Tuesday, January 5, 2010

What's the Worst (Continued)

In my post yesterday, I mentioned the problems that can occur in the eyes of people afflicted with Still's Disease. If you were looking for more information on the subject, I found a very interesting and detailed article.

Also, this is a good article on different treatments for Still's Disease, including diet alterations, alternative therapies, and knowing your limits. Some of the information on other pages of this site is not correct, however, so don't believe everything you read.

There were a few conditions that I forgot to list yesterday.

Swollen lymph nodes can be very painful. These nodes are stations in your body that help to clean the lymphatic system. Still's Disease uses this network to travel all throughout the body, so it is very common to have swollen lymph nodes when one is experiencing a flare up. Here is a map of the lymph nodes.

These areas can become inflamed whenever someone is ill. Most often this occurs when something is wrong in the general vicinity of the node - a sore throat will bring swelling to the cervical nodes, for example. If the nodes stay swollen for too long (2 weeks the site above says), or if they become hard, you should go to the doctor. However, it is normal for someone experiencing a long flare up to have nodes swollen for a longer period of time. You cannot always believe what you are reading regarding your body, because most articles are not arthritis-specific.

Nodules can also form. If you've ever experienced these, you know that they are extremely painful. A nodule is a collection of tissue in a ball- or knob-like form underneath the skin, generally in more bony areas. These can limit the ability to move, especially if grown near a joint. There can be other complications, including ulceration, neuropathy, and infection. While surgery can be performed, it really doesn't do any good since the nodules can just grow back. Steroids can also be used as treatment. This picture is a little hard to see, but you can definitely make out the extra bumps on Angela's hands. I tend to get them in the knee area, where they also can develop on top of the skin. This results in a pimple- and then scab-like substance, which can be picked, though it can be extremely painful.

There is also deformity to worry about. My fingers have already begun to turn and, on occasion, lock up.

My pinky fingers are curved. Both index fingers are, in the top knuckles, turning towards the middle fingers. My fingers are always swollen, but today seems to be a better day than I have had lately.

There are also emotional problems associated with the disease. Concern and fear of how the arthritis is affecting you is always a big problem. It is easy to become angry and frustrated with the fact that there are 'able-bodied' people who can do whatever they want whenever they want and who, very often, take that ability for granted. One can feel utterly helpless. Traditional medicines for Still's Disease can be very dangerous to the rest of your body and there is no cure. Sometimes it seems futile to even try. Sometimes it seems like no one else understands you or cares that you are going through this. There are even times when you think that the people around you don't believe that there is really anything wrong with you and just think you are a lazy bum. Isolation and depression are constant factors as well.

If you have a good support system, these feelings can be lessened, but still pop up from time to time.

5 comments:

  1. I know sometimes (ok, a lot) I start walking faster than you and I always worry that you feel pressured to keep up. :-\

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  2. Would lymphoma cause swolen ankles ?

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  3. Actually, yes it would. From the Lymphoma Foundation's Canada website:

    "Symptoms of lymphoma are similar to those of other diseases and afflictions. The most common symptom is a painless swelling in a lymph node (called lymphadenopathy). People often first go to the doctor because they think they have a cold or respiratory infection that will not go away. The neck or armpits are common places noticed first, but the swelling can occur in other parts of the body including the groin (that may cause swelling in the legs or ankles) or the abdomen (that can cause cramping and bloating). Some lymphoma patients notice no swelling at all while others may complain of night sweats, weight loss, chills, a lack of energy, or itching. There is usually no pain involved, especially when the lymphoma is in the early stage of development."

    It's unfortunate, but a lot of conditions cause swelling of the lymph nodes, joints, and extremities. It's important to get some opinions on what you might have and do a little investigating for yourself. While you probably will just be confirming your doctor's diagnosis, it's easier to have discussions about what may or may not fit your diagnosis when you're educated about the different symptoms and how you're feeling. It'll also be easier later on to have conversations about how your condition is progressing.

    Please note though that I am totally not a doctor - just a 22 year old with RA - so take what I say with a grain of salt I guess. But it is important to be educated about the things that could possibly go wrong with your condition or possible condition.

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  4. I was wondering if there are lymph nodes DIRECTLY behind mens' nipples

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  5. Well, there are lymph nodes in the chest, but as far as nodes being behind nipples, I'm pretty sure that's not the case. Men do have the ability, in odd situations, to lactate, so there is probably other plumbing in the nipple area. Ask a doctor, haha.

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