After my initial meltdown and panic about pmr and steroids, I went to hospital yesterday to see the specialist. I had been panicking as to why I was seeing a Rheumy so very quickly after seeing a decent GP (3rd time lucky). I had been expecting the 25 week wait and was worried about what they had discovered. I have been on 20mg pred for 10 days and was dreading having to increase it if (as was suspected) I had GCA.
After reading about all the apathy and lack of knowledge in the NHS about this disease, I was geared up for challenge! Well, it turns out I don't have pmr, I have Rheumatoid Arthritis. I saw a wonderful doc and was at the hospital for over 3 hours. He examined me thoroughly, listened to all my health issues/history and treated me like an intelligent adult. I asked him if he was sure it is RA and he said that my markers couldn't really get much higher! He showed me on the screen and there it was lit up like a beacon. I asked him why nobody had told me and he said they had only just had the results of the blood tests. That is why I was fast tracked. The sooner treatment is starts the better with RA.
He seems to think that RA has been lurking around in my body for quite a long time and that my hand and elbow OA has been intensified by it. I had more blood tests, chest, hand and feet x-rays and am now set up at the clinic. He even offered me a steroid injection in my bottom, so that I can come of the pred quickly. Obviously, I jumped at the chance.
I still have an autoimmune disease and will have to take Methotrexate and folic acid. I will need regular blood tests to check my liver. When I think back, other minor complaints make sense when inflammation runs wild in the body.
I expected to come home from the hospital upset and frustrated with a battle ahead. I am happy to say that I cannot fault the care and treatment I received. I didn't think I would ever be relieved to be told I had RA, but I was already starting to feel the black cloud coming with the pred.
From this experience I have learned a lot in a short space of time about pmr/gca and whilst I am relieved I don't have it, I totally sympathise with those who do. Inflammation is a powerful beast and I had no idea. I just thought it was the cause of a sore throat or what happens when we are injured.
Thank you so much for all the guidance, support and calming influence of certain members! I still have a challenge ahead and will need regular trips to hospital, but it's amazing what proper care, concern and treatment can do.