If you read PART ONE then you also know I am on to my second stage of testing for Auto-Immune Disease. Already testing with a positive ANA & Ro/SSA, I have a history of fatigue, body & joint pain, headaches, mouth sores, dry mouth and dry eyes (the list goes on). The Rheumatologist felt more blood tests were in order to better sort through diseases such as Sjögren’s, Lupus, MCTD (Mixed Connective Tissue Disease) and Fibromyalgia.
After viewing the results in my online record, they all appear to be within normal ranges. C3 reads 81mg/dL (norm 79-152 mg/dL) & C4 reads 16.4 mg/dL (norm 16-38 mg/dL) both being on the very low end of normal, while my iron and thyroid tests look perfect.
In addition, he scheduled me for a lip biopsy to look for inflammation in my salivary glands. This procedure was a little more involved than a simple needle prick. Once again, without much to go on I headed to Google to investigate what I should expect.
The gist of it is this. A doctor numbs you up, makes a 1/2-inch incision, removes 4-5 minor salivary glands from the inside of the lower lip. The tissue gets sent in to be reviewed under a microscope for various inflammation markers. If you test positive, then you are likely diagnosed with Sjögren’s Syndrome.
All in all, my procedure followed this exact format. I ended up with 2 stitches, a numb, yet mildly sore, swollen lip with some bruising. More than a couple people might have mentioned the smudge on my face but for the most part it wasn’t very noticeable. After about 4 days the stitches dissolved – the last one following the same route as my lunch.
One week to the day post-procedure I received a follow up reminder and the results showing that NO signs of inflammation or Sjogren’s Syndrome were found. Whew…one hurdle down and on to the next!
Over the past week I’ve felt mostly well, minus an achey day, a lingering sore/dry throat and dry eyes easily treated with Systane Eyedrops. I’m guessing the smoke from the fires blowing down from Canada and eastward from the west coast haven’t helped me much. Beyond that, is it odd that I swear I’m losing a ton of hair lately?! As my husband would say, “You could make a sweater with that!”
It looks like PART THREE will totally be in the Rheumatologist’s hands over the coming week. I’m not sure what to expect but I’m hoping for more answers beyond, “Take two ibuprofen and don’t call me in the morning.”