I am 41 and was diagnosed with 'Seronegative Arthritis' in February. I now realise, after reading the factsheets, that this is a generic term at the very least!!
The flare up happened almost overnight - I had had some swelling whilst on holiday and put this down to the lack of leg room on the flight. About a week after we came back my ankles swelled up noticeably and I went to the GP. He was a trainee and said he'd never seen anything like it and I had blood taken and was told to call back in a week.
I did this and was told 'tests are normal, you're healthy, no further action'. My feet and ankles were still swollen!
By the Friday of that week the swelling was very red and angry and after my cousin saw a picture (on FB as you do!!) she said she was concerned it could be celluitis and to call the doctor straight away. The GP asked to see me immediately and he said that he knew it wasn't that but it was either gout or something arthritic.
I had more blood taken on the Monday. The GP called on the Tuesday to say it was Seronegative Arthritis and prescribed steroids, codeine phosphate and naproxen. By this point to walk was horrifically painful and remember crying so much because the pain was so bad.
The steroids worked to reduce the swelling and I had got an appointment to see the rhematology consultant which I went to yesterday.
I feel I wasn't believed and it was a complete waste of over 2 hours of my time. He barely asked any questions, despite me telling him none of my other joints were affected he put me on the exam table and moved all my joints to check for pain. He then declared 'I think you have had an infection that caused the swelling and I know that your blood tests will come back normal. I'm not going to do any treatment so make an appointment for 6 months time but if there is any swelling between now and then call my secretary'.
Really???? Shall I call your secretary each evening when the swelling occurs (maybe you didn't hear that bit because you were so busy doodling!)
I appreciate that I probably don't fit into any 'normal' category - I don't feel the pain is horrific (I know I have a high pain threshold so a 2 for me could be a 5 for someone else!), I don't let it stop me doing the stuff I normally do but my back still aches, my ankles are 'uncomfortable' (this is noticeable) and I have to sit down more than I ever did, I have to take pain killers more regular than I have ever done, the ankles both swell most evenings but particularly when I have been very active (bizarrely ironing seems to have the worst impact!!) and I seem to get tired so easily.
I feel quite angry at the seeming lack of belief from the consultant.
Anyway, I read one of the 'fact sheets' on here this morning and it was like someone had taken my symptoms and written them down! Additionally my mother has recently been diagnosed with collitis and has a form of arthritis in her hands - the hospital refused to do a test for HLA-B27 when my GP requested it (because of the cost) saying it wouldn't affect my treatment....so I'm wondering if I should be pushing for this test again and would it help with a specific diagnosis?
I've dug out a book to keep a diary of symptoms, pain killers I take etc but wondered if anyone else had experienced anything similar and if so any advice re helping to get a specific diagnosis, help with consultant actually believing there is an issue (can I ask for a 2nd opinion?)
Many thanks for taking the time to read my (very long!) post and I appreciate any advice you may have to offer.