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Are These Test Results a Mistake?

A couple weeks after starting a new biologic medication this fall I went to get my blood tested. I doubted anything would show up because it hadn’t been that long. My previous experience told me that it could be as little as another month or as long as several more months before my blood work could be affected by a new treatment.

A shocking blood test result

A few days later when I got the results, I almost fell down. To my absolute shock both my CRP (C-reactive protein) and Sed Rate (two measures of inflammation) were both in the normal range. I’m normally at multiple times normal and it has been considered great news when I’m down to double or triple a normal number.

To my knowledge, this had never happened before except maybe once or twice right after having joint replacement surgery. I explain those short-term results by the fact that my body was in such shock from the surgery that it could mount the usual rheumatoid arthritis activity of actively eating at my bones. Doctors have confirmed this general phenomena.

After a moment of thought, I admitted to my husband that I didn’t believe the results. It just couldn’t possibly be true. Although this lab has never, ever made an error in all the years I’ve used it—there must be some mistake. Perhaps my blood got swapped with a healthy young thing! Instead of swapped babies, it was the case of the switched blood vials. That felt abundantly more likely than actually having normal blood test results for the first time ever after nearly 40 years of living with rheumatoid arthritis.

So I dismissed the results. I put them out of my mind and just couldn’t absorb the possibility of the truth.

Six weeks and a few more shots of the biologic later, I revisited the lab to get tapped for blood. Wanting to be sure of plenty of blood (because I’m a difficult draw) and accuracy, I drank extra water the day before and the morning of my visit. I wasn’t going to let anything potentially affect these results!

Over the weekend I sweated the wait. When would my results be back? What would they reveal?

My first glimpse was a cryptic note from my doctor congratulating me on a normal CRP. But yet, no results in my online file. Did he see my previous result and mistakenly think it was true?

Monday came and went. I sent a note asking my doctor if he could send the results. No word… Then on Tuesday I check again and truly didn’t know how to believe my eyes. CRP at 1.4. This was even lower than the previous result of 2.3 (even after the surgeries I only got down to 8)! Could this actually be true? Additionally, my Sed Rate was normal and even lower than the first result.

Remission? Is it possible?

I can no longer deny it. With two results, we are now looking at a trend. I could possibly be experiencing a halting of my disease.

I am getting teary because this is something I had no longer thought possible. When you live with juvenile rheumatoid arthritis since age two with no let up, you get used to the idea of constant, eroding illness. It’s more like a cold war than a war you think you will win. The goal is to survive and outlast, despite gradual and persistent losses. I’ve only just begun what may be a huge shift in my life.

Yet I still have decades of severe joint damage. I will always have RA. Nothing will be reversed, but my future may be altered from one of certain losses. I still wake up in the morning with stiff joints. I still have aches and pains. I still live with fatigue.

But the sunrise on the horizon is a little brighter and I have a new hope as well as a new belief: if someone like me with severe, unrelenting RA can find a treatment that works that means a lot of hope for my fellow patients. Keep on searching my friends.

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The RheumatoidArthritis.net team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

Comments

  • tckrd
    11 months ago

    I hope everything is true for you. Myself, I have had normal c-reactive and sed-rate for a while but the disease continues on its merry way. My rheumatologist looks at the results but admits at least for me they do not show what is actually happening. I continue with visible inflamation and high pain levels. Which at least in my case means the remicade is helping but it is not doing everything the rest results show.

  • Kelly Mack moderator author
    9 months ago

    Thanks tckrd. But very sorry to hear that your disease is still troubling you despite normal blood test results. RA is certainly frustrating! Hang in there and keep on persisting. Best, Kelly (RheumatoidArthritis.net Team)

  • 2mra
    11 months ago

    Hi Kelly:

    OMG!!! If that had happened to me…..I would have fallen down for sure. That’s a Miracle! Congratulations!!! : D May I ask which biologic you are using now??

    I’m sad to hear that you still have stiffness, pain and fatigue BUT perhaps this is just the beginning of a Good future ahead. It may just take some time for it all to level out. Having low inflammation is Great anyways. You certainly deserve some peace after all these years. Richard must be full of happiness for you too.

    I’ve been on 6 biologics and nothing good happened for me. Bad actually. : /

    Best of Life and future fatigue and pain relief to you. Let us know how it goes and what your Rheumy says later.

  • Kelly Mack moderator author
    9 months ago

    Thanks 2mra! 🙂 I am getting retested soon and am hoping for similar results. I’ve been taking Kevzara and it seems to be working well. Keep on plugging–it can take a long time to find a treatment combination that works. In my case it took nearly 40 years! But hoping that others find treatment that works much faster. Thanks for your support! Wishing you well! Best, Kelly (RheumatoidArthritis.net Team)

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