I have Rheumatoid Arthritis. I had wondered about this for some time, but received confirmation on Wednesday when I went to the Rheumatologist. Nobody will ever know how long I have had RA, but my guess is that it started before my parathyroid drama a few years ago. Over the years since then (4 years) I assumed the aches were from my osteoarthritis (which is “wear and tear” arthritis) or from my bones healing from the extensive osteoporosis from having a parathyroid tumor the size of half a large banana making all body functions worthy of specialists visits and over 20 prescriptions.
When my left hip joint showed up fairly damaged, with bone cysts, and effusion the ortho doc was stumped. How could I have this degree of damage out of nowhere. I stayed in bed (though even being flat or sitting supported hurt like hell, the pain tired me out, so I figured I’d be more efficient about falling apart and camp out in comfort), I used a cane, I did as many physical therapy visits as my insurance would allow me. I was desperately trying to avoid a hip replacement, as to me, this out of nowhere pain and stiffness was probably something not as cut and dry as wear and tear. All of us were stumped when the right hip pulled the same crap.
My hands would claw up and spasm. I wondered if the boys should wear protective eyewear and hard hats while I made what jewelry I could at the kitchen table when I could get out of bed without so many meds that I was rendered goofy. I bought a good office chair (a Mirra), started having more symptoms.
In October the rest of my joints jumped in. Hands stiff and hurting. Elbows hurt even just being still.
I tried taking my pain pills but nothing helped. They did make me so silly that I just didn’t care about the pain so much. Which sometimes, is the only way to go. But nothing really helped, because the problem is inflammation (my body seems to be bombing itself), and I can’t take NSAIDS due to allergy.
So here I am. Finally I have something other than pain and sadness (not self-pity but rather a desperate sadness that I felt that I could not help Alex as much as he needed me to) at my core, and that is hope. My bones, my joints, my heart, my brain, my soul are beaming with hope. I cannot be sad about this newest diagnosis, because it is an answer to a heavily looming question, it’s a major release of worry, it’s the removal of the blinders so I am allowed to look toward the future beyond just the next few minutes.
I have been through diagnosis of major illness/conditions/injury before, and I am familiar with the emotional and cognitive process I go through (I guess I am a creature of habit), but this time the one that stands out is anger. Not at my body, not at the disease, not at medication, and not even at my lack of health insurance. My anger is that in my time of need, when I spoke up and said “no” to demands of other people, due to my health issues, I have never been given the respect I (and any human) deserve. I have been hated on for saying no and offering alternatives to people when I couldn’t come forward and offer a place to stay, or drive, but still they festered. They knew of the health issues, they knew that they were debilitating as far back as my pregnancy with Alex, but they chose ignorance for their own needs. I was reading Chronic Babe yesterday and there was a great article on this sort of thing, and I think I just need to purge the negativity of others, even family, completely from my mind and body. Some days I wish I had that mind-erase gadget from Men in Black, other days that island in the middle of nowhere (with UPS delivery and wifi to handle my med orders and amazon.com deliveries) seems grand.
Anyway, I just took my first dose of Methotrexate. Cheers! Here’s to the future!