After all these years, you still possess the element of surprise.
I've been having pelvic/abdominal pain for six months or so. As the ruptured cyst I had a couple of years ago is not an experience I particularly wish to repeat, I went to the doctor. I had exams and ultrasounds (all of which were clear). I went to the doctor again.
Tentative diagnosis? Rheumatoid arthritis of the SI (sacroiliac) joint.
Apparently, pelvic pain is a frequent companion of SI joint problems and can make them difficult to diagnose. In my case, it's a throbbing that originates in the small of my back and radiates across my pelvis and down my left leg.
I must admit I felt a little silly at first. Shouldn't I know this disease like the back of my hand by now? Shouldn't I be immune to surprises? After another exam and a review of my ultrasounds, the doctor, who I don't know well at all (I definitely don't go to my GP/uncle with this sort of thing), told me I'd probably injured the joint.
"You should take some advil to bring down the inflammation," she said.
There's another joint in there? And it's inflamed? In my head, the pieces started plonking into place.
"I'm already on Enbrel, methotrexate and naproxen for rheumatoid arthritis," I replied, looking pointedly at the list I'd made for her on my first visit.
And so began a discussion of RA of the SI joint - an issue I plan on delving into in greater detail with my rheumatologist. I suppose this is one of those occasional unwelcome reminders that, despite my familiarity - even my relative comfort - with this disease, it's still unpredictable. This is a new kind of pain for me. It's insistent, throbbing, distracting. I can't remember how my most severely active joints felt when I was a kid, but I wonder if it was something like this.
All that said, it's kind of nice to be able to blame what I thought was an entirely separate problem on RA. It's a handy catch-all for so many symptoms, and it's very nice to know I'm not heading for another ruptured cyst and all the good times (read: hysterical crying) that go along with it.
Time to break out the artillery: hot baths, heating pads, and anti-inflammatories. Woo-hoo.