So, today I have my very first appointment with a rheumatologist. As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, it took a year (and a referral from primary care doctor) to get in.
The rheumatologist was a very nice guy. He listened to me describe my symptoms. He asked for more details. He wrote things down. It was clear that he believed me – right from the start.
A few key points from today: One, it turns out the blood test I had about a year ago, the one that I asked my regular doctor to do so I could be tested for rheumatoid arthritis, the one that she said came up NEGATIVE – actually came out positive. My (then) regular doctor simply didn’t know enough about RA to recognize it. She isn’t a specialist, so I’m not really angry about that (especially since she was the one whose referral got me to a specialist).
Two, the rheumatologist had the results of that blood test. I told him that I had taken a blood test for RA and that it came up negative. He was like: “What blood test? This one?” and said that the test came out positive. He brought my chart over to me and showed me the numbers. In short, up to 13 (I assume RA factor?) indicates “normal”. My blood test said I was at 18.
Between the results of that blood test, my symptoms, my family history of RA, and what my doctor found while checking my joints, I got a diagnosis. I officially have “probable rheumatoid arthritis”. My doctor said they have a scale: “possible” “probable” and.. I forget the last one.
Rheumatologist prescribed me an anti-inflamatory drug that I will start taking later tomorrow. *BOOM* – immediate solution. There’s no cure, but now I can at the very least start taking something to help with symptoms.
I then had to go take ten – yep, ten – x-rays. Two of my chest, two of each hand, and two of each foot. I’ll learn the results when I go back to my rheumatologist (unless its bad – in which case someone will call me). The purpose is to see how fucked up my cartilage is due to RA. By the time I got home I was exhausted and my hands and feet hurt from the position they had to be in for the x-rays.
Today, after years and years of noticing that I had symptoms that indicated arthritis – I got an official diagnosis. It’s nice to have a doctor, who knows what he’s doing, who not only believes me but also is able to help me.
The thing that bothers me the most about this whole thing is that I’ve no idea what, if anything, my health insurance will cover. I no longer have Medicaid (stopped qualifying for it), and there’s no way to know what the “Obamacare” health insurance will cover. I’m guessing ten x-rays are expensive. There’s probably a gofundme in my future.