Jan. 4th, 2013

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Finally got in to see my reg doc to discuss the giant pile of labwork and figure out wtf is going on with me, and got a tentative diagnosis!

Doc thinks I have something called Polymyalgia Rheumatica, which was something I suspected when I first started looking into this. I'm awfully young for it--it's rare in anyone under 50--but since I have so many other oddball problems, doc thinks it's certainly possible in my case. It also often comes with a far more serious thing called Temporal Arteritis, which is inflammation of cranial arteries, but I don't have symptoms of that, so crossing my fingers it's not involved.

PMR an icky disease, but it is treatable, to a degree, and eventually goes away on its own after a few years. A long while to wait, definitely, but at least I know there's hope somewhere down the road. She's sending me to a rheumatologist to absolutely rule out anything else, and in the meantime, putting me back on prednisone, which is the primary treatment for this.

Interestingly enough, one of the common symptoms of this is anemia--particularly the microcytic/hypochromic stuff I have. Other parts of my labs rule out this being caused by actual iron deficiency. Rather, it's caused because the body's response to infection, inflammation, etc., is to hold back circulating iron to avoid feeding whatever bug is there. Theoretically, if I cure the inflammation, I can cure the anemia, too. Being able to get some energy back along with killing the pain would be fantastic. The better I feel, the easier it'll be to mind a little one when we finally get one.

Something else I also wonder: I've had many of the same symptoms, in a much milder form, for quite some time. Though sudden onset like this is possible (and may be triggered by infection or something) it also might be that I simply had a colossal flareup of something I've already had for a while. Without getting regular bloodwork to test for inflammation markers (sed rate, c-reactive protein), I would never have known about this. My ongoing aches, stiffness, etc. would be--and are--chalked up just to getting old and being fat, and everyone would think the reason I don't exercise is due to laziness, not anemia-caused exhaustion and inflammation-caused pain.

Come to think of it, it may be that I got this a year and a half ago. I remember having flu-like symptoms when we went to Dragon*Con in 2011, and feeling tired and achy ever since. I went from happily traipsing all over the UK earlier that summer to feeling utterly miserable just from walking through a grocery store now. Having this thing even back then would explain so, so much. And knowing it's treatable and limited, if annoying? Even better. It'd be fantastic to be able to be more active again. I want to go bird-stalking, dammit.

Oooh. I just got mail from the doc saying the rheumatoid factor test was negative. So that's another possibility eliminated. Looking more and more like this really is what's going on. It sucketh mightily, but knowing is half the battle, and now I do.

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