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Discussion in 'General Discussion Subforum' started by Hiawatha922, Jul 29, 2022.

  1. Hiawatha922

    Hiawatha922 Peer Supporter

    I have been on this website in the past exploring symptoms such as right leg sciatica, left elbow pain, and fatigue.

    About two years ago, I saw a rheumatologist to rule-out any disease process and she said images and bloodwork revealed no clear issues.

    More recently, I've developed right elbow pain and left knee pain. The knee pain started after playing tennis a few weeks ago. The elbow pain started about two months ago.

    I am concerned about arthritis because my brother has had psoriatic arthritis most of his life (he's now in his mid-60s).

    I recently moved to the Minneapolis area and I'm wondering if I should go to another doctor to rule out arthritis, particularly with these new symptoms.

    My recent move was prompted by a separation, so my stress level has been high. I'm separated, moved to a new city, started a new job, etc. and I just turned 60 a few months ago.

    But I'm wondering if it makes sense to check in with a doctor to rule out arthritis. Any thoughts on this?
  2. JanAtheCPA

    JanAtheCPA Beloved Grand Eagle

    Well, I developed RA in the spring of 2020 at age 69 - unusually late in life, with absolutely zero history of any autoimmune conditions on either side of my family.

    What I "love" (not love) about how the medical industry deals with autoimmune conditions is that they are unanimous in saying that avoiding stress is important in controlling symptoms - but they refuse to admit the possibility that AI conditions can be CAUSED by stress. They are still looking for some other cause, and I'm betting they will never find it.

    If there's an inherited component to AI conditions, I'm more inclined to look at the well-known fact that children inherit anxiety from their parents. Not through genetics. I certainly did - something I didn't even realize until I started doing this work.

    Fact: the level of stress I was experiencing in the spring of 2020 was off the charts.

    I'd been successfully doing this (TMS) work since 2011, getting a good handle on my lifelong anxiety (and TMS) and getting my life completely back after a crisis of symptoms threatened to make me housebound at age 60. But 2020 did me in. It was all outside stressors one of which of course was the pandemic, another was a dysfunctional volunteer job that completely changed and became overwhelming due to the pandemic. My hands started hurting in April, and by the time I saw my doc in May, she was pretty alarmed. By the time I got to see a rheumatologist in June (during the pandemic) I was alarmingly crippled in my hands and feet.

    After getting the dx, I consulted David Schecter MD, a well-known TMS doc who basically agreed with me that stress could have been the trigger for my RA, and that he had seen a good number of remissions. He also said that I couldn't just treat it as TMS, but that I also had to be a good patient and take the prescribed meds, or risk permanent joint damage.

    I really feel like I could achieve remission if I could commit to a regular meditation practice, but my brain is really resistant to it, always finding reasons to put it off. I've cut way back on sugar, increased exercise, and basically refuse to believe that RA needs to rule my life, so it doesn't. I seem to have a harder time in the winter, but I'm still on a low dose of the oldest go-to med, and take a low dose of meloxicam if I'm having a flare. My TMS belief system is still strong, but good lord, the world is pretty fucked up right now, so I'm trying to be compassionate and not blame myself for what I hope and believe is a temporary setback.

    Bottom line: years of untreated stress and anxiety, plus an increasingly dysfunctional world (starting well before 2020) plus a world pandemic, have taken their toll.

    The blood tests which indicate a serious inflammatory condition are no big deal, so by all means, get those done so you can move forward. If there's still no concern, it's time to get serious about completely changing your mindset and your fear brain.
    Cap'n Spanky likes this.
  3. Hiawatha922

    Hiawatha922 Peer Supporter

    Thank you, JanAtheCPA. Your comments about stress are helpful.

    Another thing I've been dealing with over the past seven months or so is a dog I adopted. I didn't know he had been a stray and he has been more than a handful. I love him but he's highly demanding of time and his behaviors are challenging. Having people over to my house is next to impossible because of his behavior. I've been considering rehoming him, but it's a really tough decision. When I consulted a trainer, she mentioned that this dog's mother may have also been a stray, so in addition to his own traumatic experiences he probably inherited a good deal of anxiety. When the trainer mentioned this, I thought of my own mother, who I know took some sort of medication for anxiety. With my dad's alcoholism, our household was stressful. So, your point about growing up in a stressful environment makes sense to me, genetic component or no genetic component.

    I think I will go to see a doctor, even though I saw one just a few years ago. These new symptoms probably make another trip worthwhile, if only to rule-out any obvious disease process.
    JanAtheCPA likes this.
  4. Hiawatha922

    Hiawatha922 Peer Supporter

    Jan, I'm also sorry to hear about your stress level and arthritis symptoms! You're right, the pandemic and world events have compounded some of the stresses many of us were already experiencing. When the pandemic started, I was in a marriage that was challenging from the start. We only lived together five years but that time-period consisted of a lot of inner turmoil for me. The pandemic definitely didn't help things...or maybe it did in a sense, because it became more and more clear the relationship wasn't sustainable.
    JanAtheCPA likes this.
  5. TG957

    TG957 Beloved Grand Eagle

    Jan, I hope you can find your way into meditation. Maybe, without formally calling it meditation, very slowly. For example, commit to a daily slow walk on a regular schedule, or a a daily 5-minute breathing exercise etc. Each one of those can be a very meditative exercise, and might lead you into the formal meditation practice.
    JanAtheCPA likes this.
  6. JanAtheCPA

    JanAtheCPA Beloved Grand Eagle

    Thank you T, and I want you to know that I think of you often when I contemplate this issue! It's really quite amazing (and laughable) how easily my brain can distract me from even two minutes of mindfulness by convincing me that I'll for sure do it later :hilarious:. Perhaps I will contemplate your voice giving me this little nudge ;)❤️
  7. TG957

    TG957 Beloved Grand Eagle

    Please, remember that at a 10-15 minute mark I always feel rise in anxiety and almost unbearable desire to stop meditation. Your stop sign must be at 2 minutes :=). I hope thinking of me would pull you through!
    JanAtheCPA likes this.
  8. JanAtheCPA

    JanAtheCPA Beloved Grand Eagle

    @Hiawatha922, I lost track of this thread but TG's post bumped it, giving me the opportunity to say that it certainly sounds like you've got a perfect stress recipe for your symptoms. I totally get the ambivalence and guilt involved in adopting a high-maintenence pet. I volunteered in cat adoptions for a long time, and our city shelter has a policy of stating in the adoption contract that they want adopters bring a pet back if it doesn't work out rather than trying to rehome on their own. It gives the shelter an opportunity to try a different approach with the animal, to find a better, more specialized match, and possibly to avoid having to send their field officers out on an emergency basis. In my opinion, you should not feel like you have to keep a dog that makes your home inhospitable to others, period. I hope you can at least find a way out of this source of stress! You can also write about it - get all of your fears and frustration and anger out on paper, no holds barred.

    Good luck!
    Cap'n Spanky likes this.
  9. JanAtheCPA

    JanAtheCPA Beloved Grand Eagle

    Hah, my stop sign is getting started! Once I've committed, I can almost always do ten or even twenty minutes (and fully appreciate the positive result) unless I'm extremely agitated by something (writing is better for that). I'm a very experienced procrastinator... which of course comes with its own unique psychological source material. I'll get there - I will start by hearing Tamara in my head :joyful:
    TG957 likes this.
  10. Hiawatha922

    Hiawatha922 Peer Supporter

    Thank you, Jan. The rescue organization posted the dog's profile on their website but I've only had one inquiry (from someone who would not have been a good match...no fenced yard, etc.) I decided to create a flyer to advertise more myself. It's still a very difficult decision. I think I could manage most of the dog's behaviors but the difficulty with inviting guests to my house is really tough.

    By the way, I also meditate with regularity. I have found the practice to be highly valuable.
    TG957 and JanAtheCPA like this.
  11. Booble

    Booble Well known member

    >>More recently, I've developed right elbow pain and left knee pain. The knee pain started after playing tennis a few weeks ago. The elbow pain started about two months ago. <<

    For me that doesn't seem like something I would go to the doctor for.
    (Note: I'm your age.)
    It's pretty normal to have various little pains here and there. Especially when you are doing new things - playing tennis, activity with the dog, etc. That' using parts of your muscles and ligament structure you haven't been using.

    I think you are focusing on them (the pains) a little too much. Which is going to keep them around longer than they normally would stay.

    Unless you are in severe pain, do you really need a "diagnosis" about it?
  12. Hiawatha922

    Hiawatha922 Peer Supporter

    My initial motivation for going to the doctor was related to golfer's elbow in my right arm (and to some extent, in my left as well). Then, the knee injury occurred. I don't believe the knee pain is likely to be anything more than a strain from tennis.

    I'm guessing my age is a factor in these sensations, particularly the knee issue...but I want to be sure there isn't more going on. My doctor's appointment is coming up next week.
  13. Cactusflower

    Cactusflower Beloved Grand Eagle

    I have been experimenting with doing word search as a vehicle to meditation.
    I can go for months doing well meditating and then a resistant busy mind makes it hard. So I started to focus on those simple dollar store word searches.
    I can not think of anything but the word I look for. I can not look up an unfamiliar word nor do I allow myself to remember it. I do it in the am for 10 minutes, mid day for 5 and before sleep for 10. It’s been helpful and meditation is returning in short spurts of 10 minutes. At 12 minutes I get restless and my mind whirls so that’s what I’ll work on next.
    I think meditating is helpful for any condition, to help calm the natural anxiety that surrounds it.
  14. JanAtheCPA

    JanAtheCPA Beloved Grand Eagle

    Say what? Please clarify - I am interested in different mindfulness practices, but I can't picture what this is o_O
  15. Booble

    Booble Well known member

    I think maybe it's the distraction getting a different part of the brain activated to quiet the amygdala.
    During one bad adrenaline dysfunction spell about 15 years ago I happen to have a little mini rubik cube that I had bought for a child and never gave it them. Using the Rubik cube would somehow slow all the adrenaline from being released.

    I'm not sure I'd call this meditation or mindfulness but it was surprisingly effective measure when things were waaay out of whack.
    It didn't cure just brought a little bit of peace during an acute attack. (Oddly, the adrenaline dysfunction went away on its own right after the house was treated for termites which turns out incidentally kills mold as well.)

    Maybe that's like the Word Search thing?
  16. JanAtheCPA

    JanAtheCPA Beloved Grand Eagle

    Ah, it's A Thing! With capital letters! Gotcher.
  17. Cactusflower

    Cactusflower Beloved Grand Eagle

    Sorry to be confusing!
    I think focusing on the present moment IS mindfulness, getting rid of outside unnecessary though is also meditation...it just doesn’t seem like that’s what you are doing. It’s fooling your brain into believing it’s busy as you are training it to slow down.

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