Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Am I the youngest person here?

Sitting in the waiting room on my first visit to the Rheumatologist at age 32, I noticed one thing right away. Everyone else sitting in the waiting room with me was at least twice my age. I didn't really have an issue with this because my body made me feel every bit as old as everyone else in the room.

During this visit I had to go through the entire story of my symptoms and everything else that I had gone through to lead me to his office.

The dr. immediately put me on 60mg of prednisone per day and a medicine I had never heard of called plaquenil. The prednisone is a corticosteroid used as an anti-inflammatory. The plaquenil is used more specifically for the rash.

Plaquenil is actually an antimalarial drug. While used for treating malaria, it was found that plaquenil would also reduce inflammation in patients who had auto-immune disorders. It is now a commonly used drug in the battle against inflammation.

The use of plaquenil does not come without risks. The dr. informed me I would have to see an ophthalmologist every 6 months to make sure the drug had not caused any changes to my eyes.

I was also given a prescription for a calcium nasal mist because prednisone use can deplete calcium levels.

The dr. said I would need an additional test to confirm the diagnosis of DM. Although he was certain I had it, auto-immune disorders are tricky and can change from one to another. We needed a baseline so we would know where we started.

An appointment was scheduled with a surgeon for a muscle biopsy to confirm the diagnosis. I then had more blood drawn, scheduled an appointment for the next month and headed home.

This would be the monthly routine for the foreseeable future.

I had my muscle biopsy and my diagnosis was confirmed. 100% certain, dermatomyositis.

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