In 1996, I saw a rheumatologist who diagnosed me with rheumatoid arthritis. He prescribed a low dose of methotrexate. I tried it for three weeks, felt constantly nauseous, and discontinued. I declined to try anything else after researching a bit. I was really bummed, but an uncle also had a diseased joint supposedly from RA, so I figured it was heredity. I worried my sons would get it.
A few years later, I actually stepped up regular exercise, improved my diet, lost some weight. Several doctors have accepted that diagnosis and over the years, pointed to this symptom or that as evidence of it.
I even have a mild kidney condition thought to have been caused by it.
My family physician insisted that after 16 years, I should see another specialist. Since I really respect my doctor, I went. Not happy. I went.
Bloodwork is much better today. She also ordered x-rays of my hands and feet. She studied these. When I went back, she said she had no idea who I saw or what was going on in 1996--but I didn't have rheumatoid arthritis. I don't have it. I never have had it.
For 16 years, I accepted that diagnosis. I really did get the diagnosis. I'm sure she wonders a bit.
Now, I do have a pretty good case of osteoarthritis, and I hurt more or less constantly, but I can get around pretty well. With new knees, I can walk a couple of miles now.
And I wonder, what in the world would I have ingested over the past 16 years if I hadn't been so stubborn? Would the drugs have made me really sick? I don't have an autoimmune disease, except for some allergies.
It just occurred to me today, maybe I CAN be an organ donor now. I'll check it out.
This turned out so well.
After 33 years, I was hospitalized three times in 2011, twice for knees, for a total of 10 days. I hope it will be another 10 years at least before I go back, despite some wonderful medical care. My body keeps giving me dirty little surprises every once in a while. Now, however, I have a fairly big medical problem I don't have to worry about. Just two doctors. Three prescriptions, really.
I'd like to keep it that way.