arthritis foundation, rheumatologist

New rheumatologist = amazing

I’m feeling a bit like this handsome guy today. This morning was my appointment with my new rheumatologist. I’m happy to say that it went really well.
First of all, they actually had comfortable seating. I thought that was important to me before, but oh man the torn labrum makes it a necessity even more. They also had a wall full of pamphlets from the Arthritis Foundation on just about every autoimmune arthritis type.
The exam room was gorgeous. Two whole walls of windows and beautiful furnishings. The exam bed was an older one, but a really good one.
I spent a good bit of time in the exam room before my new doc came in, but I was okay with that since it gave me time to study up on my bones…
And them muscle butts.
Doc came in. She and I talked a bit about what was going on with me currently first – bad joints, rashes, Raynaud’s, etc. We went over what is hard for me to do – and what I really like to do but have a hard time with like cook or play with our piggies. I mentioned my situation growing up – didn’t mention abuse per se but mentioned neglect. 
She asked how my anxiety and depression were doing, which was good but also caught me off guard. I hadn’t really thought about it. My anxiety is definitely getting better. The depression is still there in reality but far lesser than before. Mentally I feel like I’m in a good place.
Thank you serotonin!
We talked a bit about my frustrations with my current rheumy situation. I mentioned how frustrating it is to have a doc use step/fail first therapy and treating me for general JA instead of going right for the meds to help SJIA. She agreed and was frustrated for me. I went over a history of my meds.
We talked about how her office operates. It’s her, her nurse (whom she gives more duties than normal RNs), and her assistant – that’s it! No talking to 20 people to get an answer. No chances of my paperwork being lost – especially because she sits down and does it right away! Her medical philosophy is all about being a partner in care and getting you to YOUR goals. She’s very into engaged patients, which makes me so excited.
We discussed remission as the goal. It may not be possible – I’ll be real there – but I’m excited to try. She also brought up new ideas on when a drug is failing a patient (her words even!!). I went over drugs I would consider trying again like methotrexate and those I do not want to do again (ARAVA YOU JERK).
She gave me a nice and thorough physical exam, though she stayed away from checking ROM on my hips thank goodness.
Then her nurse came in and met with me as doc was filling out my FMLA paperwork. We talked about labs and resources they have like their amazing occupational therapy department.
I have labs at the end of next week and we can look at how to proceed. One of her goals is to get me off any meds I don’t need – part of the remission goal is testing that when things are better. I’ve already basically stopped taking my muscle relaxer each night. It helps but makes me so groggy that I have a hard time getting up. Instead I’ll only take them when my back or other muscular issues are acting up.
One of the reasons I like this doc, too, is that she is active with our local Arthritis Foundation chapter. I happened to meet with a couple of AF people today, too, to get an update on federal and state goals for the year. It was interesting and eye opening. I’m ready to do more with them on a local level, so having them touch base was nice.
They also told me that the Arthritis Introspective Conference this year is in Milwaukee, just a short drive away! I’m going to look at what I can do to be more involved there this year as well. So hey, come hang out!
You can’t see super well but all three piggies are in here!
Right now I’m ready for a night filled with delicious pizza and cute guinea pigs!

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