S, thank you!
Your information was very helpful, and so detailed. It's great!
I'm the black sheep of my family in regards to AI diseases. I'm the ONLY one with AI issues. So having that family history to bank on is not an option for me. The positive blood work crap drives me crazy. All the things I need to be negative for, I come back positive. All the things I need to be positive for, come back negative. So like you, I can't rely on blood tests. I clearly have inflammation going on in my joints. You can see the swelling, feel the warmth and see the redness. Yet, my sed rate is always within normal values. Even when my lupus is flaring, the sed rate is normal. Frustrating as you know!
What's going to be difficult is determining if this is AS, RA or a combo of both. I have symptoms for each disease. What sets me apart from having only an RA diagnosis is that my entire spine is affected now. From what I've learned, RA doesn't affect the thoracic and lumbar regions. I also have a heck of a time in the mornings. I can hardly straighten up, and it takes a couple hours to get the major stiffness and kinks out. I do have all day pain and stiffness, but it's worse first thing in the morning and right before bed.
I guess we'll see on Thursday if any progress on a diagnosis can be made. I did see my pcp yesterday and from his viewpoint, he thinks I definitely have something rheumatological going on.
I think I'll print out your post! Keep it handy!! Thanks again Starr, I'll keep you posted!