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Hello from Spain

330 Views 8 Replies 5 Participants Last post by  sarie
Hi, Im Sarie/Sara or whatever you'd like to call me:wink2:

I am Engish but I have been living in Barcelona for the past 2 and a bit years. I am 23 years old.

When I was 19/20 (i can't remember) I went into hospital because all my joints had swollen up and I was unable to walk. A few years before I had swelling in my toes and my thumb joints.. I went to the dr's and they told me I should take ibruprofeno!!

So anyway whilst in hospital I saw a rhuemotologist and he diagnosed me with RA. A while later I moved here and got my self a good but grumpy rheumy here. He is quite good, but I have to admit I have not gone to all of my appointments. I guess I've tried to dig my head in the sand about it all.

About a month or so ago I got a horrid red rash under my right eye that has now spread to the other side. Its itchy and sore and looks horrid :( So now my specialist is trying to test for lupus and trying to push that as a diagosis.
(I have been taking methotrexate and steroids before that, and some expensive meds called zamene and aveno-something (its not exactly that but I can't remember (spanish pharm names I think!!)

My other symptoms include; sore swollen joints, fatigue (where most days its really hard to actually get out of bed), Im quite depressed, I suffer from migraines, occasional chest pain, especially if im in bed, rash on my ankles, itchy head and falling hair :(

Im glad to have found somewhere to share and talk, its nice to know Im not the only one with these issues. My boyfriend gets a bit fed up of me missing work and school (i study fashion design at uni here in BCN). Also I cry alot and get paranoid and sad.I uess its hard to see someone you love like that everyday. what are you experiences with relationships. How do you push through these feelings and being so tired all the time. I don't want to give up and not do something.
Help and advice would be very welcome!

ps today I have an appointment with a dermo
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Hello Sarie and welcome :)

Like you I'm an expat, only I live in Belgium - a bit colder than Spain on the whole :lol:

This site has been wonderful for me as there are no local support groups here and also it is so nice to be able to express all this in English. My only problem is that I often go to my rheumy with questions that I have formulated in my head in English and of course she doesn't speak much (though to her credit she has understood so far).

I can't help you much with advice as I am one of the lucky ones that doesn't suffer from any depression. I used to get quite down before simply from the constant pain and tiredness (and lack of sleep) but it was't true depression.

The thing about depression is that it can actually be an integral part of the disease (and is for many here) and it shouldn't be ignored. It can and should be treated as it is hard enough living with the ups and downs of an auto-immune disease without having to battle depression at the same time. Have you talked to any of your docs about the feelings you have?

As for relationships, again, not much advice. My ex husband was totally incapable of dealing with my illness (though he is not ex for that reason). My "now" hubby is wonderful, just takes things in his stride and accepts. That's probably easier for him to do as we're older. I'm 36 and he's 40.

Hope to get to know you better, speak soon,
hugs :hug:

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Hi Sarie,

I'm maybe not well placed to say how I found battling a foreign healthcare system as I left the UK when I was 14 and Ireland when I was 18 so other than broken bones don't have much memory of either system.

The system here in Belgium is extremely good and also "easy". For example you don't need to go through the same referral systems and can just call the hospital and book an appointment with the person you want to see.

We can also freely choose our GPs and mine is excellent and very supportive.

I used to have a mother in law :lol: (my ex husband's Mum) and am glad to say that my "now" hubby came in a "no mother in law" package!! I'm afraid that the only thing you can do with people like that is ignore them. I would say that so long as your boyfriend doesn't act the same way then just try and get on with it without telling her anything.

As for bloods. It can take a long time for anything to show up in bloods and for some people (only abut 2-5%), it never does. As you are already seeing a dermy, I would make sure that I took photos of the rash when it is worse but also maybe ask him if he thinks that doing a skin biopsy would be worthwhile. I had one done on unaffected, unexposed skin (on my stomach) and that was what clinched my diagnosis. Without that I could have gone on suffering a lot longer. Some dermys do biopses on affected skin but, obviously, if th rash is on your face the other option wuld be better.

I suppose whether you feel he'd take well to you coming up with that suggestion depends on the relationship you have with him.

Are you still being treated for RA? Or are you now without any treatment at all?

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