Diagnosis #2


Diagnosis #2

RA MemeI have been quiet recently, mostly due to mild depression and some anxiety all related to COVID-19. Unlike much of the population, I’m considered mission essential, which sounds like a good thing, but it honestly translates to, “you are good at what you do and you will do whatever it takes, so we can get you to come in and do the work of those that don’t want to come in, plus you aren’t a problem child, so tag you’re it”. The real problem is that for the first few months, I honestly felt like I was on an episode of survivor and all the cool kids got “voted” off the island and I was all that was left. I mean there were days that it was me, the two people working the lobby, and the cleaning lady.

It was rough the first few months, with what felt like ‘drug deals’ along the road or in a Walmart parking lot, to give someone who wasn’t authorized to come into work, some equipment or something from their office or desk. Working in IT, I had a large number of requests to fix this, and install that, which meant picking up the computer in a parking lot and either doing the work there or taking it back to the office to complete the work. I honestly felt used and abused and the burnout is real, that is for sure.

But none of that is the focus of this post. The focus of this post is to talk about my most recent diagnosis. In late 2019, my neurologist diagnosed me with Fibromyalgia and told me that I should see a Rheumatologist. I couldn’t see a Rheumatologist until July 2020 due to COVID and everything being closed or limited access. When I finally got to see one, she confirmed the Fibromyalgia diagnosis and ordered a handful of tests including some blood tests.

RA MemeI went to the lab and donated 10 vials of blood, had a head CT and a lung x-ray, and then I waited for the results. As the results slowly filtered in, I was again disappointed as test after test came back negative. I mean, it was a real emotional roller coaster, part of me was very happy to see the negatives so some pretty messed up illnesses, but then again, I wasn’t making any progress. Then the first positive came in and then another.

Now I had to wait for my doctor’s appointment so I could find out what all these results meant. I had the day off work and my first stop of the day was to the dentist to fix some cavities likely caused by the Cymbalta, which not only caused dry mouth which promoted decay but also caused me to clench my jaw, which caused further dental issues. After the dentist, the next stop was to the Rheumatologist.

She reviewed all the results and said that it is confirmed that I have RA (Rheumatoid arthritis) as well as Fibro. Further testing revealed that it looks like I have ‘Linear scarring/subsegmental atelectasis at the left lung base’, which is likely a result of the RA. No worries, I got this, I spent 10-plus years in the Marine Corps, and trust me I put up with a ton of bullshit while serving, so Fibro and RA aren’t going to kick my ass either.

This was all last week, I haven’t started treatment, as I’m currently awaiting approval of my scripts due to April 2020 guidance from the Governor of Virginia and the Virginia health commissioner, which told doctors not to prescribe drugs like Hydroxychloroquine. Which means I have to get approvals first. Are you freaking serious, once again the Government sticking its nose where it doesn’t belong, and staying in your own swim lane.

RA MemeOnce I get approval, I hope to start treatment soon and I’m optimistic to see how this works. I know that I need something for the pain and hopefully, this works. The fun part about Hydroxychloroquine is that it can take up to six months before I see real results and I have to see my eye doctor every six months as I could lose my color vision, ugh.
I also have a script for Seroquel, which is supposed to help me sleep.

Next up, is back to the Pulmonologist to check out the scarring on my lungs.

Wish me luck!

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