Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Good Report at Rheumatologist's

I usually dread going to see the rheumatologist who treats me for SLE. Not that he's abrupt, or non-caring, or anything in his personality -- it's just going to the doctor, period.
Because each time I go into his office, no matter at what stage my lupus is in at the moment, I am once again reminded I have this mystifying disease.
My lupus is not like another person's lupus. I may suffer from RA symtoms, in my joints, while the next person's lupus affects her kidneys. Some have the discoid rash, I don't. Some can't tolerate medications used to treat lupus; I have fortunately not had that experience.
And, all the past, unsuccessful visits to five or more physicians who offered me little more than, "It's just rheumatoid arthritis," or, "Nothing is showing up in your blood work that you have lupus, so you don't have it."
Finally, this particular doctor knew what he was looking at. And he diagnosed and treated me, and today I'm in remission. In fact, he said I looked better than the last visit. Which made me wonder, "gee, I wonder how bad I looked 3 months ago."
We went over my medications, or rather, I told him what I had discontinued and what I had substituted: I d/c'd Lyrica, since it had no effect on the fibromyalgia, and substituted Cymbalta, prescribed by my -- ahem -- psychiatrist for depression AND it treats fibromyalgia, too. So he agreed, one pill for two effects is a heck of a deal. I had called my shrink telling her I didn't think the Celexa was working any more, and she suggested Cymbalta, which would also help the fibro. And after about a month, I'm feeling soooo much better, have some energy, and I don't have to take a long nap after lunch.
I told him I had d/c'd Toprol because it caused dizziness, and when he took my blood pressure, it was just fine. 120/80. I still take the Ramipril, a blood pressure med to protect my kidneys, so evidently it's sufficient by itself. One less pill.
If this type of discussion is foreign to you, I have to tell you that you have to be proactive, and not only ask your doctor for suggestions, but tell him what you think you need. You know your own body better than anyone, and your own particular "brand" of lupus.
Try it. It works. I'm sure glad I learned to do that, and I'm much better today.

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