Saturday, January 27, 2007

Meds, a referral and tests

I started out on some meds to address the raynauds and discomfort. I was given Nifedipine for the raynauds and Diclofenac as an anti-inflammatory. I don't know if it did much as I felt the same as I did before taking the anti-inflammatory.

I was also given a referral to see a top scleroderma specialist. The recommendation provided to me by the rheumatologist was someone in NJ, PA and at Johns Hopkins in Maryland. I chose to contact Johns Hopkins and was lucky enough to get an appointment just after the beginning of 2007.

I was then sent for a bunch of tests to see if there was an internal damage that was detectable, and also as a baseline to determine if any damage does occur in the future. As I mentioned in my initial post, I was extremely healthy. I had more tests in the span of one month then I did in the previous 30 years combined.

The first test was a PFT - pulmonary function test - where you breathe into this machine and it measures lung capacity, etc. Used for scleroderma to determine if there's any scarring which is causing diminished lung capacity. Next there was a CT (aka CAT) scan of my upper body. Third was a chest x-ray. Last was the worst which was called, I think, an Esophagram Motitlity study. The esophagram test required me to swallow what they called pop-rocks with a tiny bit of water. Then I needed to drink 2 of the chalky types drinks as they scanned my upper body. When I was done, I let out the biggest burp of my life. They determined that I had a weak esophagus which is typical of someone with scleroderma.

After returning to the rheumatologist after the tests were done I was put on Protronix which is an acid reflux medication. This was to help prevent any damage that a weak esophagus could cause.

Next post will be feeling changes occurring.

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