Fred had a follow up with the GI dr and a Rheumatologist last Friday in Tyler. Since Tyler is 1 1/2 hours away, we planned on making it a day of it....
I have to admit, I wasn't real excited about the followups. I figured his GI dr. would come in, say 'how are ya? good? no more pain? good, $35 please...." And the Rheumatologist, well, I KNEW Fred didn't have RA cuz I have it and he doesn't have any of the symptoms... Boy, was I wrong!
First, we go to the Rheumatologist. He talks to Fred a bit about what sent him to the hospital, the vasculitis, and celiac sprue.... He then does a physical exam. Fred told him that he had Osteoarthritis in the hip, diagnosed 4 yrs ago. The doctor looks at him and says "you don't have that, you have Ankylosing Spondylitis. Of course, our response is "anky-what??"
Well, it's a type of arthritis that hits the spine. (well, a little more complex, hit the link for more info) This condition attacks the spine, causes the vertebrae to fuse together which causes you to start having a curved spine. And that's the least of it. It can also affect the rib cage to fuse and seriously hinder the breathing.
I have known for years now there was something going on with Fred's back. He is getting a 'hunchback'. When he lays on the floor, the back of his head doesn't touch the floor. When he went to the orthopedics in Brandon 4 years ago cuz his hip was giving him trouble (another symptom of AS) , he was told it was osteoarthritis. Oh, and he had some kind of congenital disease in his spine. That's it. Nothing else. Fred left thinking 'I was born with this, can't really do anything about it'.
Well, YES, there is something that can be done. He is going to start taking a medicine, Enbrel, once a week. It's in an injection form, like an epie pen. This will slow down the progress of the disease, if not stop it. Now, the damage done cannot be reverse, which is very frustrating, since he could have started taking care of this 4 years ago!
So, HOW IS GOD IN CONTROL of all this?? Well, let's see, we move to TX away from all we know as home. 5 months after Fred gets here, he drops from severe abdominal pains. Otherwise a very healthy guy, he gets diagnosed with Vasculitis of the main arteries to the digestive organs (Very rare to happen), but the drs dig deeper to find out why he got it. Ends up he has Celiac Sprue, probably brought on by the stress of all he has gone through in the last 5 months. Well, Celiac Sprue is (somehow) connected to 'auto immune' disorders, so he was told to see a Rheumatologist, who finally CORRECTLY diagnosed him with AS!!!
See? if we had stayed in Florida, I don't know any of this would have happened. Yeah, my husband has been sick and has been diagnosed with some pretty serious stuff. But NOW we know and we can do something about it.
Ok, and last but not least. With Celiac Sprue, Fred's diet has changed. He can't have ANY food with wheat, rye or barley. Yeah, that includes all cake mixes, most flours and breads. We have shopped around for 'gluten free' products and found some at Walmart. Small selection and NOT cheap. Well, lo and behold, here comes David May. Who is this, you ask? He is a member of our Sunday School class. He works for a company who produces different types of foods, mainly mass quantity of things like flour, breading, for other food companies. Well, they are now working on coming up with 'gluten free' products. Last week, he brought us all kinds of stuff, pancake mix, flour, muffin mix, cake mix. ALL gluten free, and FREE to us!
You see, God knew,WAY before we had a desire to move to Texas, that we would be attending 1st Baptist Mt Pleasant, we would join a little bitty SS class cuz the new teacher was so kind on my 1st Sunday at the church. That Fred would be diagnosed with this condition out of the blue and we would need to change our diet....
I get so excited when I talk about all this, I almost start yelling. It can't get any more clear than this. God is an All Knowing God. He knows every need we have and is not only by our side through it all, He is ahead of us getting it all ready. Isn't that the coolest thing???