Apparently, I'm Inflamed.

I'm on a new journey this year - one of trying to get healthy. It will probably be the hardest thing I ever attempt. I've lived with so many bad habits for so many years. I really need to start from scratch.

For loyal readers who check in here once in awhile, you have read that I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia in May 2014.  By the grace of God, I believe I have found a good solution for that - MSM (METHYLSULFONYLMETHANE.)  It's a sulfur based natural supplement that helps ease a lot of ailments, but particularly inflammation. After just one bottle's worth, my muscle aches and soreness are gone.  MSM does not claim to cure anything, and I don't claim it will cure you if you are dealing with fibromyalgia. But, I'd certainly recommend trying it. I buy the Solaray brand (750 mg) because my nutritionist confirmed that it is a good and solid brand.  I take one capsule in the morning and one at night.

I've also had joint pain over the past 16 months. This could also be some fibro, but fibro tends to affect muscles and connective tissues, not bones. For my joint issues, I've seen three rheumatologists. I didn't plan to see three; I thought I only needed one.  #1 told me I had one blood marker for rheumatoid arthritis, but she did not see it in my joints; therefore, I did not have it. 

I changed primary care physicians over the summer, and he ordered new blood work.  When he saw that one high blood marker for RA, he referred me to rheumatologist #2.  She said she did not see RA in my joints, but wanted to start me on meds immediately.  She said I would only get worse and I needed to see her regularly, and she wanted to give me a script that day.

I was stunned.  Didn't #1 say I didn't have RA? I told #2 I needed to think about it.  When I returned to my PCP, he asked me if I would be open to going to Mayo Clinic for a clear diagnosis, either way.  Mayo Clinic is three hours north of me. I thought you had to be really sick, or have some puzzling disease to go to Mayo, but I was wrong. Anybody can make an appt. online, and go. 

I signed in to the Mayo Clinic website and made an appt. two months away, the soonest I could get in.  I was OK with that, because, holy moley, I was going to Mayo Clinic.  I didn't even realize we had one in Florida.  Thank you, Jesus.

My daughter and I drove to St. Augustine the night before my appt. and stayed with my son and his wife.  We got up the next morning at 5:30 and drove to Mayo, 50 minutes away.

We were so impressed with Mayo. Dr. Oliviera spent an hour with me, looking at all the test results I brought with me. RA cannot be diagnosed from one blood marker, he said, and suggested I not go back to rheumatologist #2. She was premature in her conclusion.

He then ordered blood work, joint X-rays, and some nerve testing on my wrists due to carpal tunnel issues. The next day, he discussed with me the results of everything.

1. I now had two more blood markers for RA, which put me closer to a diagnosis of RA.
2. My joints showed some osteoarthritis, but no swollen synovial membranes, the definitive symptom of RA.
3. The MRI on my wrists revealed some wearing down of two small bones, but not definitively from RA. He said it was OK to pursue surgery on the wrist that had severe carpal tunnel.
4. Upon a clinical exam, he (like the first two docs) did not see RA in my hands or feet (where it starts.)
5. On an "established diagnosis of RA" chart, I had 5 of 7 markers.

Hmm.  So, did I have RA or not? This is the question. Dr. Oliviera recommended starting meds for RA, because it seems I'm heading in that direction. However, he did say that these blood markers prove only a lot of inflammation - which can be caused by other things (but usually RA.) I asked if I could have three months to change my diet/lifestyle to see if I can reduce or eliminate this crazy inflammation. (From my blood work, I think I should look like a puffer fish.)

puffer fish pictures

The doc agreed.

So that's the journey I've started as of a week ago. I'm going to write about it here, because we are an inflammation nation, and maybe my journey will help someone else. All my inflammation has to be good for something.


Andrea said...

Wow! That must've been a lot to absorb, but so glad you have a path and tools to help you on the way...now you just need some non-inflammatory snacks for the trip! (I think I saw an indication on fb that chocolate might not be in the new regiment...so sorry)

Chatty Crone said...

I am with Andrea - wow - but I am glad you are taking control and finding out what is going on!

Mari said...

I'm sorry you are dealing with this, but I'm glad you're blogging about it. I find it very interesting. I'm thinking I should check into that MSM for my hubby to see if it helps his muscle aches.

Cathy said...

I hope what you are doing works well and that your health will take a turn for the better.

I'm mostly known as 'MA' said...

It is good to share our stories. You never know when it might help someone else. I hope your journey takes you to good health and happiness.

Rita said...

Sounds like you are on the cusp and the diagnosis could go either way. I think it is a smart move to see what you can do on your own before diving into the pill bottles. Good for you!

I wish I could take MSM but allergic to sulfa. What a godsend it has been for you. Makes me so happy. :)

Let us know how this goes and what you are doing to try to reduce the inflammation. I'd love to know!!

Robyn said...

Prayers dear sister