Life in the Slow Lane

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Health Journey Update

Pressure/Trigger Points (Pain)
I had my first Rheumatologist appointment.  I saw Dr. Azimian1 in Fargo.

I gave him a very thorough medical history, which I had printed out in a concise and complete format for his review.  Afterwards, he asked me several questions and examined me, ending the exam with (what I would learn was) a very complete pressure point test.

He explained that despite having all the signs and symptoms of Sjogren's, he couldn't make a formal diagnosis of it because the standard tests were inconclusive. 

However, he did say he most definitely could give me a diagnosis.

Going by my medical history, including the fact that my maternal side of the family had histories of some of the same conditions, plus his examination of me, he said his prognosis was fibromyalgia.

I felt relieved to finally know.  He said he would write up a report and send it to my primary physician, with some recommendations.  

The major diagnosis are the pain or trigger points, which I suffer from.  I have also experienced all of the side issues often seen with fibromyalgia:
I have suffered from all of these related symptoms except Endometriosis, per se.  However, I have always had a very unusual menstrual cycle - always very irregular, sometimes extremely painful and/or heavy and lasting over a week.  During some periods of my life I suffered from long-term Amenorrhoea, whereas at other times I had cycles where instead of having a flow, I expelled clots.  I have always had a sensitive cervix, which gynecologists and primary care doctors have told me is not normal; every time I've gotten a PAP smear during annual exams, it's extremely painful.  At one point, I developed multiple cervical cysts that required cauterization.  I count myself lucky to have had two healthy children.

The good news is, one of the things they recommend is for the person to remain active, that activity helps ease some of the pain.  It is recommended to be low to moderate - walking, yoga, etc.  I love both, and have actually been doing some of the yoga because I found it did help sometimes.  Stress is a big trigger for the pain, so I try to pace myself, and do what I can and not overdo it.  I take breaks when I feel I need to, as well as naps.

No one knows what causes Fibromyalgia, but heredity can play a role.  My mother suffered from many of these same symptoms.

1 - I learned that Dr. Azimian had his Rheumatology fellowship at Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville.  That's where my granddaughter Sajda was born, because she was a high risk pregnancy due to her being diagnosed in utero with Turner's Syndrome.  My daughter Eva has shared a lot about Vanderbilt over the last few years, so I knew my doctor had very good training and experience behind him.  That, and his wonderful bedside manner, made me feel very comfortable communicating with him and trust was easy to establish!