Thursday, March 04, 2010

My mom recently found out that she was misdiagnosed with Osteoarthritis 5 years ago--sort of. She really does have OA in her hips but all the other joints involved were not OA. She too has Rheumatoid Arthritis. And I, in part, was the one who diagnosed her.
I found it strange that she would have flares in various joints. I too have OA in a few joints and I know from experience that OA pain never goes away. It's always there, in varying degrees. Whereas with RA, at least in my experience, I can go from having excruciating pain in my elbow for months to waking up one day with no elbow pain at all. She also had a few other little things that were similar to me; sudden flushing and fevers, an increasing sensitivity to scents and chemicals -- although this is likely my fault. When one makes their home completely chemical and scent free, if exposed to them they are suddenly more noticeable; even Renzo notices now.
I asked her if she was sure she didn't have RA. What was her blood work like? She looked at me like I had 3 heads--"What blood work??" I asked what her rheumatologist said during his exam? Again the odd look, "What exam? He looked at the hip x-rays, held my hand briefly, prescribed Voltaren and sent me on my way." He saw her once. Never again.
So I went on a mission. And in truth it was more for me than her. I was desperate for someone in my life to understand. I mean really understand what I go through every day. Sure the Boy sees what I go through. But he can never really understand. Sure my RA Tweeps get it. But none of them live here. A few months back, I went out to dinner with my childhood girlfriends. I had to ask one to cut my food for me because I was unable to. I have never been so mortified. Renzo, of course, thought it was hilarious. Maybe this is selfish but I want to commiserate with someone who has been there.
And maybe I also wanted someone to blame. My rheumatologist asks me every visit if perhaps this relative or that relative may have had RA. And my reply has always been no. OA in the family but not RA. And then he clicks his tongue and makes another note in my file. As if he too is desperate to be able to blame someone for my condition. I mean really, after 34 years of this disease in one form or another, who wouldn't want to blame someone?
I got my mom on the waiting list for my rheumatologist and after the long wait, she finally saw him just before Christmas. She told him my suspicions. He checked her out and thought I could be right. After the blood work came back, the diagnosis was confirmed a couple of weeks ago. I now have a MTX buddy!
But I guess I can't really lay the blame on her. She's only had RA for 5 years. So I guess she could say she got it from me. Oops! Sorry Ma!