Tuesday, February 28, 2012

New struggles, new questions

I know it's been a while. But since my husband and I moved to California, I've pretty much let go of the idea of having children. We are loving our new life here and I'm no longer feeling the pull to be a mother. I'm also back on methotrexate, so that precludes any immediate pregnancy.

Because of that, and the fact that I've been doing pretty good since last spring/summer, I haven't had much to say. But good ol' RA, she never lets you go that long without reminding you of her presence, does she?

This winter, I developed pain in my hips - mostly on the outer sides of my legs. It was uncomfortable when exercising and I couldn't sleep on my side, so I mentioned it to my rheumatologist. He said RA predisposes me to inflammation of the bursa (bursitis), so he shot both hips with cortisone (holy hell that hurts for a few days!). That seemed to clear things up. I was back to exercising 5-6 days a week and feeling good.

But then this insidious pain started in my upper hip/buttock. I thought for sure it was a return of the bursitis. Back the rheumatologist I went. He said it wasn't bursitis. He thought maybe a labral tear. (The labrum being the soft tissue that holds the hip in it's socket.) So, I had an MR arthrogram last week. That's where they inject a contrast agent into your hip joint, then do an MRI of the hip to check for damage. (Again - that seriously hurt for a couple of days afterward. Why does no one warn us of these things???)

Monday morning I got word that the hip was fine. So, why can't I exercise for more than 10-20 minutes without pain in my upper hip and buttock? Why, when I stroll the mall for an hour, does the pain start to wrap around down my leg and into my knee, making every step nearly unbearable? Why, when I finally lay down at night for some peace, do I toss and turn trying to find a spot to ease the pain?

On the search for an answer, the rheumatologist is consulting with the radiologist to see if they checked the iliopsoas bursa/tendon. The iliopsoas bursa is in the back of the hip. It's a rare to have bursitis there, but it's possible. From what I've read, my pain sounds most similar to this. So, if they do find that it's inflammed on the MRI - we might try a cortisone shot there and physical therapy. It could take a few months to see improvement, but at least there's hope.

The alternative, my rheumatologist fears, is that it might be referred pain from my spine. Which could mean physical therapy or surgery or simply having to live with the pain. No one can say for sure.

My real fear is that they will find nothing. That some may think this pain is all in my head. I've always been so unsure of myself when it comes to medical things. Even when my fingers swelled as my RA first developed, I wondered if I was making a mountain out of a mole hill. (Obviously, it turned out to be a true mountain - which some days feels as challenging as Mt. Everest.)

So I sit and I wait. Wait for answers to questions that I fear may be unanswerable.


  1. Sometimes trying to figure out what is going on and causing us pain is about as clear as mud. But, at least, you do have a doc that is truly trying to track it down for you. I lived in Burbank and Valencia for over 8 years and loved Valencia alot! Enjoy your time there :-) I loved the weather best!

  2. First, allow me to say: HI! Glad you're blogging again, VW--I've missed you. And I'm delighted that you're enjoying California so much.

    That said, bursitis sucks. I sorta hope it is the iliopsois bursa/tendon. That way an injection of steroids might relieve it, as it did the trochanteric bursitis. If that's not it, could this be sciatica? Just a thought.

    Whatever it is, I hope it goes soon. Thinking of you and sending warmth, comfort and a large helping of joy.


I welcome your comments and experiences! If you have any questions, I will try to get back to you as soon as I can.