Doctors & Hospitals

My First Rheumatology Appointment

Dear Diary,

Today I had my first rheumatology appointment, after waiting for nearly four months. I was so nervous! But, I’m happy to report that my new doctor was wonderful. Her name is Dr. T, and she’s a very compassionate, smart, and listening doctor.

She went over my records with me and interviewed me for quite a long time about all my symptoms — going as far back as my childhood and my pregnancies (my son and two miscarriages). She asked about past injuries, and I recalled the time that I tore my Sartorius muscle after a water slide ride with my son at Busch Gardens theme park in 2002. I was on crutches for over eight weeks from that injury.

I told her about my bone pain from the arthritis, the chest pain from the pulmonary embolism, the chronic hives, the hair loss, and on and on. Then she examined me, testing my joints, and she even looked at my scalp. She was amazed that I managed to cover up my thinning hair so well! 🙂

So, after she was finished with the interview and exam, she went over my blood work and told Hubby and I that I do indeed have Systemic Lupus Erythematosus or Lupus, for short. Given all the past history and the current symptoms, it looks like this Lupus has been plaguing me for YEARS!

She was surprised and a little bit annoyed that I had never been diagnosed before since my case is so obvious.

The next step is more blood work so that she can determine which medication will work best on me. I see her again in a couple of weeks.

I hope the meds will help. My allergist thinks that the meds will even enable me to eat the foods I’m allergic to. The allergy is just my body attacking itself in response to certain proteins. So, if the meds eliminate the immune response, I should be okay.

If that’s true, watch out pizza–here I come! Can you believe that’s all I’m thinking about? Ha! Well,  sometimes it’s not just the big things in life that a chronic disease deprives you of. It’s also the little things—the things that you used to enjoy that you just can’t do anymore. For me, I LOVE pizza, and for over two decades, I haven’t been able to eat it without a major autoimmune response, especially the angioedema on my upper lip. My son calls it a bubba, referencing the Bubba character in the movie, Forrest Gump. If I can get to the point of eating pizza again, I will feel that I’ve gotten just a little bit more of my old, healthier life back.

Who knows if that’ll happen. I can dream, though.






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