You may recall Dr Pat had sent me off to see a neurologist and then to revisit him in a week for the extra test results…
During the week my parents had become worried when I told them I was seeing the Rheumatologist again so soon and they decided to come to the second appointment with me.
The appointment only took ten minutes. A lot can change in a small amount of time. I had Rheumatoid Arthritis. And Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (SLE or Lupus). And Barmah Forest Virus. Lucky me. I was relieved this day. I had been sick with so many different things over the years that to hear it was more than just bad fortune was actually music to my ears. Mum cried. Dad asked a lot of questions.
I was told the details of everything, put on my new treatment program and given a plan of attack for the new year.
So…Jessica Frost…this is your life.
Barmah Forest – fever, chills and high temperature, severe headache, pain, tenderness, stiffness in and around the joints and in the muscles, and difficulty moving, joints can be quite swollen and ligaments near joints and tendons. There is no real cure or effective treatment for this, and anti inflammatory pain killers are the only thing that really helps, although the tiredness and pain never really goes away until the remission several months in to the illness.
Lupus (or as I say Lou) – As occurs in other autoimmune diseases, the immune system attacks the body’s cells and tissue, resulting in inflammation and tissue damage.It is a caused by antibody-immune complex formation. It most often harms the heart, joints, skin, lungs, blood vessels, liver, kidneys and nervous systerm. The course of the disease is unpredictable, and treatable but only with courses of corticosteroids. (This is copied from the net but the most succinct explanation)
Rheumatoid Arthritis – a disease in which inflammation (pain, heat and swelling) affects the joints and other organs of the body. The hands, feet and knees are commonly affected. Stiffness in the joints is common, especially in the morning. There is no cure for rheumatoid arthritis but there are ways to manage it. Treatment is corticosteroids during flares and Disease Modifying AntiRheumatic Drugs.