Monday, August 8, 2011

Health Woes

{For those who are subscribed to this blog, I accidentally hit publish instead of save before it was finished, so my apologies for the weird first [deleted] post :) }

* This post is about sucky joint problems - if you are looking for jewellery and/or light-hearted sharing of things I like, this is not one of those days! Maybe skip this and come back soon :) *

Ok, I feel like this update is long overdue. I've been avoiding it. A few weeks back I mentioned the joint problems I've been having and said that my doctor had chalked it up to tendonitis. Unfortunately that has not turned out to be the case. When my family doctor said it was tendonitis I agreed that could make sense for my hands but wondered why my feet were bothering me. She had no idea but did not seem at all concerned by it. I found this really frustrating (she hasn't taken me/my health issues seriously before and I've been getting increasingly annoyed by this). She had done an x-ray and some blood tests were done (I had to go to a clinic to get the requisition though, my doctor didn't send me for them) and since nothing showed up on any of those I went along with her tendonitis diagnosis, although I had my doubts. My friend and old boss Liz from the dog grooming shop needed extra help a couple days after that appointment, so I was supposed to work a few days for her. After the first day of washing dogs (and struggling with some of them in the tub, lifting them etc.) my hands were MUCH worse the next morning. My index fingers showed some swelling, which was new, and my feet and hands really hurt. I had to call her and tell her I wasn't able to come in to work. My mom wanted me to go see a doctor she goes to sometimes for acupuncture and trigger point therapy, thinking he might have some insight and might be able to help. So I went to see him the morning after the day I worked for Liz. He seemed quite concerned, especially with the way it was progressing. He said he wasn't able to help me at the time: he thought it was an auto-immune problem and that I should go back to my GP and probably get a referral to a rheumatologist. I didn't want to go back to my GP as she hasn't been very helpful and he said that if I went to Emergency they might be able to get me to a specialist quicker, so I did that. After spending a few hours waiting in the hospital they took more blood for tests, told me I could take Aleve (I'd been taking Advil and Tylenol with no real results) and gave me the name of a specialist that I would have an appointment set up with. Things have been progressing this whole time. Now my fingers and feet (pads of feet, toes, maybe heels) are always swollen, walking is uncomfortable, writing with a pen is difficult. At night my shoulders and arms bother me and wake me up. Moving in bed is painful and my arms/shoulders have started to bother me before going to bed and in the morning after getting up as well. If I sit outside for a while and it's cool my knees and hips feel stiff when I get up. My throat hurts when I yawn or swallow.

I had a few days of training for a job with the PHSA (remember my new-ish job with the health authority where I'm part of the admin casual pool?) last week and the first day of work was hard, joint-wise (fingers, wrists...) and it was relatively simple - looking through binders, inputting a bit of info into the computer... The second day was really bad when I got up in the morning and harder at work, and the third morning I had to call in to say I wasn't able to work. I stumbled getting out of bed because my feet were so swollen and sore, and my pinky and ring finger on my right hand were curled and I couldn't straighten them - trying to do so was very painful. I was supposed to have a month of work there, and I had to give it up because I didn't know if I would be able to do it. I was really crushed. I liked the drive, the location, the job was neat and I really wanted the money. Since I haven't really had work in the past few months money has been really tight for Ben & I. It also really sucked as this was the first real job I'd been given with the PHSA after being hired a few months ago and I had to give it up. I'm also afraid of the impression that's made. I explained that I've had this issue for a few months but it's been manageable and I had no idea it would get so bad. Everyone was really nice about it but I hate feeling like I look flaky. This was all last week. I had the specialist appointment on Friday. He had the blood test results and informed me that everything has come back negative so far. We know I don't have Lupus or Rheumatoid Arthritis, but aren't much closer to figuring out what the problem IS. He asked me a bunch of questions and sent me for many more blood tests. He didn't seem to think he was going to figure out what the problem was and will probably be sending me on to a rheumatologist. I thought that's what he was, but apparently he is a doctor of internal medicine. So that's frustrating - why wasn't I sent to a rheumatologist in the first place? He said he'd get me on the list for a good one but apparently that can take months, and with my symptoms progressing I find that scary. If it gets REALLY bad apparently I can call and try to get moved up the list.

So, that is where things are at! Ben's family friend is going to give me the name of a good GP so at least I will soon have someone more helpful on my side in that regard. They're not as close as my current doctor but I don't care as long as they are good at their job and actually care about my well-being. I'm trying not to do too much of anything because if I do I pay for it the next day. I am getting a bit cabin-fever-y and sick of my couch, and am coming to dread going to bed. Sorry to be a super downer. Thanks for all the well-wishes lately! I'll keep you updated when there is news.


ThisTinder said...

Awww that is so so crummy (I know, understatement of the century right?). So sorry to hear about all of this, especially with a non supportive Dr. Wishing you well!

Gale said...

Sorry to hear you've been feeling this way. I really hope you get the help you need fast and the much better information from the new doctor soon. You're in my thoughts. Sending love your way!

Stina G said...

Thank you you ladies!! Trying not to freak out. I got a call today (more negative results so still no answers) and hopefully I'll be getting a prescription for a stronger anti-inflammatory soon, so maybe I can actually do a bit more, like work on the fall jewelry pieces I've been itching to make!

Anonymous said...

Have they ruled out fibromyalgia? Also ask them to have the blood test done to see about gluten intolerace, which can cause all sorts of issues! Please do! Hope you get better soon!

Stina G said...

Hi anonymous friend,
we asked about a marker for fibomyalgia today (we were going over new blood test results) and it looks pretty unlikely. I'm getting a few more tests in a couple weeks though. They tested for Celiac disease and it doesn't look like that either, but I'm trying to slowly cut wheat out of my diet due to many suggestions in regards to wheat and diet in terms of these types of problems. Thank you for your suggestions and well wishes!