I just realized I never updated you on Bella’s visit with the rheumatologist. Last month when Marty had his check up, they also looked at Bella to see if JA was causing her chronic ankle pain.
The doctor examined her quite thoroughly and said there was no evidence of arthritis anywhere, at least that can be observed without further testing, like X-rays or an MRI. The doctor didn’t say that last part, but this isn’t my first rodeo. I know there can be joint damage without apparent symptoms on the outside.
Her diagnosis is hypermobility. Meaning her ligaments are loosey goosey and her joints bend more than most people’s. When I was a kid, my brother and I said we were double jointed (yes it’s hereditary). Apparently we weren’t quite as loose as Bella because we never had issues with our joints. But I can still do that weird thing with my fingers where you only bend the last knuckle.
One of the long term consequences of hypermobility is degenerative osteoarthritis due to loss of cartilage. So she could have OA, which is a different animal than Marty’s autoimmune JA.
Her lab work showed continued elevation of an inflammation marker in her blood, so they want to repeat the labs this month. That marker shot through the roof when she was in the hospital in April, so they want to make sure it’s still dropping. What they didn’t listen to was when I told them that marker has been high for a year and a half.
Bella is frustrated because even though she is doing the strengthening exercises, they don’t help, and the only thing she feels she can do is take Naproxen (Alleve) to treat the symptoms. I’m concerned about the long term effects on her stomach if she continues to take a prescription strength dose every day. I had her start taking Prilosec to protect her stomach. Marty already takes Nexium to protect his stomach from the Naproxen he has taken for over three years.
It will be interesting to see what her lab work looks like four months after her hospital stay. I don’t think the inflammation marker will drop as much as the doctors expect.