And the doctor said…

October 6, 2011

my test results how what he suspected: psoriatic arthritis. I have the gene and I had a white blood count of 7,700+ in the fluid they took out of my knee.

According to WebMD:

Psoriatic arthritis is an autoimmune disease, meaning that the cells and antibodies of the immune system are misdirected against one’s own tissues. Rarely, a person can have psoriatic arthritis without even having obvious psoriasis. Often, however, the more severe the skin symptoms are, the greater the likelihood a person will have psoriatic arthritis, a form of inflammatory arthritis.

There are different types; I thought I knew which one I had the most symptoms of, but it is probably just better to say I have the overall disease. Could be symmetrical, asymmetrical, or spondylitis. It really doesn’t matter, the treatment is all the same. The first course of action is an NSAID and well, I didn’t respond to that too well so we are trying a DMARD in the hopes of getting me off the steroids in the next month. I will be on a DMARD the rest of my life, with steroids for really bad flare-ups. I will have routine blood work and chest x-rays. Because I already have a heart condition, I’m seeing my cardiologist next week to get a full cardiac work-up to see if the chest inflammation has caused any problems.

I was relieved and flustered all at the same time. I did not ask all the questions I wanted to ask–first thing I should have asked for was time to just read all the test results. I process information better that way. No, I may not understand what all the little numbers mean but at least it would have looked like English to me. I really hope the pharmacy instructions are clear on what I’m supposed to do because it really sounded like he was speaking Greek to me today. (It turns out I was also given Rx strength Folic Acid to counteract the side effects of the DMARD.)

This is not a comment about him as a doctor, it is about how I learn–either demonstrate it for me or let me read the instructions myself but I will not get it if you just tell me because I won’t understand the first time. (This is why I love teachers who just write down their lesson plans and classroom notes for me because I hate giving them a blank look as they tell me which child does this, lunch is at this time, etc.)

I go back in 8 weeks to see how I respond to treatment and I will have to write down all my questions and ask to just sit with my file so I can wrap my head around this.

There is a long list of triggers, of which I have two: the over use of ibuprofen and stress, in particular a very stressful and traumatic event that happen 10 months ago when I first began having problems. It is kind of a chicken or the egg situation though. And as I said, I have the gene but 1. not all people with the gene develop PA and 2. 10% of people with PA do not have the gene. 

I am emotionally drained today. But it is a good day. Answers are good.

One comment

  1. […] my favorite time of year. The weather this year has been gorgeous. I finally had a diagnosis–psoriatic arthritis–and some medicines to try. It has been slow going. The girls and I enjoyed our annual trip […]

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