judge whether the Plaquinel affects it. The other negative is that Plaquinel can take up to three months before any noticeable improvement in symptoms.  (Oh yeah, note to self: ask doc if I can take NSAIDS until the Plaquinel kicks in.) 

RA is pretty common, so docs have been treating it for awhile. This is good, because it means I'm not completely in uncharted territory. I don't need to make any dietary changes, and exercise is encouraged (I do have to have the freaking neck thing settled before I resume yoga, though!)  I'm supposed to keep my stress levels as low as possible (HA!) and be sure to get adequate rest (DOUBLE HA!)

My blood work is OK, so except for this chronic inconvenience, I'm in good health. I just need to get to the bottom of the neck bump, which is what started all this doctor stuff in the first place! (Neurosurgeon next week for that.)

*************

My husband has been working on plumbing today. That he started working on last Sunday. He has made no fewer than 11 trips to the hardware store. He is a very unhappy man. I am staying as far out of his way as I can.

January 2012

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