Dear new friends- Erin, Curley, hunnybunny, babyplace and everyone else,
I feel like I am dreaming but miracles DO happen- Get this! After my ortho appt this morning, the frustration levels skyrocketed and still in tears I phoned the local Internal Medicine group to inquire about making a rheumy appointment without being referred by my ortho doc. They connected me with the rheumy's nurse and I began my long, miserable tale. She told me I didn't need a referral from the ortho, I could self-refer, as she put it. I was so happy I began to cry and she took my number and said she'd call me back to schedule an appointment. She also told me a new appt is a 90 minute slot and she didn't think I'd get in for quite a while. That was fine- I was thrilled to be going to one! Not 10 minutes later she called me to ask if I could make a 9 AM qappointment TOMORROW!! I could not belive this! Tomorrow?!?!?! YAY! She told me to gather whatever films, MRIs, labs, etc I had and to bring them along. I immediately called the ortho group and requested the films, etc. I will pick them up at 8:30 and go directly to my appointment at 9 AM.
IN a nutshell, here is my arthritis and degenerative disk disease history. Dx of Spondylolisthesis and OA was made when I was 34 and I lived a relatively normal life with that Dx until 2001 when my gait began to change and I had almost constant pain after a fall. I was on transdermal fentanyl and vicodin for 6 month prior to surgery as well as 8 months post surgery. I had a posterior decompression and fusion of L5-S1 with my own iliac bone graft and graphite cage instrumentation. After a year or so, my life returned to being pretty normal with my spine and back. Shortly after that time my right knee began to deteriorate and the films revealed a lot of arthritis that had pretty well destroyed 90% of my meniscus. They told me it was beyond repair and removed most of it in October 2006. That surgery seemed to have been the beginning of the end joint-wise for me. Within a week my shoulder was throbbing and inflamed... I received 3-4 cortisone injections to relieve that problem. Then it was my elbow.. more injections; back to my knee- xray showed bone on bone aggravation and more arthritis and lots of fluid. More cortisone shots. Throughout this fiasco I have tried every type of pain killer, NSAID, and injection the ortho could think (and several that I couldn't take due to allergies/ reactions!) of all the while taking high doses of vicodin, vicoprofen or oxycontin trying in vane to keep pain to a minimum. It's to the point now that the ortho doc asks ME what drugs I want to try for relief!! I'm not a pharmacist- I would like to have less pain and stiffness, yanno? My hands are gnarled and bent, the knuckle where my index finger meets my had is as big around as a half dollar, my knee is constantly hot and swollen, and since Saturday AM boith wrists are hot, swollen, stiff and painful as heck. I'm pretty sure I do not have carpal tunnel because for the most part typing isn't too hard on me- it's just anything like gripping a pen or cup, lifting a glasss or even my cell phone. Weight isn't a factor, it seems- the motion and position of my wrist is what causes me to scream and grimace. (Does this make sense to anyone??)
My hope is that the rheumy will be able to tell me I have something inflammatory or not- arthritis or not... tendonitis or not... as well as interpret the test results I do have back. I guess I will sleep better tonight just knowing an appointment with someone new who might listen to my complaints with 'fresh ears'.... SO far the injections I got in my wrists today haven't helped even a little bit. I was really hoping for more relief tonight though. It seems like I have been miserable with pain for so long that all I do is cry and complain.
Thanks for being here, folks!! Whatever the outcome, it does feel better to share my frustrations and to learn so much from your experiences!! God bless each of you abundantly!
~Holly in PA~