I broke down crying today during my appointment with my "lady doctor". (Yeah, I could just say gynecologist, but I honestly like the phrase "lady doctor" better. It sounds more elegant, don't you think?") Well, not breaking down as in sobbing, like buckets of tears, but I did cry and she handed me the tissues and I felt a little embarrassed because I try to keep my crying to a minimum, and definitely private and not in front of my doctors. She was very understanding, though-- I love having her as a doctor. I only see her once a year, but she's awesome.

She asked what had transpired in the past year, so I gave her a quick rundown on my health, on the status of my marriage, of the stress that we are under (and that's where I started crying), etc. She was very sympathetic and encouraging, and she said that she hates the diagnosis of fibro the most for her patients because it just causes so much pain and horror in their lives. She is a total believer in fibro and how it can wreck a life, and we even had a little chat about pregnancy and fibro, the risks and challenges, etc. She really wished me well and had good wishes for me that I would find out, through the doctors and tests, what on earth is really going on so we can treat this and get it under control.

Get this: even my gynecologist, after just a brief rundown of my health changes in the last year, says straight out that I am dealing with something beyond fibromyalgia. There is another disease at play here and we haven't figured it out yet, but it is continuing to drag me down and make life feel more and more impossible. I want to find the line between reality and complaining, but I also just want to vent and explode into the atmosphere with a supersonic silent scream at how hard every day is, how much I miss my old life, and how sick I feel every day and night, how much acute agony I chronically endure. Since I got taken off of the hydroxychloroquine until my appointment with my rheumatologist in Phoenix, my joints have jumped in on the pain parade full force, even more so than before. I am not aware of a single joint in my body that doesn't ache on a near constant basis, even without use or pressure.

I hardly do hot baths anymore because putting weight on my hands to lever myself up and out of the tub is almost unbearable; walking is painful at all times because of my knees, ankles, and all the articulations in my feet. Did I mention that I received news at my last pain doc appointment that I basically have gout?! I'm a 26 year old woman. How the fuck can I have gout?! So I got this paper that lays out the foods I can and shouldn't eat, but I'd just started to revamp my diet a bit and make it healthier so I can lose weight hopefully, but the gout paper basically told me to continue eating the way that I have been! Just with more veggies. I think it's just going to be trial and error, really. This gout thing is in conjunction with my pain doc's sincere conviction that I have a type of rheumatoid arthritis that doesn't show up on the AI blood tests, but that there are definite ways of diagnosing. That's a very valid theory, especially considering my poor joints now that I'm off of the lupus/RA drug and doing so much more poorly. (My friend with the same type of RA as the doc is postulating takes hydroxychloroquine for it and it helps her. We both think that, you know, if I'm taking an RA drug and it's helping and then I get off of it and I worsen, that combined with other clear symptoms makes a pretty strong case for seronegative RA.)

By the way, a blog that I follow regularly, chroniccurve, has an entire post called Seronegativity for Dummies, and I strongly suggest you check it out if you're at all curious about what the heck I'm talking about. She's a great writer, a strong advocate, and does not spread misinformation. Best of all? She's totally my age or maybe a bit younger, a peer! I love it.

I am looking forward to my appointment the first week of December at the rheumatology department of the University of Arizona. I hope it will be a good and productive experience. Yes, I'd prefer that the doctors are pleasant and funny and good looking as well as intelligent and diligent, but honestly all of that falls on the back burner when I regard information and a correct diagnosis. What would you do for a Klondike bar? I think the question is, what would you do for a real live answer? If I just had a reason for my every increasing pain and continuing fatigue, it might make it easier to bear.

I realized this week that even though he loves me and he is totally there for me and is my #1 supporter, sees everything… Corey will never really understand what life is like for me, what it's like to be sick like this, none of that. (Random insert, but I'm really tired and falling asleep while typing this, so I closed my eyes for a very long blink and had a momentary dream/vision/hallucination of passing out and being lowered to the ground by my group of friends… the ground that was made of various kinds of ice cream. Woooooow.) So, back to Corey. See, he rarely even gets sick, and any pain he's experienced has been acute in nature, not to mention that he's good at putting mind over matter and ignoring the discomfort. Sometime I'll have to share the story of when he sprained his ankle at school in the morning, walked on it the entire day without seeing the nurse, and then walked home. Crazy dude. Crazy! But because of his lack of experience with prolonged pain and sickness, he really has no vantage point from which to really see into my experience and sort of assimilate it into his own, to pretend that he's me in a way.

Honestly, that realization was a little bit devastating to me. I knew he had my back but I had always just kind of assumed that he knew exactly what I was dealing with and was choosing to be dense at times. Oops. Heh. But no, he doesn't truly get it, and that's okay. Who does, really, unless they've lived it? I mean… I know what it's like to have my bones feel like they're filled with fire and etched with acid; I know where the articulation of my joints are because the ache is particularly sharp, thick, and overwhelming there. I know what it's like to literally be crippled by pain and not be able to take a step forward or stand at all, even sit, due to epic levels of concentrated pain in one area or another. I know what it's like to suddenly be dizzy and lose my footing on a completely flat surface. I know the jolting awake from a presumably sound sleep for no apparent reason (or because the pain followed you into your dream and it got too overwhelming), maybe just once that night, or maybe again and again and again, every hour or half hour, and I know the feeling of overwhelming gratefulness that I don't have to try to drag my invisibly battered and bruised carcass into work every day. Objects fly from my hands when a twitch attack strikes, I can't walk, and it jerks and jolts already painful muscles and tendons and joints. I need the walker to walk, especially with my very low back having decided to give up on me in excruciating spasms and weakness at totally random intervals, but my hands hurt badly from the weight on them as I push myself along with the walker and from having to grip the handles the whole time.

On the other hand, that same walker allows me independence that I would not have otherwise, and it allows me to walk a half an hour or more every night, pain or no pain. It's cleansing, this walking, and Corey joins me for that, too. It's during the walk, during the errands on his day off, that I realize he will never truly get it unless it happens to him. Good god, may it never happen to him. He hasn't the patience or the proper personality to deal with such unrelenting pain and the constant onslaught of old and new symptoms that always keep you off balance just a little. He does not have the good humor to laugh through or about a particularly painful day or hour or situation. He turns into a grouchy, mean person when subjected to large amounts of pain that are "semi-chronic" (lasting for more than a day). I've seen it first hand! So really, it's better for everyone involved that I'm the sick one, not him.

As you can see, there is much for me to think about and feel when it comes to my current "lifestyle". I didn't choose it but I do have to make the best of it because it's not going away, not anytime soon by my guess, and I'd rather not waste a huge chunk of my life just waiting to get better so I can begin being the person that I want to and doing the things that I want to do. Hell no. Corey summed it up pretty aptly when he said that there was a lot of "trauma" around the change in my life and my sicknesses, and he's right. There is a lot of trauma, stuff that I need to work through, and I really want to. I tried a particular place this week that seemed promising based on a lead from Bisbee when I was visiting the other week, but the people here were somewhat rude and quite unhelpful and it did not pan out at all. No counseling for me at this time; can't afford to add another doctor to the mix right now. Not when every penny of what I use to pay my doctors and get prescriptions and such is a gift from family or friends or somebody. God I hope I can sell these crafts that I've made somehow. It's the only way I can think to make some money right now that's within my physical capabilities. I haven't made much in the past few weeks, though. Been too… depressed. Sick. Totally unmotivated on top of feeling so feverish and flu like and drained and just blah. I'm still super shocked that I actually had a great time in Tucson and wasn't all that ill.

I blame our mattress, actually. My sister in law's mattress helped keep my pain down, I think, but ours beats me up like hell. We need either a new mattress or one of those memory foam topper thingies for it, and we also need new pillows, like, SO bad. Have for a couple of years now. Anyway, I can barely keep my eyes open, and I'm just rambling at this point in any event. Hit me up if you wanna buy us a mattress or pillows, or if you wanna buy some crafts, yeah? Keychains, beaded autumn wall hangings, necklaces, earrings, painted prescription bottles, and more. Maybe I'll do pictures some time. Maybe. If I remember… and feel like it. Heh.

Also, I was just hit with a strong but irrational desire to go to the zoo. What's that about?

1 thoughts:

  • Anonymous | November 18, 2014 at 6:32 AM

    Dude! Chickadee! I call them "lady doctors" too! Great minds, hun, great minds, which also applies to the thing about the RA meds you're no longer on. Your doctor needs to do some sudoku and practice logics.

    The zoo thing is about cute fuzzy animals being the band-aid that fixes all the soul's hurts. And also planning your next vacation.

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