Well, it looks like I have early stages of Lupus.
I have actually known for a few weeks now and debated writing about it. Partly, because I haven't been to a rheumatologist for confirmation. It all started with my friend Heather "Bebe" (she comes up with the best ideas), suggesting that I go to an infectious disease specialist. First of all, it blew my mind that such a person existed! Why didn't I go to one of these guys immediately? I mean, I became horribly ill after spending a week in the Caribbean in addition to the multiple ticks (one embedded in my leg) that I have found on myself in the past year. I had been going to one specialist after another who each focused on one sympton out of many, this doctor would be able to look at the whole picture and know about all different types of bizarre diseases.
I have learned the hard way that not all doctors are created equal, and in fact some are down right crappy. As a result of my experiences, I now utilize a number of research methods to find a great doctor. Namely, I google "best infectious disease specialist or whatever kind of doctor I am looking for and I plug in my county or state". It really works! So I found this amazing doctor, Dr. Deshaw. He is a true gem in the medical field. He actually listened and responded (omg) to everything that I said. Let me tell you that I have a whole file on myself at this point and he was extremely patient and engaging. Some things that were great about this guy: he and his family are runners and he didn't make me feel bad for refusing to go on Lyrica for the fibromyalgia I supposedly had.
If you are a runner you know that most doctors will tell you that running is bad and will ruin your knees. It is so annoying! I just want to say, "thanks for the warning doc, I'm going to stop running, watch TV, sit on the couch and eat so I don't blow out my knees". Anyway, Dr. Deshaw said that my knees were fine and my legs feel "wobbly" because of inflammation. Interesting. Continuing, it was so refreshing for a doctor to confirm my feeling that Lyrica was a serious drug, that wasn't a cure, and carried some bad side-effects with it. Finally!! In addition, he ran a million tests for every kind of disease, virus, and any other weird thing I could possibly have. I gave 7 viles of blood. Why did this make me happy? Because I am so tired of doctors running a few tests, waiting for results, then going back for another few tests, over and over again.
So, I gave my blood and forgot to call for about 2 weeks. I seriously thought I had some kind of cool thing like Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever. When Dr. Deshaw finally got back to me and said that it was early stages of Lupus I was shocked. Lupus had always been in the running but I never wanted to seriously consider it. Who wants to hear that they have a chronic disease? Not me! Here's the thing, there is no Lupus test but my bloodwork came back in congruence with early stages of Lupus. My ANA test was previously high and now it is even higher. On top of that, my white blood cell count and Hemoglobin dropped. All in all, not so good. Obviously, nothing to panic about; I simply had to schedule an appointment with yet another rheum and hopefully this one will be better than the last 2.
Currently, I am focusing on my health and staying positive. I realize that my diet is now more important than ever. Eating healthy, anti-inflammatory foods is extremely helpful in keeping flare-ups at bay. This is probably why I saw such amazing results when I went vegan. I have also found a bunch of people with Lupus who lead normal lives, are active, and have gone for years with no problems at all. In addition, after I see the rheum and get a more concrete idea of what is going on, I will seek alternative therapies. Who knows I may see the rheum and she may give me a different diagnosis. Finally, I will keep my faith in God for strength and a continuation of good health. Sorry to get preachy, but He is the ultimate Healer!