I'm writing here because I'm really at a loss of where else to ask....
A little back story (which is all a bit complicated)...
I am a 31 year old female. I have a family history of Connective Tissue and Auto-Immune illnesses on both sides of my family. My grandfather died after suffering from severe RA. My grandmother has lupus. My mother had Guiallme-Barre syndrom when I was a child. I suppose I've always suffered from aches and pains and often just came across as a massive hypochondriac. I had top stop playing many of the sports I enjoyed as a kid because of the severe pain in my spine (and was diagnosed with Schuerrmann's Disease).
When I was in my mid twenties I became quite ill, but after many visits to my GP I was told it was nothing (in fact she said it was in my head and I should see a psychiatrist). A few days later I was taken into hospital to have emergency surgery, having to have my gallbladder removed as I had so many gallstones they had blocked my bile duct and caused pancreatitis. About two years after that, I was diagnosed (along with my mother and brother) as having the genetic auto-immune illness Haemochromatosis (too mch iron in the blood). If you don't know about it, it can cause heart, liver and kidney failure (death in extreme cases) but more generally conditions like Raynauds (which my brother and I have), Gallstones and Kidney Stones (of which I've had both), fertility issues and a host of other things. I'm currently being treated for it and life is much better as a result.
Unfortunately, however, I have recently (past year) started developing extremely severe pains in my hands and feet. My wrists and ankles are often in pain too. The swelling is unreal, sometimes my fingers swell so bad I can't hold a pen or cup of tea. It flares up, sometimes are worse than usual. Now, in the past 6 months or less, I've started noticing the shape of my fingers changing a lot. Two of my fingers in particular are completely shifted and bend to the side. My pinky fingers are also wider from my hand. In short, they just look very different and my family have noticed it too.
I have been referred on the NHS to Rhuematology, but I can't stop worrying about what is to come......if indeed this is RA. Given how much my grandfather suffered before his death, it scares me so much. I'm an artist, so the idea of having an illness that is effecting my ability to work is causing me to suffer great depression.
My question, however, is more about pain control....
I have two big promlems when it comes to controlling the pain.
1) I am severely allergic to ibuprofen (and found out the hard way....a few times).
2) When I was suffering from pancreatitis/gallbladder issues, my doctor put me on very high doses of Fentanyl and Oxycontin and Tramadol, all of which were often over prescribed in high amounts. As a result I fought a battle for years (one which I will fight the rest of my life) with opiate addiction, addiction to doctor prescribed pills (from a girl who never messed with drugs before).
So, now here I am, yet another illness - although I am aware that they are all connected - but with no ability to take any pain relief. It's not great and is causing me great levels of anxiety, stress and depression.
Sorry this is all so long and boring and no doubt makes me sound like a real hypochondriac. But I had to vent.
Thanks for reading.