It’s in my blood…

I’m the type of rheumatology patients who has “normal” blood work.  My vitamin D is typically wonky but everything else come back clear.  No explanation as to why I’m so tired.  No explanation for my swollen joints.  Now don’t get me wrong, I DON’T WANT anything to be wrong, I just want an explanation. I just want to know WHY I feel awful most of the time.  It’s not too much to ask for, is it?

Blood-Test-Results9You would think having clear blood work would be a good thing.  Yay!  Nothing is wrong with me.  Yay!  I’m healthy……but sadly, I am not healthy.  I feel like hell most of the time.  I struggle with daily activities that most people take for granted.  I struggle to walk, shower, do my hair, clean my house, walk my dog, and take out the trash.  Don’t even get me started about laundry….it’s pure torture.  Each time my blood work comes back normal, I have that little voice in the back of my brain call out to me with “Your a hypochondriac!!”  I feel like people around me will judge my wonky gait and baggy eyes and think “She’s just looking for attention.”  No kidding….almost 20 years into living with this disease and I still heckle myself.  Now I KNOW I am not faking anything.  The pain is real and the swelling of my joint is all too real…..but having a tangible explanation…..I thought it would be a relief.

NOPE!!!  I got blood work back and it was a hot mess.  My Graves Disease was out of whack and I’m running hyperthyroid, my red blood cells and hemoglobin are off, and I am anemic.  Protein in my blood is probably the reason why I have had edema in my legs for months.  There are REAL reasons why I feel lousy…..and instead of feeling relief.  I feel scared and I feel more tired than I did before.

Until my next round with the blood lab, I’ll do what I was told and will focus on getting healthy.  Day by day…..






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Kelly holds masters degrees in both Special Education and Speech-Language Pathology. She works full-time as a speech-language pathologist in both a public school setting and as an adjunct faculty member at a university, in Philadelphia, PA. She specializes in both autism and augmentative/alternative communication and took her skills to Uganda, Africa to start a special needs program for disabled children living in an orphanage in 2011. Kelly began experiencing symptoms of autoimmune arthritis in 1984 (while in her teens) but wasn’t officially diagnosed with autoimmune arthritis until 2001. Her first diagnosis was Sjogren’s syndrome. Eventually her diagnosis was changed to sero-negative RA and now Polyarticular Spondlyoarthropathy. She also manages thyroid disease (resulting from Graves Disease), fibromyalgia, renin-deficient hypertension, and disseminated superficial actinic porokeratosis (DSAP) on a daily basis. Kelly connected with other autoimmune arthritis patients via social media in 2008. She began volunteering with the “Buckle Me UP! Movement”, which evolved into the International Autoimmune Arthritis Movement (IAAM) beginning in 2009. Then became a cofounder of IFAA in 2013. She has represented the ACR on Capitol Hill as an Advocate for Arthritis, was a finalist in Wego Health’s Health Activist Hero awards in 2014, and speaks at various healthcare conferences as a patient advocate in the Philadelphia area.

3 thoughts on “It’s in my blood…

  1. Oh I have clear blood work sometimes as well. My doctor calls and says hey look what a terrific doctor I am, I cured you. Then we have a great laugh. I love a doctor with laughter.

    Liked by 2 people

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