Well, I don't rightly know. Still trying to find out. At least there's no sign of multiple myeloma which is what I was at the doctor for the other day. It's being monitored because of a blood abnormality due to rheumatoid arthritis and the medications I'm taking for it. But there is no sign that either one is leading to the development of multiple myeloma, so that's good.
My rheumatologist has been trying to get me in to see a pulmonary specialist at UNM to see if there is something that can be done about my pulmonary issues -- which seem to be worsening. This is the real danger of rheumatoid arthritis if it affects the lungs as in my case. Untreated, it causes interstitial lung disease, pulmonary fibrosis, which eventually but inevitably makes it impossible to breath and you die.
I am being treated, but I'm not sure the treatment is all that effective any more, and the doctor is concerned enough to want me to see someone who is specially trained to deal with what she says is a rare enough pulmonary condition that she has no expertise in treating it.
Well, that gets us into the medical insurance bureaucracy big time. I have HMO Medicare Advantage coverage, and I'm finding out just how limited it is. I cannot have treatment outside The Network without advance approval from On High. Getting that has literally taken months of back and forth between my doctor and On High. It's almost unbelieveable what has been going on. I got approval -- however.
When I tried to get an appointment at UNM, the first available they had was in June, which my rheumatologist says is too long a wait, and I would agree as I feel worse and worse practically every day.
So she's trying to get it moved up. But who knows?
Part of the issue has been the HMO pulmonologist -- who I've seen and who has been essentially useless. He says treat the RA and the pulmonary problems will be mitigated. The rheumatologist says, no, there are specific immunosuppressant treatments for interstitial lung disease caused by RA that are not generally used to treat RA itself, and she needs a competent pulmonologist to guide those treatments.