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Different Diagnosis #101707 01/23/06 01:00 AM
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Galsal Offline OP
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Over 20 yrs after being dx'd with rheumatoid arthritis while active duty and all over my exit physical, VA is going a different track on what is wrong with me. If I do/did have RA, it's such a mild case in comparison to most. Does believe I am in the spondyloarthropy categoy though, possibly AS or reactive. Possibly none of the above merely because I had/have Lyme Disease and Babisiosis, one of the co-infections. I will need to file for a re-evaluation by the VA since I'm service-connected but rated at 0% since when it was established it wasn't affecting me drastically. Any suggestions on approaching all of this since Rheumy has changed likely dx.

Currently on Tyleno 3 for every day pain associated with the thoracic and cervical issues. Few days ago suddenly woke up with slamming pain. Couldn't raise my foot more than a few inches without literally picking it up and moving it. Called VA Triage since no appt openings. Got in within a few hours. Saw Nurse Practioner though and not dr. Ordered xrays, labs and the same dang pain med I'm already on that isn't touching this pain! Wound up in ER at local civ hospital here. Was there for 13 hrs during which time xrays, mri and ct scan were done. Claim nothing found. Wonder about that though since doesn't even mention the mild spurring at L5/S1 area. At times could only use the toilet standing up. Teen Son had to help me walk from bedroom to bathroom.

Suggestions requested and openly welcomed!

Thanks,


Sal
Re: Different Diagnosis #101708 01/23/06 03:46 PM
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MIgrunt Offline
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Hi Sally,

How much time did you have in service before you were "DX'ed"? If it wasn't that bad, why did you get out? Where were you when you got the Lyme disease? Did the RA diagnoses come before or after the Lyme disease and do you have the RF factor for RA? That mild spurring in your lumbar region should be looked at! Have spurring in my C5-6 and C6-7 and sclerosis at L5-S1. Had an MRI done on neck and lumbar region and initial results are AS in lumbar (understand it usually starts there!)but have to wait for Rheumo appoint. Did you take your MRIs and all to the VA doc? You need to seek secondary advice on this! Do you know if you have any narrowing in the cervical area that may be causing pressure on spine cord? I'm here up in Georgia and go to WINN Army hospital (did 17 years before seperated and husband retired) plus specialists in the Savannah area. Pretty good docs here that really seem to care.

Re: Different Diagnosis #101709 01/23/06 05:25 PM
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I was also wondering why you are taking Cymbalta. I take it myself (60mg) to help with anxiety/depression and it helps take the edge off the pain from my fibromyalgia. Are you still being treated for the Lyme disease?

Re: Different Diagnosis #101710 01/26/06 01:09 AM
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Galsal Offline OP
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MIgrunt,

I got out from active duty because I didn't want to do it day in, day out any longer. Nine years later I went into the Army Reserves. Spent 15 years total between the two. I had four yes in active duty when dx'd with RA. Was on a temporary profile for no situps, type at my own pace, etc so I could re-enlist if desired to but decided not to. At the end of my Reserve time, wound up on permanent profile (not able to wear helmet, walk pt test, not lift things, etc).

It is unknown where or when I got the Lyme Disease. The LLMD (Lyme Literate MD) believes I had it either while in service or before and that I passed it along to my Son, partially based on my medical history of multiple miscarriages. All those occurred on active duty. It wasn't found until Jan 2001. I showed RF positive while on active duty, but never since that time. The Lyme was found many years after active duty.

Rheumy advised that women present differently with AS than men, in that they tend to present firstly in their necks instead of low back as men. Yes, have significant stenosis in cervical region. Yes, have spondylosis in spinal region. Have a bulge or bar (not my words) at C5/C6. PCP believes that one has already begun an auto-fusion process.

General dr (civ, non VA) doesn't want to deal with my spine or arthritis but rather leave it to VA. Over the years have had plenty of docs. Have provided VA with all reports and records.

Will be filing for a re-evaluation while at VA tomorrow, since I'm at 0% rating. It's obvious I'm no longer at a 0%, even by VA standards. Within only a few months (from Dec to Apr, my VA PCP proclaimed me a chronic pain patient). Hopefully she put it in there...will have to review the records. I get a copy of every thing put into my VA record.

Thanks for the response. Btw, I take Cymbalta for several reasons - depression/anxiety and it's supposed to help with pain. Need to see just how long they want me to take Tylenol 3 as a pain med without changing it out for something else. Plus, then there's the nerve pain. Arm and hand don't usually tingle any longer, rather just tend to go numb or get that electrical feeling (rather like when you touch your tongue on a 9v battery?).

Btw, moved here to Fla from MI. Oakland County. Used to be at Selfridge for a few years in 85th Div.

Take care,
Sal


Sal
Re: Different Diagnosis #101711 01/26/06 01:30 AM
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Ahhhh,yes, the warmth of Florida! That is one of the main reasons my husband and I stayed here instead of Ohio or Maryland. The heat helps us with our arthritis though he did get allergies! I did a lot of rucking while in and I'm sure wearing the Kevlar/LBE/Armor and NVGs for extended periods of time didn't help. I have the same 9volt battery zap you've talked about. Have had EMGs done with negative results for nerve damage (so far). Good luck with the appeal and keep us updated, if you wouldn't mind?
"Seek and Disrupt and Always Out Front. This is the motto of the MI Grunt." (sorry, just had to add that for old times sake.)


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