Saturday, March 24, 2012

In the joint

In my heyday joint stirred up lots of images: being locked up in jail, using the toilet, and yes of course...the long weed thing that one could illegally smoke.

I am surely dating myself with this information but I am proud to be who I am. I look forward to growing older and wiser....wiser being the main focus of my thoughts hence forward.

This post and hopefully more in the future will focus on my joints. Those bony things that ra just loves to devour at times. I think it is important to share my joints because often I wonder if I am alone in this ever continuous attack on my body and in particular on my joints and now tendons. And, I remember early on wanting to have comparisons to look at when I was traveling this ra road. It is true that we know many search engines that can pull up pictures but I have yet to find any resource that details one person's joints from head to toe with ra. This is my intent.

And so here goes....

This little joint is not suppose to be attacked by ra. Ummmmm....I differ in this opinion. First of all it has been attacked since the onset of my illness and second, this particular joint has been given a fancy name for its battle which is supposedly non ra related.

The joint I am referring to is the distal interphalangeal joint. Whewww...what a mouthful :-) This particular little happy camper is located on my right pointer finger (I am so technical).   The ASSH (American Society for Surgery of the Hand) site is a source I recommend you can use with if you plan on having ANY hand surgery at all!

And so this little joint has been battling this war for 14 plus years and has had a crown name of it's own. In fact, 8 of these joints out of 10 are in on the war. Medicine Net describes this phenomenon quite nicely...

"A very common early sign of osteoarthritis is a knobby bony deformity at the smallest joint of the end of the fingers. This is referred to as a Heberden's node, named after a very famous British doctor. The bony deformity is a result of the bone spurs from the osteoarthritis in that joint. Another common bony knob (node) occurs at the middle joint of the fingers in many patients with osteoarthritis and is called a Bouchard's node. Dr. Bouchard was a famous French doctor who also studied arthritis patients at the turn of the last century. The Heberden's and Bouchard's nodes may not be painful, but they are often associated with limitation of motion of the joint. The characteristic appearances of these finger nodes can be helpful in diagnosing osteoarthritis."

I have been blessed with both! Whohooo! And let me tell you, they are painful. I am doing the node dance right now. But I still beg to differ on exactly what these nodes are! In all scientific reports they are labeled under the term osteoarthritis. But I ask, why in the world would these appear in early onset ra? Could it be that so often ra is divided up into nice little compartments under other illnesses names? And perhaps, doesn't this then divert the exact cause of all these illnesses and thus the severity of damage ra can inflict? But alas, that is something that needs to be put into a book not on an itty bitty post here.

But I will give my two cents of guess work here....perhaps because I was deficient in Vitamin D, this contributed to these nodes. Mmmmmm....Murphy's scientific data collection at work here. Common sense that is. Unfortunately vitamin d deficiency was not known until rather recently in autoimmune illnesses. And perhaps had I been tested much earlier in my disease activity, some of the impacts of ra might have been mitigated. Can't say for sure but is an interesting thought for me to ponder.

And so I leave this post with one thought for you...Have I had my vitamin D and calcium levels tested lately? If not, please do so. 

Further Reading:
Vitamin D and RA

Iz dont'z carez whatz thatz doctorz sayz....Moomeez ain't gonnaz goes on noz dietz. 
mmmmmm....looks like sausages!