at the Water's Edge

Living life and learning all I can along the way!

An Upbeat Update

I had my latest rheumatology appointment last week. Overall, I would say that the appointment went very well.  I told my doctor that I had been feeling well, but that my wrists continued to be stiff, sometimes sore, weak and definitely had a very limited range of motion -- though they are far better than they were a year ago, and holding steady.  He noted some slight warmth/swelling in my right wrist, which I'm not sure I would have detected.  He ordered some new x-rays for my hands and wrists, which I was able to get done right there and then discuss with him.  I had the x-rays taken, then went back to my room and waited for the doctor to return.  

I finally decided I should request a copy of my x-rays from the doctor's office.
This is one of three from last week: wrists have some damage, but fingers still look pretty good!
The x-ray images were sent to his laptop, which he pulled up and showed to me, knowing that I was interested in seeing them.  He actually took the time to explain what he saw in the x-rays -- definitely joint space narrowing, some erosions, and other irregularities -- and he pulled up some images of healthy wrists so I could see the difference.  Then, we looked up my x-rays from last time -- in December 2011 -- and compared them to now.  There was not a huge difference, which relieved me.  Plus, I was glad to see that the bones were not fused, which had been my fear.  However, my doctor made clear that he was "not happy" about the way my wrists looked.  There was a rueful tone as we discussed the damage that had been done, with no way to reverse it.  If only I had come in sooner, perhaps we might have made some treatment changes sooner and prevented some of the damage.  Hard to say, but I will let that be a lesson to myself to call my doctor when I do have even a moderate flare that lasts longer than a week or two -- especially when I have been feeling well and have ~6 months between appointments.  The Humira is still working well, so I'm staying the course for now. AND my rheumatologist ended up referring me to a physical therapist to work on increasing my range of motion in my wrists.  More on that later.

Battery powered heated slippers! They are amazing.

I did end up showing my rheumatologist the bruises on my toes and explained that they had appeared in conjunction with Raynaud's phenomenon.  He did not give a name to them, but did say that it looked like the blood vessels had burst from the Raynaud's.  He didn't seem overly concerned about it, but said we could consider putting me on Norvasc next winter.  The only issue is that I have a pretty low normal blood pressure -- so I'm not sure I want to be on something that will lower it.  I'll see what happens next year.  At least I have an amazing husband who found and bought me heated slippers!!

Lastly, my doctor ordered some blood work to check my Sed Rate, among other things.  Everything came back normal -- and my Sed Rate was a 9!! That's the lowest I have had to date!  Here's an updated look at my track record:

Click chart to view full size
I really appreciated the time my doctor spent with me on this visit and his willingness to help me get a better understanding of my own condition.  I left feeling very positive (1) that the disease was holding steady and (2) that I have a doctor who values me as a partner in my own care.

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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!