, , , ,

I’m pretty good at managing one medical condition, but I have to admit that keeping up with multiple issues makes me crazy with all the appointments and medications and tests, oh my! This is especially true because lately I’ve been extra busy at work and honestly finding time for all of this stuff has been pretty stressful.

I am currently doing physical therapy twice a week for my left knee and that will go through the end of June.

Then I had the liver enzyme situation which kicked me off some of my meds, including one of my RA meds. On top of this, when I saw my rheumatologist, she agreed that we need to switch to Actemra, but she indicated that since I had just gotten my labs done right before I saw her, that I wouldn’t have to do any more blood work. But she did say she wanted to get a baseline liver sonogram before starting the Actemra because of the liver situation.

I saw my rheumatologist on a Wednesday. When my rheumatologist’s nurse called me the following Monday, I just assumed it was to let me know that the insurance hurdles had been cleared in record time. Instead it was to tell me that apparently the doctor had changed her mind and decided I did need to do a full range of blood work. They wouldn’t even submit Actemra for pre-approval until the lab results came back, which basically delayed getting started on the new drug for yet another week. (I haven’t been on anything but 10 mg of prednisone for more than a month now.)

I also had the follow-up with my PCP after the ER visit for chest pains. He suspected that it might be GI/esophageal related and ordered an upper GI.

The blood work had to be fasting. The liver sonogram had to be fasting, but I could have water. The upper GI not only had to be fasting, I couldn’t even have water for at least eight hours prior to the test. In addition to RA, I also have Sjogren’s and without my medication, I get dry as the Sahara anyway, but add to that the fact that I couldn’t have anything to drink, I was pretty miserable.

But I got everything done on Thursday as the imaging office was in the same medical complex as the lab. I got there earlier enough to go get blood drawn first. Of course I was so dehydrated that they had to stick me three times and use a pediatric butterfly before they finally were able to draw the samples they needed. Then it was off to have my liver sonogram done (which was no big deal, just messy from the gel they use) and the upper GI.

The upper GI was at least interesting because I could watch what was going on and the radiologist told me what was he was observing and gave me the results verbally when we were done.

So by Friday, I had all the results:

  • My labs came back pretty normal — at least to the point that my rheumatologist was willing to prescribe Actemra. One of my liver enzymes was still slightly elevated, but so greatly improved that we were able to move forward. However, I was somewhat aghast when I found out that the nurse (who I already was convinced is pretty incompetent) had never heard of the drug and was asking me what dosage she should order.
  • The liver sonogram result was “fatty liver.” This is not great, but it’s not terrible either. It just underscores that I need to take a more serious approach to my diet and exercise.
  • The upper GI came back completely normal with the exception of a tiny bit of reflux. The radiologist said I didn’t score 100% but I got an A-. There were no ulcers, hiatal hernias, obstructions, or cancer. This is all great news but now we still don’t know what caused the chest pains that sent me to the ER. I see another follow-up with my PCP in my future.

On top of this I seem to have developed an issue where I need to see my gastroenterologist but I can’t get an appointment for another month and I’m having war with my insurance company over a $70 charge for mail-order drugs that they show unpaid but my credit card shows that it clearly was.

AND my husband is having a medical procedure of his own this week which requires a day trip to the hospital and rest for a day or two afterward, so in addition to my own issues, I am helping support my husband’s situation.

I don’t know. It seems like my entire life is wrapped up in dealing with medical issues these day. I know that all this will be resolved in the near future, but at the moment it’s a bit difficult to manage it all and still keep a job and a household intact.

I hope whatever you’re juggling these days are happy things and not flaming chainsaws. Thanks for checking in.