My Visit to the Rheumatologist

If you remember from my previous post A Couple of Normal Days, I had been given a dose of steroids that made me feel like a normal person for the first time in almost three years. The general doctor told me that he wanted me to see the rheumatologist because he thought that I might have had that reaction because of an autoimmune disorder. In the meantime, I have been using an inhaler and a nasal spray which contain corticosteroids. It has helped me to have more energy than before. It had gotten to the point where I was in bed most of the time and it was all I could do to even shower much less do things around the house.

Well, today I was able to get an appointment for the rheumatologist’s nurse practitioner for the hip injections that help my bursitis. While I was there, the doctor came in the room and I asked if he had a second to discuss something. I told him about the GP’s suspicions and he said to run all the details by the NP and she would discuss it with him. So, that is exactly what I did. I told her how I felt before the steroids and how I felt while taking them. She told me to continue to take the medications the way I am except for the Plaquinil that they had given me for inflammation. I am supposed to double the dose by taking it twice a day instead of once. In the meantime, they are going to do some more blood work. If the tests come back positive for inflammation again, she said that they would probably start me on a low dose of a medicine called Methotrexate. It was originally used as a chemotherapy drug, but in lower doses has been used to treat autoimmune disorders.

To be completely honest, the thought of taking a chemotherapy drug scares me. I am hoping and praying that my tests come back ok so that I don’t have to take it. If they don’t, however, then we will know for sure that it is some kind of autoimmune problem. If that is the case, then I suppose I will do what the doctor advises even though it scares me a bit. That is his specialty after all. I guess I was just hoping that it wouldn’t come to such drastic measures. Basically it is a quality of life issue. Before, I had no life. Now, I am able to get around better than I have in years. I will do whatever I have to do so that I don’t have to go back to that dark, lonely place that I was in before.