Saturday, January 19, 2013

Doctor's Appointment & my wonderful cousins!

My incredibly sweet and wonderful cousin Meredith flew up all the way from Florida to come to my doctor's appointment on Wednesday with me.  She is that kind of person.  I am so thankful she was there with me.  The appointment went pretty well.  The doctor was really nice and spent over an hour talking with us about symptoms and testing.  As expected, we didn't really get any answers because it will depend on what the blood tests show, and the tests can take up to 3 weeks to come back.

What do I know so far?  I know that I have a positive ANA with a speckled pattern.  I also know that I have a positive anti-double stranded DNA.   This can be signs of Lupus, but in my case they think it is more likely something called Sjogrens Syndrome.  What I know is that it is a systemic autoimmune disease, meaning it affects my whole body, but we don't know exactly which one until those tests come back.

We also know that my organs look great, even my lung x-ray came back okay which was a relief because I was having some trouble breathing normally.  There is a chance that the connective tissues in my body are causing the pain & even the pain/problems breathing.

I am SO not a doctor, and I have no idea how all of this works.  I am waiting to get more info, and will be getting some second opinions to make sure I have the right plan once all the tests come back.

What it sounds like, is that all of these systemic autoimmune diseases are treated the same way provided there is no organ involvement.  Again, I'm not a doctor, so maybe I am wrong.  But what the doctor said is that they treat the symptoms as they come, and give me medicine to keep my body from having inflammation.

Long story short, I am going to get myself in fighting shape. Lots of eating healthy, taking the supplements that the doctor wants me to take, working out to get my muscle strength back (which is really low, because my body hasn't been able to absorb the nutrients it needs) and make sure that I get enough rest.

I plan to be on this earth for a really long time.  This has made me realize how blessed I am for wonderful friends and family, and for access to excellent medical care.

A big thank you to Meredith for flying all the way up here.  After the appointment we went for lunch at the Flying Rhino and then for a pedicure.  It was so nice to do that stuff with her.  We had dinner that night with my cousin Bette, who lives next door to me.  I had a little breakdown on Wednesday night when I had to take the medicine the doctor gave me.  I was really scared of having to take medicine for the rest of my life, but Meredith & Bette were both there to help me through it, and even managed to make me laugh pretty hard once we realized that the medicine i'm taking is essentially just long-term Motrin! ;)   I don't know what I'd do without them both.  They are both always there for me, and I am so grateful.

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