I think I've been in denial over my diagnosis, not wanting to admit out loud that I have arthritis. If I say it, it makes it real. Thus, silence has felt like a friend lately. However, some true friends have been asking for updates, which brings me to this post.
Yep, they've seen through my smiles, I'm guessing. I fake it well. But I've been hurting.
Many joints in both hands, wrists, elbows, knees, and feet are inflamed, swollen, and painful. This has been majorly affecting daily life. For example, in the past couple weeks I have needed to use two hands to turn some doorknobs or the key in the ignition because it is too painful to grab hold of the knob or the key with my right hand but it is too painful to turn either with my left hand. In that same time period, I've begun limping, due to especially tender joints in my left knee and foot. I could go on, but I think you probably get the picture.
As most of you know, the last time I saw my rheumatologist a month ago, I had three or four trouble joints (less than half of what I have now). The lab tests were inconclusive, and we scheduled a follow-up for November. He said to call and schedule another appointment if anything worsened, so I found myself back there last week.
The present diagnosis is inflammatory arthritis, and we ran more tests to determine the type. The likely culprit (which sometimes doesn't show up in bloodwork for as long as two years after symptoms begin) is rheumatoid arthritis. (I couldn't even spell rheumatologist or rheumatoid two months ago!) We're also doing an MRI on my right hand on Wednesday to determine whether and how much my bones have deteriorated in those joints, since the inflammation wears away at bones in inflammatory arthritis. I have a follow-up appointment on July 2 to discuss all the results.
So I admit it. I have arthritis. I have a slew of questions swirling in my head (like "Will I ever be able to go rock climbing again?"), but right now all we can do is take all of this one moment at a time and trust God to illuminate what we need to know and do in that moment. And try to keep smiling.