A quick update for those here who have advised me in the weeks leading up to my first rheumy appointment this morning. He seemed pretty sharp, although not a great listener and quite impatient. He told me that it's all very inconclusive - which has to be a very good thing for me really although too tired to feel the full impact of relief yet. He said it could be slow onset of RA but equally could be something else such as post viral arthritis. None of blood results taken so far would indicate RA conclusively (positive Rheumatoid Factor is no real indicator of anything with RA as you all know). He got a nurse to take a anti-CCP sample then and there and a chest x-ray just in case MTX is decided on at later stage.
But there is no visible swelling or damage to joints for him to look at as yet he just can't tell. He was dismissive of the finger joint nodules now on each finger and thumb because he felt that sometimes hands do change shape and become gnarled and blemished from wear and tear, aging or other arthritic conditions overnight. I suppose I'm much more aware of them from knowing my hands intimately as I do but they are not of much interest to him he explained. He did prod, poke and bend all my joints and ask lots of questions so was thorough. He also pointed out that many strange things, including RA, can happen after the menopause because of influx of new hormones etc.
He looked a bit blank when I asked him about his approach to treating RA and he also told me there are almost no specialist rheumatoid nurses in Aberdeen and no support team for me there so my GP and the physio woman who sat in on consultation (not rheumatoid trained) would be my only support if I do in fact turn out to have RA. So I'll just have to hope, hope, hope that I don't!
He said that the lack of any visible signs made it less likely on one hand but then he was aware that I have been on steroid which could still be masking the symptoms still so again not clear. Nothing else will happen now until or if I have another flare. He did say that he would see me again when he's next up in November and if I had any flare up in the meantime then I should go to my GP and show the physio who was with us in the room and they would contact him because he needs me in full flare mode before he can treat me. Now desperately hoping it will all vanish from wherever it came and if so you'll hear from me no more.
My sister in law is staying and has decided the whole thing is psychological because I lost my dad then my mum and my best friend's son all suddenly and out of the blue over quite a short time period within of a few years. I'm not ruling this out as a possibility at all.
Anyway thanks a million all of you you are an amazingly courageous lot. If things do kick off with RA I'll be back but if you don't see my name again you can all breathe a sigh of relief to be shot of me!