October 8, 2008 at 9:59 pm #301111FlashParticipant
I knew I had some form of arthritis 8 to 10 years ago as I experienced pain across my knuckles and hips. My sister and mother had started taking Osteo Bi-flex for the same reason. My sister's vet suggested she give it to her dog Lady who was having trouble walking. After a week, Lady was dashing about like a puppy, which she wasn't. My sister figured if it worked for the dog, it would work for her. It did, so I started taking it twice daily. After 1 week the pain was gone and I went on merrily with life for many years, not giving arthritis another thought.
Until May 2008. Actually, not even then, I didn't know what was wrong. The pain started the 2nd or 3rd week of May (I have a high tolerance to pain so not sure when it started). It hit every joint I have. Took me awhile to admit the problem wasn't going away, and that I was getting worse week by week. All sorts of dire diagnoses crossed my mind. By June 5th, when I traveled to MI, getting out at gas stations and rest areas were a treat, it is a 13 hour trip of just driving, I had a rough time. I covered my condition for the most part while in Michigan, was able to do stairs (14 to the 2nd floor) if I had been moving around, not sitting. I went to VA to my sister's on June 21st, and took forever to get up the stairs to the bedroom (why does everyone have their bedrooms on the 2nd floor??? :doh:). A week later, I moved very slowly, took 15 minutes to get down 4 steps off the porch, everything hurt, from my jaw down to the bottom of my feet. My feet were so swollen I could no longer wear sandals; the left hand was useless, couldn't stretch, pick up anything, thought my calcified tendinitis had flared up again in my right shoulder, then moved on over to the left even though I had not injured that shoulder! I don't know what I would have done without my husband; if I had still been in MI trying to sell the house. By the time I went to the doctor, I could do very little for myself. My husband was my life line, and very worried about me.
I went to my husband's MD on 7/14 and thankfully he did not pass the buck. He put me on pain medication that day (Advil and Aleve had absolutely NO affect for me) which took the edge off. I returned 7/24/08 for blood test results. He thought I might have either Lyme, Lupus or Polymyalgia Rheumatica (PMR) and prescribed a 3 week trial of Prednisone. I had relief within 12 hours of taking pred, within 24 hours the difference was amazing. Recovery wasn't as fast as I would have liked, I am a tad impatient. We had a pig pickin' party on 8/2. I cleaned the refrigerator on the 1st, forgetting that even with the Prednisone, I had trouble getting off my knees, which were still very tender. I was on my knees to clean the bottom of the frig and realized I was not going to be able to get up by myself. I must have made some noise because I heard this voice from the computer room “Are you stuck?”. I said yes, and out comes my husband to help me up off the floor. I am so lucky to be married to him.
I was sent to a rheumatoligist whom I don't see eye to eye with. He gave me a choice on 9/4/08 to stay on current medication or start MTX. I wanted to have the results of the blood work taken that day and the x-rays, before making that decision, plus do some research, so I chose to stay on pain med and pred. Saw rheumy for the 2nd time on 10/9/08, blood work still comes back as negative for arthritis, even though that is what I have (not PMR, which does not involved the hands and feet). There are 10 to 15% of people whose blood work comes back negative but have it. He says that is actually a positive. I said I flat out did not want to start taking MTX and he suggested something else. Then I discussed the AP method, talk about a wall of resistance!! Wow! He said he was willing to do a bit of reading on it and prescribe mino orally, but would not do the IV portion. He said the method does not work. I figured on that type of reaction when I went in, but received the reports I need for the next doctor.
So that is where I am at, looking for an AP doctor who will also do the IV treatment, trying to avoid going to Charlotte, which is 3.5 hours away. I have to make a decision soon as I've been on Prednisone since 7/24, 5mg per day now, plus the pain med. I am backsliding a bit on condition, the fingers are getting stiff and the knees are being ornery again. I have to make the best decision for me, and I don't think MTX is it.
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