Today, I went back to my rheumatologist for a three month checkup. We agreed that I should not continue to take the medication he prescribed that was causing me harm (because it has gluten in it). He did not want to prescribe other medication (because the rest of what he prescribes is for cases much more severe than mine).
He looked at my x-rays and said that there was no evidence of any joint damage in my hands, feet, or chest. This indicates that I don’t have rheumatoid arthritis at all.
What do I have? He doesn’t know. It could be another form of arthritis, but he isn’t sure which one, because my symptoms don’t fit neatly into any specific one. It could be fibromyalgia, but I don’t have all the symptoms that, either.
What is clear is that I have aching joints that make noises (crunch, crackle, pop) and that stiffen up when it gets too cold out, and swell when it gets humid (or when I overdo things), almost constant exhaustion, a really weird sleeping … well, it can’t really be described as a “pattern”, and inflammation that undoubtedly has something to do with my severe allergies. Oh, and a family history of arthritis (with my grandmother having RA).
What don’t I have? An actual diagnosis (anymore). The doctor has no idea what’s wrong with me, but seems to understand that something is wrong (and has been for years). I’ve stumped a specialist. I go back in three months just to keep an eye on things.