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My Story 1: Broken, Swollen Joints

Why do my Joints Hurt so Much?For the last 10 years of my life, I have had chronic, debilitating joint problems. Among them were some of these symptoms:

  • wrists completely giving out
  • tendinitis
  • arthritis symptoms
  • joint swelling
  • joint pain
  • knee pain and swelling to the point of needing crutches
  • ankle pain and ankle swelling, also requiring crutches
  • ankle surgery to clear out injury damage

For the last 10 years of my life, I have visited doctors. Doctors upon doctors upon doctors. I visited everything from family doctors to a knee specialist (orthopedic surgeon) at Swedish hospital.

Once, I had a doctor tell me, “There’s nothing wrong with you,” while my knee was swollen to the size of a Pomelo (a gigantic grapefruit). Ten years of doctors poked and prodded, took MRI’s, CAT scans, X-Rays, and prescribed a number of drugs.

None of the prescriptions worked. Some helped reduce the swelling for a little while. But the joint swelling and joint pain always came back. It wasn’t until 2010, when the damage in my ankle was so bad that I was literally dragging my useless foot behind me did get set on the path to healing. It took three amazing doctors and a lot of dedication to help me get to the starting point of the rest of my life.

Getting the Right Help:

At Stevens Foot & Ankle Clinic, I had the pleasure of working with Erin O’Rourke. Her care led me to a surgery to clean up all the damage in my ankle (which works like a dream now), got me the orthotics I needed to keep my ankles from twisting in, and my knees from following my ankles. She is an amazing doctor to work with, and if you’re having knee or ankle issues, I highly recommend her. Where I impressed with her is her vast knowledge within her specialty (knees and ankles), but also her knowledge in what she doesn’t know. I mentioned that I was having wrist issues as well, and her ears instantly perked up. She wrote a referral for the Seattle Arthritis Clinic and told me I needed to talk to them. Shortly thereafter, I had my appointment set up with Dr. Jeff Peterson, who saw me and stole my blood. When the results came back a week later, he ran me through three pages of things I didn’t have…

It wasn’t arthritis… or lupus… or some awful eight-syllable word (which he reassured me I should be VERY glad I don’t have).”But,” he said, “look at this.”

What he showed me was a big number. He said it was my IgE test result. “Normal” allergic people, he said, in the average range of people allergic to things, got about a 14 on the test. My number trumped that number in multiples. I was so far off the bell curve that I wasn’t even on the chart anymore. Apparently, I had a little allergy problem. Dr. Peterson sent me on to another doctor in the Seattle Arthritis Clinic – Heidi Turner, where with work and time, she had a diagnosis for me.

<<read about my Amine Diagnosis…>>

Published on August 5, 2011 at 11:17 pm  Comments (2)  

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