Two days ago, my young spoonie friend who already suffers terribly with Rheumatoid Arthritis, Crohn’s Disease, and Addison’s Disease, was admitted to the hospital emergently as a CT scan that was done to investigate why she has been suffering from terrible abdominal pain as well as nausea and vomiting revealed a large tumor in her liver. More will be known in the coming days, but, of course, this is incredibly difficult news to process – and so freaking unfair to a young woman who already deals with an ungodly array of autoimmune diseases.
Then, it hadn’t been more than a few hours after receiving this news, when I learned that another spoonie friend who fights severe RA – and has had multiple joint replacements in her thirties – has had a stroke, a week after returning from her honeymoon. She is a triathlete despite all of her health challenges and this is just mindboggling to me.
Right now both are in holding patterns of sorts, one to see what exactly the tumor is and what is to be done, and the other is sort of waiting and praying that nothing else will happen.
It’s all just devastating.
I actually started writing about it yesterday and just had to stop because it was so overwhelming.
Of course, as this was happening, I was doing some reading and research (as our friendly neighborhood nerd), and I really just confirmed what I already knew – and it is grim.
Methotrexate, which my young friend with the liver issues and I, and many RA patients take, can do all sorts of terrible things to the liver. Unfortunately, it is a risk we all take as the methotrexate also keeps our joints functioning somewhat.
Also, as the article below says, RA patients have double the risk of lymphoma that healthy people do – because of the inflammation that is always present in our bodies. I have known this; I just don’t think about it often.
As for my friend who has had the stroke, unfortunately, RA does come with seriously increased cardiovascular disease risks also due to our levels of inflammation.
To better explain this, I’ll use the C-Reactive Protein lab test that is commonly done as part of a physical to measure cardiovascular risk.
As you can see, the usual scale for a healthy person is 1, meaning low risk, to 3, indicating high risk.
When I looked over my recent lab results from my rheumatologist, my C-Reactive Protein was an 11 – and his office didn’t even call me about it because that’s the usual state of inflammatory affairs for someone with autoimmune disease.
This sort of thing is why the mortality gap for people with RA, particularly women, just stinks:
This weekend, it definitely has my anxiety running amok, amok, amok, as I think too much and wait for news from my friends.
I wish I had more sunny news today – but I just don’t. Sometimes this RA business is seriously scary.
Of course, I am doing all I can to keep myself healthy, from taking milk thistle to protect my liver, to a beta blocker and baby aspirin to prevent cardiovascular issues – and all the prayers and deep breathing and weenie dog cuddles and Valor EO to combat this anxiety. . .
As for today, my pain and temperature have also been difficult to manage so I’m seeing a cozy day with books and naps and funny movies as nothing makes an inflammatory situation worse than worry and panic.
Please send all of your prayers and good thoughts and warm fuzzies to my sweet spoonie friends. They desperately need them.
Be well, everybody.
Grace and blessings.