When Rheumatoid Arthritis Isn’t Your Biggest Problem

Leslie Rott Health Guide
  • I’ve been having some pretty significant issues with my gut. The problem has continually gotten worse over the past few years, to the point that I was hospitalized for it last year.


    Last week, I went to see a new bowel specialist. The two doctors I saw were quite thorough and I felt that they understood the magnitude of the problem. I will be starting physical therapy, again, in the hope that I can get things, literally and figuratively, under control.


    There were two main things that I wanted to get across to these doctors:


    1. This problem has, for the past three years, been treated as completely separate from lupus and rheumatoid arthritis. I don’t see how this is possible because I never had this problem before. So I don’t know if it’s an issue with the illnesses or meds or what, but it seems irresponsible to me to treat it like it has no connection to my primary diseases. I voiced this concern, and while it was received, I didn’t really get any closure on the issue. The web of lupus and rheumatoid arthritis is a complicated one to navigate, so maybe it’s easier not to navigate it at all. But when your gut works as efficiently as a 90 year old’s, it’s easy to see the connection to RA. My body is “wise” beyond its’ years, what can I say?

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    2. The other issue is, at the current moment, my GI symptoms are worse and far outnumber my lupus and rheumatoid arthritis symptoms. I think that this says a lot. And I made sure that the doctors knew that. I can’t stand feeling tethered to the bathroom, but I can’t just ignore it, either.


    I think these two issues go hand in hand. Understanding the source of the problem, and whether it is related to my primary illnesses, will help us to understand if this is a symptom of flaring now, if it means gradual total system shut down.


    The question is: What exactly are we dealing with here? And why is it getting worse?


    I know that I am lucky because despite being a very uncomfortable experience, physical therapy is better than surgery. But this problem needs to take a hike, and soon. My joint and muscle pain and fatigue have improved for the moment. And I’m thankful for that, as well. I am able to work out three times a week, plus do kickboxing once a week. I drink a lot of water. I’m doing everything right, but my gut isn’t cooperating?


    I was supposed to go on blood pressure medication, but my primary care doctor held off because one of the side effects of the med she wants to put me on is constipation. And the world knows I don’t need any more of that. But you can see, this gut problem is getting in the way of dealing with other things.


    I wonder if anyone else has ever been in a situation where doctors treat a problem as seemingly minor when it in fact greatly impacts your life?

Published On: October 03, 2011