Kelly at RaWarrior put this topic up for a blog carnival. I really wanted to participate in the Carnival but this topic left me scratching my head. How do you diagnosis something that is poorly understood, variable, and unpredicatble?
I woke up one morning disabled. The doctors kept asking me if I hadn’t had symptoms before and I kept telling them NO. Now it is 20months later and I have learned a lot. My answer now would be YES. Over at least 5 years I had what I called my “wandering pain”. Pretty much something hurt everyday, but not the same thing more than 1-2 days in a row. I wrote them off as getting older, slept wrong, pulled something, etc. A few times I did see my PCP for more severe pain, or longer lasting. She always ran lots of tests but we always had more questions then answers. I now know she was looking for RA then but I didn’t know. ESR and CRP was always elevated, sometimes a little, and sometimes a lot. I didn’t show RF and my pains were NEVER symmetrical. Eventually, no matter how bad the pain was I wouldn’t go to the doctor. As a nurse the worst thing I could imagine was being labeled a drug seeker/attention seeker. At one point I worked for 6 weeks with a broken hip because to me it was just another wandering pain.
In listening to other peoples stories, I know that I am not alone. Frequently “the wandering pain” visits those of us that end up diagnosed with Autoimmune Arthritis. Often times symmetrical is not how it starts yet that is a defining characterisitic of rheumatoid arthritis. Blood tests aren’t conclusive, x-rays don’t show til late, MRI’s are too expensive and limited by most insurance companies and PAIN is a four letter word.
Link to the blog carnival: http://rawarrior.com/rheumatology-blog-carnival-2-how-can-diagnosis-be-improved/