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Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Multiple Choices

I went to see Endo Doc at the end of last week. She told me that I look great from an adrenal perspective - I'm on a rather high dose of hydrocortisone for a person of my size, but it seems to be working for me, so she's content to leave it as is. She is happy that I was able to switch over from Prednisone to hydrocortisone without having a major emergency. ;) I'm happy about that, too!
It was an "easy" appointment, but sometimes it's frustrating to feel so awful, then be told that you're doing great. I did have a few really good days last week, so I lived it up to the fullest on those days! Since Friday evening, however, I've barely gotten out of bed, and I've been feeling nauseated and having pelvic pain again, which is concerning. Something just isn't quite right.

I talked to the JP NP (Joint Practitioner [Rheumatology] Nurse Practitioner) on the phone today. I asked her one of those tricky multiple choice questions:

Hannah has the following symptoms: fatigue, joint, muscle, and pelvic pain, low-grade fevers, forgetfulness, tremors, heat intolerance, nausea, and joint warmth, stiffness and swelling. Are these symptoms due to:
a. an arthritis flare?
b. a POTS (dysautonomia) flare?
c. an adrenal issue?
d. another abscess?
e. more than one of the above?
JP NP decided that she couldn't answer this question by herself or over the phone, so she gave me a semi-emergency appointment to see the JP Dr tomorrow.
The million dollar question is: How do we determine which issues are causing my symptoms?

I don't know if JP Dr will have an answer for me out of this multiple choice, but hopefully she can narrow things down and point me in the right direction. I know that they really want me to start Cimzia, a biologic treatment, but I am hesitant to start those shots for a number of reasons. And while I believe that an arthritis flare is definitely a big factor in how I'm feeling, I think that there are multiple factors playing a role in how I'm feeling. So I'd hate to start some big-gun arthritis medication, and still feel awful because some other issue is responsible for my symptoms. 

I've been experimenting with a few of my meds, as there are multiple choices for potential culprits in the fatigue issue. So far, I haven't found a pill that's to blame, but I have been able to reduce the dosage and/or taper off some meds, so that's positive. I also am having a very tough time tolerating my weekly immunosuppressant shot. I "shoot up" on Friday nights, and from Saturday night through Sunday evening, I feel like something the dog dragged home. I didn't experience this severe a reaction when I was at a lower dose, and it seems that the "hangover" is more intense each week. The cough syrup trick unfortunately hasn't helped much, if at all, with the side effects. Maybe I should try menudo...

I truly hope that God will allow us to figure out something from our multiple choices, some sort of strategy that will help me to have a more stable and predictable level of health and functionality. Please pray for wisdom for the doctor to know what is causing my symptoms, and what to suggest! And please pray that I will have wisdom and peace as I ponder the multiple choices for treatment options. I tend to get frustrated at my doctors when I don't like the answers or choices they give me. Sometimes, the reality is that, on this side of heaven, there simply may not be really great answers for me. And that's not the doctors' fault. That's the result of living in a sinful, fallen world. Like Paul says in Romans 8:18-25, I may groan along with all of creation as I endure the sufferings of this present life, but the suffering I face here is nothing compared to the inheritance I have in Christ, my sure hope! With perseverance, I am waiting eagerly for my adoption as God's daughter, and for the redemption of my body! So please pray that, regardless of what choices I'm presented with at the doctor, I will choose to have a God-honoring attitude.

I am completely amazed at God's incredible provision and goodness to me! If you haven't already seen it, please check out Help4Hannah, a website set up by my dear friend Dennis!

Hannah ;)

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