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I don't really know where to start with this one. I've been experiencing a number of symptoms since October 2014 and am failing to find a good treatment or diagnosis! I am a 20 year old female in my final year of university and can safely say this final year has been ruined
So, I guess it first started in October with a flu-like illness (my GP hasn't confirmed whether it was flu or not) and since then I have not recovered. This illness lasted for approximately 3 weeks, then I felt better for about two weeks. After this two week period of feeling relatively better, extreme fatigue set in in November and December, along with these symptoms:
- muscle aches
- menstrual irregularities
- brain fog (my short-term memory is now horrific, can't concentrate or follow through with thoughts etc)
- dry skin
- dry eyes
- mild weight gain
I went to my GP and she suggested I have an underactive thyroid based on a strong family history, but this came back normal twice. She said to come back after the Christmas holidays if symptoms persisted.
In December the joint pain started. I first had shooting and burning pains in my knuckles accompanied with some redness but no warmth. Over December/January my MCP joints started to become very swollen intermittently and painful (still no warmth). My shoulders, elbows, wrists, knees and ankles can be added onto the joint pain list, however I have only experienced slight swelling in wrists and ankles. I also have morning stiffness for at least 2 hours, sometimes stretching into the afternoon. In January I also started to experience pain in my lower back, which is sometimes so bad it makes me cry in agony when standing or sitting. The pain in my joints/around my joints improves with movement and becomes worse with inactivity, however as most people will have experienced... really fatigued so want to rest but makes pain worse ahhhh
In late January I got a referral from my GP to see a rheumatologist but the NHS waiting time was until June so I was fortunately able to go private. I first saw the rheumatologist in February. He did the normal physical examination, ordered blood tests, x-ray of chest and pelvis and a hand ultrasound.
Blood work has come back normal, as have x-rays and ultrasound. The rheumatologist says its a soft tissue rheumatism which should go away soon and was triggered by the virus I had last year. He said it could also possibly be the start of fibromyalgia. He gave me a Depo-Medrone injection in the bottom and said this would help to make me feel better... all its done is caused me grief. Over the past week since the injection I have had very bad muscular pain all over and other symptoms such as loss of appetite, increased stiffness, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, dizziness (nearly embarrassingly fell over on the spot in a shop at the weekend), sore throat and worsened fatigue. Just very washed out at the moment. I am wondering if I should see a GP about these side effects?
The pain levels have only increased in my lower back and this pain is starting to move up my spine, with stabbing pain the ribs. My legs and arms sometimes go numb very quickly. Prior to October 2014 I had the occasional hand tremor but I just didn't think much of it - I am wondering now if this is part of the problem. Should I ask for an MRI scan at my next appointment with the rheumy? I am wondering if something like ankylosing spondylitis or multiple sclerosis is the real problem? I really hope it isn't as serious as that but I feel like 'soft tissue rheumatism' doesn't really explain fully the range of symptoms I've been experiencing? Co-codamol and anti-inflammatories such as naproxen are not working for pain relief anymore.
I am sorry for the massive essay! I just want my normal life back and I'm sure so many of you can sympathise with this. I've probably forgotten a lot of things here thanks to my lovely memory problems If anyone could provide any insight I will really appreciate it.
Thanks for reading
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