Hi my name is Lorna and I am a 58 year old woman with a long litany of health issues. So many I think maybe I am a hypochodriac. At least I think my family must think so. Fifteen years ago I went for a physical and was told that I was hypothyroid. Not much of a surprise as my Mother and 3 of my sisters are all hypothyroid with Hashimoto Thryoiditis. For years I took my Synthroid but still suffered chronic fatigue and malaise. About 10 years ago I notice a patch of rough skin on my elbow and was diagnosed with psoriasis. I was give some topical ointment which I still use to this day, never cleared the plaques but relieves itching and burning. The area has increased in size but it is not that bad. Off and on for the past 10 years I have frequently (at least twice a year) ended up at my pcp with debilitating lower back pain that was diagnosed as inflamed sacrilioac joint and some arthritis. My right hand and wrist started acting up and my dr at that time told me it was most likely psoariatic arthritis a part of my psoriasis condition. Prescribed lodine and that was it. In 2012 still feeling horrible fatigue I finally decided time to see and Endo about my thryoid. A complex list of blood work showed an IGF-1 level of 89 uncovering a growth hormone deficiency that was probably causing my fatigue. I started growth hormone therapy at .5 mg of Humatrope by injection daily. I still have debilitating back pain and in the past year have had other strange symptoms crop up. Severe tendonitis in my left wrist and hand that I have received cortisone shots from an ortho every 4 months for. The latest being Feb 1 which provided very little if any relief. Both feet have gone numb, no tingling or pins and needles, just numb as if asleep, with numbness down the outsides of both legs. Saw an Ortho, Podiatrist, had emg tests, endo and regular pcp have failed to come up with a diagnosis. I feel they just brush this off as not a big deal as it doesn't cause pain. I am not diabetic and have blood tests quarterly to monitor this. I also get horrific muscle spasms that literally levitate me out of a dead sleep and not just in my legs, but feet, back, neck, stomach, chest you name it I have had a muscle cramp there. Inside my knees are the worst ones. I finally went to my dr and demanded that he do an MRI on my back so I could go to a pain clinic for shots and he looked at me and said "time for you to see a Rheumatologist for biologics" . Until this time he had never suggested I see one for my "psoriatic arthritis" though he mentioned it to me in passing years previously but didn't persue it. Well I recently saw one. The result was he is not convinced it is psoriatic arthritis as I show no swelling of joints (though I have in the past) every single major joint showed tender spots. My nails show definite ridges but no actual pitting with some lifting of the nail from the nail bed. the blood tests he had done have come back with negative results, Sed rate was 29 and CRP was .4. I am just so tired and pain makes me miserable. I just want to know what the issue is so I can get on a course of treatment that will work for me along side my other issues. do you think this could really be psoriatic arthritis and if he doesn't think so should I seek another opinion?
Hi Lorna, I can 'hear' many, many members reading your post and all nodding and going 'uh- huh' in agreement with so much of what you've gone through symptom and doctor/diagnosis wise. There is a really good patient orientated book recommended in the Book Reviews section called 'The facts: Psoriatic Arthritis' written by two of world leading doctors in this disease Gladman & Chandran. It is only a few dollars on Amazon (both the e-version and paperback) or your local bookstore. Lots of us here have it and find it incredibly informative and helps us discuss our disease and treatment options with our docs. My feeling is you'd read it having lots of light-bulb moments :)
Lorna, welcome here. As you search for answers, there’s a lot of good reading for you in our Newbies’ Guide. You might be particularly interested in this one:
Many many of us were un- or mis-diagnosed for years. I would say, seek a second opinion if at all possible, whatever the opinion of the rheumatologist is. Both the diagnosis of PsA, and the judgement of how severe or active it is needs to be double checked, in my opinion.
And do consider getting the Gladman & Chandran book: you will find it very informative. The e-book, which is on amazon.com, is a bargain.