Hello to you all . I'm a newbie on the forum looking for Members' opinions or perhaps similar experiences of the painful and ( to me) quite strange symptoms I've been experiencing recently. I apologise in advance for a lengthy post but hope that providing some background leading to these more recent symptoms might be worthwhile?
Im a 57 year old female and i do have osteoarthritis . The pain and stiffness related to this has always eased over the summer months ,whereas this year at times it seems far worse regardless of weather etc. . Also, I had 2/3rds of my thyroid removed several years back but as my TSH remains within normal range my GP Im not on any thyroid meds.
Over the past year or so at times I have felt generally very unwell for no apparent reason. I have episodes of feeling greatly fatigued, a significant increase in joint pain in upper back/ neck area , it also takes far longer to shake off joint stiffness when I awake.
Around 6 months ago a flattish swelling appeared above my cleavage but apart from feeling slightly tender at times didn't bother me. A few months later a new swelling appeared above thyroid (Adams Apple area) which is the first time this has occurred since my thyroid op. An ultra sound scan appointment was booked for several weeks later by which time both swellings had virtually disappeared : NHS Technician: "swellings, what swellings?" I felt like a right time waster! But the scan result showed single nodule on remaining portion of thyroid and adjacent Lymph node was swollen, but as nodule appears ' clean' no follow is deemed necessary.
The newer symtoms..........
Around 8 weeks ago I suffered what I describe as the very worst headache of my life - but it was only on the left side , particularly around my jaw , ear, temple and front of my scalp. The pain progressively increased over a few days and over a weekend became agonising but was gone by Monday evening. Alongside this the swellings described above became noticeably larger and the skin over them reddened and felt warmer and the left side of my neck also appeared red - as the pain diminished so did the swellings and redness and were virtually gone by the time I got to see my GP on the Tuesday.
My GP mentioned GCA as a result of my description of headache etc and took blood tests for enthrocytes and ( I think it was something like ??) C reactive as markers of inflammation but these come back clear. A blood test for rheumatoid arthiritis a few months ago was also clear.
Over the last 8 weeks I get similar episodes every 6 -10 days. They last between 2 -4 days and after the pain has subsided I feel 'drained' for a day or two , then im ok again. The last two bouts have not been quite so severe ( but still enough that two co-codamols achieve little) . The swellings I mentioned are linked to these episodes and increase in size and diminish alongside the headaches.
Frustratingly, I have never been able to get an appointment with my GP during the peak of such episodes so she has only my description to go off. I am booked in to see my GP this Thursday although I feel like I'm not being taken seriously and getting nowhere.
I realise GCA is potentially a very serious condition ; likewise steroid treatment for GCA to be avoided unless medically necessary. I would like to ask members of the forum if the symptoms of GCA can 'come and go' as related above and given blood tests don't show markers of inflammation is GCA a likely/unlikely cause of the symptoms I have described?
Thanks for bearing with the length of this post and please don't feel the need to be diplomatic in any replies if you feel what I describe bears little relation to typical cases of GCA.