Tuesday, March 27, 2012

What a month...Arthritis

I had not posted it but Ethan, over the past year has become progressively stiffer, had a hand surgery and has become more painful in his joints. After a series of doctor hopping he saw a Pediatric Rheumatologist who within a really shot visit told me Ethan has Polyarticular Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis.
       We had seen Ethans Pediatrician, Hand Surgeon, Endocrinologist and was referred to Orthopedics inititally. Ortho declined to see us and referred to Rheumatology. Through the series of visits to the other doctors he has had multiple x rays, a lot of blood work and a bone scan. So by the time we got to the Rheumy other things were ruled out. Dr. H. looked at the way Ethan moved and looked at his joints. Then in no uncertain terms told us what it was. I had a feeling that this was the problem but was hoping I might be an over anxious mom.
      Unfortunately though by the time it was diagnosed Ethan's joints have multiple contractures and limited mobility. This is also the reason he has progressively become less active and fatigued the last 6 months or so.  Apparently it is very common for children not to be diagnosed with JIA for a very long time as Pediatricians are not really trained to pick up on it easily. That reason and there are only about 300 pediatric Rheumatologist in the US. No I am not kidding. 300 of them for 300,000 kids with arthritis.
    So Ethan was started on Naprosin which was not effective at all yet. The pain and fatigue became so bad that he was unable to walk much in the mornings. On rainy days he has a really hard time with all tasks. After the pain and immobility got a little intense Dr. H put him on Prednisone and a chemo drug called Methotrexate. Well Kaboom. The Prednisone worked almost immediately. He feels a bunch better although still in pain it is manageable. He even went to school yesterday afternoon. Which he hadn't done in three weeks. Today he is home with pain but he was super happy to get back to school yesterday. The Methotrexate will kick in about 4 - 6 weeks from starting it. Then we will wean off the Prednisone.
   After the pain and swelling get under control then he can start on physical and occupational therapy.