(February, 1999)

Rheumatologist Helped my P-Arthritis
from Hazel

Hi Ed and fellow flakers everywhere: I read Dave's letter [see link at end] and immediately understood his fear of PA. I too have a thick file and I also have PA. When it was first diagnosed I kept wondering what the hell I had done so wrong in my life to get the double whammy. Pain makes you miserable, there is no doubt about it, and Prozac was the only thing keeping me going. The doctors kept giving me pain killers, none of which worked to kill the pain but you can imagine what they did to the lining of my stomach.

Anyway, to cut a long and desperately boring story short, I was advised to go to a rheumatologist in Pretoria. This man has changed my life! I walked in there—or should I say staggered because the arthritis is in my feet, hips and hands—and he was so kind and gave me such hope that I SWEAR I was better from that instant. Over the past year he has got me down to one cortisone tablet a day (I was on 16!) one effective anti-inflammatory (stomach friendly) a day, and an injection or two in troublesome joints every six months. I am a journalist so losing the use of my hands was a big fear for me, but now I have no pain and this Christmas and New Year I danced with everyone else at parties.

PA is not that rare. It usually goes undiagnosed. If you think you might have it, don't suffer—find a rheumatologist and change your life.

Ed, I read your wife's letter in Flake Mail late last year with tears in my eyes, if only we all had spouses as understanding and practical—you are truly blessed.

Keep up the great work with this site. We all need you. -Hazel (Rustenburg SA)

*****

Ed's Response: I am so glad to hear you found some relief through a rheumatologist, Hazel. If it comes to that for me (which I am beginning to think will happen sooner rather than later) I hope I am so lucky finding a rheumy-doc in Kentucky. Definitely I'll carry your letter with me to my derm when I ask for the referral! (I believe there are more specialists here for thoroughbred horses than people!)

This is my second winter in the townhouse, and my P-arthritic knee, which was diagnosed about four years ago but hasn't been troubling me, much, really started acting up this past autumn. Three flights of stairs and work hours spent on a concrete floor in the basement probably aggravated the condition over the past year—the onset of wet, cold weather probably turned on the pain. But so far I've been fortunate. A couple of Ascriptin®-for-arthritis (OTC pain killer) calm me down.

Thanks for checking in, Hazel. (My wife thinks you are very perceptive. She says, however, "Hazel might overvalue your work, Edward. Have you taken out the trash?") -Ed

Aggressive Self-Diagnosis, from Dave W.
Message from Clara Dewke

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