Well today was the big day. I finally had my appointment with my Rheumatologist. It was clear across Omaha so I had plenty of time to pray on my way. Also, I popped in one of my favorite cd's Redemption Songs by Jars of Clay. I was praying over the appointment and praying for peace whatever the outcome was going to be.
I met Dr Doud and I really like her. She was very personable and I felt that she really listened to what I was trying to say to her. This in itself was a gift from God because that was one of the things that I was afraid of. Before I was diagnosed with Crohn's I went to several doctors who didn't listen to what I was trying to say and just wrote me off as being anorexic, having just a nervous stomach and that it was mostly in my head. She asked me a lot of questions trying to see if my joint issues were more Crohn's related or if it was something more.
Dr Doud believes that based on my symptoms that I am showing signs of Rheumatoid Arthritis. I went to get some blood work done and then to get x-rays of my hands and feet. The blood work is to check several things but also to look at what my Rheumatoid Factor is. The RF number is just an antibody that floats around in the blood of many people who do in fact have Rheumatoid Arthritis. Doctors use the RF test in blood work because the values of RF is often quite higher in people who do have RA. RF supports a tentative diagnoses of RA...but used alone, is not enough to make a diagnoses of RA. Normal values are usually 0-20 U/mL give or take a few depending on the lab (all labs have a tendency to vary a point or 2). Now Dr Doud mentioned that an absent RF does not exclude Rheumatoid Arthritis. They'll use this test, plus my statements of symptoms, pain levels in joints, swelling, symmetrical joint pain & swelling & stiffness, RA nodules, and XRAY changes of the joint or decalcifications/deformities to make a final diagnosis.
Dr Doud will be contacting me early next week to talk to me about the results of my blood work and x-rays. She has put me on 5mg of Prednisone to try and give me some relief. Hopefully this dosage will be effective to help but not so high that I have a lot of side effects that go along with Prednisone. Dr Doud said that most likely she will be putting me on a medication called Methotrexate. It is compatible with my different Crohn's medications. I have heard of this medication before because it is sometimes actually used to treat Crohn's disease.
I am disappointed that I do have something in addition to my Crohn's disease. I feel sorrow more for my family then really I do myself. They are going to be just as effected by this as I will be. I will just have to lay this at God's feet (maybe daily) and trust that when my body fails me that He will provide as He has promised. God has given me wonderful friends and family that pray over me, send notes of love and encouragement or call me and flat out tell me that they are sending someone over to help me knowing how much I hate to ask. I know that I am not alone in this and I am grateful beyond anything that I can express. I do have to say though that when God calls me home I will not be sad to leave this broken body behind!