Rheum with A view

A man learning to live with his RA

Edvard Munch

Posted by rheumwithaview on 1 September 2009

Because we can all relate.



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Posted by rheumwithaview on 24 August 2009

I recently returned from a week long vacation in the mountains.  Although there had been no marked improvement in my physical symptoms, the trip was very cathartic for my soul.  I returned well refreshed, and with a brighter outlook.   Now, I am awaiting my follow up with Rheumatologist #2 next week, at which time, after reviewing my latest battery of bloodwork and imaging, he will determine my next course of action.

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New Rheumatologist, new hope

Posted by rheumwithaview on 5 August 2009

I had been growing unhappy with my Rheumatologist. To be honest, I’m not sure I was ever happy, or comfortable with him. Perhaps I was just overwhelmed as I ventured into this new frontier. Arriving no less than 15 minutes before my scheduled appointment, I was often left in the waiting room more than an hour and a half past my appointment time, without a word from the staff. He asked all the questions, but never waited for my complete answer. He didn’t request imaging of my joints, even as my RA progressed to involve more than the one I initially saw him for.
I had enough. I made an appointment with another area Rheumatologist. Even before I called, I felt more at ease with the new doctor. On the practice website, I found links to articles he’s had published, and links to journals documenting the latest RA research. So he’s in step with the most current knowledge in the field, +1.
I arrived for my first appointment 15 minutes early, bringing the new patient forms with me, prepared in advance. Still 5 minutes before my scheduled appointment, I have been weighed, and am sitting on the table having my BP taken. The doctor was in shortly after.
Understanding that this is my first visit, he is not familiar with my history. While reading though my previous records, he asks me the pertinent questions, and listening to my complete answers. He prescribes the routine blood work, and x-rays and ultrasound imaging; +2. He schedules follow up within a month, at which time he believes he will have a more complete picture of my situation. With my previous doctor, I was laughed at if I requested an appointment before 3 months time; +3.
Having the doctor interested in my situation is a most welcome relief, as I am still uncertain of what I should expect, whether today, next month, or three and ten years down the road. While I understand that there may be no way to predict the course of my disease, I now have hope that I will be properly prepared to engage it, and live as normal a life as possible.

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Rene Magritte

Posted by rheumwithaview on 11 June 2009

Castle in the Pyrenees

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Breaking the Cycle

Posted by rheumwithaview on 8 June 2009

Fatigue.  Irritability.  Depression.  I empathize with my wife and daughter.  I suppose some minor level of depression could be expected with any loss, even that of my physical functioning.  Between the fatigue and joint pains, I had been unable to play with my daughter as much as i would like.  She, although only six, not only empathizes with me, but also understands my limitations.  She does not go off sulking, like many children her age.  This, though, only makes me feel that much worse, as I want nothing more than to run with her, pick her up, swing her around, as I was once able to do.

Now I recently realized that I have become truly irritable.  I noticed myself snapping at my wife over everything and nothing.  Apparently I had been doing this for a while, yet only noticed it recently.  And this morning, Every time the telephone rings, I feel as though my blood pressure is skyrocketing, and I feel like screaming at the telephone.  As this is apparently a somewhat recent development, perhaps this is just the Plaquenil.  A question for my Rheumatologist, I suppose.  I’d like to break this cycle before it gets too extreme.

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Hello world!

Posted by rheumwithaview on 6 June 2009

Hello World!  Welcome to my Rheum with A view.  This blog is my attempt to chronicle my life as it progresses down this previously unseen rocky path.

My name is Craig.  I am in my early 30’s,  married, and have a young daughter.  This is how my story begins:

Two months shy of my 29th birthday, I began experiencing a pain in the joint (MCP) of my middle finger on my right hand.  No big deal, of course.  I most likely suffered a minor injury, and it would heal in a week or two.

So I was wrong.  One month later, I went to my PCP.  Ibuprofen, X-rays.  No structural damage, but definate inflamation (arthritis).  Referal to Orthopedist.  MRI’s, Blood Tests.  No diagnosis, no relief.

Nearly a year later, I was referred to a Rheumatologist.  By this time, the pain had spread to include the 1st and 2nd fingers on my right hand, both my hands were swollen and stiff, and stiffness in my lower back and hips.

More blood tests, more X-rays, even a referal to a Dermatologist to rule out Psoriatic Arthritis.  Obviously an arthitic condition, but no diagnosis.    I was prescribed Voltaren, and had quarterly appointments with my Rheumatologist.   Only minor relief with Voltaren, so now a prescription for Relafen and Tramadol.

One year Later, April 23, 2009 to be exact.  Rheumatoid Factor in my bloodwork is still negative, but all signs and symptoms lead only to Rheumatoid Arthritis.  New prescritions for Plaquenil, Celebrex, and still Tramadol.

Well, that’s my story, in a nut shell.  That brings us to today.  I am now on a new journey.  I’m learning how to cope with my new limitations.  I have been inspired greatly by others posting blogs of their own experiences.   I hope I find this one is also theraputic.

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