Monday, March 1, 2010

Admitting my creeped-out-ness

Pain level: 4
Dislocations so far today: none yet
Subluxations so far today: Right shoulder a couple of times, right wrist
Meds: meloxicam--1 tablet.
Major complaint: more stiffness/pain/swelling in the joints of my hand (R>L)

Feeling off today.  Nothing really new for me--I'm just feeling like I'm coming down with a cold or something.  Run down, a little dizzy, pressure behind my eyes.  

Here's what I really need to do:  Stop thinking about all this autoimmune crap.  It's not helping.  Sure, I am super ready to see the Rheumatologist for answers about my latest bloodwork (March 17th) but that's weeks from now and reading every damn article I can find on ANA titers and patterns and early signs of scleroderma (totally vague by the by) is not going to make the wait any easier.  I just hate being uninformed, and having to wait to be informed makes it harder.  And I'm sure that having undiagnosed Ehlers Danlos for 13 years before I finally said, "Hey, docs?  Can we try to rule out this EDS thing?" Docs, "Huh, why didn't we think of that,"  doesn't help with my ability to let go and trust my medical professionals to think of everything.  

Here's my problem.  I am freaked the hell out by autoimmune diseases.  Heebie jeebies, the willies--whatever you call them, I get them from thinking about this stuff.   It's not the consequences or the pain that scares me the most--my mom has two autoimmune diseases and is far more functional than I am--it's the actual nature of the disease.  I'm a fighter.  Whatever my body throws at me, I can deal with.  But for some reason, the idea that likely my body is bascially shooting itself in the foot while I sit here and type and wait for test results is just plain freaky.

It's creeping me out!  For those who aren't familiar with the general nature of autoimmune disease like Rheumatoid, Lupus etc--here's a quick run down.  
  • Your body has a defense system.  That'd be your immune system.  So when you get the chicken pox because little Joey hugged you in 3rd grade before his parents noticed those little red dots, your immune system says HOSHIT! and kicks into gear cranking out antibodies to try to fight off the virus.
  • These antibodies are very specific.  That one type of antibody can only ward off chicken pox.  It's useless for the common cold or anything else.   It's like a key that only fits into one type of lock.
  • Once your body has fought off the virus, your immune system keeps some of these chicken pox antibodies kicking around in your system in case that stupid virus tries to come back.
  • In autoimmune diseases, something has gone wonky and your immune system starts creating antibodies.  Except that these antibodies are programed to attack the tissues of joints for example.  So for some reason, your body has identified parts of itself as foreign enemies that must be destroyed.  And it tries to do just that. 
 That's creepy!  Okay.  I've gotten that out of my system, maybe I can finally stop worrying out having something like that IN my system. 

My hands weren't has bad this morning than yesterday which is good news since I'm worried my NSAID's will suddenly stop working.  Center joint of my right middle finger is giving me trouble all day today though.  That unique throbbing pain that feels nothing like the pain I get with EDS.  

I called Social Security again this morning.  I figure I will give them one more week before I "complain to their boss" as it were.  Didn't get a call back today.  Maybe tomorrow. 

Hand stiffness using middle finger has measure
Time: 5:18 PM
Can touch forearm?  Just barely--and OW!
Angle of extension of the center joint of finger: 60º
Angle of extension of the last joint of finger: 125º
Can touch forearm? not even close and MAN! that hurts
Angle of extension of the center joint of finger: 55º
Angle of extension of the last joint of finger: 110º 

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