The Benefits of Heating Pads

I personally find heat very helpful for a lot of my chronic pain. Though I typically use heating pads on my back, I have been known to use them on my legs, glutes, shoulders, neck, and stomach. And the moist heating pads – bless! Check out the video for more information!

I really believe that we should do as much as possible to treat our symptoms. For more on this topic, check out my podcast episode, “Can We Cure or Can’t We Cure? That is the Question.” The link for Apple is below, but the podcast is available on Spotify and everywhere else you get your podcasts! Feel free to send in a review as it helps my podcast get noticed!

https://podcasts.apple.com/ca/podcast/chronically-living-and-how-to-make-the-most-of-it/id1521945719?i=1000494458023

Diagnosis Update

Isn’t it always the case when you have an autoimmune disease that there are multiple updates over the years? Like either a change of diagnosis or an added diagnosis. I follow so many people on Instagram with the same experiences. This week I had an appointment with my rheumatologist (and a resident, so two docs which was fun – by the way I love that the hospital I go to is a teaching hospital because I think that makes everyone work a little harder to provide excellent care), and of course there is an update to my diagnosis.

Image from: https://www.niehs.nih.gov/health/topics/conditions/autoimmune/index.cfm

Lets travel back a bit. First I was given an incorrect diagnosis of gout back in 2015 by my GP. Fast forward to February 2016 when I first saw my rheumatologist, ran some tests and then a month later gave me (maybe a little too quickly) a diagnosis of lupus. Fast forward to June 2016 and she added fibromyalgia to the list. Then we skip over to November 2016 and she decides that I don’t qualify for a lupus diagnosis and I am a “mystery.” So I have remained with a fibromyalgia diagnosis since then.

Me back in 2016.

Now my diagnosis has been updated to Undifferentiated Connective Tissue Disease, which upon looking up what exactly that was, makes a lot of sense. So what is UCTD? It’s a systemic autoimmune disease that doesn’t quite fit the criteria for any differentiated autoimmune disease – like lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, or scleroderma, etc. I’ve read some different statistics on it, and it seems that around 25% of rheumatology patients have UCTD, and only between 20-30% of patients will eventually get a diagnosis of lupus, RA, etc. Symptoms usually include high ANAs, arthralgia/myalgia, arthritis, Raynaud’s, and fatigue, among a few others.

My symptoms include consistently high ANAs on blood panels that are taken every 6 months, arthralgia/myalgia, I don’t quite get full-blown Raynaud’s but certainly very red and slightly swollen fingers in the cold, sometimes numbness in my fingers or toes, and fatigue. So, while I don’t fit the criteria for lupus, I certainly fit the criteria for UTCD.

Now how does this make me feel? Honestly, a sense of relief. I am happy to have a diagnosis again, and one that seems to actually fit what is going on. My rheumy is going to fill out the paperwork I need for my work coverage (because they’ve been after my sick days), which also makes me feel relieved. Basically, I feel like it’s good to get a diagnosis because the waiting game on diagnoses can be anxiety-riddling experiences as I’m sure many of you know.

Relieved at my diagnosis but missing my baby.

I also want to give you an update on Spike, because last week I mentioned he was at the vet. Unfortunately he had to be put down. I am heart-broken as I’ve lost my best friend.