Wednesday 24 February 2010

Testing the health system again...

Well the first cherry blossoms are out and Tokyo is warming up, lovely! We are still having such a great time here..... apart from unfortunately a spanner has been thrown in the works... I have been diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA)... :-(
A lot of my close friends will know that I have unfortunately had some health troubles over the last few years. It started with my left arm about 2 years ago. I went to the doctor and had numerous tests including a MRI, blood tests etc, nothing was found apart from an iron deficiency. I was treated for that and I did feel slightly better for a short while but then came back so I started having massages (hard life) :-) ,that helped a bit but not enough so I went to a chiropractor and that really helped.
Then we moved to Japan......
I was OK for a while but then that niggling pain came back, followed by sleepless nights where I was in absolute agony, I went straight to a chiropractor in Tokyo and it eased a bit but after 6 sessions it hadn't eased enough so he sent me to the hospital for an x-ray and injection to help the shoulder (steroid). The x-ray came back as "Frozen Shoulder" and there isn't much you can do there, different exercises and the steroid injection. Great I thought!! all over now!!! no such luck.... it came back but this time worse than before and my hands started to swell and then my right foot and then my hip... not a happy bunny!!! so I tried acupuncture (at this point I would have tried anything even cutting my left arm off) :-) and was amazed that it helped, this then made me curious about acupuncture so I bought a great book and started reading up. There were lots of case studies in the book and one of the patients had arthritis, I kept thinking, "I have that symptom, and that one, and that one..." it was strange but I thought "I can't have that I am way too young" :-) ;-)

I decided the only thing to do was to book myself in for a full medical to find out what was wrong once and for all. (plus poor Gra was getting a wee bit pi**ed off with my winging) :-)
When talking to the doctor I mentioned I thought it may be arthritis and he said he would add that test to the other blood tests I would be having. 2 days later he called to say unfortunately my tests had come back and I have RA. (and a shoulder impingement which needs more steroid injections). After the initial shock (about the RA) and being scared, miserable, tired and emotional I have now come to realise I have 2 options. 1. wallow in self pity 2. get on with it. I have fortunately chosen no 2. Gra has been an absolute saint, (as expected) and my family (and the few friends I have told) have also been just fantastic. THANK YOU!! I have an appointment with a rheumatologist on the 24th March where I will find out the next steps but for now I am just enjoying our last few months in this beautiful city.

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