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Unable to Diagnose - Possible Serum Sickness?

January 26, 2012 04:54PM

It has been almost a year, and no local doctor, nor ones at the Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville, have been able to give me a diagnosis. One local doctor here diagnosed me as having 3CPRE (I think that's it) Rheumatoid Arthritis (and gave me shots of Methotrexate that put me in the hospital for a week with a bad lung and severe pain in my side). The Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville (later) says there is no evidence of any inflammatory rheumatiod or other disease.

My symptoms began last March. At that time, I was weaning off Cymbalta, prescribed by psychiatrist for depression (we re-weaned off again even more slowly after my symtpoms started), I had gone outside to do some gardening in the soil, which I never do; and I was given a Tetanus shot after I took a fall of about 12-18" off a ledge (scraped up my elbow pretty good).
About 2 days after I got the shot (in my left arm), my left hand started swelling up. Then, my right hand started swelling. Then my ankles and feet swelled. I started having pain in my hands and could not close them. I woke up in pain all over my body, joints, muscles...
At first this was all treated as some kind of allergy, with Zyrtec and later some predisnone for a week or two. Did not help. At that point I went to the rheumatologist who gave me the Methotrexate. I had terrible pain the next day after every shot and developed a terrible cough and pain in my side from coughing so much. The swelling in my hands and feet did go down. However, I was in the hospital after 5 shots, where I was given Prednisone and antibiotics.

After that, I went to the Mayo in FL, where the rheumatologist said he could not diagnose me while I was still on Prednisone. So, I weaned off the Prednisone through the beginning of Sept. My swelling started to come back a little bit, and went back to the Mayo, where they said, based upon MRI"S of my wrists and hands with and without contraast, that there was no evidence of any rheumatoid arthritis. On my own, I also consulted with an allergist, who said there was a 30 percent chance I had serum sickness, although he could not say for sure at that point (coincidentally, when I first got the symptoms and no one here seemed to know what it was, I called my former NYC internist who said it sounded like serum sickness). I later went to another rheumatologist here. He thought I had some kind of rheumatoid arthritis, although he could not say what kind.

While I was at the Mayo, the rheumatoligist and the allergist posited that I might have fibromyalgia, but would not give a formal diagnosis, since I did not really meet all the criteria, and I think also becuase of the swelling I had. The rheumatologist said that whether or not I have fibro, I should exercise, get good rest, and eat well, and lose more weight (I lost 45 since last May, intentionally, and am in the process of losing more, the last 25 lbs.)

All of my tests have come back normal since last March to the present, from lupus, to lyme (twice), etc. My ACE enzyme level was tested a month ago or so, and was high - so, recently had CT scans of chest and abdomen which ruled out sarcoidosis.

(By the way, I live in FL. I had my entire AC unit and all the ductwork replaced. This was after I had the air tested in my house, just in case mold was an issue. The tester said there was regular mold in the system, did not see "black" mold.)

My symptoms now are that I wake up in the middle of the night with a lot of pain and stiffness in my joints and muscles, which losens up after a while. I also wake up in the AM with this. If I sit too long or remain in one position too long, I am stiff. Not too much pain during the day at this point. My hands and wrists are somewhat swollen but probably not as much since I started taking the Benadryl (below). I was diagnosed with severe sleep apnea and have been using CPAP machine for 2 weeks, now. Can't really say whether it is helping or not yet. I probably get better sleep but the pain situation is pretty much the same.

Amazingly, and completely by chance, I found out that Benadryl cut out some of the swelling in my hands. I took some because I thought I was having an allergic reaction (itching) to some food I had eaten. I took some Benadryl and noticed the next day that the swelling in my hands had gone down, and it seemed to lessen the pain. That was about a month ago. Since then, I went to a local allergist who believes that I have serum sickkness.

I asked her whether serum sickness could go on for so long. She said once the immune system is triggered, there is no telling how long it could last. I am going to a holistic doctor tomorrow. Everything on serum sickness that I have seen says that it is short lived.
Can it last this long? What does one do about it? What do you think, please? Thank you for your help.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 01/26/2012 04:55PM by rosebud777.
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Unable to Diagnose - Possible Serum Sickness?

rosebud777 4179 January 26, 2012 04:54PM

Re: Unable to Diagnose - Possible Serum Sickness?

AT 932 January 26, 2012 06:10PM

Re: Unable to Diagnose - Possible Serum Sickness?

AT 852 January 26, 2012 06:14PM

Re: Unable to Diagnose - Possible Serum Sickness?

Jan DeCourtney, CMT 839 January 26, 2012 10:49PM

Re: Unable to Diagnose - Possible Serum Sickness?

ron 822 January 27, 2012 12:30PM

Re: Unable to Diagnose - Possible Serum Sickness?

rosebud777 880 January 31, 2012 10:01AM

Re: Unable to Diagnose - Possible Serum Sickness?

ron 798 January 31, 2012 02:44PM

Re: Unable to Diagnose - Possible Serum Sickness?

AT 932 January 31, 2012 04:33PM

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