Hi and Welcome.
I'm so sorry to read about your very painful week. I certainly understand your concerns - I'd have the same. That said, the Internet is an awesome tool - and a not so awesome tool.
I use the internet too. Most physicians know we use it and are very frustrated - some even irritated. I have a medical background and still find some of the information complex and not always correct.
The problem with us searching and trying to DX (diagnosis) ourselves is we are not physicians. Yes some things seem to be black and white - if you have WBCs return in a UA you most likly have a UTI. If your HnH is low you probably have anemia.
What gets tricky is why these things are appearing. Do we have a UTI because we have a narrowed ureter that is refluxing or not allowing proper drainage of our kidney - or is our HnH low because our bone marrow is not producing properly - or is it a common UTI and diet induced anemia? That's why physicians spend years in college, years in training, internship and undergo a grueling residency for a total of 10-12 years. They should have the answers - but they are not Gods and they make mistakes or ever look things. I get it. But don't put a lot of weight on what you read on the internet - It can be frightening and drive us batty.
Speaking of answers - I'm sure this is not the one you were looking for. I truly mean no disrespect nor am I dismissing your concerns. As I said earlier I do the same - and question DXs - it's healthy. So let's see if I can help you go over some of your questions.
A tick can cause SX (symptoms) such as you experienced. It can also leave us with a type of Arthritis. I too think you would have known if you were bit by a tick. I do know ppl that never remember that tick bit but have Lyme's Disease. I'm sure you know there are over 100 different types of Arthritis. Have you seen the CDC's list of tickborne illnesses/diseases. I found the Southern tick-associated rash illness (STARI) of interest when compared to your SX. Here's CDC link:
It's possible you have RA if you've had swollen and painful joints - or other SX that accompany the disease. May I ask if other than the recent week of miserable SX have you had other SXs? Obviously more labs will need to be done. The medications your MD has prescribed you will not cure RA or any other autoimmune disorder you may have. Your SX may only subside for a time, how much they will subside or for how long remains to be seen. So if your MD has misdiagnosed you it'll be apparent in a fairly short period of time.
Are you saying that your SED rate and your ALP has been elevated since 2013? How does your MD explain these findings? If both are elevated it very well could indicate an inflammation. There are other reasons for these to elevate - and obviously a battery of tests are required to DX RA or any other autoimmune disorder.
My ALP, (Alkaline Phosphatase) was elevated due to a Vitamin D deficiency. Have you had your Vit D levels checked? It caused me miserable generalized pain and fatigue, including joint and muscle pain.
The first thing I would do in your position is to have a discussion with your MD. Make a list of questions and concerns prior to your appt. Express your concerns. If you are not comfortable with your MDs responses tell him/her so - and request a referral to a Rheumatologist. A Rheumatologist treats and DXs more than just RA.
My guess it your MD will want to "wait" and repeat labs. This has to be your call - if you're willing to wait or want that referral asap. I may agree to the repeat of labs but request a referral now. Some lab values may be skewed due to the medications you have been ordered. Your MD may want to wait a bit before repeating them.
I hope something I have said has been helpful. I'll look forward to your response and updates with interest. I hope you'll soon feel better - and get some answers.
My Best to You,
Thanks so much for taking the time to reply! And for the welcome!! :)
My blood work yesterday showed that my SED rate was elevated AND that my ALP was also elevated (my lab results show previous lab results and these went back to 2013, and everytime my blood panels were run my ALP was elevated......I hope I explained that clear enough ;)
I have been awake since 3:30 this morning.......I woke up to go to the BR and when I got out of bed the stiffness & pain set in and I couldn't get back to sleep.......the joint/muscle pain lasted from 3:30 till about 7AM then it's gone.....but I still have this lingering lymph node swelling & pain that I have NO clue about!! My PCP thinks it's all related???
So I am taking my meds as prescribed and waiting on all of my blood work results to come in.....then I'll see how it goes.......
You did explain it clearly.
I'm so sorry to hear about your pain. Had your MD ordered anything for pain management? The steroids should be effective in reducing your joint pain. They are often ordered in an Arthritic Flare - or for similar autoimmune flares.
Two things matter when ordered steroids, the dose and the length of time they are ordered. My former Medical Practitioner, an Internal Medicine Physician use to begin with 3 days of Prednisone at 60mg than taper down over 12 days. Yes a large dose, but it worked.
I'm afraid the process to a final DX will take time. You'll have to be your own health care advocate - as we all should be. Don't let your physician forget that your levels were elevated long before the rash.
Sadly some Practitioners get a DX in their head and won't let it go.There are several blood tests that will reveal if you have Lymes, some are more accurate than others. Insist upon the tests.
I don't know if I clearly answered your question, "Does this sound like RA or another autoimymune disorder?" I would venture a guess to say yes. I do think you have something going on.
I hope you'll get some answers soon. Please keep in touch.