Thursday, April 5, 2012

In The Joint...Part II

The journey to discovery continues as I try to portray my personal joint story here.  Last we left off, I exposed my distal interphalangeal ra joints.

Today, I will move on to proximal interphalangeals and my palmar digitals (refer to hand diagram below). I prefer to call them my joints in keeping with my KISS principles. Who comes up with these crazy names?

I will take a guess here and incorporate the joint on our thumbs, which although it is the joint next to a thumbnail, as part of the proximal interphalangeal family. So, with this theory (the picture here didn't tell me) I have ten members in this family. All of them have been doing the ra swell dance. Honestly though for years and years only the right five members participated in this line dance. It hasn't been until about three years ago that the right side of the family put out an invitation for the left side of the family and they accepted.  Wish I could have intercepted that particular invitation!

So I would like to introduce you to my left handed family members:
Joe here will do the honors for his side of this dysfunctional family group:

"This here is our family wall photo. As you will notice our thumb leads the way with a sufficient amount of inflammation with Jeb and Ted following behind (formally known as the ring and middle finger)." And along with Jeb and Ted comes swollen veins. This I have yet to unravel. I am not sure if it is from so much wrist issues or something else going on. Oh well, if anyone out there has similar issues and has unraveled this mystery...please share.

"Next, we move onto the individual walkway debut of each joint so that the audience can get a close up view for comparison sake."

And as humble and unobtrusive as Joe has been over the years, Josephine has been an entirely different character all together.  She started her intrusion into my life right from the get go. If you have the interest, you can read up on how she (My New RA Story) actually introduced me to ra. Damn her anyway!

Drum roll please.....

And least we not neglect the distol family member....


Most rheumatologists look for the "traditional" signs of ra.  One being, swelling in joints that are symmetrical (meaning the same joint on each side of the body). There are many other symptoms of ra and for a better understanding of this disease, you can read Pub Med Health or research it online.

But as Murphy's law would have it, my joints were lopsided and showed ra primarily on the right side of my body. It was only because, at that time, I had a wonderful general practitioner who immediately honed in on the problem and ordered the correct tests which proved positive. For this I am very grateful.  I can't tell you the hundreds of people that take years and years to get a definitive diagnoses and suffer in the meantime.

Early on I did do lots of things to ease the pain of my finger joints including: hot and cold compresses, paraffin wax baths, and hand splints to help stabilize the joints.  Today I lean more towards only icing them and splints which I use quite often now.

Hmmmmm....have you ever had surgery you may be asking?  Well, no not really. But, I will admit right from the get go that early on and to this day, I have been offered a myriad of surgeries.  My motto with that scenario is....If it ain't broke, don't fix it. I know, I know! Alot of you will be yelling that your surgery helped you. We are all individuals, our health is individual and what works for one may or may not work for another.  And in my particular case, my ortho doc did say that the surgeries would not stop the ra damage.  So why bother is how I felt and still feel.

Now, don't mistake me.  If my fingers get to the point that they stop working, you can rest assured I will then consider surgery.  So far, although they move painfully most often, they still keep moving.

And have I had to make adjustments?  You bet!  I have to modify just about every single thing I do every single moment of every single day.  In fact, that is why I started this blog.  To share how I modified things in the hopes to help others.  Why reinvent the wheel I always say.

So, I hope you have enjoyed meeting my often pain in the....errr...ummmm....joint family!  And until our next meet up at the joint....Moomee has a few departing words.


Lookz atz myz prettyz joint!  Prettyz jointz! Andz noz inflammationz eitherz. Thatz whyz catz rulez!
Yezzzz...I knowz...I knowz!  Butz likez I sayz....Iz aintz goingz onz noz dietz!  Henceforthz, thatz lumpz iz a jointz!  Hearz mez?

Helpful hint: To remove permanent magic marker from skin, use rubbing alcohol. Works every time! Can you tell I was once a mother of teenage children...snicker...snicker.

Pull up your stool for more in the joint:
In the Joint

7 comments:

Nan Hart said...

Deb: Great post and so informative. I too have non symmetrical RA at times and I also owe it to my PCP to insist on referring me to a rheumatologist who quickly diagnosed me (within a year which is pretty good by most standards). At any rate, love your sense of humor when you post. I suspect it is keeps you going many times! take care, Nan
livingwithra-nan.blogspot.com

Theresa said...

GREAT post!! Very informative, with a good dose of humor. Love it!!

abcsofra said...

Nan...wow a year! Then I must have been very fortunate. I got diagnosed on my first visit to my pcp. But this lady doc was a gem. Wish she lived in my new hometown. And you know me...humor has always been my best medicine.

Theresa...Once, many moons ago, as a corporate trainer I was known to use humor to overcome the intense technical parts of my training classes. And yes, I was even known to use bribes, skits, and whatever humor (clean humor of course) to keep the class involved. Since I can't bribe you all, can't do a skit anymore (been thinking of trying that one though), humor is my answer for this blog. Truth be known there are days I have to laugh to keep from crying.

AtotheA said...

Deb,

I know you are often on my blog and I just read this post. I am so so blown away. We have a few things in common. Love of cats (Number 1), busted RA fingers, and the love for naming parts! I have to admit that surgery thus far has not assisted me much. I wish it did and I am actually contemplating calling a hand specialist this coming week to see what can be done. Have you had any luck with other treatments for your fingers? Such as therapy? I wonder if it is worth calling the doctor for this.

Hope you are well (relatively of course).

A

Deb aka AbcsOfra said...

AtoheA....I have responded to you on your blog about hands in particular. Now the love of kitties....well I think they are puuurfectly deeeeelightful!

Kate@CookingwithArthur said...

They are the best photos ever!I'm going to take a marker pen to my dodgy joints now - you have inspired me :) And I love your cat...

Deb aka AbcsOfra said...

I was wishing from some red lipstick to really jazz up my joints :-) Oh well, I am more the lip gloss lady. Couldn't even find a red magic marker in my home. Can you tell I don't have to many little ones lurking about anymore...no magic markers. Wait til you see the feet post :-)