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Hello (Sub title: I'm an idiot)

redkettleredkettle Posts: 26
edited 23. Feb 2010, 06:38 in Say Hello Archive
Hello All.
I'm John, I'm new to the forum and like everyone, i have joint pain; only i have yet to be diagnosed with anything. I've avoided going to a doctor for years, but i've finally booked an appointment with my GP to discuss. I'm an idiot and my story goes like this...


About 8 years ago i started to experience joint pain (22yrs old) and it seemed any joint in my body was fair game for a bit of inflammation, soreness and stiffness. I didn't know what to think at the time, but made do by popping some Ibuprofen and getting on with things.

It seemed that every time a joint was affected, it would follow a life cycle of about 4 days.

Day1 = "hmm, that joint is a little tender/stiff"
Day2 = "oh hells bells that's sore, where's the ibuprofen?"
Day3 = "phew, that's starting to feel a little better"
Day4 = "what joint pain"

With such a short cycle, the problem was very easy to ignore. I mean, you don't go rushing to the doctor the first time you get a stomach ache or headache - you see how it goes. And if it goes...well you carry on and forget about it.

Finger and knuckles were a constant issue. If i didn't get in early with the Ibuprofen, they'd get quite red and swollen looking, and as a result very stiff to move. I added some Ibuprofen Gel to my treatment kit and got on with it.

It's when the problem started to hit...more prominent joints, that it really affected me. Ankles, Hip and shoulder attacks meant that the leg or arm attached would be effectively out of action. movement was near impossible and so in those cases i was either limping or struggling to raise my arm. Particularly with my shoulder - putting on shirts etc. was a nightmare (Applying shampoo too was really tiresome :)

But yet, because i knew that in just a couple of days i'd be fine again - i let it go. I don't know why i didn't go to a doc sooner. No doubt i get this attitude from my rural irish upbringing

Anyway, one fine day i woke up with a spectacular pain in my chest. If i didn't know better, it felt like someone whacked me with crowbar to the sternum. I could hardly get out of bed, every move of upper torso was painful. My girlfriend rang a doctor and of course once you utter the word 'chest pain' they get serious and i was called into the clinic immediately.

At this point i didn't suspect the pain was joint related - But actually it was the GP who after examining me said - "have you ever had any joint pain", and i told her about my steady diet of nurofen to treat such an issue. She said, "hmm" and then said "well, the pain seems centered around the Sternoclavicular joint, but we have to be sure so go to ER".

Fast forward to ER, an ECG and many hours being probed and i found myself talking to a doc who said everything checks out and they're a little bemused as to what was causing the pain. I was turning strange colours at this stage as breathing was a real burden ( i was trying to breathe really shallow and staying still to lessen the pain). Anyway, i mentioned what the GP had said and so they gave me a huge anti-inflammatory pill. And yup, an hour or so later the pain started to subside and i was sent home.

I'm an idiot for not following up at this stage, but i didn't and i returned to a life of nurofen and ignorance. I developed really bad acid reflux which i know NSAIDs can cause, but i don't know if this is coincidence. Nurofen, Nurofen Gel, Gaviscon and Zantac became the medical bread and butter of my days.

Once at work i couldn't raise my arm and my wrist was also out of action on the other hand, so i had to see the staff nurse to be excused. (I work with computers - if you can't type, you can't work). She examined me, and though i protested, she sent me to a GP that day who took blood samples. GP never called me back, so i dunno what the outcome was. I know, i'm an idiot. Ignorance is bliss eh.

So, here i am today, and what has been bothering me is that instead of a 4 day cycle, i can be sore for 10 days or more in a joint now. In fact my index finger knuckles have been sore for weeks. My knuckles in general feel like glass, even when not swollen or affected. I'll sometimes bang them very slightly against a surface and the pain is pretty severe. they just seem very sensitive now.

So, i'm off to the GP in a week to finally talk about what can be done. I'm on this forum because it's the first time i've looked into the issue and i wonder if anyone can identify with my story and perhaps offer some pointers on what to ask GP or alternative treatments. Will the doc be able to say whether i have RA, Gout, osteo etc after the examination - or will i get referred? Have i left it too long and is the damage irreversible if there is any?
I've lots of questions as you can imagine.

That's me anyway. Hello again and sorry if the post is too long.
Cheers,
John

Comments

  • chile168chile168 Posts: 384
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Hi John,

    First of all a warm welcome to the forum :).

    I too spent years in pain with pretty much all that you describe and just popped pill after pill. I became addicted to pain killers because unfortunately my GP was very unsupportive and were not listening to my ailments. Every morning my hands were swollen, my joints ached like crazy and was so stiff that I couldn't straighten myself for about 1 hour.

    I attended A&E with various problems including chest pain, much like you and eventually sent to a rheumatologist. Diagnosed with SLE (Lupus) in 2005, later Fibromyalgia added, then RA and IBS. Im now a cocktail of illnesses. lol have to look at it like that so I don't get too upset.

    I also tried various creams and nothing worked at least not for me. Tried deep heat on knees and the next thing they were like balloons and I couldn't stand up or walk. My sister was with me at the time and luckily enough helped.

    Think you are doing the right thing by seeing your GP and hope that you start getting treatment to make life at least a little less painful.

    Good luck and keep us posted xx

    Eve
  • frogmortonfrogmorton Posts: 25,086 ✭✭
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Hi John!!
    A very big welcome from me too :):)

    Sounds as though you could well have some form of inflamatory arthritis.

    You will have bloods done again whatever but if they were neg then they could be positive now. That happens.

    The GP can give you something (ameprazole/lanzoprazole) to help your acid reflux and may prescribe stronger pain releif.

    You should be referred to a rheumatologist and seen very soon all being well.

    They will do even more bloods!!! but are able to prescribe medications such as DMARDs to try to slow down the progress of any damage.

    You do seem to have got away with it well and I hope that means no long term damage! I hope to see you around and about on the forums soon


    Good luck

    Toni x
    Love

    Toni xxx
  • redkettleredkettle Posts: 26
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Hi Eve and Toni, thanks for the posts and info.

    I'm actually on Lanzoprazole for the last 4 months but though i suspected the connection between acid reflux and nurofen, my GP never asked me about it and i didn't mention it (:slaps head)

    The Lanzoprazole was life changing for me - up to that point every day meant copious amounts of zantac, gaviscon and rennie to keep the fire down. It could be so painful, but again it was years before i sought help and now that i have, i feel dumb for living with it for so long. Gaviscon sales must have plummeted the day i got my first lanzoprazole prescription :)

    Anyway, will def keep posting and nice to meet you folks.
    John
  • annie_mialannie_mial Posts: 5,818
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Welcome, John..............we are always ready to welcome another member but sorry you have had to find us..........you are far from alone.

    Don't waste time regretting what might have been.........today is yours, take it and enjoy it and make the future positive.

    Happy days
    Annie
  • redkettleredkettle Posts: 26
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Thanks Annie! You're too right, no point dwelling.
    Hopefully the doc can sort me out or at least lessen the symptoms. I shouldn't be struggling to peel banana's and open crisp packets at 29. A man needs his crisps! :)
  • trishertrisher Posts: 9,727
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Hi

    Welcome to the Forums.

    We like to support one another on here, give advice or help.

    We also like to relax and have a laugh. We try to tell Arthur to go away, he is not welcome but he does not take a hint.

    We aslo like to relax and have a laugh.

    I hope to see you posting soon.

    Trisher xx
  • valvalvalval Posts: 15,897
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    hi john yes we are all in denial for ages and just take the pills i also ended up in hospital with chest pains lol but they did not think of joint probs lol it was at the start of things and could not breath or eat lol so kept me over night would have said anything to get out next day lol . have you eaten said doc yes says i well i had had two corn flakes bowl was there for him to see if he had looked lol. what kind of arther have i got well have not asked not sure rhummy knows only seen him twice but sure time will tell. i am sure when they get you on some meds things will be better for you good luck we r here for you when you need us
    val
  • redkettleredkettle Posts: 26
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Howdy trisher & valval - thanks for the posts.

    I must admit, I had a blonde moment after reading and thought "who is this 'Arthur' character they mention - must be a nefarious poster on this forum".
    No doubt there's a few names and acronyms i'll be getting up to speed with :)
  • chile168chile168 Posts: 384
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    :lol: John,

    I too had a blonde moment at the beginning wonder who Arthur was!

    As some have said - being positive is the best way. :)

    Eve
  • frogmortonfrogmorton Posts: 25,086 ✭✭
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Hi John!!
    Me too with the lanzop. I got 30mg ones - have you?? they really help and life is so much more pleasant. I still can't take any anti-inflams like neuro ir diclo, but got a cox-2 inhibitor arcoxia which is supposed to be kinder on the stomach...?
    Take care
    Toni x
    Love

    Toni xxx
  • barbara12barbara12 Posts: 20,651
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    HiJohn,
    A very warm welcome, you have come to the best forum ever, everyone is so supportive, have a moan , ask questions.......and come and have a laugh :) Hope to see you posting more.
    Love Barbara x
    Love
    Barbara
  • redkettleredkettle Posts: 26
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    hi Barbara - thanks for the welcome! (very friendly site this:))
  • frogmortonfrogmorton Posts: 25,086 ✭✭
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Hey John

    Just wondering if you got to the Doc's and how you got on?

    Toni x
    Love

    Toni xxx
  • malc7747malc7747 Posts: 73
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Hi John,

    A Big Welcome from me too :) , only been with everyone a short while myself.

    Take care

    Malc
    :)
  • chris7chris7 Posts: 2,890
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Hi John

    A bit of a belated welcome from me, but hope you have seen the doc, by now and are getting some support there. You are right you can't manage without your crisps!! Let us know how you got on when you can.
    take care
    Chris
  • redkettleredkettle Posts: 26
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Hi Guys,

    Sorry i missed some replies there - been a busy few weeks (girlfriend is undergoing chemo at the moment) so i haven't been on much.

    Yes i did go to the doc, and as expected he just said - "let's get some blood tests done". I think he ordered 6 tests, though the word "gout" was the only one i recognized as he was listing them. The rest were acronyms i wasn't familiar with.

    So i went back a week later to have blood taken, and my follow up to go over results is next monday.

    It's funny, i hope the results show 'something' as i'd like to be able to put a name on the joint problem i have. On the other hand, it won't be fun to learn i've got any of the more degenerative types of arthritis. So i guess we'll see. Thanks for asking guys.
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