ckelley116

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  1. I typically suffer from health anxiety, but every now and then Iatch on to an unrelated fear and obsess over it. Lately I’ve been terrified that my house is going to fall down. My house was built in 1900; we bought it 5 years ago and it passed inspection with no problems. But for some reason, I keep thinking there are undetected foundation problems. I find myself checking the walls and ceilings and each time I find a crack - there are a lot of them, mostly in the plaster ceiling - I go into a panic, positive it’s a sign of foundation damage. Our basement is unfinished and I keep looking for damage in the rocks on the walls or signs that the wood joists are bad. The kitchen floor is uneven, which our inspector noticed and said was fine 5 years ago, but I wonder if he was wrong and we’ve been letting the foundation damage get worse until it either costs tens of thousands of dollars we don’t have to fix, or the house starts to fall apart. For what it’s worth, the house next door was built in 1862 and doesn’t seem to have any problems, but the owner also seems to keep on top of things (more on that below). I also fear destructive insects, like termites or carpenter ants, damaging the wood inside the house without us seeing it. Every loose or uneven floorboard scares me. I feel like I keep finding new soft or uneven patches of floor I never noticed before. We did discover termites in a tree out front just 5 days ago. The exterminator is coming out tomorrow to do an inspection and I worry he’s going to tell me they’re all over the house (mind you, I’ve never seen any evidence of either termites or carpenter ants inside my house, though everything else likes to come in and make itself at home). My husband accuses me of catastrophizing - which I do. I freely admit that. But it also means that when something is truly a concern, he still insists I’m overreacting. His response to everything that goes wrong in the house is “well, it’s an old house.” Of course it is, but old houses last long enough to get old because people maintain them. He’s the type who will refuse to pay a plumber to resolve a small issue, instead either coming up with some idiotic “fix” or waiting until a pipe bursts in the wall - so it’s hard to get him on board with hiring someone for even routine house maintenance. I feel like if he was less cheap and more open to this kind of stuff I might not worry so much... but then I’m sure I’d find something else.
  2. I think I know what you’re talking about, and I get it too. Very irritating (no pun intended!) but always goes away after a few days.
  3. Thanks, both of you ☺️ I just keep trying to tell myself that I've had these same very mild aches and pains for 3 years now, and nothing has gotten any worse or migrated to a different part of my body or anything, and it makes much more sense for it to be related to overuse of my hand than anything sinister. I'm on a computer or mobile device probably 10-12 hours a day, and "flare-ups", such as they are, so far seem to correspond with excessively busy times at my job. It's hard, though, when it's a doctor (or 2, in my case) who put the fear into me rather than my own irrational mind. PennyPanic, I'm glad you're doing so well!
  4. I didn’t realize this was such a hard question to answer 😕 wrist and hand are aching today in all the spots that were giving me trouble 3 years ago and if I could just ditch the original fear I’d be able to look at it logically, take an Aleve and move on...
  5. Hey everyone. I've been doing pretty well with HA lately (which is amazing, considering, you know, COVID) and have been working hard to keep it that way. But the one thing I'm struggling with is letting go of my fear that I have rheumatoid arthritis. It's not like cancer, where you can go for a scan, be told "you don't have a tumor" and know you're in the clear. Instead I've been in a constant state of "wait and see", and even though my last blood tests (in December) came back unchanged (except for my CRP levels, which were actually lower) and my rheumatologist said I could likely put it all behind me, that little voice in the back of my head keeps telling me "yeah, but you can't really go by that; a lot of people with RA come up normal in the beginning and it changes years later". I'll be fine for months, until I feel pain in a joint and think "finally, here it comes." The ball of my left foot has been hurting for about a week, and I'm getting twinges in my wrists and knuckles as well. I'm almost 40; I know aches and pains are something I will have and I need to learn to deal with that, but I'm finding it difficult with RA always in the back of my mind. And I know part of overcoming HA is dealing with the fact that there are never guarantees and learning to live with the uncertainty, but unless you present a certain way RA is by its very nature "uncertain" and that makes it difficult to reach a concrete diagnosis in a lot of cases. I think a lot of it has to do with the fact that I didn't diagnose myself with RA by googling - instead, when I was told I had tenosynovitis I saw that RA was often a cause and I thought "No, there's no way I have that." Until both the hand surgeon and rheumatologist he told me to see said it was likely. So that's probably what, in my mind, is making it so hard to let it go. It was easy for me to go to my GP and tell her "I think I have lung cancer" and to believe her when she listened to my lungs for 15 seconds and said "No, you don't." But RA wasn't my idea. I’m debating setting up an appointment with the rheumatologist because I don’t want to take an appointment from someone who really needs one, but I’m also worried that it’s finally presenting as joint pain and should be looked at rather than ignored. I don't know; I guess I just need to vent because my usual techniques are not working at the moment. Hope everyone's doing well out there :)
  6. Well, it's too soon to celebrate. The rheumatologist's office called me back this morning and now, taking my MRI into account, turns out she wants to see me again after all. This week. Meaning sooner than later. I'm going Friday morning. Rheumatoid arthritis wasn't specifically mentioned - she said "to discuss your MRI and a treatment plan" - so possibly they just want to address my carpal tunnel syndrome? She did ask if my cortisone shot helped (it didn't). I really don't know, and I'm exhausted from trying to guess. If I have it, I just want a diagnosis. I've only been at this for about 3 months, and I know that's nothing compared to some people! I will be truly lucky if I'm diagnosed right now. I'm in the very early stages (if I have it), and there are encouraging developments being made. Some researchers are even saying a cure is on the horizon. If that's the case, I'm very fortunate to have this now as opposed to 20 years ago. But I just want to know. I want to know what I'm dealing with, and I want people to stop getting angry with me for not putting my full confidence in blood test results. My husband and sister are furious with me, but my gut is saying something is going on. And as much as I want to say "I guess I'll know more on Friday", I keep finding myself leaving these appointments with more questions than answers. RA isn't as rare as I'd like to think Especially not for people like me. I'm right smack in the middle of the typical age-of-onset range, I'm female, on low-dose BC for several years, and a former smoker (although the anti-CCP came back negative, so I'm guessing the smoking didn't cause it). I've got Native American ancestry. I'm basically a prime candidate. And I just learned that a friend of mine from high school was diagnosed with it several years ago. She's my exact same age. Anyway, since it can't hurt, I have already started making dietary changes, although vegan might not ever happen (I'd starve to death), but I have vowed to eat less refined, processed food and more real, whole foods. I've ordered an array of supplements, including krill oil and probiotics, and want to get back into exercise as soon as I get my foot straightened out. I'm basically acting like I've already been diagnosed. Maybe it'll make it easier to handle when the real diagnosis comes? Thanks for listening
  7. After waiting for two weeks, I finally called my rheumatologist to request my blood test results. The rheumatologist's assistant called me back within the hour and told me "No RA" - all results were negative, but my CRP and sed rate were mildly elevated. Still, nothing the rheumatologist appeared to be concerned about. So I should be jumping up and down in celebration, right? Except I'm not. Instead I'm trying really hard not to freak out. When she had my MRI results in hand and I told her about my foot, she seemed convinced I had RA and the blood tests were just to see how far along it was. I know it's not unusual for tests to be negative, especially in the early stages. I have this popping in the ball of my foot when I put pressure on it that sounds more and more like synovitis the more I read about it. Something is causing that, but she didn't order any imaging of my foot so I don't know. And why were my inflammation levels elevated? Why are there so many people out there who spent years in pain before diagnosis? I'm seriously trying so hard not to cry right now because as much as I want to believe I'm fine, I'm so afraid that I'm going to waste my window of opportunity for early treatment chasing a diagnosis. Why can I not just accept that my doctor is confident I don't have rheumatoid arthritis? I want to, but every time I feel the joint in the ball of my foot pop I *know* it's not the whole story. I asked the assistant if my MRI results had been taken into account and she didn't know; she's going to speak with the doctor and call me back tomorrow. I just don't want this dragging on. This is literally the worst disease I could've picked to obsess over. I feel like I will never put this behind me.
  8. Hi I've been dealing with this since last November myself, when I developed my third bout of right-wrist tenosynovitis in a year. It caused sudden-onset carpal tunnel syndrome for which I saw a hand surgeon, and when my fingers lost the ability to bend, he told me I probably had an inflammatory disease and that I should see a rheumatologist to rule anything out before we proceeded with surgery that wouldn't work if it was caused by some underlying, untreated disease. I thought he was crazy, since I had no other RA symptoms and had never had any since I started getting tenosynovitis in September 2016, but I made the appointment anyway. He also sent me for an MRI, which he was supposed to follow up with me about but never did. Anyway, I waited two months for the rheumatologist appointment and in the meantime developed a trigger finger in my left ring finger and a weird clicking sensation in the ball of my left foot. Still no pain though. I attributed the trigger finger to overuse (I'm on a computer at least 60 hours a week) and the clicking to a Morton's neuroma, since it was in the most common spot, had all the symptoms (minus pain) and started shortly after I started wearing a pair of boots for Christmas that are super cute but not the most comfy. I saw my primary care physician, since my anxiety was skyrocketing, and she ordered bloodwork. But as far as RA goes, she only ordered the rheumatoid factor and CRP. RF was negative; CRP mildly elevated (11.2 when the cutoff for "normal" was 8). I was bound and determined to believe her when she said I didn't have to worry, until I logged onto the hospital website to pay my bill for the MRI and saw my results were available. I saw some scary words like "effusion", and then when looking for ways to remedy a Morton's neuroma, found information that said synovitis in early RA can mimic the symptoms. I hadn't told my PCP about the clicking in my foot and she didn't have access to my MRI results, since the imaging center was in a different health network, so I started to wonder if her reaction would've been different if she had all the information. I went to the rheumatologist with my MRI results, which she said indicated the presence of fluid which can indicate RA, and I mentioned my foot, and her exact words were "that sounds like RA, a lot." She looked at my bloodwork and said my primary doctor hadn't ordered enough. But she felt my knuckles and wrists and checked for pain and I had none, and she did confirm that I didn't have any swelling or stiffness. My foot symptoms also aren't symmetrical - my right foot seems fine. So she ordered the right blood tests, including anti-CCP, which I had last Tuesday but still haven't heard anything about. So I don't know what to think. I haven't watched those videos, but I've been reading some blogs and I'm trying to focus on the inspirational rather than the "I was bedridden within 5 years" types of stories. I'm also finding it helpful to research celebrities with RA who keep working - Camryn Manheim, Kathleen Turner, Terry Bradshaw, etc. Granted, they probably have a lot more money at their disposal for trying different treatments and aren't at the mercy of the US healthcare system like I am, but I still find it comforting. I also still don't have any pain. I go to bed every night terrified that tomorrow will be the day I wake up with a swollen hand or a stiff neck, but so far, so good.
  9. Thanks, Bob You're absolutely right - and I need to hear that, especially point #2, because certainty was what I wanted, and certainty is (pretty much) what I got. The rheumatologist does think I have RA after all. She's not 100% sure, because although my MRI suggests it, as does the clicking in the ball of my left foot, I don't have any pain, swelling, or stiffness - hallmark RA symptoms. Still, she thinks the chances are good. And while it's absolutely not the news I wanted to hear, I like to think I'm handling it better than I thought I would. I managed to drive to work after my appointment and I've even laughed a few times since I got here. And even though my chances are now higher of dying from heart disease or developing lymphoma, there's plenty of other things that could kill me too. The (tiny) silver lining here, too, is that there isn't any joint damage. If in fact I do have RA, I'm in the very early stages. And the earlier it's diagnosed and treatment begun, the better my chances of achieving remission or stopping it altogether. And if I have to be diagnosed at all, I guess now is a good time, since there are so many treatment options and new, promising ones on the horizon. I'll just keep telling myself that...
  10. I don’t know what I’m more scared of. Answers? If my symptoms are as obviously indicative of rheumatoid arthritis as I think they are, she should be able to tell upon examination, right? Or am I more scared of no answers? What if she tells me my symptoms and test results are too vague or too mild to determine anything right now and she asks me to wait to see if they get worse? How am I going to make it another 3 or 6 or 12 months with “what if” hanging over my head? I feel so sick to my stomach right now I can’t stand it.
  11. My toes have started hurting. Not horribly; I can walk pretty much without pain. But at rest I can feel them aching. Both feet. Ugh
  12. Yeah, I literally spend about 60 hours a week on a computer. My full-time job is customer service, so I'm answering e-mails for about 9 hours a day. 5 days a week. On the side, I'm a novelist and a freelance graphic designer. I also cook a lot (it got really bad at Thanksgiving, when I was peeling and cutting butternut squash and apples). My right hand is my dominant hand, so it's the one that does the most mouse work (and of course the one I use for texting and other phone games I shouldn't play). It makes much more sense for me to have RSI than a disease for which I have no family history, which affects ~1% of the population...but if it were so easy to believe that, I wouldn't have HA. Thank you for your support. I am sincerely trying to believe her!
  13. Oh, believe me - I am furious with myself. I was thinking "don't do this, don't do this", but it was like my hand, using the mouse, was possessed. Like using an Ouija board when someone's pushing the planchette As for the rest of what you say, I sincerely appreciate the support. And I agree that tenosynovitis doesn't lead to RA...but it's most definitely related to it. 65% of people with RA develop it at some point, and there have been studies that say it's a strong indicator of early-stage RA - a notable percentage of people diagnosed with tenosynovitis are diagnosed with RA within 5 years (although when I brought this up to my primary care doctor, she said it's rare). For me, repetitive strain injury makes much more sense, but because the hand surgeon I was seeing is the one who put this in my head, I'm having the hardest time shaking it. The fact that the blood tests often return false negatives doesn't help. Per the surgeon's advice I've been taking 2200 mg of Aleve a day for the last two months (I'm sure my liver or stomach will be the next thing to turn on me) and it's given me a lot of function back, so the part about NSAIDs is definitely true! I have not been able to rest it, since using a computer is basically my job, so maybe that's why it got so bad. I've had it twice before, and this is definitely the most persistent and debilitating episode. It might be past rest, at this point. Thank you
  14. The hand surgeon treating me for carpal tunnel syndrome had me get an MRI, which I did two days before Christmas. I haven’t heard from him since but I’ve been following up with my primary doctor and will be seeing a rheumatologist, so I wasn’t too concerned. If he didn’t reach out it couldn’t be too bad, right? Well yesterday I got the bill for my portion of the fee and went to the facility's website to pay it. Lo and behold, there were my results. I tried so hard but it got the best of me and I read them. Apparently my hand is riddled with tenosynovitis. I have a swollen median nerve, a perforation of either a tendon or a ligament, and a “small distal radioulnar joint effusion”. I’m not positive what that means, except that effusion means swelling. Joint swelling is a symptom of RA. I KNEW I shouldn’t have looked at them but I did. Add to the fact that my knuckles have been achier than usual and I feel like I’m going to throw up. I just wish I could trust my blood test ?