So been doin' TONS of Dr stuff! Here's the latest:
On Wednesday morning, TCU Dr texted Dr Pain to tell him what was going on, and Dr Pain (who closely resembles a PG rated version of Jack Black) came into the office an hour early to see me Thursday morning. He is possibly my hero. When I'm a doctor, I want to be just like him. He walked in and just said, "I'm so sorry to hear how much you're going through. We have got to get you in less pain. Can I give you a shot right now so you can walk out feeling better?" And he did. I got Toradol, which is my favorite drug in the whole entire world. It's a really strong anti-inflammatory that makes me feel like a million bucks - it's not a narcotic or anything, so it doesn't make you feel weird, just takes away pain! What's not to love (except for the fact that it's really nephrotoxic, and also incredibly bad for people like me who have GI issues, so it can't be taken on a regular basis)? So I started feeling better, yay. Sadly, it's all worn off by now, boo. But felt great for a while.
Dr Pain is practical and compassionate and empathetic and genuinely wants to make me feel better. He had a horrific accident, which inspired him to go into pain management... I really sense that he's been there, and "gets" it. It was a good visit, but a little sad. Everyone is being pretty darn honest with me about prognosis. They tell me that the reality is, best case scenario would be "managing" my conditions. To some extent or another, I'll probably be dealing with inflammation and pain - the aftermath of all the trauma my body and nerves and guts and joints and everything have been through - for the rest of my life. But what's nice about Pain Dr is that he's confident that even if the problems don't get fixed, there's a whole lot we can do to relieve the symptoms. His philosophy is that it's unethical for me to suffer while they try to figure stuff out, and he told me there is no upper limit on what he will do to make me feel better. That is so incredibly reassuring to hear. Then he gave me his cell and told me to text him if I'm having trouble. Overall plan is to stay on the pain patches and try a different type of oral pain med to take on top of the patch.
Rheumatologist is another great doctor. She is like a mom - super down-to-earth and nice, thorough and takes me quite seriously, all without being an alarmist. She walked in, said, "I talked to your GI Dr about what's going on. Wow, I'm SO sorry," and proceeded to hand me a box of Kleenex! That seems to be the general reaction of every doctor I see these days, haha! The conclusion is that I have some pretty impressively flaring "autoimmune inflammatory arthritis." We're upping the disease modifying arthritis med for another four weeks. If I'm still all inflamed and hurting after that, we will need to step up treatments. If God provides, Humira would probably be great for the joints. If not, I would start immunosuppressant shots. As she took my history, she asked how I felt with my current endocrine doctor, because she knows a really good one that she'd prefer me to see, if I was willing to switch. Wow - what an answer to prayer! I told her how wonderful that would be, and she set me up to see new Endo doc late next week!
Next stop was (hopefully) my LAST VISIT EVER to Endocrine Doc. We got some test results - my spine is on the borderline between osteopenia and osteoporosis, which isn't good, but isn't a big shocker, given that I have every risk factor in the book. Unfortunately, I can't do much about this until I get off steroids and another med that interacts with calcium. The good news is that I've been tolerating the steroid tapering well, which is very significant progress! So I'm supposed to cut back the prednisone a bit more, and start taking "vacations" twice a week from one of the other steroids to see if my body is relearning to balance my fluids and electrolytes to keep my blood pressure high enough. Trying to decide what day to take that vacation, since I'll end up taking an involuntary "vacation" if my body is NOT ready.
I'm still dealing with quite a lot of pain, despite all the meds, which is frustrating, especially since I am not a fan of actually taking the meds. But I really don't want it to get so out of control that I have to go back to the hospital, so I'm trying really hard to stay on top of it. Hopefully I'll start feeling better soon. The choice for now is not being able to focus because I'm hurting, or feeling too stoned to focus... but still being in pain. Sigh. Twitchy is still doin' quite well - I am so proud of him! ;) Unfortunately, whether it's from all the meds or from pain in general, my stomach is hurting and upset off and on, which doesn't really help anything.
I am so ready for a break. There are just two more weeks of interning, and three more weeks of school. But I have a lot of stuff to get done just to earn incompletes. It's very tough to study at all, and I just don't learn or retain well these days, which is frustrating. School came very easily to me before I got sick. Since I got sick, it's required more time and effort to do well, but I was able to put forth that extra effort. Now... I simply can't. So it's very humbling to not be able to do as well as I would like. I just don't know if I can do it. I just want to be done. I just want a break. I don't know if I've ever said those things out loud in my whole entire life... and maybe this is pretty selfish and lazy... but wow, I am so ready to just relax for a while. Guess I just need a little pep talk right now! Just have to get through today! Then tomorrow! Confident God will give me the strength to do whatever He wants me to do...