Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Things that make you go hmmmm

I had planned for my next post to be about my thoughts on possibly trying to have a third baby.  But then something happened that put those thoughts on hold, at least somewhat.

I went to my doctor about two weeks ago.  I'm still stuck on this stupid plateau, probably mostly because I haven't been doing that well on sticking to my diet food-wise, but I was also frustrated because pain in my knees was keeping me from doing my workouts full-out.  I've been having particular problems with my right knee, which I always depend on being the "good" knee.  I've had two surgeries on my left and it's just weaker. It hurts and gives out and I just don't trust it much, so when my right knee started to hurt during certain moods, I knew it wasn't a good thing.  My workouts (I am partial to Jillian Michael's DVDs) are very heavy on the squats and lunges and I was actually getting pretty good at most of them (aside from left leg only squats, I don't know if I'll ever be able to do much with that).  But suddenly I couldn't do much bending with weight on a leg without pretty significant sharp pains in my knees. 

Since I had a few other minor issues, I decided it was time to see my doctor.  I see a Physician's Assistant, actually and I've mentioned before that I love her to death.  I went to see her on May 20th.  We had a good talk and she decided that my knee pain could be one of a couple things.  It could be an injury, maybe even a partially torn tendon, although I didn't recall a certain OW moment, just a gradual increase in pain.  But she also was suspicious of something like arthritis, particularly because my knees are not the only thing that hurt on an every day basis.  I also have had trouble with my lower back, neck, feet and more occasionally, my hips, wrists and elbows.  These range from minor to severe (particularly my back, which I've talked about here before and my neck, which mostly causes very bothersome headaches).  So in the end, she decided to do a battery of blood tests and also send me to physical therapy.

Since it was just before a long holiday weekend and they were ordering quite a few tests, Amber told me that the results probably wouldn't be back until the next week.  I scheduled an appointment with the physical therapist and waited.  Tuesday afternoon on the way home, Amber called with my results.  The good things were that my cholesterol was great (yay!), and actually my rheumatoid factor and sed rate (both indicators of arthritis) were both normal.  My white blood cell count was only slightly low (pretty good number for me, since I usually run quite low).  My vitamin D level was also low.  She said they'd like to see a level of 50, and mine was 28, so she wanted me to start taking extra supplements. I already take a multi-vitamin, but now I'm taking 2000 iu more a day. 

The main concern was that my results showed positive for something called ANA.  That stands for anti-nuclear antibodies.  Apparently, a positive result can be an indicator of an auto-immune disease.  The results come back with a number that has something to do with diluting the sample.  The higher the number, the more dilution is necessary (higher=more ANA in the blood, which is not a good thing).  It's done in a series--1:40, 1:80, 1:160, 1:320 and so one.  My result was 1:1280, so that's high.  It's also classified by the pattern such as homogeneous, speckled, centromer, etc.  My result had a speckled pattern. So, long story short, my doctor was quick to refer me to a rheumatologist.  She did say that another test the run that can point to an auto immune problem (ENA) was negative.

The rhuemotologist insists on a two week window before any new appointment, so they can get your records.  They asked me to call my doctor to remind them to send them over, so I'm betting they already have them by now, but still I have to wait until June 17th for an appointment.  I really hate having things hanging over my head.  Of course I've been spending time pouring over my test results and googling like crazy, but basically the bottom line is, it could be something or not.  With as high as my titer (that's the term for the number on the result) is, it's pretty unlikely that it's NOTHING.  I'm the type of person that good or bad, just prefers to KNOW what I'm dealing with.

I'm conflicted too, I've dealt with pain like this for a long time. It would be nice, in a way, to know that there is a reason for the pain and tiredness that I've tried to convince myself were normal.  And yet I don't want it to be something scary, as silly as that sounds.  Years ago, probably close to 10 years ago, I tried to find out if it was indicative of some sort of problem, but at the time, all seemed normal.  I don't know if they tested my ANA back then or not. 

The more I read up on some of the possibilities, the more I think that certain things could fit.  For example, my low white blood cell count can be a symptom of auto-immune diseases.  So could the mouth ulcers I've gotten on and off since high school--they aren't fever blisters, they are actually in my mouth and are terribly painful.  I've recently noticed several small rashes and itching on my arms and elbows.  Infertility and pregnancy loss can even be related.  But all of these things could be totally unrelated too.

So I wait for answers. In the meantime, my doctor prescribed some cream for my rashes and an anti-inflammatory/pain reliever called meloxicam.  So far, I'm not noticing a difference with the medication.  For now, I'm doing my workouts as much as I can (though my PT said no squats or lunges for a week) and going to therapy.  My PT Kathy is very nice.  Apparently, my knees are a mess (not surprising).  My kneecaps are crooked, my left leg has significantly undefined muscles compared to my right, and she's found several weak spots we're working on.  Yesterday she taped my kneecaps into the right positions and that feels really weird and actually makes them ache, but hopefully it will help.

I'm not good at waiting.


Janet said...

On one hand, I hope you don't have autoimmune issues. On the other hand, it's nice to have answers and a plan for moving forward... ugh! Hugs to you in the meantime.

Brianna said...

That certainly is a lot to think about as you wait, especially with one test being positive and one being negative! Hopefully the meds and PT will help you, at least physically, feel better until you get in with the specialist.

missohkay said...

I hope you get some answers soon and that the answers aren't scary!

Melissa Long said...

Thanks Ladies! <3

Rachel said...

Yikes! That's scary, but at the same time it would be nice to have an answer. And with medicine the way it is, likely a treatment too. I'm sorry you're going through this! I hope your results are the best they can be and that you can get a safe, effective treatment!

Jessica L. said...

You are in my prayers!