Thursday 16 May 2024

Arthritis & Cancer

So today there was yet another visit to St Georges Hospital this time with my eldest daughter to see the Rheumatologist to further investigate the problems that started with my hips and knees during the investigations into my cancer last May/ June which has developed into polyarthropathy which is a diagnosis that means five or more of your joints have arthritis at the same time. It can be caused by lots of conditions, including autoimmune diseases and infections.

The PET scan back in February 2024 showed evidence of inflammation of many joints including the shoulders, sternoclavicular joint, elbows, wrists, small joints of the hands, hips, knees and ankles. This was not present in the PET Scan and number of MRI's I had in 2023 before the radiotherapy for the cancer.  

A lot of blood samples were taken and a lot of specialist tests requested in order to try and find out just what is causing the problems I'm having and how best to treat the problem. 

Regular readers will know that I looked after my wife for many years working from home before she passed away in January 2023 who had an autoimmune diseases called Lupus which is one they will be checking me for. 

Because of my wife's condition I do know about treatments for autoimmune disorders and how they can flair up and down, and the medications that may be prescribed and their side effects.    

I can no longer make a fist in both hands and have very weak wrist, and mobility issues which mean I can no longer climb into and out of my greenhouses as I raised them up on timber frames. I have three options:- 

  1. Make steps into and out of the greenhouses 
  2. Modify the greenhouses and the door as above 
  3. Replace the two greenhouse with one larger greenhouse with a level entry. 

Being blunt, the last option really depends on the results of the various tests and what my prognosis is for the next few years. My current level of mobility also means I can't get down on my knees to weed my plots, and my answer to that is to gradually raise the beds up.

In addition to all the blood test, I also had x-rays taken of all my joints and I have been referred for Ultrasound scans of my joints and have a follow up appointment booked with the Rheumatologist in late June.  

I have an appointment with the Hematologist next week to review the last PET Scan from a couple of weeks ago at the Royal Marsden to see how effective the radiotherapy has been on the cancer, because it was still showing as a hot spot, on the February PET Scan, and to discuss the way forward regarding ongoing surveillance and or further treatment.

All I can say is god bless the NHS, and thank god I don't live in the USA.

I really don't want to consider giving up even half of my plot, as it is my happy place. Getting back down to my plot is what has been keeping me going throughout last year and the first half of this year. 

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