carpal tunnel syndrome: negative
multiple sclerosis: negative
rheumatoid arthritis: negative
tenosynovitis (tendonitis): negative
reynaud’s syndrome: negative
Non-invasive vascular studies were completed today. I saw House v.2
and we’ve ruled out Reynaud’s
, and ultimately a whole slew of other problems. (I’m going to chalk up my neither x nor y
post/symptoms I described as a random event? Maybe a side effect from messing around with my anatomy, courtesy of the steroid shots I received on June 16th and 21st?) Which brings us back to square one. Actually, I don’t think we’ve ever moved past square one.
Remember how my joints are hyperflexible? (Mentioned here
.) I’ve had problems with my knees as a child; problems with my hips in my teens till now (early 20s); and hands since June 5th, 2011. Yes. Hyperflexible joints are the new suspect.
House v.2 (for those of you who haven’t read about/were too lazy or busy or too enthralled with this post to click on the above link, he’s a plastic surgeon I was referred to as a second opinion regarding whatever my problem is)… yes, back to the point: House v.2 examined the joints in my hands to see how flexible they were. This is after I relayed the tourist-y little vacation I just had in Chicago, walking around all day. I hadn’t wanted to complain but after the first two days my hips started killing me. Really. Intense pain. I also made the mistake of taking a siesta one day during which I took a nap, laying on my right side. Although my hips had been a little sore, after this, the pain was incredible. It took a few hours for my right hip to stop with the pain and then it would come back more intensely in both hips from the excessive walking on our trip. After sitting (but not crossing my legs!! = pain) intermittently between treks across the city later in the trip, this seemed to alleviate the pain. This also happened to me after walking around Venice for a few days in April.
And no, I’m not a doctor (yet) but this pain in my hips and the onset of pain from use/overuse is very similar to the pain in my knees that I used to get playing soccer. (Twice, my knee caps- or patellas, to those of you reading with a background in anatomy- would knock around so much that after soccer games my knees would swell to epic proportions and I wouldn’t be able to walk for a few days. Ah. Memories. And no, I will never even consider a marathon, 5k, or even a “light jog” as a reasonable form of exercise for myself.)
But back to the doctor’s office. There was this nifty little x-ray machine the he used to take images of my metacarpal of my thumb in relation to the trapezium. First normally (always get a baseline!), and then he would pop my thumb out as far as it wanted to go and we’d get another x-ray. Note that this is not at all painful, and feels kind of good… like I’m stretching. I know that touching your thumb to the lateral side of your arm is not kosher, but I hadn’t realized that I could move my thumb (the metacarpal) almost completely out of the joint (the trapezium) without realizing it. And yeah, I’m pretty sure I do this when I’m typing and using all the hot keys (is that what you call them?), like command+s for save, command+w to close a window, etc. Yeah. I’m a mac person.
Once I get ahold of those x-rays, I’ll put them up here. They’re pretty cool. Also, I’m 99% sure I do this with my hips when I do squats or whenever I bend that hip joint a little too far. I’ve been told that it would be incredibly painful to pop a bone out of it’s joint, but honestly that’s what it feels like. And I have to “put it back in” a certain way, otherwise, YES THAT IS PAINFUL. (I’m not a big fan of caps, but I felt it was necessary to relay the acute pain.)
House v.2 made me some dorky looking braces to keep my thumbs in place. And not jump out of the cozy little nook the trapezium has made for my metacarpal. Super excited to wear these bad boys in public.
But some questions remain. Is this
the problem? And if so, what on earth did I do to make it go from completely normal and painless to incredibly painful? (Finally pushed it over the edge from vacuuming with my right hand to overuse with my left hand? See an explanation here
on my timeline.) Could that alone be causing the pain I get, centralized in my anterior wrist, sometimes posterior, and occasionally shooting down my anterior forearm- I’m guessing those are my extensor tendons? Remember, if I do nothing with my hands = no pain. But if I do normal things (drive, get dressed, cook, blow dry my hair, hold a pen, write with a pen, use utensils, etc, anything you do with your hands) then I get the pain. And if I am pigheaded and keep going despite the pain, the pain increases (duh) and stays longer after I’ve stopped using my hands (another duh). Flashback to my brief week and a half in med school, where loss of motor control increased with the pain. It’s really annoying to have to kick your binders into your bag because your hands are so weak that you keep dropping them.
Next step? Wear those stylish braces. Try and make an appointment with the rheumatologist recommended by House v.2. (Oh, can’t get in till mid-December? Awesome… no worries, just trying to figure out what’s been wrong with me since JUNE.) And see the DO pain specialist for acupuncture for the pain on the 24th this month.
At least this “diagnosis” (is this a diagnosis?) makes sense and isn’t super scary like some other things we’ve ruled out.
On a happier note, it turns out my “love orchid” that I had abandoned at my apartment for about 5 weeks is alive! I thought I had killed it. I put three ice cubes on it every Monday… but then moved back home. (It’s hard to take care of yourself without using your hands.) And not only is it still alive, but there are new buds!!! This is huge. I thought I had killed it. And the flowers died in March.
And to explain why it’s the love orchid, you need to know that my boyfriend gave it to me for Valentine’s Day and that I like to borrow good ideas. Case in point, a goofy chick flick. Ah– here was supposed to be a video of the love fern scene, but you’ll have to settle for a picture because the love fern never made a significant appearance in the trailer. And no one put the scene on youtube. Fail.