In all of the stress and frustration surrounding my recent doctors’ visits, I’ve stopped a number of my healthy habits. I need to calm down, focus, and re-establish these habits, so that the anger doesn’t have so much of a detrimental effect on my body!
How to make me furious
The only ‘local’ rheumatologist here, has discounted the diagnosis of spondyloarthritis in one 10 minute appointment.
The head rheumatologist at the hospital in Leipzig made and confirmed this (difficult) diagnosis last year, when I was admitted to hospital three times - his team got to observe and test me over 3.5 weeks. But because they didn’t follow the local rheumy’s diagnostic criteria, their diagnosis was invalid.
I’ve been furiously running repeats of the conversation with the local rheumy (in German!) in my head, and preparing to explain (again in German) to my GP, why I wanted to change rheumatologists.
Rheumatologist believes in 'alternate truths'
These are the false statements that the local rheumy tried to convince me were true (and the facts in brackets):
- There is no such thing as undifferentiated spondyloarthritis (rheumatology textbooks and research papers say there is).
- Spondyloarthritis can never occur without the HLA-B27 gene (5% have spondyloarthropathies without this gene).
- Spondyloarthritis can never occur without sacroiliitis (psoriatic arthritis, lupus, and Crohn's don't usually include sacroiliitis, but are also spondyloarthropathies).
- Enthesitis can never occur in the hands (there are three locations in the hand where the basic rheumatology textbooks state enthesitis commonly occurs).
- Enthesitis can never occur without the Achilles tendon being inflamed (enthesitis can occur on any tendon, individually or in combination, according to those basic textbooks).
- Celebrex (celecoxib), a COX-2 inhibitor, has no anti-inflammatory action, and is a pure pain killer (the COX-2 enzyme is responsible for inflammation and pain).
- Prednisolone does not affect inflammation in any way (prednisolone binds to glucocorticoid receptors, which then either synthesize anti-inflammatory proteins, or block the production of inflammatory genes).
He has written to the GP, taking me off all anti-inflammatory medication, including Humira. All forms of physiotherapy were recommended against - something which kept me much more mobile in the last year.
He blames my raised inflammatory markers purely on being overweight (even though my markers are far too high for that), and the tendon pain and obvious swelling purely on fibromyalgia, prescribing anti-depressants (which did nothing for me back in the 90s), and exercise.
To say I’m angry about this, is an understatement.
You could even say I’m being consumed by anger at this point.
Such anger is not healthy
Fury is not healthy, in both the short and the long term, let alone when trying to manage chronic illnesses.
- It makes you sleep very poorly, especially when conversations are constantly replaying in your head.
- Muscle tension rises off the charts and encourages cramps.
- You get chronic headaches, jaw pain and eye strain.
- It is impossible to concentrate on anything - work and relationships suffer.
- You can't find any fun in normally enjoyable activities.
- Good habits fall by the wayside, bad habits are picked up.
So, while I wait for an appointment with a non-local rheumatologist for the next 6-8 months, I need to calm down, focus on getting through the upcoming disabling time, and pick up my good habits again.
Focusing on good habits to chase away the anger
The experts say to focus on one habit at a time, and that it takes 21+ days to build a habit. That's how I started those habits last year, and I was doing well for many months.
Because I had established two of the habits last year, I'm going for two to start with.
Feb/March - Drink 2L water & meditate for at least 10 minutes with Calm.com.
March/April - Stretches and foot exercises, following Katy Bowman's Whole Body Barefoot and her daily Movement Multivitamin.
April/May - Write 750+ words each day (not including work), following the Right to Write.
I'll check back in here with my progress.
What are you working on?
Are you working on any habits, good or bad? How do you deal with anger?
Let me know in the comments!