In 2010 I was having a bit of a bad trot. Alright, I was having a shocker. Life wasn’t a bed of roses. It was more a bed of compost…… I’d attempted to separate from my then husband ( ‘don’t mention the war’ again) and was somewhat of a hot mess. Ah, memories.
One night, as I sat on the couch watching Carrie Bradshaw and the gang, I realised I had a sore knee. Weird. Went to bed and awoke unable to walk on that leg. Not being the athletic type, I knew it certainly wasn’t a sporting mishap. Over a couple of days it resolved.
I then progressed to having an agonising shoulder and couldn’t dress myself. That too resolved over a number of days. “This is jolly” I thought. “Now my limbs are going out in sympathy with the rest of me”. In true fashion I decided to do the adult thing, and ignored it. That was until the next week when I had another episode and couldn’t use either arm or one hand. This meant very bad hair and not being able to do up a bra. MEDICAL EMERGENCY.
Off I went to my very lovely GP who was duly concerned. She hoped it was some form of virus. I had, in the interim, also developed swollen glands and a chest infection. Ace. Lovely GP told me to come back pronto if it didn’t improve. The grand finale arrived some 48 hours later when everything imploded at once. Shoulders, hands and both knees. I awoke in agony and was literally stuck under the covers. Glamorously (and using language that was bad even for me) I managed to get out of bed. In what must have been quite an entertaining vision, I then slid slowly down the hallway on my butt to the bathroom which housed painkillers. I took enough to kill an elephant and then lay on the bathroom floor until things improved enough to make it to the lounge room. 9am I dialled the doctor. 11am I had a blood test.
About 9am the next morning I got a phone call that I was being referred to a rheumatologist immediately who would slot me in. By lunchtime the next day I was the proud owner of my very own autoimmune disease.
What the hell is that??????
‘Palindromic Rheumatism’ is a rare form of inflammatory arthritis. Its cousin is Rheumatoid Arthritis. A certain percentage of ‘PR’ patients go on to develop ‘RA’. Some occasionally can have both conditions.
Well of COURSE I have won that lucky bloody door prize. If you’re curious here are links to both diseases. Don’t feel obliged. Sore joints, hobbling about, lots of drugs….. blah blah.
I like to call my disease combo ‘weirdo arthritis’ because I’m a bit of an odd case. I’m on a meds regime that mostly works (unless I get super stressed and a few other factors). There have been some medication misfires along the way, and a few occasions where it’s all gotten pretty ugly. But generally life goes on in quite a reasonable fashion. People have it a lot worse. Naturally some people have it somewhat better as well.
It goes without saying that if a lady such as myself is occasionally stricken with malfunctioning limbs, she’ll need to fashion coordinate her walking aids.
Most people don’t guess there’s anything medically wrong with me unless it’s visible and I hobble. Which I determinedly try not to do. Then of course come the inevitable looks of surprise and comments about my age. (Why thank you… yes I AM 35…..). I’m always happy to answer questions, and I think awareness of these diseases is important. Word of warning however. If you say fish oil or turmeric to me I WILL have to possibly insert my favourite walking stick up your behind.
Arthritis can be confusing, but this version is not what your nanna had. It’s a misfiring immune system and not wear and tear. No, I’m not going to give up chocolate donuts and high heels. There have been times when I’ve had to wear flat shoes during an acute flare in my feet, knees or hips and those are the times I’m a bit of a sooky cow. I’m short enough as it is for God’s sake. That’s just CRUEL. (I have teamed the flatties with bling jewellery to try and distract the eye from time to time when forced to face my public in a sorry state).
That’s just life as an arthritic chick. 🙂
Arthritis Foundation – Palindromic Rheumatism
Rheumatoid Arthritis – Arthritis Australia