Friday, December 4, 2009

An STD never sounded so good!

I never thought I would hope for an STD!! Yeah, I know. Much like you are shaking your head and re-focusing your eyes to read that and make sure it doesn't say what you think you just read...I too am shaking my head at the fact that I typed that. But alas, it's true. And sometimes, just sometimes, you wish it was an STD. Like instead of an auto-immune disorder per say. I think I'll take the STD.

Why you ask? Why does this little momma of two wish she had had an STD? Simply because if it had been an STD which caused my joint problems, it would be fixable. I.e..curable.

Ok, I'll explain more. Because you are dying to know. I know. You see, there are a couple different types of arthritis that this could be. The Rheumy (that is arthritis lingo for Rheumatologist-yes, i'm 28 years old and I now use arthritis lingo!!) thinks I have one of a few different kinds of arthritis. One type is called Psoriatic Arthritis, bingo-this is what I diagnosed myself with several posts back. Basically that one just sucks and you have it forever. The other one is Reactive Arthritis. This is the STD one. Or it could be caused from a past infection of any kind (bladdar, samonella,ect). It seems to me in all my diagnostic internet searching that the Reactive one would be better to have becaue in lots of cases it goes away. It could still come back but I think it's just not as bad.

However, I do not have the luxury of ever have contracted an STD. That would make my diagnosis a slam-dunk. However, there is still a chance that it was caused from an unknown infection that I have had anytime in my life. I've had a normal amount of run-of-the-mill infections. It just can't be pinpointed if the joint pain was caused by this or not. So, we are left in the wait and see mode. Wait and see what the ravaging immune system I hate to call my own, will do or not do next.

So, I go on like a trooper. Hey, who ever said troopers don't cry? At times I'm a crying trooper because I'm sick of pain. Especially the recent bursitis that developed in my shoulder cuff. That happens at night when I'm sleeping and about makes me cry. But, it does ease up during the day. Some of my other joints are actually a little better. My lower back is doing pretty good. And my hip isn't horrible. My 4th toe is still pretty swollen and the ultrasound showed fluid and inflammation. That and my shoulder can be relieved with a cortisone shot (I've had a few of those in the eye in the past). However....I'm nursing so it's questionable. The Rheumy thought it would be ok but said it's ultimately up to me if I want to put my baby at risk. So I said, "Geez, just add insult to injury here and make me feel like a horrible mother while you're at it- huh doc!" Just kidding, I didn't say that,I just said, "let me think about it." Now I'm just waiting to hear back from Chase's doc to see if it would be OK.

There is another step beyond a local shot. It's a drug therapy called Methodextrate. It's given to patients who are undergoing chemo. But I guess it's very helpful with arthritis. It would address my entire immune system. But while it was "addressing" it, it would go right ahead and suppress it too. So...that one though pretty much scares the crap out of me. Plus, there no way I can take it while I'm nursing so it's not an option until I quit nursing. And even then, I think I'll pass on it.

And that' s pretty much it.

Yep, I looked at the doctor the same way. Like, "that's it?" I'm at a very high specialty doctor and there is nothing else they can do for me?

Now I just deal with the pain using Aleve and wait and see what happens. I am totally a believer in the natural side of things. Although the Rheumy pretty much foo-foo'd me on that, I think I will just keep doing what I am doing, add some more anti-inflammatory spices into my cooking and be on my way to recovery.

Until then, if I can't blame it on an STD, I will just hope that it was an unknown infection that whacked out my immune system. And pray and believe that it will get better. SOON!

1 comment:

wonderloveandpraise said...

Hey Shannon! Thanks for tracking me down over at my silly blog.... Been following your rheum saga and am finding it all too familiar. I'm so sorry you're heading down this path. Some days are better than others. BECAUSE YOU ASKED, I will share with you my Methotrexate story... I don't offer this one unsolicited!

Short version: two years into my plaquenil treatment for RA that was focused in my knees, hands, and toes [head and shoulders, knees and toes, knees and toes.. let's sing! :)] my Rheum decided that he was putting cortizone in and draining my left knee more than he liked.. so he recommended that we add Metho to the mix. Since I was a newbie, I said sure. I took it for about a month - it was one of those 'take four on monday and two on Thursday' sort of cocktails.... anyway, it absolutely wrecked me. Put me in perpetual migraine mode the entire time I took it. I remember specifically being at a job interview for my husband - actually, since he's a pastor, it was the day we were meeting the whole leadership team of the church... ugh..- and i didn't know how i was going to get out of the car without throwing up.It was HO.RR.IB.LE. Completely changed my life. After 5 weeks, I flushed the remainder down the toilet and called my Rheumy 'I'd rather have messed up knees and be in chronic pain than feel like those meds made me feel'. The end of the Metho for me. He was very understanding, and explained that some drugs work well for some people, and others don't. Ya THINK!?!?!?! ;)

In the meantime, my knees chilled out for about 2 years, and then I had Carpal Tunnel repair surgery on both hands.. then they calmed down.. but then, this past summer, 2 toes and 2 finger knuckles became terribly inflamed. If you've never had inflammation in a toe, guest reader, don't judge. You can't imagine the pain that one bad toe can spread throughout your entire body. it's awful. SO, we moved, and I have a new rheumy.. and he suggested that I try one of two drugs -- 'either methotrexate [GACK] or Sulfasalazine'. Clearly, I chose the sulfa. It has helped, I think - mildly. But as he says 'if we're going to medicate you, I'd like you to feel as good as you can. No use going through the medical drama just to feel... ok.'

So that's the latest. Hang in there. Once you find the cocktail that works for you it will make a great, steady improvement. Keep in touch!!!!

Warmly,
Steph