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Thread: HA relapse this time every year

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2017
    Posts
    96

    HA relapse this time every year

    Four years ago (started in November 2017, wound down starting in April 2018) I went through a period where right hand and wrist inflammation (tenosynovitis and carpal tunnel, diagnosed by EMG/nerve study and MRI) had both the hand surgeon I saw and the rheumatologist he referred me to suspecting I had rheumatoid arthritis. I never had any joint stiffness, visible swelling, tenderness, or any of the other stuff associated with clinical RA. My bloodwork was clean, except for an elevated CRP level (12; normal is <8), but the rheumatologist wasn't convinced and sort of left me hanging without a definitive answer, which I do realize is hard to come by when it comes to autoimmune disease. Anyway, over the course of several months I worked myself into a pretty good frenzy, most of which is documented in various posts here. But by December 2019, after nearly two years of nothing changing for the worse, I went back to the rheumatologist hoping for some kind of peace of mind and she sent me for more bloodwork. Nothing had changed except my CRP level was lower (8, which I understand is not something to be concerned about in terms of autoimmune disease and I do have several other issues that could have contributed), and on her advice I put the fear away and decided to move on from it.

    I do a pretty good job, try to eat healthy and incorporate anti-inflammatory supplements and foods into my diet, and for the most part it works. I'm on a computer about 11 hours a day so I do regularly get some mild soreness and fatigue in my hands and wrists, and I continue to sleep with a wrist brace every night. But every year at this time - since this is when it first started 4 years ago - I go through a period of what I might call PTSD if using that term casually wasn't so offensive to those who genuinely do suffer from it. But what I mean is that I start to worry that I'm going to develop tenosynovitis again, and every twinge of pain or discomfort in my hand, wrist, or the general vicinity makes me panic that this is it; autoimmune disease is tricky and now it's finally here for me. I spend every December poring over articles to see what kinds of discoveries have been made and what new treatment options have become available in the last year so that *when* I'm officially diagnosed, I know what my options are. This habit starts to trail off in January and is usually gone by early spring.

    Now, here we are in December. I was just making my bed and when I picked up my comforter (it's big and somewhat heavy), I felt a twinge of something in one of the tendons in my right wrist, and now it's sore, especially when I make a fist. I promptly swallowed a handful of sodium naproxen (a steady diet of which is what cleared the inflammation back in 2018 and gave me back the use of my hand) because I'm afraid I'm going to wake up tomorrow with that tell-tale clicking in my wrist which was the first sign something was wrong four years ago. Any other time of year I'd probably just chalk it up to overuse or something weird I did when grabbing the comforter. But because it's this time of year, I'm starting to lose my grip on rationality. I hate this.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2017
    Posts
    1,403

    Re: HA relapse this time every year

    I'm so sorry you're going through this. I am going through something similar. About 3 years ago I was diagnosed with an umbilical hernia. I have a huge fear of surgery so the doctor said it was fine to watch and wait. That caused me plenty of anxiety, too, constantly worrying it was going to get worse or suddenly require surgery. It turned out it was caused by massive uterine fibroids that kept getting worse, so eventually this past February I finally had a hysterectomy and the surgeon also fixed my hernia. While I had the hernia, I would constantly and I mean CONSTANTLY be touching the spot and pushing it back in. It was always on my mind. This past week I thought I felt something in the area while in the shower and it was INSTANT panic like a switch being flipped, because I, too, have so much PTSD from the whole experience. I went to my doctor thinking I'd get peace of mind, but she actually thought it was coming back and now I'm just beside myself. I feel like I'm right back to square one from three years ago and I'm not sure how to move forward. I'm going to see the surgeon who diagnosed me originally and I'm hoping he says it's actually fine, but I have a feeling that's not going to happen.

    The PTSD from this stuff is real. There are so many triggers out there and for you, it's the time of year. But, it's good that you know that! Because in your rational mind you know what's happening. That, of course, doesn't make it feel any better in the moment. I hope you can find some peace of mind!

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2017
    Posts
    96

    Re: HA relapse this time every year

    Quote Originally Posted by ErinKC View Post
    I'm so sorry you're going through this. I am going through something similar. About 3 years ago I was diagnosed with an umbilical hernia. I have a huge fear of surgery so the doctor said it was fine to watch and wait. That caused me plenty of anxiety, too, constantly worrying it was going to get worse or suddenly require surgery. It turned out it was caused by massive uterine fibroids that kept getting worse, so eventually this past February I finally had a hysterectomy and the surgeon also fixed my hernia. While I had the hernia, I would constantly and I mean CONSTANTLY be touching the spot and pushing it back in. It was always on my mind. This past week I thought I felt something in the area while in the shower and it was INSTANT panic like a switch being flipped, because I, too, have so much PTSD from the whole experience. I went to my doctor thinking I'd get peace of mind, but she actually thought it was coming back and now I'm just beside myself. I feel like I'm right back to square one from three years ago and I'm not sure how to move forward. I'm going to see the surgeon who diagnosed me originally and I'm hoping he says it's actually fine, but I have a feeling that's not going to happen.

    The PTSD from this stuff is real. There are so many triggers out there and for you, it's the time of year. But, it's good that you know that! Because in your rational mind you know what's happening. That, of course, doesn't make it feel any better in the moment. I hope you can find some peace of mind!
    Ugh, I'm so sorry you're going through it too! I hope everything turns out okay for you - keep us posted!

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2017
    Posts
    1,403

    Re: HA relapse this time every year

    Quote Originally Posted by ckelley116 View Post
    Ugh, I'm so sorry you're going through it too! I hope everything turns out okay for you - keep us posted!
    Thanks, you too!

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