Patient Blogs | Psoriatic Arthritis
The Long Journey to a Diagnosis Comes to an End
photo of MRI scan result on computer monitor

In the back of my mind, I wanted the doctor to be wrong. I wanted my diagnosis to stay a torn meniscus. Anything else seemed more complicated and more to deal with. But his instincts were right, and the second MRI came back with no tear in my knee. Is it possible it healed between the time of the first MRI and the second? Presumably possible, but highly unlikely.

The doctor believed it was a bad read on the initial MRI. He was so confident of this -- that I just needed to trust him and not second-guess his breadth of knowledge. That was initially difficult, however, because here I had an MRI that clearly said I had a torn meniscus, and it made me question everyone involved in this process -- the first orthopedist, the MRI itself, the radiologist. Was this the job of the patient? To always be suspicious or challenge what you've been told?

Despite all this, one thing was clear: The swelling in my knee was continuing to get worse. The second MRI acknowledged that. The knee doctor stated that I needed to see a rheumatologist. Now, I've been an excellent speller all my life, so I knew how to spell it, but I thought to myself, "Why is the doctor making me see someone for lung and chest conditions?" I’m not really sure why I thought this way (perhaps because rheumatic fever is often caused by strep throat?), but I was learning so much as I was going along.

The knee doctor did not recommend a rheumatologist, so I was left on my own to find one. Making the wrong decision regarding medical care can be frustratingly annoying, as we saw with my initial orthopedist, and I dreaded having to find one on my own. I vowed this time around, though, not to be so concerned about the wait for an appointment as opposed to a quality doctor. The inflammation and pain had become the norm, and I was perfectly fine waiting this time around.

If I was going to be seeing a rheumatologist fairly regularly, they had to be local -- either near work or home. I was able to find one almost across the street from work. I know, I know, you’re thinking I was being lazy again, but I promise that this was a total coincidence! I did search more widely than that. A major local hospital's rheumatology office was there, however, having about six rheumatologists. The one I chose had excellent reviews and seemed young and energetic. I was excited yet nervous. Excited because I felt the rheumatologist would hopefully understand my symptoms and would be sympathetic, but nervous because reading about what rheumatologists treat can be draining and overwhelming.

 It will come as no surprise that my diagnosis was psoriatic arthritis. I didn't want you to wait until the following post to know that. It took long enough! In my next blog, I'll talk about my first rheumatologist appointment and what we discussed.

 

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Photo Credit: PhotoAlto/Frederic Cirou / PhotoAlto Agency RF Collections via Getty Images

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Yoseph Goldstein

Yoseph Goldstein

Diagnosed since 2016

Diagnosed in 2016 at age 39, Yoseph lives in Queens, NY, and is a lifelong New Yorker. Yes, he pronounces the morning beverage many of us drink as "cawfee." In his spare time, he enjoys cooking, reading, watching “Three's Company,” and prior to COVID-19, hunting for cheap airfare and traveling to exciting and different places. He hopes his blog will help those going through similar situations while attempting to stay positive with a lighthearted attitude.

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