On Monday, November 2nd, I had an appointment with my rheumatologist for an ultrasound of my fingers, and a followup regarding bloodwork from last month. Dr. Matsueda informed me that my bloodwork, along with my ultrasound results, completely ruled out Rheumatoid Arthritis. Since my ANA and Smith AB were high, he is suspecting SLE (Systemic Lupus Erythematosus). He can’t confirm this diagnosis until I provide more bloodwork sometime in mid-December. But, considering that my ANA has been high since November 2018, I’m almost certain that I have SLE, or at least some kind of auto-immune disease for sure. My migrating joint, muscle, and nerve pains just don’t align with any form of classical arthritis.
It hasn’t really hit me yet. I feel like I’m in some sort of limbo teetering on the edge of a nightmare. But I’m doing what I can to keep my head above water. The pile of work I have for me at my job following my recent promotion is overwhelming and the constant barrage of house chores and mom responsibilities leave me little room to succumb to defeat.
Throughout all this uncertainty and quiet chaos, I’m only ever aware of one truth. And that is…I will find a way to get through this, just like I always do.
Toward the end of August, I started noticing that my arthritis pain was getting more frequent and intense. The following month of September was pretty much a series of flareups that killed my mood to blog. If it wasn’t my fingers or wrists, it was my ankles, knees, elbows, or shoulders. Actually, it was so bad this time around that even my hip joint hurt. Two of those flareups were caused by significant dips in atmospheric pressure, so it had absolutely nothing to do with the foods I ate. The most recent flareup was so bad that Ken had to help me shower because I couldn’t bend my right elbow.
Fasting helped for a while, but then I noticed my body was burning through its meager stash of vitamins and minerals and I wasn’t feeling so great. As a result, my intermittent fasting is currently on hold while I’m making an effort to eat meals that (1) avoid sugar, gluten, and milk, and (2) contain good fats, protein, and spinach. I was going to say leafy greens there but in reality, spinach is the only dark leafy green that I actually like. I’m also taking Vitamin D3 (2,000 IU) and Magnesium Complex supplements. So far, I’ve noticed that the intensity and frequency of my pain have significantly lessened. The only major factor that’s left for me to correct now is making sure I get at least 7 hours of sleep each night, which is proving difficult for me. I’ll think about exercising once this pain is under control.
On the plus side, because I fasted a lot during September, I managed to lose a good chunk of weight. As of October 4 at 7am, I weighed 125lbs, which is a total of 26.2lbs lost since April 2019. I’m almost at my happy weight range of 110-115! I swear the remaining ten pounds is in the spare tire hanging at my midsection.
Friday night, just when my right hand was getting better, I started experiencing the tell-tale snapping-crab pain in my ankles, where it feels like an army of crabs are constantly snapping at my ankles with each painful step. Well, after Friday night and into the weekend, my right ankle faired worse and I had to call in sick to work for today (Monday). It got so bad that I had a hard time walking around the house and Ken would have to help me get around. The area feels warm, tender, and extremely painful with the slightest touch. Any movement or pressure on this ankle is painful. Putting a light blanket on my legs elicited pain from this ankle. It doesn’t look very swollen in the photo, but even Ken said he could tell that it was swollen. Needless to say, I had to call in sick again for tomorrow.
It was yesterday night when I started to wonder about the air pressure and sure enough, it was below the green zone of 29.9 inHg or 1010 hPa. This week is supposed to be rainy with some thundershowers. There seems to be so many ways to express air pressure that I’ve been confused, but for now I guess I’ll just stick to hectopascals or hPa, since apparently that is the international unit for measuring atmospheric pressure.
I woke up this morning with excruciating pain in my wrists (more so my left), so I had to call in sick to work because there was no way I could drive. Certain movements of my fingers triggers the pain, as well as certain rotations/positions of the wrist. It feels like I sprained both of my wrists somehow. So I ate breakfast and took two Tylenol caplets (1,300mg) and hours later… what do you know, it didn’t even make a dent. I have a doctor’s appointment tomorrow. Apparently they want to see me again since it’s been a year (since I went there regarding arthritis issues). I’m planning to get a referral to a Japanese hospital that my insurance recognizes.
I’ve been tired all day. I just have this overwhelming sense of fatigue. I took a three hour nap but I’m still tired. I’m going to eat dinner and this time I’m taking Motrin because it did help when I took it a few days ago.
I asked Ken to buy me some Motrin because I’m going through yet another flare up. I’m not happy about it (obviously), but it’s gotten to the point where I can’t function normally at home, so Motrin it is.