Tactical Ninja - You know how it's never lupus?
Jul. 11th, 2014
08:49 am - You know how it's never lupus?
Well, apparently it might be.
Last night my doctor called. When they call you instead of texting, it's kind of a headsup that things are not going to be straightforward, right? So I was braced for what she told me, which is apparently that both my antinuclear antibody and rheumatoid factor (antibodies for rheumatoid arthritis) are positive, and that she's going to refer me to a rheumatologist.
Well, not a lot really. Fact is, RA tests often read false positive and there's a high chance that means nothing, especially since I don't have any of the usual symptoms of RA. I have good flexibility, no swelling in the fingers/toes/extremity joints, and am generally in good health. So in my head I'm flagging that one as a false positive and carrying on.
The other one could mean anything. The doctor did not give me details of the results, which realistically would have gone over my head anyway. I know that if you get a positive ANA, they keep testing at lower and lower concentrations (more or less) until it tests negative. The level at which it does this shows how concentrated the antibodies are in your blood. Or something like that. So anyway, she didn't tell me the details of that but she did keep saying that the test was consistent with lupus and that I'd need to see a rheumatologist.
Now I know quite well that there are loads of things that can give you a positive ANA test. I also know that I have pompholyx, which is autoimmune-associated and could confound the test. I've recently become aware that my weird fingernails, which I thought were a result of the pompholyx, are actually also a sign of hypothyroidism, which is often caused by - you guessed it - autoimmune problems.
The reason the doctor keeps saying Lupus is because I have a family history of it. But realistically, I don't have a lot of the usual symptoms. I currently have a weird symmetrical (as in, on the same place both sides) circular rash that appeared for no reason, and there's the back thing, but other than that I'm just not very lupus-y. If I were to list the things that I'd like to find out more about, it's:
- why my back hurts (and how to fix it)
- where these weird rashes are coming from
- my general malaise
- increasing difficulty maintaining my usual weight
- feeling cold all the time
- beaded fingernails
I'm not a fan of plugging symptoms into the internet and letting it tell me I have everything from ebola to acne, but there are some things that are consistent with that list, and RA, lupus and hypothyroidism are all on it. Along with a whole lot of other less serious things. Also, I'm very aware that some of these things can also be signs of getting older. My struggle to motivate myself at work for the last couple of years could be put down to external factors - that's what I've been doing along with berating myself for finding it so hard - but as it turns out, it could also be related to all this other stuff. The jury's out on how much of this is attributable to health related stuff and how much is mental.
Thus, I think it's sensible to go see this specialist and let them pincushion me for a while, to see if we can get to the bottom of it.
The likelihood of lupus is low, but it's still there. I'd like to rule it out, y'know?
Meanwhile, I'll keep taking the voltaren because I'm liking being able to sleep through till 5am, and being able to put my undies on without lying on the floor. The doc also advised to keep up the visits with OsteoDude on the off chance that the back thing is just coincidental. Basically she said if it helps, keep doing it. It's too early to tell right now but in a couple of weeks I'll try another day without voltaren and see what happens, and then I'll know. And since none of this stuff is slowing me down much, until I see this specialist and get a proper diagnosis, it's business as usual.
In other news, I dreamed last night that I was in DA: Inquisition. I was controlling an army against the Orlesian invasion of Ferelden, and I had a dragon. I was basically having orgasms over how beautifully rendered the dragon was, and confused about how the Fereldans had discovered oil and were powering ships that looked like the Titanic, along with generators that ran lighting. Anyway, I sent my dragon off to deal with the Orlesians, and then we had nothing to do so we sat around in Varric's house and laughed about the silly things that are written on tampon packets.
I really hope the game is not actually like that. Apart from the dragons.