Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Pain in The Neck

It's obvious from the date of my last post I don't write super often.  There's lots of reasons really, but one thing I really appreciate about this blog is that writing is cathartic.  There's been a lot happening over here and writing about it may help the process :)

Starting back in January my left hip (the sacroiliac joint) began hurting.  It was a severe pain that would leave me unable to walk or sit.  Laying flat on my back was the only relief.  I have had the same pain in the past but only on the right side and only during pregnancies.  Since I wasn't pregnant we were slightly befuddled.  The pain continued for months so I made an appointment with my general practice doctor.

My appointment was April 1st and she ordered labs and x-rays.  She thought I may have a type of auto-immune arthritis that causes your joints to fuse together.  She told us we probably wouldn't be able to see much on the x-rays unless the damage was severe.  The x-rays showed damage in my sacroiliac joints.

She referred me to a Rheumatologist.  I had to wait for 6 weeks to get into her.  During that time more joints began to be affected.  By the time I finally saw the new doc I was having pain in my hands, feet, neck, both S.I. joints, knees, elbow and my left eye would turn bright red and swell.

Dr. Warner is my Rheumatologist and she is just amazing.  She diagnosed me with Psoriatic Arthritis and Spondilitis. PsA is akin to Rheumatoid arthritis.  It affects ligaments, tendons,  heart, lungs, eyes, skin, nails, stomach, as well as joints.   

I have been on medication for 5 weeks.  It has been really hard because the symptoms of the disease were still affecting me (it takes weeks for the meds to take effect) and I was suffering from the side effects of the medication (methotrexate, which is a low dose chemotherapy). 

During this transition I have been so blessed with friends and family that have similar diagnosis' and understand the emotional impact a chronic illness and diagnosis has.  Their love and empathy have been priceless.

I am starting to feel better more each day.  The fog of pain is lifting and I can actually identify specific areas that hurt verses just everything hurts. 

The hardest part of this has been the emotional toll.  I have always been a very productive person and I feel of most value when I can create and do.  Spending large swaths of my day in bed has been a significant change for me.  I was having a really good day this past Saturday.  Low pain and I was able to be very productive and spent the afternoon with a friend and the evening swimming with the kids.  I was happy and feeling healthy.  That evening I sat down on my bed and realized I had lost a toe nail (a symptom of the disease).  All the good of the day drained away and I was left with the reality of what is happening to my body.

It is my goal to be an example to those around me, my family, our church.  To be strong and rely on the Hope we have as believers.  To trust in God's plan for my life even when I don't understand.  I know that up until now I have struggled but I am coming out of the fog.  I can manage this with God's grace and my precious family.

I am so thankful for a very patient and loving husband who has been more than willing to help with the kids and to lessen my burden. 

This scripture has become a lifeline for me.  Thank you Lord for your promises.

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