Thursday, August 18, 2011

Diagnosis - Rheumatoid Arthritis

 Last week was an incredibly difficult week for me on so many different levels. On Tuesday I woke up with 4 nodules, one on each finger on my right hand. Wednesday I woke with an additional 4 nodules in the same spots on the left hand. There is only one disease that produces nodules and happens symmetrically...Rheumatoid Arthritis. By Thursday I woke with even more nodules and my hands swollen so badly that they were stuck in a rather deformed position. Three fingers point downwards and my pinky finger slightly straighter sticking off to the side on both hands.

I learned that I could no longer hold anything in my hands as I was unable to grip, pick up or hold any objects nor was I able to type. If I wanted a drink I had to hold my glass between my wrists. I am unable to turn door handles, get up from sitting unassisted (leg weakness and my knees and ankles give out on a regular basis) as I cannot use my cane because of my hands. The list of things that I could not do over a three day period was devastating. Each time I attempted to do something for myself I was met with failure. I cannot tell you how difficult those three days were. Finally on Sunday the swelling had reduced considerably and I was able to move my hands and hold a number of things again. The weakness seems to be staying and if I so too much of anything the swelling returns. New nodules continue to appear. I am thankful that they are smaller than  most of the pictures I have found of them.

 Saw my Rheumotologist Dr. M yesterday to follow up on the blood work I had completed 3 weeks prior. I knew the diagnosis before I saw her. There is only one disease that produces nodules, pain, swelling and curiously enough on both sides of the body. The confirmation of Rheumatoid Arthritis was given. My anti-ccp blood test was more than twice the acceptable limit and the appearance of nodules and swelling were all they needed to confirm. I was started on some pretty nasty medications one an anti-malarial drug the other a chemotherapy drug and then a new NSAID along with two other medications to deal with the side effects of the first two. Blood work every two weeks, visits with an Opthamologist every 6 months just to be able to take these medications safely. Even with all of these medications to combat the side effects I still feel like I was hit by a truck. I slept for 16 hours yesterday after taking them. I was so tired, nauseated and dizzy bed was the safest place for me. I remain tired, nauseated and dizzy today. I hope there is an adjustment period for the medications and that these side effects go away sooner than later.

Learning all I can about this disease and found a wonderful website/blog that provides a wonderful source of news, encouragement and hope. Some days the depression is really bad. I guess all of these diagnosis (three in as many months Hashitoxcosis, Fibromyalgia and Rheumatoid Arthritis) are taking a cumulative toll. Time to adjust, time to relearn what I can and cannot do and then onward and upward. I will fight this with all I have but I have learned enough that nobody wins the fight.

© 2011 Rhonda

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