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Fibromyalgia and Rheumatoid Arthritis together? Help?
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kidneymom posted:
I am really confused! I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia many years ago by a rheumatologist who then argued with me about how I had the pain points (when I didn't). He then decided my primary care doctor could handle whatever I might need.

Later my primary care doctor found that two of my labs were always high. Sed rate and C-reactive protein. He said they were not SUPER high, but much higher than normal. I also had a lot of joint pain....everywhere. The blood test for RA was negative. He sent me to a different rheumatologist.

That rheumatologist was a bit "odd," but I just hoped he might be able to come up with something that could help. At first he diagnosed me with beginning rheumatoid arthritis because of my symptoms and one MRI of my hands (only one joint looked like a problem). He had me on various medications for RA, nothing really helped too much. Later he decided I actually had fibromyalgia and was surprised to find I was taking Plaquanil (that HE had prescribed). He pretty much couldn't make up his mind on what was going on.

Thankfully we finally got a local rheumatologist. I've only seen her twice so far, but she's done xrays of my hands and feet and ultrasound of my hands and one elbow. She ordered lab work as well. The test for RA was again negative and she also ordered some genetic test (can't think of the name of it), but it was negative too. She thought maybe ankylosing spondylitis, but some other test she did was negative. She feels it COULD be sero-negative RA and/or fibro and/or osteoarthritis. I did have fluid and what looked like some thinning of the bone in my finger joints. Pretty much all my joints look bad - knees, elbows, wrists, neck, SI joints. She started me on a very low dose of methyltrexate (injection 10mg once a week). She drew labs before starting because I have donated a kidney in 1997 and also had gastric bypass surgery last Oct. The nurse called and said things were ok, but that my inflammation factors were very high (higher than my "normal" high) and that meant my arthritis was active. I was having car issues and trying to get my youngest to an occupational therapy appointment, so I didn't ask questions or anything, so I don't know what levels or how high they were. I know at one point my sed rate has been 100, but that was when I was having an extremely bad low back pain "attack."

I can no longer take oral NSAIDs due to my gastric bypass surgery and even though I have lost over 90 pounds since last August, I am in A LOT more pain then I was before. Everything hurts..... Can you have both fibro and RA? What else should I be asking her about? I cannot even sleep at night because the pain wakes me up. During the day I'm in constant pain. I just try to ignore it. Tylenol doesn't help at all. I don't know what to do or ask.

My oldest was born with kidney failure due to a urologic birth defect, so I know A LOT about kidneys and the urinary tract, but I don't really know anything about arthritis.

Help? And websites or suggestions of questions to ask my doctor?
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booch007 responded:
Hey,...you have been suffering for a while with this . Yes you can have both issues at the same time and I am really thinking you were RA all along and not treated all that well.

Get educated in RA and it's therapies. Get another appointment with the doc and have her explain it to you. Have a high sed rate is inflamatory in nature and FM in not inflamatory. You can get NSAIDS in patch form or injection type so you can have other routes of administartion if the stomach is not an option.

I wish you well, I am amazed so many times how patients struggle so long for a diagnosis or the labs just just make it so clear of what is going on.

We have a nutritionist with a high calcium level...her internist said "no worry" it is OK, just high. Thank God for our attendings that leave no stone left unturned....he had her get her parathyroid checked and SURE ENOUGH...a tumor in there...she is getting fixed.

Sounds like this one is checking you well, just now go back and follow through with the information you need and what meds to help stop the damage to your joints being done.

Good Luck, Nancy B
 
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xperky responded:
Hi. I too, was diagnosed first with FM and later with RA. There is some question whether I really have both, as there are no tests for FM. My primary doc wonders if I had early RA go undiagnosed. In any case, it's important to treat symptoms.

It sounds like your new rheumy is trying to bring your RA under control, so that's good. Be sure they test your kidney, liver and blood counts often while you take mtx.

I understand about having pain keep you awake. If you can afford them, the rx lidoderm patches help. Also, my hubby made me a bedding riser to keep the covers off my feet. I have also crocheted/knitted soft padding and extra long fingerless gloves for sleeping. I find my heated mattress pad to be soothing.

Nancy has a good idea about pain patches. I find Tramadol helpful. I also take a low dose sleeping pill to help get through the night. You might ask your doc about help with sleeping.

I find lots of useful information about RA at the rawarrior.com site. There is also a support group at the rawarrior facebook page. Would love to see you there.
With Compassion,
Margaret
 
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Abratina responded:
Hi yes I have both RA and Fibro. It took a couple of years for my diagnosis, but got the RA dx first then the found I also have the Fibro. My pain and frustration can be overwhelming. I often find it difficult to do many of my normal day to day activities. To add to this I have recently started getting migraines which shut me right down. I am relieved to finally have some answers. I am following my doctors' advice (western medicine), but I also do a lot of herbal/holistic/natural remedies as well like. I have found a wealth of information on line. My prayers are with you and your family may you find your answers. Stay positive and don't be afraid to have honest open communication with your team of doctors. Here is a link that talks a little about overlapping pain conditions; I hope you find it helpful http://chronicfatigue.about.com/od/whyfmscfsarelinked/a/fibroRA.htm


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