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Sunday, March 20, 2011

Diagnosis

It began with sore feet.
Trevor came home one day and declared it time for him to buy new shoes.  His feet had started regularly hurting him.   A natural hazard of walking on a hard concrete floor all day is aching feet which becomes worse when shoes have seen better days.  In this case, worn out shoes were the logical object of blame.  New shoes were purchased..  He bought good quality ones and anticipated immediate relief.
Unfortunately that was not the case.
Some days were better than others; mornings consistently the worst.  Trevor literally hobbled around in pain "like and old man" for the first bit after waking.
He tried chiropractic which resulted only in slight, temporary improvement.  Advil/Tylenol only masked the pain.  Finally Trevor went to his doctor in mid-October who wasn't able to offer much beyond suggesting regular Advil to counteract the inflammation and advised coming back in a month if there was no improvement. It was a little soon to pursue any additional action.
A month later Trevor was back.
This time his doctor speculated that Trevor may have contracted a strange virus that was manifesting itself through foot pain and would eventually exit his body and all would be well.   Unsure, though, Trevor was referred to a foot specialist and got an appointment in early January.
So he continued popping Advil and hobbling.

December 24 Trevor noticed stiffness in his hands that continued for over a week.

Our hearts dropped.
 
Not just a foot problem anymore.

Back to the doctor.

A plethora of blood testes were run.

He was called in to his doctor's office near the end of January and was told that the tests all came back negative.  Trevor then presented a theory that he may have contracted Lyme Disease, agree that anything was possible his doctor  had another blood test performed.

Then in the first week of February a late result returned from the first round of tests.
It pointed to Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA).

Not the news we wanted to hear.  We were kind of hoping for Lyme Disease.

Rheumatoid Arthritis is where the body's autoimmune system gets confused and attacks the joints and, more rarely, can also go after internal organs.  There is no known cause or cure but there is treatment.  Trevor was referred to a Rheumatologist who we saw just over a week ago.  The initial diagnosis was indeed confirmed and Trevor was prescribed an aggressive assortment of drugs.  They are very optimistic that the drugs will greatly reduce the swelling and pain and that Trevor will be able to live and function normally.
So for now we wait for four plus weeks and pray that the medication does what it is supposed to.


It has been seven long months since Trevor first came home complaining of unhappy feet.  Having a husband who feels old and unhealthy the majority of the time is very hard.  I get to hear him moan and groan and sigh as he attempts to get himself going in the morning.  I get to watch as he is barely able to take those initial steps into the bathroom after he first wakes up or can scarcely force his fingers to bend.  I watch as he constantly flexes his hands throughout the day and observes their varying degrees of swelling.
He can't wear his wedding ring any more.
Depending on the day and the time of day there are many simple tasks that require one's hands that he cannot accomplish.
He can't pick up is one year old son in the morning - this has been the hardest on him.

I am constantly asking him if he is able to do something.

I don't blame him for any of this.  It is a fact of having RA.



There are many times, him probably more than me, that we are resentful of this all.  We have done our best to keep our chins up and think,
"Hey!  At least this isn't something that's typically life threatening!"
and
"Many people suffer from RA and live full and normal lives thanks to the drugs available."

I have had to step up to the plate with many seemingly small things, like always being the one to get Sawyer out of his crib and unscrewing sippy-cup lids.
We suspect that Sierra's frequent bathroom visits are a reaction to the stress present in our household.  Not just the RA but we had colds and such for a month too.  So we made the joint decision to no longer show or talk about any illness or not feeling good in front of her; as far as she is concerned we are fine.

I feel like I have to remain positive, compassionate and understanding with Trevor.  Most of the time that isn't all that difficult, I love him and that's what wives do.


I didn't realize how mentally finished I am until last week when I received some inconvenient news and could hardly keep from crying throughout the rest of the day.  (the news itself was minor, but was the catalyst)  (the ridiculous time change also hasn't helped because extra tiredness was added to the mix)
It is hard work living with the reality of RA and I'm not even the one with it!

Now I have just created a pretty bleak picture here and while there are definitely some pretty dark and sad moments we are getting through this.
Slowly.
It's the waiting game until the drugs take effect.

We draw our strength from God and lean heavily on the faith that He will get us through this.

Psalm 34: 17-19
"The righteous cry out, and the Lord hears them; he delivers them from all their troubles.  The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.  A righteous man may have many troubles, but the Lord delivers him form them all.   "

Psalm 40
I waited patiently for the Lord; he turned to me and heard my cry.  He lifted my out of the slimy pit,out of the mud and mire; he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand.  He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God.  Many will see and fear and put their trust in the Lord.  Many, O Lord my God, are the wonders you have done.  Blessed is the man who makes the Lord his trust, who does not look to the proud, to those who turn aside to false gods.  The things you planned for us no one can recount to you; were I to speak and tell of them, they would be too many to declare."

We are called to worship Him in good times and in bad and while that is definitely challenging we are doing it.  The other day (my crying day) I was tired of "waiting patiently" and had a couple of meltdowns and was ready to throw my Bible.  Then the next morning, after a good sleep, I simply decided that I would take to heart the Psalm "This is the day the the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad in it." because that would pass the day much nicer than moping.

There will be an end and and we will push through.  Then we will look back and see how much stronger we have become.








7 comments:

Tammie said...

oh my. im so sorry. i really hope trevor is feeling better soon.

i completely understand your feeling of being mentally finished. there are times when keeping it all together is the only option, but eventually you hit that wall and it all comes to a head.

hang in there. i'll be thinking of you.

Irene said...

Carla, Those Psalm 40 verses you quoted have been underlined in my Bible and have been meaningful to me many times. The interesting thing is that those verses were used in our call to worship this morning at LG. Seems that God is re-inforcing the promise for us. Hang on, the mire will become more stable as per the promise. Love you both!

Kindra aka "The Meal Planner" said...

I'm so sorry to hear that Carla. You guys will be in my prayers.

Cam and Wendy Earl said...

Carla, I dont even imagine to know what your going through. But as I read your post I was shocked at how familiar it sound. My Brother is 28 and about a year ago, he started getting major pain in his big toe. At first they thought it was Gout. Until stiffness presented itself in his hands, then his knees and hips. It was aggressive RA and within a week my brother could no longer care for himself. His DR gave him a note for 3 month disability leave and went through all the drugs for RA. Now, hes back to work and barley notices the pain. He gets a shot once a week but feels back to his old self! There is hope Carla. Keep holding strong. The Lord is watching over you and your family.

Rachelle said...

Carla and Trevor, This is horrible news for sure and I am sorry to hear the strain it has put on your family. I will be praying for you and the kids and that God will be your comfort and strength and that he would heal Trevor as well. i didn't see this till today and so I am sorry for not knowing earlier. God bless you for your courage in sharing.

Rachelle said...

Carla, I am so sorry to hear of your news. That must be so hard. I will be praying for you and trevor and the kids that God will be your comfort and your strength and that you will be encouraged.

I did not see this till today as I haven't been on facebook much. I will try to pay more attention.

Love Rachelle

Jacqui said...

wow. So sorry you guys are having to deal with this.

On the one hand I'm so glad that there is an explanation, and that Trevor is finally getting treatment. But this is really hard to deal with. Hang in there - you're in my prayers. Thanks for sharing :)

 

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