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June's Blog - Bronagh's experience of her first rheumatology appointment

For June we continue sharing their experiences from people with lupus about their first rheumatology appointment. This month's story comes from Bronagh. Thank you Bronagh for taking the time to share your story.

I am lucky in that my first introduction to rheumatology was a positive experience. After my daughter was born 23 years ago I started developing symptoms including breathing problems, horrendous headaches, facial rashes and of course overwhelming fatigue. My GP at that time put it down to ‘post-natal debility’ and I just carried on hoping it would improve in time.

After two really awful years things came to a head; I was crippled with painful joints, swollen muscles etc. My new GP took one look at me and ordered a host of blood tests. Two weeks later she saw me with the results and immediately phoned Professor Finch, Consultant Rheumatologist in Musgrave Park Hospital in Belfast. He diagnosed me there and then over the phone and within a fortnight I was admitted to the rheumatology ward and my treatment began.

It was all a bit of a shock at the time; I spent three weeks in hospital which was hugely difficult as we had two very young children. I always felt extremely well cared for and supported by everyone in the rheumatology department, and I have to say this has continued right to the present day, some twenty years later. I am lucky enough to have the services of physiotherapists, occupational therapists, dermatologists etc. even in times of cutbacks and a lack of funding; all we need here now is a specialist lupus nurse!

For more advice about getting most from medical appointments, please take a look on our website at lupusuk.org.uk/living-with-...

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