about 2 months ago, after suffering from extreme hypothermia, and subsequently thawing out....hmm, I noticed some odd things happening. My hips started aching, my right temple was throbbing all the time, my right eyeball felt like there was something in it all the time, and it was swollen feeling. My arms ached, my at times they felt numb, and tingly. My legs felt like rubber, and I was exausted. I decided to take those complaints (along with others that I was experiencing) to the doctor. But, not before I armed myself with a little bit of knowledge.
While firing off my list of owies to the doctor, I watched her reaction. Nothing.
She didin't even write most of them down. Finally, when I was finished, she said "is your breath bad?, can you sleep?, Do you have depression?, Do you still enjoy doing the things you used to do?, etc....." I replied with a "yes" to each question. She asked if I was on anti-depressents. I said No, and the depression is not something I need meds for, I'm depressed because everything hurts.
The doctor is young. This I thought was a good thing, you know right out of school, all the newest medicine, diseases, gung ho, excited.... I think however, she was just plain overwhelmed by all my aches and pains.
I mentioned to the doctor that my hair was falling out. She looked at my scalp and asked if this was normal. NORMAL???? What's normal about patches of hair falling out? My bathroom floor now has more hair than I do. She had a diagnosis....stress.
Alrighty then, it's time to drop the ball and tell her what my symptoms may mean. I didn't tell her I'd been on the internet, or spoken with an opthomologist friend, and that i may have an answer. I wanted her to figure it out, and take all the credit.
I mentioned, temporal arteritis, otherwise known as giant cell disease. TA/ GC has a direct correlation to polymyalgia rheumatica, which is an inflammatory rheumatic condition. That would account to the pain in my hips.
Temporal arteritis was causing vision loss in my right eye by this time. I wasn't leaving the docs office without an answer, and medication. My worst fear was going blind.
But, of course, I played by the rules and waited for the doc. to make the diagnosis. Still, she hemmed and hawed, and said "well, sounds like you've done some reading." Then she said, "I still don't see how the pain in your hips has anything to do with your headache, unless you have an auto-immune disease, which I am certain you don't".
What? Auto immune disease? You mean like Lupus?
All of a sudden, I'm on a mission. I need to get home, get back on the internet and read all I can about Lupus. The doctor then says to me "I'll put you on 20mg. prednisone for 30 days. If your symptoms don't subside within 24-48 hrs. call me, and we'll take you off of it." She explained that prednisone would handle the pain in my temple and eye, and the aches in the hips, etc. if that was truly what I was experiencing.
I then asked her what kind of tests she'll be running. She said a complete CBC, rheumatoid factor, double stranded DNA antibody, ANA, ESR (sed rate), and lipid panel.
That was a week ago today. The prednisone is working. The temporal headache is gone, the eyeball swelling has subsided, my vision is back to almost normal, the pain in my hips is 75% better some days. The side effects of the prednisone are not good. I'm lethargic, feel sad, my whole head feels like it is in a vice grip 12 hrs. a day, I'm no fun to be around. Not even my chihuahua likes me right now.
The CBC shows anemia (duh, I'm a 51 year old female that weighs only 109lbs, and 5'6", due to another of my symptons, rapid weight loss). All the rest of the labs show within normal, but either low or high range, indicating something going on....
I haven't head a peep from the doc regarding the test to determine the liklihood I have lupus. I guess she went on holiday.....oh well....
Any other Giant cell sufferers out there that may have lupus? Or, vice versa.