When I started this blog the idea was to talk about what works for someone with rheumatoid arthritis. I wrote a fair amount of posts about what foods and herbs help to fight inflammation and a few about the products that made my life with RA a little easier. All in all I have been pleased with what I have shared and learned along the way about RA. I hadn’t planned on all the amazing women and men that I have met through this blog that have given me strength and support. That was an unexpected blessing. To all of you I am truly grateful.
It occurred to me that I really have not shared my story. How I got to where in am now and the questions that I have been wrestling with lately. I haven’t written much because I was hoping to have some answers to report instead of more questions.
So I want to take a step backward and start at the beginning, because how I got here is important. I didn’t know until recently how important.
About 6 months after Kevin, my youngest, was born my right ankle started to swell. I hadn’t twisted it. I hadn’t fallen. There seemed to be no explaination as to why it was swelling and why it hurt. So I went to an urgent care center where they took and X Ray and really could find nothing wrong with my ankle. The doctor told me I must have sprained the ankle and gave me an air cast to wear for several weeks with some anti inflammatory drugs to take and sent me on my way. I followed his instructions; I stayed off the ankle as much as possible, I iced it and I took the medication. Eventually the ankle improved.
Almost as soon as my ankle improved, my left knee started to swell and hurt. I thought maybe that I had been over compensating for the ankle and had somehow thrown my knee out of whack. I iced the knee and took anti inflammatory medication and rested it as much as possible and it seemed to improve after about a month or so.
Shortly after my knee stopped bothering me my left wrist began to give me problems. It really hurt and was swelling a lot. I thought maybe that I had carpal tunnel because I spend a good amount of time everyday typing. I went back to urgent care and they seemed to agree that this could be carpal tunnel and they gave me some wrist guards to wear.
I wore the wrist guards as instructed, took more anti inflammatory medication and hoped for the best.
While my body was giving me all this trouble I was trying to raise a 10 year old, a 6 year old and a new baby boy. I was exhausted all the time, but at 35 I figured that I was not as young as I used to be and now I had 3 boys needing my attention, a full time job and a business to run with my husband. I certainly had a full plate and there were plenty of reasons for me to be tired all the time.
My husband works outside all the time and Lyme disease is something that I thought we were pretty familiar with. It was Eric who thought that maybe it was Lyme disease that was causing this joint swelling. It is typical for Lyme disease to kind of skip from one spot on the body to the next wreaking havoc. So a few days later I was back at the urgent care center asking for a Lyme test. The doctor asked me if I remembered a tick bite and I really didn’t. We live in a wooded area and there were many times that I have been bitten by ticks. We are really careful with deer tick and I am fairly sure that if I had seen a deer tick in me I would have been tested immediately. The thing is some of these ticks are the size of a poppy seed. It is within reason that I could have been bitten by a tick the size of a poppy seed in a location that I could not readily see and not know it. It doesn’t hurt when they bite. So it is completely possible that I could have been bit and not known it. That was really not what the doctor wanted to hear but I was able to convince him to give me a Lyme test.
Anyway to make a long story longer… after about a week the test came back positive for Lyme disease. The doctor put me on zythromax for 5 days.
After two weeks I was still not feeling better. My wrist was really bothering me and the swelling was so bad that I actually lost the ability to give a thumbs up. There was so much swelling in my wrist that the ligament that moves the thumb was lifted from its initial location (because of the swelling) so that I could no longer give a thumbs up.
I went back to the doctor and he put me on another course of zythromax with some new anti inflammatory medication and sent me on my way. He told me to give it another two weeks and I should be feeling better by then.
By the time two weeks had passed not only was my wrist swollen and painful but now my feet were swelling and my knee was back to giving me trouble again.
When the doctor took one look at me and knew that the current course of treatment was not working. He said to me that this was beyond his level of expertise. He said that he could send me to a infectious disease specialist or he could send me to a rheumatologist. He felt that the rheumatologist was probably the best way to go because a rheumatologist could handle Lyme disease as well as any arthritis issues that I might have. He said that there was a new rheumatologist in Providence that he had heard good things about and he set up an initial appointment for me and wished me luck.
This is how my journey began.
Stay tuned to hear how we progressed to where I am today.