My wife and I returned to the doctors on Wednesday morning for a follow up appointment. She had some labs and various tests done over the last two weeks to try and determine what has been going on in her body over the last several months. Wednesday was the day to meet with the doctor and hopefully get a diagnosis. We did. She has been diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis (RA). We had seen a few of the lab results prior to the doctor’s appointment and had figured that RA was going to be the diagnosis, so we weren’t surprised. It is a little odd to say that we took comfort in that diagnosis, but we did. Trust me, getting bad news isn’t great, but actually knowing what she has is great news. A few years ago we did all the labs and tests and met with more doctors than I can remember when we were trying to diagnose her fibromyalgia. I remember that one of the most frustrating things back then was leaving every doctor’s office with a “we don’t know what you have” as an answer. Eventually we found a doctor who gave us a correct diagnosis of fibromylagia and we have learned to live with that and have adjusted our lifestyles accordingly. Now we have added another disease to our lives.
Fibromylagia and RA are both auto-immune diseases. They fall under the same umbrella if you will, but have different symptoms and affect my wife in different ways. The best way to explain it is this. Fibromylagia presents itself with intense pain in the muscles of her body. RA presents itself with intense pain in the joints of her body. Now those aren’t the only symptoms, but that is the brief overview. Auto-immune diseases are basically a mix up inside the body’s chemistry where the body attacks itself. For some reason the body’s immune system believes that certain healthy cells are not healthy so the body sends out it’s own protection force to attack what it thinks are non-healthy cells. Unfortunately, what ends up happening is that healthy cells get destroyed by the immune system which then makes them unhealthy. A little weird, but that’s it in a nutshell.
So now what? Well, she is starting on some medications that will hopefully get her back to where she was prior to her onset of new symptoms. The doctor feels that she is in the early stages of RA and that he can get her back to her baseline. That doesn’t mean that the RA goes away. That will never happen. There is no cure and it is something we will deal with for the rest of our lives. But we are checking into everything we can that will help her to live with RA; diet, exercise, lifestyle changes, and medications if necessary.
If you would pray for us we would appreciate it. One of the concluding lab tests that she had was very high. The lab is a strong positive for RA if you have more than 60 units and she had almost 200 units. That high number tells us that her RA is very severe. Her number also predicts what we might expect from her RA in the future. Right now, we are trying to deal with the present and not worry too much about what might be in store for us in the future. Personally, I’ve never been one to worry, but I’m really struggling with this right now. Also any prayers for her health of course are coveted. Specifically relief from her pain and that God would bring enough healing to return her to where she was just a few weeks ago.
These verses were brought to my attention on Tuesday and I have had to fall back on it time and again since then.
But you, Israel, my servant, Jacob, whom I have chosen,
the offspring of Abraham, my friend; you whom I took from the ends of the earth,
and called from its farthest corners, saying to you, “You are my servant,
I have chosen you and not cast you off”; fear not, for I am with you;
be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you,
I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.
(Isaiah 41:8-10 ESV)