Dr. Brown's office calls on Friday – they've gotten me an appointment with a rheumatologist the following Wed. Dec. 23. Hallelujah! I'm thrilled! I thought it would take weeks to get in with a specialist.
A friend offers to take me, but I thought I'd drive (we're without an editor at the magazine, so I've got the parking spot at the moment, and it's a godsend at times because my feet feel like they've been beaten with a cane) and there's parking at the rheumatologist's, so at first I say, no.
The day before the appointment, though, I feel so crappy I call to tell her I'll take her up on her offer. It's a good thing I do. The rheumatologist is very nice, exams my joints, takes my history, reviews my bloodwork from Dr. Brown and tells me she thinks I have rheumatoid arthritis. I promptly burst into tears. Not surprising. That's the way I react when I'm in shock. Despite hours and hours now of searching the internet, and hoping that it's something else, everything I've been reading leads me to think the same thing.
Full of hope that's it's not a chronic thing, I ask if it could be a viral form of arthritis. She says possibly and that we'll do all kinds of bloodwork, including checking for that. She's also going to send me for x-rays to see if there's any indication of damage. Before I go she gives me a corticosteroid injection to help me out over the holidays; I choose that over Prednisone pills, since I don't want to get started on those if I don't have to. I'm also prescribed Voltaren (diclofenac) instead of the Apo-Naproxen EC I've been taking.
I leave and my friend kindly eats up her entire afternoon taking me first to the blood clinic, then the hospital for 21 – count 'em: 21!! – x-rays. She couldn't be nicer and more supportive and keeps me laughing the whole time. My crazy French friend!!