Anger

©2022 Michael Raven

I didn’t start the day this way, and it has diminished somewhat since the initial onset — but I got extremely angry this morning quite rapidly and it persists still into the afternoon.

I was fine before I got triggered, if little in the mood to help generate holiday cheer by setting up the small Christmas tree the multiple cats will allow in the house. I’ve figured ways around their shenanigans, but it’s the holiday that has always set my nerves off. That’s another story, however. I want to assure you that nothing much annoyed me this morning, and the day was pretty inoffensive all around.

Then I received an email I was hoping to see earlier in the week: they had released my test results for the bloodwork performed on me. After reading them, my mood darkened considerably.

You see, about twenty-five years ago, I started experiencing joint and body pain on a frequent basis. When I mentioned that I was concerned about it to a family practitioner, he blithely dismissed it as being overweight (I was only about 15 lbs over the weight I was told made me look like a prisoner of war, so this guy was using the BMI bullshit to judge me). I went to another doctor shortly afterwards because this one had a history of not really paying attention to my concerns and that was the final straw.

The next one I made mention of my pain to actually mocked me. “You’re too young to have aches and pains.” I apparently wasn’t allowed to hurt. She ran bloodwork, not expecting to find anything as was surprised when an inflammation marker was red-hot. “Oh, I guess you might hurt more than I thought. I am sending you to a rheumatologist to determine if you have rheumatoid arthritis (RA).”

The specialist ran some bloodwork, something more specific to RA. It was within the range of RA, so I was diagnosed with RA and given a bunch of pills and treatment advice that was so bad for my liver that I had to give blood every few months to make sure my liver was working correctly. I did not hide that I was a heavy drinker at the time, I admitted that I regularly consumed at least six strong beers (as opposed to 3.2% alcohol beer) on a daily basis, and frequently chased it with Irish whiskey. Or other things.

Why did I drink so much? Pain, depression and being an alcoholic. I was self-medicating because the medications I was given were not killing my pain. Booze did.

When I told them the treatments were not solving my pain, I was told to stay the course. I stayed the course for ten years before I gave up a few years ago. When I asked why they didn’t regularly test me for the test more specific (yet, had a range of potential false positives) markers for RA, I was told they were only needed to make the initial diagnosis. Instead, they did the inflammation marker each and every time — which they needn’t have done because I was already telling them that my joints were flaring up more often than not and this test just confirmed what I was saying.

I got fed up with being ignored and went to another RA specialist. She didn’t feel the need to check for that marker, but when my liver finally rebelled against all of the drugs I was taking that damaged it, she gave me steroids instead… which triggered my type 2 diabetes from threshold to full-on crisis mode.

That’s when COVID first hit and I decided to not continue to be at a higher risk for COVID and quit taking my immunosuppressants meant to keep my RA in check (and, at which, those drugs failed to accomplish).

During this time, I was convinced to take an antidepressant (Cymbalta) for pain management and depression, which helped at first, but then lead to having other negative side effects (return of pain, then increasing episodes of suicidal ideation and social alienation). I weaned myself off of that drug over a 2-month period and still had withdrawal episodes almost a year after quitting. Cymbalta, kiddos, is one of the nastiest drugs to get off of on the market. I had an easier time with the nicotine withdrawal… Smoking cessation is a walk in the park compared to Cymbalta.

I started suspecting something was up when the algorithm practitioner I was seeing (always checked her apps to see what she should do for me!) reluctantly checked my inflammation markers and came up “normal” after several years of being off of RA meds and I still was having pain.

The guy I saw this last week was far more receptive. He ran a whole barrage of tests on me to see if I had RA. He cared enough to request tests that would cross-check everything and look into other potential sources. No, not all are done being tested yet and it might not show anything, but he at least gave a shit enough to run the tests.

Those results, today, showed in multiple ways that I do not have RA.

I have been treated for about 13 years for a disease I don’t have just because a specialist decided he knew more than me and no one wanted to question his assessment — even enough to order a test to see if the diagnosis could be confirmed.

And I’ve been in pain for years before that, pain that was dismissed basically as unimportant, not real, or not as bad as I was saying it was. I have spent hours of wasted time and money getting treated for something I do not have because several people were either too arrogant or tone deaf to listen to me when I said I was still suffering.

The weight of that crashed down on me while looking through the test results. Everything in my tests points to it being anything but RA.

I was furious this morning. Everything in this area has been an utter waste of time. I seriously wanted to file lawsuits against the people who got me to this place, see if I could recover my money, if not my time. It’s useless, of course, but goddammit, I’m pissed that everyone wasted so much of my time because they were too proud to double-check their evaluations.

The only thing that has showed any promise of working for me has been… you guessed it: Medical Cannabis. I picked up some supplies yesterday, went low and slow last night to experiment with what might work best.

Before bed, I took the gummie the pharmacist recommended, not expecting much because of my experience with OTC THC gummies and… While I still tossed and turned all night, every time I did, one of my many stiff joints cracked, often for the first time in months. My frozen shoulder didn’t wake me up and almost felt good/normal when I was awake. I slept for more than 7 hours. I never sleep more than 6 and mostly not much more than 5. I woke up feeling odd… I felt… good? For the first time in ages.

The pain came back by midmorning, but it still felt better than yesterday morning did.

This is the best my body has felt in ages. And no… I’m not using medical cannabis 24 hours a day to get relief. I don’t want to, nor can I afford to do so.

I wish someone would have taken me seriously before these past few months. I might be in a better place with respect to pain if they had.

10 thoughts on “Anger

  1. Oh man. I feel that frustration. It’s so difficult when you have supposed “experts” too proud to maybe “be wrong” or to even LISTEN to YOU (you know, the guy in pain)…

    I am hopeful the cannabis works for you. I have seen so many people that it works on. I know I’ve told you one of my clients I turned on to the oil I make and she immediately stopped all her pain meds because it just works so well for her. And the guy with ulcers who no longer has those issues. Etc etc etc.

    UGHHHHHHhhh I wish western medicine would reach for natural remedies before pushing pharmaceuticals first thing. Because YOU are the one who ends up hurting (quite literally).

    Much hugs to you 😌 I will continue sending love and thoughts your direction.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you. I’m optimistic after the last day, but cautiously so. Less pain, and fewer side effects than I expected to have. I’m sure those things will balance out over time, those that remain.

      It’s refreshing to have met two medical professionals in the past few months that are willing to listen to me and look for meaningful solutions (even if this treatment is not effective over the long term, they seem open to exploring other options than the bog standard ones).

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Glad your body feels so much better now, Michael. Too bad that the relief that brings (I assume) gets muddied by the realization that those morons put you on medication for something you don’t have—and for so long… 😠 Fingers crossed your pain keeps on getting more bearable from this new treatment!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you. I’m already moving on, but I felt a touch of black rage when I realized just how useless everything had been, direction from people I entrusted to make me better. People who ultimately were more concerned with having a means by which to hit the golf course (yes, the rheumatologist couldn’t stop talking about golf even though he knew I was not interested in the sport in the least).

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I empathize, a similar story of immune challenges, weird problems that are never really resolved and never helped from conventional medicine. The gift is that it’s thrown me on my own resources.
    As I study herbal medicine, I’m encountering the very interesting concept of system-based diagnosis versus symptom-based and finding allies in the plant world that are part of that system. One of my teachers said that in traditional plant medicine, finding allies for healing in the plant world can begin with your felt sense of what you experience with their help. Even their taste. (That happened with yellow dock tincture for me, I liked its bitter astringent flavor and how it made me feel. Radical!)
    Sounds like cannabis is helpful for you, and a great gift to find that help.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. So far, it provides short-term relief. I’m hoping that translates to longer-term relief from pain as my muscles quit with the spasms and my muscular-skeletal system finds a new equilibrium so that I don’t always feel like I am “toking up” to be free from pain. While one of the vapes I have is 1:1 THC:CBD and I take the absolute minimum dose, I still feel a slight euphoria that would make me be reluctant to work while I am under the influence. My tolerance is nonexistent, so that may change as I go more days with treatment and build up my tolerance. Then I might not be so wary of seeking pain relief during the day.

      I keep meaning to get back into herbal stuff, but I find my time is so filled with other things I want to do, I never seem to have time to dig back in. I think that once I get better at some of the things I am doing, I’ll find my brain will finally have the capacity to absorb another thing — but that is likely a long time coming.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Ugh. I hate this for you. So many people have stories like this—bullshit diagnosis, harsh drugs, only to find out the original doc didn’t know shit. My mom took thyroid medicine for over 20 years (20 years!) because of one doctor’s orders NOBODY questioned. She was overweight-therefore-thyroid. The drugs have done so much harm to her body and, you guessed it, her thyroid is fine. I share this only to say, it’s freaking unfair. I hate this for you.

    Also, thank GOODNESS you found the new doc and you found a way to sleep. I’m doing a happy day for you!

    Liked by 1 person

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