I've been waiting for months to see the Rheumatologist, and finally, yesterday was the day. I was incredibly nervous and anxious. I just wanted a diagnosis, some answers as to why I've been so tired, feverish, stiff and in pain.
I was suspecting Ankylosing Spondylitis, which is a chronic inflammatory condition which attacks the joints, but can also effect many other parts of the body. It is an autoimmune disorder. In the United States it effects only about 0.5-1% of the population. It is similar in a lot of ways to Rheumatoid Arthritis, but RA generally effects the small joints of the hands and feet, and Ankylosing Spondylitis, AS, generally effects the large joints, such as spine, hips, neck & shoulders.
So 2:30 p.m. finally arrived on 9/22/10. Finally. I limped into the exam room.
My appointment was 2+ hours long. And at the end of it, the doctor confirmed the diagnosis I was expecting: Ankylosing Spondylitis.
I feel relieved and validated to finally know what's going on. I feel hopeful that we will find a treatment or combination of treatments that will improve my current quality of life. I feel concerned about the possibilities for the future. Possibilities like not being able to walk, needing a wheelchair or cane, having my joints fuse and losing range of motion.
But overall I feel relieved, because now we know for sure, and we can start trying treatments.
My wish is that by Christmas I'll feel much better.