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I got good news from my Rheumatologist yesterday

Posted by Kathy G on 1/23/04 at 08:59 (142700)

I went to see my Rheumatologist yesterday and he had some encouraging words. A while back, my PCP said he thought that I had seronegative Rheumatoid Arthritis. I disagreeed but he's an excellent diagnostician so I was concerned. When I asked my Rheumy about it, he said that there's a 95% chance that I have severe osteoarhtritis but only a 5% chance that it's seronegative RA. I was very glad to hear that news as the meds for RA are very rugged.

He did say that it's not my imagination and I do have OA in the base of my big toes and in the first joint. The latter is unusual but doesn't it figure? Anyway, since the pain is tolerable most days, lately, he said my RA is in what they call hibernation. He said that for some people OA gets very, very bad for a few months and then reaches a plateau where it doesn't seem to be as active. That plateau or hibernation period can last up to three years or more, or it can last three months or less, depending on the person. It's been a couple of months for me right now so I'm going for the three years because that sounds much better to me!

Now, if we can just do something about this muscle pull/tear in my clavicle area. I did it back in August and it still hurts like crazy. But on the bright side, neither my PCP nor the Rheumy think it's arthritis related. They just can't get the muscle to come out of spasm and neither can the chiropractor. Now they're having me double my valium at bedtime in hopes that it will abate. I sure hope so because I am sick and tired of having so many parts of my body hurt. I never mentioned, on the boards, when I did it because it's so embarrassing but back in mid-August, I was walking out of my daughter's new apartment which is in a beautiful old home and I forgot that she had warned me that the porch was dangerous. It's in levels; with a stair that just doesn't seem to belong there. She was just moving in and she thought that maybe she should get some of that orange tape and put it on the step. It's probably not necessary because I'm the only klutz who's managed to fall so far!:'> I just forgot the step was there!

So, all in all, despite the fact that today, for example, I ache in every joint imaginable, it was good news. At least I know that all these aches are probably only OA and not RA and that makes a big difference to me.

Re: I got good news from my Rheumatologist yesterday

Suzanne D. on 1/23/04 at 09:53 (142708)

I'm glad you had an encouraging visit to the rheumatologist, Kathy! And here's to hoping that the 'hibernation' is three years or more! I never heard of that, but that's an encouraging piece of information.

I also hope the muscle pull/tear will soon be healed. It's no fun to hurt - especially in the winter time.

Take care,
Suzanne :)

Re: I got good news from my Rheumatologist yesterday

Carole C in NOLA on 1/23/04 at 10:34 (142713)

Kathy, this is very interesting. You mentioned OA sometimes having a plateau for a while where it doesn't seem as active. My OA was very severe from right after my injuries until about a year or two ago. I was having trouble getting from the handicapped parking spots to the motorized buggies at the grocery store, for example. Celebrex gave me back a little mobility but without it I was a mess.

Lately it has seemed bad but not nearly as severe. I even went off of Celebrex and I can still get around enough to live my life, and to go grocery shopping without even parking in the handicapped spots OR riding the motorized things in the store. Maybe I am on a plateau.

I'm glad that you may not have RA! A friend of mine who has it, has suffered considerably from it and it's hard to get the right balance of RA medications sometimes. So, I hated to think that you might have it, too.

I hope your clavicle problem abates pretty soon. Probably some of the PF treatments might help your clavicle, like resting it. At least you don't have to walk on it, so maybe it will heal faster than feet do. :D

Carole C

Re: I got good news from my Rheumatologist yesterday

Julie on 1/23/04 at 11:21 (142720)

Kathy, that IS good news. Osteoarthritis is bad enough; rheumatoid is no joke. I'm glad you don't have it.

Your clavicle problem: it may be that the muscle won't release its spasm because of general, all-over tension resulting from all the pain you are nearly always in. Have you been spending time doing relaxation or meditation? I know you're aware of how these things can help, but you might have forgotten (people do, especially when in pain). It would, at the very least, make it easier for you to deal with the pain.

Re: I got good news from my Rheumatologist yesterday

marie on 1/23/04 at 15:49 (142743)

It's such a relief to hear this good news. I know you still have your bad days but at least you finally have a dx and can move forward!!!!!

best wishes marie

Re: I got good news from my Rheumatologist yesterday

Pam S. on 1/24/04 at 11:31 (142781)

Dear Kathy:
So sorry to hear about your pain. I know you are frustrated but at least you have good news too. I wonder if you get massage? It has really helped me in many ways.

January is the worst month for pain I think. For some reason my feet are even worse this month. Followed only my February. By spring break things seem to start to get better. I do not know if it is the same for you.

Julie's advice is so true. Do some deep breathing. Take care..Stay WARMLY< pam