The Scleroderma Chronicles: The Blue-Lipped Zebra gets some MRIs

I feel like I am in a race now. I absolutely, positively need some answers to all of my little medical issues, but I have to hurry, hurry, hurry because the Covid-19 virus is already in my state and I think that in just a matter of days or weeks the health care machine is going to be devoted to critical care and the pandemic response. I hope none of my doctors get sick. I really like the nurses in their offices. Gee, this is starting to get to be really stressful…

Let’s take a little break to smell the roses… umm… the orchids. Look at how nice my rose gold orchid is doing in the living room these days.

So, this is the situation as I got into the car and drove to medical clinics FOUR different times last week. By Saturday, when I needed to drive to a facility an hour away for MRIs of my right hip and left foot I was starting to feel like I was pushing my luck. The BLZ totally wanted to stay in bed. I was worried about having to go through an urgent care waiting area full of sick people because the last time I did that I came down with… THE FLU. Ugh. The place is sure to be crowded with weekend warriors and sick people who were afraid to take off work on a week day…

When I got there the parking lot was almost empty. What?! What is going on? I checked on my phone to make sure I was at the right facility, and then went inside to see if I could find someone. The place was deserted!! The only person in sight was the security guard in her glassed-in station. I checked in with her to discover that the entire facility was closed except for… wait for it…medical imaging!! Woohoo!! I clomped down to the basement for my 90 minutes in a MRI machine feeling pretty good about my chances of avoiding this new virus that I’m now sure is gunning for me. All went well, I headed home, fixed myself a little dinner, popped a couple of gummi bears into my mouth while I was cooking, and BROKE A TOOTH!!

How about another little orchid break? You can see how big the monster is compared to my other orchids.

Sigh. Now I have another two medical appointments because the tooth is sure to need a crown. Plus I have two more testing appointments next week which will really be starting to push the safety margin.  The BLZ is not happy.

Today I saw my wonderful dentist who let me know that gummi bears are notorious for hurting teeth. Who knew? He fixed my tooth and gave a computer print-out for a type of safe gummi bear, and before I left the office I saw that the MRI test reports were ready. That means my rheumatologist already released them. I read the reports in the car in the parking lot on my phone before heading home. (Although I wanted to go get my gummi bears!!)

Background: I have been struggling with painful and swollen joints for at least three years now. My last rheumatologist tested me for inflammation markers (C-Reactive Protein, to be exact), and since my level is normal, she concluded that my joints were fine, that I was a whiner, and the symptoms that I reported were exaggerated. (!!) I wrote about the last awful appointment I had with her in this post. After I had recovered my mojo and began to take action to improve my situation I wrote about my old rheumatologist and my swollen joints here. My new rheumatologist, who I saw last week, ordered these MRIs to check some lumps on my foot and my bad-boy hip. She wondered out loud why no one had followed up on my first appointment to the hip specialist. I think I’m going to be much more happy with this rheumatologist.

Oh, my. My hip joint is really bad. The word severe was used. There is edema in the bone! There is fluid around the joint that is pushing out into a bursa towards the front inside part of the hip joint. (The very bursa that I asked about before when I saw the orthopedic specialist. It couldn’t be involved, he assured me, because that would be very uncommon. The BLZ is braying “I told you so!”) A tendon on the outside of the joint is partially torn. The synovial lining around the joint is inflamed. Even joints in my ankle (that don’t bother me) are inflamed and have fluid in them. Stunned, but feeling absolutely vindicated, I began to drive home. Before I had even gotten to the freeway the new rheumatologist was on the phone to me. She is sending me back to the hip specialist and I need some steroids into that hip joint as soon as possible. And maybe surgery. And I should go back to physical therapy. The BLZ decided we should mention my knees later on… Oh. I almost forgot. I also have two benign tumors on the bottom of my foot that will require another specialist. Did you hear that thud? That was the BLZ flopping over backwards in dismay.

After a little knitting this evening the BLZ is feeling more the thing again. Look at how far I’ve gotten on the knitted kitten!

Tomorrow I head back to the clinic in the north to get a pulmonary function test and to pick up the equipment for overnight oxygen level monitoring. I won’t touch anything, BLZ. It will be okay. We are brave! We are on a roll now and we are getting some answers!

Be safe everyone!

Author: Midnight Knitter

I weave, knit and read in Aurora, Colorado where my garden lives. I have 2 sons, a knitting daughter-in-law, a grandson and two exceptionally spoiled kittens. In 2014 I was diagnosed with a serious rare autoimmune disease called systemic sclerosis along with Sjogren's Disease and fibromyalgia.

18 thoughts on “The Scleroderma Chronicles: The Blue-Lipped Zebra gets some MRIs”

  1. Orchids and kitten are fabulous! Good luck to you. I’ll be sending good vibes and healthy thoughts your way.
    My daughter forwarded a tweet to me from a doctor who said that once he realized that Clovid-19 can be said to the tune of Come On Eileen it’s the only way he can hear it. It’s the little things like that that will help get us through. Well that and gummi bears. Just avoid the sugar free ones. If you haven’t read the reviews for sugar free gummi bears on Amazon I highly recommend them. Just not with a full bladder:)

    1. I already knew about those evil gummi bears! The ones my dentist recommends are really flavorful and soft. The brand is Albanese.

      I forgot to mention this… I also struggle with left and right. Are we displaced twins?

  2. Although I’m a little bit late with this, just wanted to let you know that I made a donation to Pet Partners in the name of dear MacKenzie, the little rascal. He brought you a great deal of joy, and through you brought us joy as well. Thank you! I should also note that I sent your final blog on MacKenzie to my contacts at Pet Partners, so they would know what a special boy he was. And all the best to you with your current medical struggles. But moving forward, a day at a time.

    1. Oh my goodness, you just made me cry! I still miss my boy so much, and was thinking of what a hole he left in my life when I read this. Thank you so much! He was a rescue cat himself; how wonderful that you donated in his name to help other cats. Thanks again. I means a lot that other people knew him through my blog.

      1. P. Partners was so happy to receive the copy of your blog on MacKenzie that I sent and to learn more about the little fellow. They responded with them a special note. So his legacy now continues. 🙂

  3. I am so glad that your new rheumatologist not only listens but hears you. You are getting answers…that is so huge! Stay safe. I am in the process of getting extra food and I have one prescription to fill. Then, I should be good if I need to be home.

    1. I’m so glad I got a this rheumatologist, too. What a relief! What is astonishing is I was worried that the MRI wouldn’t show anything because my hip wasn’t very bad on Saturday…

      Don’t forget the stupid stuff like batteries, pet food and garbage bags. I have enough yarn and books to manage for months…

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