Recapping 2014: My Cheery Auto-immune Year

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Ah, 2014… the year to determine if I have auto-immune issues. I needed a rheumatologist to help with my struggle against spondylitis and osteoarthritis; help me dig deeper to determine why I am in chronic states of pain. Why is my body 35 going on 75?

In February, I found an intelligent rheumatologist with great reviews and a nice disposition. Plus she was close to the office. WIN! I explained how high my pain levels were and that functioning with pain-induced insomnia, a heavy workload, a toddler and a newborn really wasn’t working for me. My reliance on my growing anti-inflammatory arsenal was unrealistic.

The doctor added duloxetine to my med mix to reduce pain symptoms. The 150mg in my system proved to make me a sweaty, high blood pressure mess with emotions duller than a new Bobby Flay knife. In fact, emotions became annoyances; similar to that strand of hair that hangs in your cleavage, itching you while you’re waiting to checkout at the grocery store.

On top of duloxetine, I started taking more vitamin B and magnesium. My inner skeptic yelled at me every night. I kept thinking these supplements were ridiculous and I was throwing money away, but I kept taking them. I really wanted them to work. I really did want them to provide me with relief. I was dedicated to sprinkling turmeric on all of my food, drinking turmeric tea, popping turmeric pills along with apple cider vinegar capsules. Even while my husband continuously rolled his skeptical eyes at me, deep down I knew that all of it was tantamount to placebo mumbo-jumbo. I still tried them. They didn’t do anything.

While my numerous visits to the rheumatologist opened up possibilities for additional pain management, we were never able to find a root cause. Tests only revealed so much, and every time, tests showed I had inflammation. Shocker! But apparently the entire experience didn’t influence my mood. Throughout the frustration of no results, out-of-pocket co-pays, and sitting next to icky, sick people A LOT, I stayed “cheery”. In fact, my rheumatologist said on multiple occasions I’m the happiest person with chronic pain she’d ever seen. Compliment? I’ll take it as one.

Get Over It…
I am going to keep smiling; keep digging into health results in 2015. Play the panel/lab game. Continue visits to pain management. Load up on facet blocks and bursitis injections. I love my pain management nurse staff. They always hold my hand when I have a 3 inch needle in my neck or back. I’m sure my neurosurgeon misses me too. I’ll schedule time with him ASAP. As for my rheumatologist? I’ll visit her again at some point. Stay tuned for more cheerfulness and please bring coffee!