Thursday, November 5, 2009
first, the good news...
Here is the view from the exam table in my primary care provider's clinic, where I waited on Tuesday for her opinion of my (relatively) recent symptoms. I'd already diagnosed myself by checking online, so was curious to see if she agreed with my evaluation. Turns out, she did.
Turns out, the diagnostic labs confirmed it today: I am in the very early stages of rheumatoid arthritis. So no wonder I've been completely exhausted day and night, sleeping poorly and experiencing "flare ups" of swollen, very painfully inflamed wrists and shoulders.
We are waiting for my next flare up so she can aspirate some of the fluid and then begin the process of refining a regimen of medication and treatment. Crap.
Rheumatoid arthritis is an auto-immune disorder and is the kind of arthritis that causes severe bone deformity if left untreated. Fortunately, treatment regimens today are very effective at managing pain and inflammation, so I'm hopeful and optimistic that this diagnosis, while serious and chronic, will not take over my life. As a writer and photographer, I need my hands to work. Breathing deeply, this is just about as close to home as it gets.