at the Water's Edge

Living life and learning all I can along the way!

It's Not RA...

Prompt: What is the most ridiculous thing you’ve heard about health or your condition? Was there any context? What did you think at the time you heard it – and what do you think of it now?

I've heard some pretty ridiculous comments that have been told to other patients, but I was trying to think of the most ridiculous thing that had been said to me.  I think it came from a doctor.  This was a couple years into my diagnosis and I was trying very hard to "fix" or "cure" my rheumatoid arthritis.  I went to a holistic doctor for a while, and he told me that what I really had was Lyme Disease.  There were a couple of problems with this, however.  Firstly, I never had ANY other symptoms of lyme disease besides joint pain.  Secondly, I paid for the expensive "good" diagnositc test for lyme disease and it came back "inconclusive".  Thirdly, it seemed that he diagnosed everyone who came into his office with various ailments with lyme disease.  And, finally, he never actually treated me for lyme disease.  I was skeptical at first, but willing to consider it an option -- at least there was a way to cure lyme disease -- my doctor said through antibiotic therapy.  But, as I said the test came back inconclusive, and I became even more skeptical.  We tried a few other alternative therapies there--none of which had any effect on my symptoms.  At one point the doctor asked me point blank: "Do YOU think you have lyme disease?"  I was still unsure, because he didn't provide me with any evidence that I did!  What I should have asked is if he believed that rheumatoid arthritis his credit, I suppose, he still wanted me to see a rheumatologist (I was in transition, but he did get me in to a new one) - so the whole affair was really very confusing.

The real kicker was when I asked the PA about a supplement I found online (Samento - a type of cat's claw herb) - that was supposedly good for people with rheumatoid arthritis AND lyme disease!  I thought: well, now either way, this one should be good for me!  The PA agreed that they have all of their lyme patients try that (why didn't anybody tell me about it then, I wonder?).  So, I tried it.  Guess what happened: I had the worst flare I've ever had since I was first diagnosed.  Years later, upon further investigation, I read that cat's claw should NOT be taken by anyone with an auto-immune disorder.  What?!  Umm, RA definitely qualifies under auto-immune.  I have no doubt that's what caused my flare.  The good thing that came of it is that it forced me to get in to my current rheumatologist, who actually believes that I have RA and treats me for what it is.  It also made me realize that "natural" does not mean "good" and that before trying any drug or supplement I need to be sure that it has scientific backing showing that it is both safe and effective for RA.  Oh, and I'm going to ask my RHEUMATOLOGIST - not another doctor.

So, there were several lessons learned, I suppose.  I don't *think* I have lyme disease.  I suppose I could be wrong, but I think I possess a mostly "textbook case" of RA, and unless you don't believe in RA as its own disease and need something else to attribute it to, it's a fair diagnosis.  Just because we don't understand a disease and there are aspects of it that are inexplicable, it does not mean that it really stems from some other known and curable disease -- *sigh* if only....

This post was written as part of NHBPM – 30 health posts in 30 days:

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Hi there! My name is Dana and I live in West Michigan with my husband, Tom and our dog Copernicus. I created this space as a place to share the things I learn along this journey I call life. I work in marketing and I'm a sort of Jane of All Trades, interested in all things nature, gardening, cooking, exploring and learning new things. This blog is a conglomeration of my interests, hobbies, life and life lessons. Thanks for stopping by!