Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Remission of Systemic Lupus Erythematosus

I went to the Rheumatologist yesterday (the one assigned to me by my insurance) to discuss the many, many blood tests he ordered. It was a short visit, but it was very informative.

The Blood Test Results.

Lupus Panel

The first panel he ordered was the Lupus panel. There's no single test that can determine if a person has Lupus or not, but these tests along with a list of symptoms can help narrow it down. It also shows if you have any kind of mixed connective tissue disease or something similar. When I was first diagnosed, I was told I had Undifferentiated Connective Tissue Disease. My doctor explained it as 'almost Lupus' because I didn't have enough symptoms. After getting more symptoms, it was switched to a Lupus diagnosis.

I aced that blood test. The ANA screening was negative, DNA Antibody showed up negative, and the other two tests that I still haven't figured out were negative also. The Sjogren's (pronounced 'show-grin') Antibody tests came out negative. The thyroid test was perfect. A Rheumatoid Arthritis test came out negative. All good news.

Comprehensive Metabolic Panel

My glucose was normal. The Blood Urea Nitrogen (BUN) test came out fine (the BUN test shows how well your kidneys and liver are working). A whole slew of tests came out perfect, including calcium, protein in blood, globulin, white and red blood cell count, platelet count, and a test that shows how well my body absorbs B12. Everything was perfect on my blood tests.

Your Lupus Is In Remission

I was happy to hear that but not completely surprised. My primary Rheumatologist told me last time I saw him that my disease activity had calmed down and extended the time between our visits. I haven't had a flare since.

Now I trust my primary Rheumy with my life and I am going to show him these test results when I see him. I want to hear what he says. It is hilarious watching my insurance-given Rheumatologist fan-girl over my primary Rheumy. Part of me thinks he's taking such good care of me because he wants me to say nice things about him to the primary. 

The Next Day...

After the glow of being told my Lupus is in remission wore off I was able to contemplate my situation. What does remission mean? Well I looked up the definition for you (and me).

re·mis·sion (rĕ-mish'ŭn)1. Abatement or lessening in severity of the symptoms of a disease.
2. The period during which such abatement occurs.
[L. remissio, fr. re-mitto, pp. -missus, to send back, slacken, relax]
remission. (n.d.) Medical Dictionary for the Health Professions and Nursing. (2012). Retrieved November 26 2013 from http://medical-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com/remission
Well that explains a lot. I believed remission meant I would be completely better for however long. But the "lessening in severity" killed my dreams. Remission is not like a cure for some people. And I guess it's not for me. When I go in the sun I still get a rash on my face. I did yesterday. I still feel joint pain even though I lack inflammation in my body (weird, right?). And I still feel tired all the time (though that could be because of the possible endometriosis).

So I'm happy. And I'm sad. And I'm happy, again. With a touch of sad. But at least I conquered my Lupus for who knows how long.

Are you or have you been in remission? What has your experience been? Any advice for me?

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