One thing that comes to mind is I wished I had known more about different types of "Rheumatologists". Our physicians (and I say this often) have almost "specialized" themselves out of the everyday field of medicine.
Rather than have as we did not that many years ago, a doctor, or physician that could see you for a flu bug, take out your appendix, deliver your kids, and give your kids their immunizations. My kids are now 35 and 30 years old. Yet, they both were delivered by our regular physician, that did all of those things. Even if one of mine had been Cesarian, he could have delivered him or her.
A medical doctor was a doctor of "all". Unless you had something that was really extremely unusual, they did not send you to a specialist to "set a broken arm". If you needed stitches, they did not send you to a plastic surgeon. When babies were born, you didn't have to go to an OB/GYN. Even some surgeries, were performed by your regular physician, unless it was some "off the wall" type of surgery.
I began to notice, right after my youngest was born, that doctors began to "not" do everything. If one of mine had an ear problem, off to the ENT doctor we went. If you needed surgery, let's say "female surgery", a hysterectomy, you saw your OB/GYN.
Then when it came to cancer, you were sent to any number of "cancer" specialists. It began as kind of an "umbrella" physician, an Oncologist. Then you began to see that branch out into "breast cancer" specialists, brain cancer specialists, intestinal cancer specialists, and the list continues on.
If you had a joint that needed surgery. It maybe that your regular "Orthopedic surgeon" may not do a "hip surgery" or "elbow surgery". You had to take yet another step into the "Orthopedic Surgeon" who specialized in that particular joint.
Now, it is almost insane. When I hear or see just home many "specialists" there are depending on what is wrong, it can make your head spin.
So, had I known that a "Rheumatologist" that worked with RA or Lupus patients, maybe totally different than one that was more into other autoimmune illnesses, I may have seen the proper doctor a great deal more quickly than I did. My very first "Rheumy" as we call them, was very up in age. In fact, he still gave "gold injections" and this was about 2007. So, at the time, seeing him may have been the right thing to do. He "named" off after extensive lab studies, and also seeing me several times, a "few" different autoimmune illnesses that I have. He began with MCTD ) "Mixed Connective Tissue Disorder", Raynauds, Sjogren's, possibly Lupus, but he was not "set" on RA. As I said he was really up in age, but honestly he was one smart "cookie".
Yet, due to his not wanting to be as "aggressive" with the latest medications such as the biologics, I make the decision to find another Rheumatologist that would be. Well, little did I know, until after seeing 5 or 6 different ones, finding someone that would "treat all of them", in an aggressive manner was not easy. Each one either specialized in Lupus, RA, and so forth. Plus they were not much into the latest of medications.
So, had I truly known the factors surrounding getting into the proper Rheumatologist, I may have been able to "prevent" some of my problems that were getting worse, due to not being treated.
I also wished I would have began researching the medications, treatments, and doing my own blogging sooner. Even though I had done a great deal of research, when it came to the Sjogren's especially, I didn't do enough, soon enough I fear. Had I really known just how quickly Sjogren's was completely destroying my teeth, I would have searched for either a dental specialist on Sjogren's, or made sure my Rheumatologist did know about Sjogren's and was more apt to let me know just how bad it could get so quickly. By the time I knew just how bad my Sjogren's was, it had already rotted my teeth from the inside out. It was not until after the first two broke off at the gum line, and I went in to get a full mouth digital X-ray, that my teeth were goners. There was no more patching to do. There was basically nothing left to try and "save". So, wishing Sjogren's had been one of these that a really got adamant about, maybe, just maybe, I would still have some of my teeth. Now, my dentist told me, that even if I had known around 2007 more about it, since there are really no "medications" designed to fight it off, and the two I took really didn't do much. It was already too late. Thus, I spent all of 2014, getting the entire mouth of rotten ones all pulled, getting dentures, then going onto having "mini implants" for the bottom dentures, so they will stay in place.
I also wished years before I got an "official" diagnosis with the autoimmune illnesses, I had really pursued the reasons why, at well before the age of 40 years old, my joints were in need of surgery. I had 3 knee surgeries, an elbow surgery, a shoulder surgery, and many of my joints injected from about the age of 21 to 40! The answer I got for the most part when I did try and ask "why". was always met with, "Well we don't really know, But I feel you probably have "arthritis" that has surfaced early due to "genetics". Well, it was true, my Dad and Mom both had arthritic issues fairly early in life. Yet, nothing like mine where anything I did hurt.
So, more research, a better understanding of doctors, and asking more questions are things I do wished I would have done differently, more, better, etc. when I think back on when all of my health problems first began.