Pain shapes a woman into a warrior…
The follow up visit with the specialist was scheduled a few days after my return from Germany. The day was finally here and numerous thoughts about the outcome had tortured my soul. The ego was playing tricks on me and I had to remind myself that 90% of our troubles start with our thoughts. This one could easily get away from me, if I gave in to entertaining and contemplating these thoughts. I would lie if I said that I wasn’t nervous and afraid of what I deemed the final prognosis. Somehow I felt that this one would shed the final light, that it would bare the answers and that years of wondering while a chronic disease was going untreated would emerge from the darkness. I prepared the best I could, expecting the worse, but hoping for the best. It was out of my hands and more than ever, I had to believe, and muster faith. I felt prepared and calm as I was sitting in the small examination room, and I prayed as I was waiting for my nurse practitioner to enter.
The door finally opened and she entered the room saying hi. I immediately tried to scan her verbal and non verbal behavior for any clues, any hints that would prepare me for the words about to come out of her mouth. As if I couldn’t have waited another ten seconds, she was about to tell me and eliminate the guess work, but I tried to detect a vibe to prepare, to have a ten second advantage of what was to come. It was obvious how strong the tension of the unknowing had been, and it came to full realization of how it had developed over all these years and the burden that it brought. I was prepared to hear it, good or bad, it would be my truths and determine what was to come.
She first confirmed that I most definitely have RA and there was no mistaking about it, but we never talked about how wacky the results were. I remembered back to the first time around, when the initial rheumatologist made it a point to emphasize how much higher my results were compared to the normal, acceptable numbers. It was scary and I had no clue what that even meant. I still don’t know what the consequences are. Is there a faster downward spiral, do you have the disease in minor ranges or is it full blown? Was I going to demise much quicker than the next person, I’m not sure of what the prognosis was? I never knew and I still don’t, I don’t know if I need to know.
Next she confirmed that all other levels were within normal range. I didn’t know in detail what was all checked, but again I didn’t need to know. I was relieved and I was ok, what I didn’t know, would bring me no worries. This had been my motto for all these years, ignorant bliss, but I knew it was no longer true and I was here to get answers. This was not going away, not yet anyways and I had to educate myself more. So far, so good and things were moving along.
What came next, seemed to be the biggest surprise of all times as she looked at me with disbelief. The X-Rays of my hands and wrists revealed NO joint damage SO FAR. I’m saying so far because anything can change at any given moment, but it seemed as if it was a miracle to her. For eleven years I had battled this ugly disease and I spoke about the excruciating pains, and the times of remission in my prior post HERE. She could hardly believe it, as I surely should have some sort of damage as a result from this disease. Was I a medical miracle, it sure felt like it from her reaction. The X-Rays revealed no damage and a few little bumps on my pinky fingers were dismissed to inflammation and hardened calcium from the white blood cells trying to repair the joint. They had been there for some time now, getting worse with physical work and at times they were feeling stiff.
Clue number 1: Too much physical work.
Surely it was the onset of my fingers deforming and I thought that the crippling disease was ready to kick it up to the next level. Once again, the ego was spinning a story fit to provide misery without fail, but now I knew the truth about these little bumps and the other thing I know, is that the ego is no friend of ours. The bottom line was that there was no damage and it was the biggest news of the day. Further she discussed treatment options with me and we had arrived at the point of a prescription. Chemically altered drugs that would suppress the symptoms and keep the pain levels at bay. The thing I didn’t want to do the begin with, and the thing that had left me no choice but to seek medical attention in the first place. It was the pain levels that became intolerable and why I went to seek her help. I didn’t know how to function and do my job any longer, but I was feeling pretty good these days and the prednisone had done it’s trick or had it?
To be continued….