Posted 11/22/2021 6:12 PM (GMT -8)
I'm a 44yo male. Married with 4 kids (10-17). I've been a firefighter/paramedic for 18 years. Mostly, I enjoy obstacle course racing and trail running, which I train for running 15 miles/week and doing other workouts. I'm also active outdoors taking care of our property. Granted I eat whatever I want, and I have had a history of alcohol abuse (I like beer), I've avoided needing to be on any prescription meds and am usually a picture of health. I have OSA but even that's managed with an oral appliance.
The story.... In late September I went to the Obstacle Course Racing World Championships in Vermont. It was physically and mentally stressful. Shortly after I felt chilled and fatigued, but it cleared up with some immune boosting supplements. Then the night sweats, fatigue, & cold sensitivity started. This was Oct 25: I had blood work done and found my RNP was 1.5. At the same lab my CRP was 41 and Sed rate was 36. Both of these lowered 9 days later to 17 and 13 respectively. My lymphocytes are around 9-10 (instead of 20-45), but my neutrinophils are elevated. 2 Drs I went to initially thought it was due to Lyme - as Lyme often mimics AI disease. Since we were thinking it's Lyme, so I've been on Doxycycline between that and OTC Naproxen (Aleve) I'm still taking those and I'm feeling normal again. I have a history of mild proteinuria because I'm athletic, but lately the urine is more foamy than usual and sometimes my ankles are swollen with fluid.
Then the blood draw on Nov 19 came back with an RNP of 5.5. I've got a rx for Prednisone and Plaquenil. As a paramedic I know long term use of prednisone is not healthy. Both drugs cause low blood cell numbers, muscle weakness, muscle loss, and a host of side effects (go read up on them). Doxycycline and Aleve have been working great as far as how I feel. Being a paramedic, having a suppressed immune system could make me more sick more often and what good is that?
To further complicate things I'm supposed to have a stem cell therapy injection to fix a torn rotator cuff in December.
Here's my emotional vent so please, please give me some grace and hear my heart:
How on earth did I go from this healthy to potentially having an ever decreasing quality of life? As a paramedic I've seen diabetics, and cardiac patients in their early 50s who were sedentary with long term health problems. I swore I didn't want to be one of those. All my life I've been saying I want to have an active, vibrant quality of life. Now that's threatened. Financially we can't afford constant medical care. Most of all I don't want to lose my ability to do obstacle course racing, trail running, or climbing at the climbing gym. My circle of friends has been my race "framily." But... being laid up and feeling like ^&$^ because of the side effects of Predni and Plav aren't a much better choice for me. Especially since I'm largely asymptomatic at this point (and getting better every day). I just can't help but think this is a temporary stress-induced situation after my trip to Vermont. Could this be fatigue syndrome that's activated everything? I was feeling pretty healthy and stress free until I saw my latest RNP numbers tonight.
We're already looking to switch to a plant-based, anti-inflammatory diet and taking anti-inflammatory supplements. I've got a 2nd opinion appointment lined up with a D.O. rheumy, and a hemotologist. Hopefully the DO can offer a more whole-body treatment plan.