I finally know why I have not been feeling up to par for a long time. I have been meaning to address it here on my blog, and today just seemed like the right day.
After many months of doctor appointments, numerous blood tests, answering lots of questions from my doctor, and dealing with Prednisone and its numerous side effects, the diagnosis is officially in: polymyalgia rheumatica (PMR).
PMR is an inflammatory disorder of unknown origin that causes muscle pain and stiffness. This pain and stiffness often occur in the shoulders, neck, upper arms and hips. (I have it in all these places).
Other symptoms are fatigue (what I find the hardest to deal with), a general feeling of not being well (this was the feeling that sent me in search of the right doctor), and depression. I also read that "unintended" weight loss is a symptom. Of course, being me, this is the ONLY symptom I have yet to experience. (sigh)
I do notice a loss of interest in things that I enjoyed previously, including blogging. But I refuse to give in and be defined by this. I did have a lot of negative side effects from Prednisone, so my rheumatologist has me starting another form of it that is better tolerated. I am trying to avoid foods that cause inflammation, such as animal protein, except for fish and lean poultry, and processed foods. I don't really eat fast foods, but I do like my Boar's Head ham and a hot dog once in a while. Ah-ah, no can do.
The good news is that they ruled out lupus, and most likely I do not have fibromylagia.
What I learned is that you should keep on asking questions and bringing things to the table when you go for regular medical exams. I had been complaining to my medical doctor for the longest time, and his response was always "menopause", lose some weight, or "typical for a woman your age". I am glad I went to see a specialist.