Friday, January 29, 2010

Frigid Friday . . . just waiting for the snow.

I don't know where the snow is. Those with the satellites and doppler now say the heavy snow will begin after 9 PM and continue through the day tomorrow. I'm hoping that my joints will feel at least a little better when it finally gets here or I'm in for a crappy weekend.

I was looking forward to visiting the library and the mega sale at Kroger. (I lead a really exciting life, huh?) If I can manage that and the laundry, I'll be happy.

On a very positive note, I got a short email from my daughter. I am very happy that she knew I needed to hear from her and that she is okay. It won't stop my worrying. I guess that is a chronic condition, like RA.

Weather Guru's-1, Rheumatoided-0

I'm not sure how I misinterpreted my symptoms in regards to the weather, but I did. The weather is definitely changing, but now those gurus are saying the snow won't get here until tomorrow afternoon. I liked my plan for TWO nice snuggly snow days. With the guru plan we have a weekend trapped indoors and NO snuggly snow days.

I do know that my symptoms are affected by the weather. Here is my interpretation of the type of pain and the connected weather condition:

Deep ache = wet weather or high humidity
Outward pressure-like pain (like my joints may explode) = storm (or maybe just a strong barometric change)
Burning pain = not exactly sure yet

All day yesterday, I had the deep ache I associate with wet weather, so I figured that it would snow, and very soon. Today I have that outward pressure pain, so I know the weather is changing (gurus say so too). I hate this kind of pain the most because it seems that nothing really relieves it.

I guess I should leave the predictions to those with doppler radar and satellite imaging. I wish they could tell me in advance how my RA might behave so that I could plan my activities and avoid canceling/changing plans. But RA does not follow the rules, mine or the gurus.

I guess the best I can do is to predict that I'll be sleeping in my wrist splints with the heated mattress pad on at least four. I may even wake up (if I go to sleep) and have to decide if I should take more drugs or just lie there and cuss.

RA pain of any variety = lots of dirty words.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Wednesday Night Fever

No, I'm not disco dancing with these swollen feetsies. I'm puzzled because I am running a fever again. I've been taking the antibiotic right on schedule, so I'm not sure why. It might just be RA playin' with me again. It's not quite 101, so I guess it's probably nothing to worry over.

A storm is brewing, and my body knows it. The great weather gurus are expecting 2-5" of snow to start tomorrow night. My elbows and wrists would like all those gurus to know that it will get here a little sooner. I stopped at the grocery tonight for bread and the shelves were nearly bare. I had to buy Wonder Whole Grain White. I think my elbows and wrists must be talking to a few other folks.

We'll see in the morning if elbows, wrists and bread shelves know more than weather gurus. I'm counting on TWO nice snuggly snow days with my books and my Ernie.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Mr. Tuesday, I'm pleased to meet you

Today was a fairly good day. I know, you're probably thinking that someone else has taken over this blog. With all the negative posts lately, a positive statement is quite a shock.

The ride into work this morning was pretty hairy. We had a system move through that dumped a good 3 inches of snow in less than 30 minutes right before rush hour. I think there was an accident on every block, and sirens screaming from every direction. It was pretty slippery, and our usual 7 minute trip turned into 25. It did make for an interesting start to the day. Just a little excitement to wake me fully and have me actually happy to arrive at the office.

With the help of a few doses of tramadol, I was able to concentrate on the projects on my desk and actually enjoy my work. I was also able to get back to eating normally, which is going to be very important next week. I ate lots of fruit and cheese and made a good pot of chili for dinner. I think the snow put me in the mood.

On Sunday, when I went to my GP, I only weighed 91 lbs. in heavy clothing. I'm not sure if I will weigh enough to start Arava when I see my rheumatologist on the 3rd. He wanted me back up to 98 lbs., which means I need to gain a pound a day, and I'm not a good gainer. I may have to carry some rocks in my pockets to make up the difference.

Since I stopped the methotrexate back in August, my RA is not at all controlled. I've had to take way too much prednisone and tramadol. I'm ready for a shot at something different. It would be great if I could achieve a remission, even a short one. It would be so wonderful to wake up, put my feet on the floor and not want to cry or go more than a day without having to take pain meds. It is hard to believe that I was diagnosed with RA more than 3 years ago and it is still not controlled.

With RA treatment, you can't be in a hurry. The medicines take so long to work and this is the second time that my weight has delayed starting a DMARD. It's try this, wait 3 months, increase the dose, wait 3 months, increase the dose, wait three months, try a new med, wait three months and before you know it, 3 years have gone by and you've not seen a difference. This disease will teach you real patience.

Good days happen every now and then, like today. They might suprise you, like they do me. Don't waste them when they do come. Make sure you acknowledge them and are thankful. Tomorrow may not offer the same pleasures. Enjoy even the smallest things, like a surprise snow storm or good pot of chili.

Monday, January 25, 2010

It's Monday, but that's okay.

I'm feeling much better today. A Z-pack, steroid nose spray, decongestant and a lot of rest made all the difference in the world. I am definitely on the mend. I'm not feeling quite as overwhelmed as I have been the past few days either.

When I left for work this morning, it was fairly warm, and rainy. By noon, the rain had it had turned to a styrofoam snow. Later this afternoon it was sunny, but windy and very cold. My RA has kinda reflected the weather, by changing all day long. This morning my fat shoes fit loosely and I wasn't too stiff, but by mid-afternoon my feet and hands were starting to swell. I'm also covered in bruises (thank you high-dose aspirin). At least now, I not only feel like I've been run over by a truck, I look like it too. That's okay. Just like the weather, it will change again very soon, I'm sure.

The thing that hurts the most can't be modified by DMARDs or prednisone. My heart still aches for my baby girl. I miss her so much, and still worry. I hope she is smiling and happy. If you are the praying kind, I hope you'll say a little prayer that she finds her way. And, I pray that you've found yours.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Sunday morning

I think I may have to take action on the sore throat after all. I'm running a fever and can barely swallow. And, although when I'm hurting so much emotionally that dying sounds like the easiest thing, I'm not that selfish. Although my daughter is gone, there are others who depend on me.

After losing my spleen in 2007, as a complication of RA, I have to be especially careful about infections. I can develop septicemia within hours. The spleen performs many functions in the body, one of which is defense against encapsulated bacteria. Strep is one of those bacteria. I carry a wide-spectrum antibiotic with me at all times to cover me until I see a doctor and I've been very fortunate that I have not had a major problem so far.

I know I'll live, although living seems the hardest thing to do.

I hope my baby girl is happy and well on this Sunday morning. I miss her.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Coping . . . barely

I've eaten and slept, which is a good thing. I don't have the gnawing gut, from lack of food or the untreatable headache, from lack of sleep. But, now I have an awful sore throat, which is not good for someone lacking a spleen. I should have expected that with the stresses and all of the past week, and an increase in the good ol' immune suppressing prednisone, that I'd get sick. I don't plan to go to the doctor, so I hope it isn't strep or another encapsulated bacteria which could be deadly.

I am praying constantly that my daughter is not being mistreated. I want my baby to find happiness and success. I know she doesn't want my help. Maybe this adventure is what she needs to prove to herself that she can manage on her own.

I plan to let nature take it's course, for now, with the sore throat and with my daughter. I'm just too emotionally and physically drained to take more action with either problem right now. And, since I always seem to do the wrong thing, maybe the right thing is to do nothing at all.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Dealing With Major Stresses

This may seem completely off the topic of living with RA, but it is not. RA complicates things in a way that makes the more difficult things in life nearly impossible to bear.

My daughter decided to leave school and live 7 hours away from home with a guy she barely knows. Of course, I wanted to rescue her. I wanted to let her know that she was making a huge mistake and that I wanted her home, NOW. But she has made it very clear that she will not be coming home.

I have decided that SHE made the decision to sever ties with me and that SHE will have to live with her decision. I'm hoping that this sort of tough love will make her grow up and stop living in a fantasy world. I'm going to go on with my life and let her live hers, with all the rights and responsibilities of adulthood.

I tried to rescue her, as I always have, but she did not want to be rescued. It hurts more than anything has ever hurt me before. If she decides tomorrow, or next week, or a year from now that it was a mistake, she'll have to find a way to fix it.

I think I'll clean up her room and pack away all her things. Since she doesn't want them mailed to her, maybe some needy Haitian would like them. If she decides to come back and she needs a place to stay, I hope she hasn't cut all ties with her friends as well. She can visit, but she does not live here anymore. SHE made that quite clear.

I'm flaring like crazy, but I didn't notice until I could hardly get my fat shoes off. I haven't eaten or slept in three days. I'll either live through it or I won't. At the moment I'm too used up to care.

I would like to know what I did that was so horrible that she was desperate to escape, but I won't dwell on it. With RA, losing is a way of life and I've grown quite accustomed to it. If I live through this, I can live through anything.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

A Brand New Year

Christmas is finally over. I did get the tree up (with a lot of help) and down again (with not as much help). I managed to gift everyone. I didn't get them as much as I would have liked, but they were not forgotten. I am in the poor house for sure, but hopefully I'll get caught up on the bills.

A week before Christmas I had to make a call to my Rheumatologist due to a flare. So, no holiday from RA for me. He upped my prednisone and put me on the cancellation list. I'm doing better, but I know I'll have to start a new DMARD when I see him next. I'm not crazy about a whole new set of side-effects.

With the increased prednisone, the broken blood vessels, pictured in a previous post, are going away. Interesting.

I saw my Ortho doc about my thumb too. I'm going to need a joint replacement. I wasn't quite ready to hear that. He prescribed Voltaren Gel to get me through until I decide to have it done. The gel does work, so my thumb, elbows and knees are feeling much better. I've rubbed the stuff everywhere. I guess it is better than using narcotics, if I don't have to.

I'm glad that it is 2010. With the closing of the old year, I feel like I am starting fresh. Like I have a clean slate and that I can somehow make this year a good one, or at least a mite better than 2009, or 2008, or 2007. I don't have any resolutions, really. I just want to make better decisions and deal with problems better than I ever have. And, I plan to ask for help when I need it.

I've been cleaning up a little. I've posted auctions on ebay to clear out a lot of clutter and make a few needed bucks. I'm even parting with my horse gear and some of my violins. If you remember my post a while back, I was vascillating about giving up those hobbies or being determined that I'd be able to do those things again. I guess I've lost hope. At least a little. It is sort of freeing and sort of depressing at the same time. I have a few good days, here and there. But, mostly my days are not good.

I'm closing the door on some important parts of my life. Now I'll need to find some new ones to open, and just move on. 2010 is bound to have some surprises. I hope they are good ones.