A little background to start with: About 3 weeks ago, i noticed that the lymph glands in my armpits were really swollen and tender. Not unheard of, but on top of all my other conditions, this was a completely knew symptom. I’d had a cold and cough about 2 weeks before, so thought that it could be the tail end of that. But, i went to see the doctor anyway because you can never be too sure, especially when being the owner of boobs and having gone through a breast cancer scare last year. Also, my Dad has been fighting lymphoma on and off for about 20 years now.
So, off i go to the doctor, and she seemed sure that it was indeed the tail end of my cold, but gave me 5 days worth of antibiotics to kill off whatever was left. Great, thanks, off I go. The swollen glands didn’t really start to go down until after i’d finished the course of antibiotics, so i was still a little concerned. As my doc appointment had been at the weekend ‘Hub’, i had to go back to my own GP surgery for a follow up, which i did last Friday. The doctor was a little concerned that my glands were still a little inflamed, so ordered bloods to be done. When i told her about my Dad’s lymphoma history, she added a few more tests to the list to be done, and i went and made an appointment. I went and had bloods done on Tuesday, and the nurse said that the results should be back by Friday, but if there’s anything unusual, they’ll call me.
As a side note, for the past 10 YEARS, my inflammation markers have been raised every time i’ve had a blood test, and no-one seems to be able to figure out why, so usually just chalk it up to my arthritis. Some of my thyroid readings have also been abnormal for about the same amount of time, but I keep being told that it’s borderline so needs to be monitored at least once a year.
Yesterday (Friday), the Doctor calls me herself – never a good sign. She said that my inflammation markers and some of my thyroid readings are up which concerns her a little, so I can i please go and see one of the practice GP’s at the Hub tomorrow. So, once again, off i trot on a Saturday morning to see a GP. I would however like to say that the Hub is a bloody godsend. I can see a GP on Saturdays 9am-6pm, AND on Sundays 9am-1pm. If it’s not one of my practice GPs, i have to have a follow up with them during the week, but it’s still awesome that I can get seen at the weekend.
This morning i’m extremely fatigued. Like, bone deep tired. This isn’t unusual for me when the weather is humid and wet, but it’s been a fair while since i felt this bad. Anyway, off i go to the Hub doctor, and i’ve not seen this guy before. He’s one of the new GP’s at my practice and, for a nice change, closer to my age than that of retirement. I always find that the younger GPs are much more willing to listen, and tend to have a much more open mind. He tells me what i expected: Thyroid is borderline and my inflammation markers are all raised. But rather than say the usual “take some anti-flammatories for a week and it’ll settle down, he actually started asking me all sorts of questions. When he asked what previous doctors had done when they saw my raised markers, he was stunned when i said that they usually don’t do anything and just chalk it up to my arthritis. He then wanted a list of all the symptoms that I could think of. And then, he suggested something that no doctor ever has, and it was my turn to be shocked because every GP i’ve ever seen had either dismissed my suggestion as if i’m a total loon, or said that they don’t believe it in it:
“Have you considered that you could have Fibromyalgia?”
Honestly, i could have hugged him. Instead, i started crying because he’s the first GP who has ever mentioned it as a possibility as opposed to me suggesting it. I have literally ALL the classic Fibro symptoms, but every time i’ve suggested it, i’m dismissed with a wave of the hand. When he asked why i was crying and i told him that it’s because he was actually taking me seriously, he was even more shocked, which me cry even more. Its just SO overwhelming to actually be listened to and for a GP to want to actively help me. For the past decade, i’ve been either dismissed, or told “you’re too young to have that.” It honestly feels like a weight has been lifted.
And now i have a plan. He’s referred me to the Immunology Clinic at St Helier Hospital, who actually have a specialist ME, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome & Fibromyalgia team, and he also wants me to have a full spectrum Thyroid test in 2 months, and every 2 months after that. He said that as my thyroid readings have been out of whack for so long, he suspects that i could tip over into Hypothyroidism at any time so he wants it monitored constantly in order to catch it. It also something that the Immunology clinic can monitor.
Right now, i still feel like complete shit, but at least now i know that I have someone in my corner who is willing to help me get to the bottom of whats going on. The GP also gave me some websites to check out and some print outs to read up on regarding Fibro, which again made me cry. As a Spoonie, being believed by a medical professional, ANY medical professional, is half the battle.
So now i just have to wait for Monday so i can get my next round of bloods booked, and for the referral letter to come through.
Now i need another nap….