When the aching did not subside, I began to grow worried. I had experienced a similar episode a few months ago and again chalked it up to some sort of flu. But two such episodes?
Since I have a strong family history of auto immune disease on both sides of my family - diabetes, arthritis, MS, etc. - I made an appointment with a rheumatologist on Wednesday.
After bloodwork and x-rays and an extensive exam, he diagnosed me with arthritis.
However, I believe the diagnosis may soon change to rheumatoid arthritis. I had my RF (rheumatoid factor) checked in my blood and it is above normal. While this does not make it a given that I have rheumatoid arthritis, combine that with my symptoms and my family history and it is strongly possible. I have to wait to speak to my doctor about it all at my next appointment. (The lab work results came to me after my initial appointment and as my doctor is on vacation, I will have to wait for the official diagnosis if this is indeed what it is).
I sometimes wonder if one person can really have so many health issues. But I guess not only is it possible, it's a fact. (If you're new here and interested in all my health problems...well, let's just say I've had several surgeries in the past few years!).
Strangely, I am not getting overly worked up about all of this. As I research the symptoms and the reality of rheumatoid arthritis, I can begin to see why I had so many times where I felt great, then got hit with illness. These are called "flare ups." If I am fortunate, I will continue to have long periods of time where I feel good. If medication is necessary, then I hope it helps, as well.
|I'm not sure if Snoopy really said this, but I like it anyway.|
However, niggling at the back of my brain is this harsh reality: I write, which means I use my fingers to type, and if my fingers are stiff (like they are at this very moment), that is going to make typing harder, which will make writing harder.
That scares the crap out of me.
During the time I was struck with the overwhelming fatigue, I couldn't concentrate. I couldn't write and barely had the energy to even read. All I really wanted to do was sleep and mindlessly surf the internet.
This isn't good. If I'm going to be battling this for the rest of my life, I need to learn coping strategies - emotionally and physically. I don't want to to eschew life just because I'm down and out. I refuse to be an invalid. I refuse to allow a disease to define who I am.
In the end, as I am a Christian, I am just giving it to God. That is really all I can do.
If you're wondering why I am putting something so personal on my blog, it's for several reasons. One, my blog is about the writing life - and this is most certainly going to affect that. Two, I want other writers suffering from chronic illnesses to know they're not alone (I've added some great links to my sidebar about living with chronic illness if you're interested). Three, there are some things that I feel I should share. This is one of them.
I don't want sympathy or pity - it's not needed. I don't want to be treated as an invalid because I'm not. I'm going to keep doing what I love. I'll keep smiling. There will be days I want to crawl under the covers and not move (because it hurts to!), but I will deal with it when it comes.