Today I had my long awaited check up with my rheumatologist after the battery of tests that have been done over the last few months the results were finally in.
My anxiety has been at high alert and it really peaked on our way into the city this morning. Not only because the trip involved the usual aches and pains of sitting in a confined space like that but the now more regular nausea that comes and goes as it pleases. Physical symptoms always seem to make the mental issues worse… and vice versa. I wanted answers and my brain was racing away with every worse case scenario you can think of.
With my previous diagnosis of ‘undifferentiated connective tissue disease’, a lot has been left to the imagination. Was it connected to my IBS? Was it one of the many crap diseases and syndromes that run in my family? Was it something to blame for my anxiety and depression? Did they actually have answers or was I going to get the ring around again and another bunch of tests and wait, wait, wait?
Recently Mr. Mango and I watched the T.V. show house and through it we had a good laugh at many of the little jokes along the way. One of them was that House’s crack team would always suggest lupus as a cause for some random harsh symptoms and House would always prove that ITS NOT LUPUS, IT’S NEVER LUPUS.
The idea that this was one of the possibilities on the spectrum of what my doctor was looking for seemed ridiculous. After all, I don’t have a face rash, my organs come back clean and well….. it’s never lupus.
There may be some back story into why this would be even more difficult news that I don’t really want to get into. Family history and bad blood (literally and figuratively). Something to delve into another, not so hyper-emotional day.
As my doctor showed me my charts, explained blood test results and threw around different terms and conditions I slowly started to numb away, recede into my own brain and glaze over. Between the different protein and enzyme levels along with my re-occurring symptoms she was pretty confident with her diagnosis.
At this point shock and disbelief took over. I nodded my head, took down the notes and received my first prescriptions and was told to make another appointment in 3 months to see how the treatment plan was working. I asked some slurred questions about some unrelated things and how to go about anti-depressants and supplementation through my family doctor and she assured me she would send over all my information to him.
So now I sit here, with 3 new medications, a new diagnosis and sure the answer to what exactly going on with my body, but do I feel answered? No not really….
I know that it could be a worse health complication. I know that I’m pretty lucky to have a doctor that really put in the effort and believed me from the begining. I know that I am especially lucky that it has only been just over a year since my symptoms really started to worsen (from what I hear the average is 4 years before diagnosis!!!). The icing on the cake is that my doctor actually specializes in treating lupus in northern climates.
It’s not a death sentence and it was caught before major organ damage. I know this is all a good thing and having some answers is a blessing and working towards treatment and prevention of future flare ups and complications is a huge positive. I just seem to have a whole new set of unanswered questions…. and I kind of feel like just hitting things. I’ve seen the worst case scenario of what this disease can do and it ain’t pretty.
“Hi, my name is Ms. Mango. I have lupus.”
It just doesn’t feel real……