Things have changed a lot since my first blog post here. I was newly diagnosed and ready to face everything head on. The initial flare that lead to my diagnosis was fading and I only had pain in my fingers and toes (it was EVERYWHERE during the peak). It's crazy looking back and realizing it's only been 3 months.
The pain in my digits never went away. There were days when I would wake up screaming in pain because I had moved my foot the wrong way. I had several more full body flares that lasted a day or two. I feel like I barely made it through the holidays. I took the prednisone and got no relief...just side effects! I was not able to get my doctor on the phone - just assistants that I felt weren't really helping me. Sigh...time to find a new rheumatologist.
My plan all along was to start on some form of crazy elimination diet once the holidays were over...IF I was still symptomatic. I had no idea I would be in tear-inducing pain. I did the research and decided on the most restrictive diet to try to nail what could be a trigger. Yes, I know that there isn't scientific studies to back up one diet for everyone. But I've had relief from psoriasis from diet in the past, so I figured what else should I be doing?
I eliminated all grains, dairy, soy, nightshades (tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, potatoes), pork, beef, caffeine and alcohol. Within 3 or 4 days of this extreme diet, I was completely pain free for the first time in about 2 months. And completely shocked too.
I stuck too it religiously for 3 weeks and then things started slipping in. Not a whole plate of pasta or anything, but a cracker or two, a piece of cheese, a cup of coffee...and beer during the super bowl! After 4 or 5 days of these little "cheats", I started having some mild pain again. So I'm back on the diet 100% now with one modification. I'm going to eat pork and beef. I don't eat fish or chicken (don't like them) and I don't think I was getting enough protein, even with all the eggs and beans I was forcing down. If I'm still having pains after a week, then it is likely one of those will be a trigger, but I was so dopey and tired all the time that I think it's worth trying to add them now.
So hopefully even this mildly annoying ache will be gone soon. The pitting in my nails - which my doc called "severe" - is hardly visible now.
I go back to the doc in a month. I really liked the one I saw but just didn't like my inability to get some advice from her about the prednisone. I may give it one more chance - it's nice to have continuity! I'm hoping to be in excellent shape when I see her (or someone else) and know what some of my food triggers are.
I know food is not THE answer. I still get some symptoms when I don't get enough sleep (being the mom of an 8 month old doesn't help...), or get very stressed out. I'm just looking for ways to help in every corner of my lifestyle. I also reduced my work hours from full time to 20 hours a week. It felt GREAT and has reduced a lot of stress in my life.