It has taken me a while to write about this. At first it was because we didn't have answers, so I didn't even know what to say. It's been three months since Eric experienced the first symptoms of PMR.
Poly Myalgia Rheumatica or PMR is an inflammatory disease that causes severe muscle pain and stiffness.
We first noticed it after returning from Colorado when we helped my brother move in October of last year. Eric was so sore, but then so was I, after all, for two days we worked really hard moving from sun-up to sun-down.
Upon returning home and returning to our normal routines, Eric continued to be in severe pain and nearly couldn't move.
We decided a trip to urgent care was needed. The doctor ordered tons of blood work. He really didn't have any answers for us without knowing the results, but said he would be in touch as soon as he had them.
The results showed elevated markers for inflammation, and Eric was immediately referred to a rheumatologist. Both of us were really fearful that he might be suffering from ALS or MS or Rheumatoid Arthritis. All of those diseases are so very scary, and would mean a complete life change.
I had to fight against my thought life! Philippians 4:8 "Whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence, and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things."
We read about each one, but he didn't quite present with the symptoms for those diseases, which gave us a little hope
The thing is, he didn't quite present for symptoms of PMR either. Typically, it affects women in their late 60's/early 70's. Also it usually affects either distal or proximal areas (upper OR lower parts of the arms and leg, but not both.)
Clearly, he is not a woman, he is only in his early 50's, and all parts of his arms and legs were affected ( but not the joints). The doctor was still uncertain of exactly what ailed him, but considered PMR because it runs in Eric's family.
In order to diagnose Eric, the doctor chose to put him on Prednisone with the reasoning that if whatever he was dealing with was an inflammatory disease, (instead of neurological like MS) then his body would respond well to it. If not, then he would be referred to the neurology department.
At first he put him on 10 mg. and while he did experience some relief, it wasn't significant. He doubled the dose to 20. Eric said, he felt like Superman with no pain, and the ability to move freely without any hint of stiffness. What we discovered was that this had been coming on gradually. He just thought waking up with extremely stiff muscles was part of aging.
The challenge now is to continue to lower the dose of Prednisone to the lowest possible level, while still managing the pain. (and keeping watch out for side effects.)
We are so thankful to have a diagnosis. We are also thankful that it is NOT what we had feared.
But the weight of it is still with us. It is most definitely a trial, one that is said to last between 1-4 years, and can go in and out of remission. It still could mean some life changes that we hadn't planned on.
It makes me feel uncertain about what the future holds, and fret and worry can creep in. ( the need for Phil. 4:8 is ever constant!) I did see this quote recently and thought it was such a good reminder.
"I do not know what the future holds, but I know who holds the future."
Eric is not one to complain. Ever. And I will need to read him better in order to really know how he is doing, and how to best help him.
But hey, Eric has started skating again! I think that has been the longest he has ever been off his board. He is happy to be back at it, but with a little trepidation. He does have a spot reserved in the Maryhill Spring Ride.