Sunday, February 28, 2010

Sasquatch No More

I've learned to do lots of things left-handed in the nine days since my surgery, but I couldn't quite get the hang of shaving without major blood-letting. I couldn't even reach my left armpit. A very close friend helped me shave and get back to feeling smooth and silky and much more feminine today. I'm loving the smell of apricot-scented Boothe's lotion too. I wish I could fit my cast through the sleeve of my favorite PJ's - then I'd be truly comfortable (as I can get).

I'm still having quite a bit of pain, and my hand and fingers are swollen and discolored from the tightness of the cast. It is also maddeningly itchy.

But I'm enjoying the small things when I can, like today's transformation from sasquatch to silky female.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Oh, My Not Funny Bone

On Friday the snow and ice were melting and making nice puddles on my patio and mud in my yard. I went out on the patio to feed my two big dogs when my chihuahua, Ernie (no, not one of the big dogs) decided he would chase the neighbor's dobermans up and down the fence, in the mud. I started out after him, to keep him from being a muddy mess or doberman chow. What I thought were mere liquid puddles turned out to be puddle-covered ICE. In not more than two steps, I came down very hard on my right elbow. It would be very hard to describe that pain, but if you are an empath like me, your elbow hurts just thinking about it.

I spent the weekend in the hospital because the break required surgery to repair. I now have two pins, a spring and 16 staples. I'm in a hand-to-armpit hard-cast that is open in the incision area. I'll have to have another surgery in 18 months to remove the wacky spring.

Since I am right-handed, this injury has made so many things impossible or very difficult. I cannot apply makeup or write at all. Brushing my teeth is very difficult. Typing an average-sized blog post takes FOREVER!

I probably won't post much, if at all, until this "so funny" bone heals in six weeks. I'm not really sure how I'll entertain myself.

Be very careful my friends. This is not fun! I have learned a lesson about how unreliable my judgement is sometimes, and I am SO ready for spring!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Hooray for snow!

I have to admit that although I'm a little tired of the cold, I'm loving the snow. I was off from work yesterday and today. Actually, my office opened at 1:00 p.m. today, but I had approved sick leave for the afternoon for an appointment with the eye doctor. Four full days from work, counting the weekend!

Because I take plaquenil and it can effect your vision, I have to have exams every six months. One exam is the usual eye exam and the other is for the vision field test and color blindess test. I have also had major problems with dry eyes due to secondary sjorgrens syndrome. I've tried Restasis over the last six months and it didn't help me, so I'm trying out punctal plugs. He said the Restasis helps you to make more tears, and since that didn't help, we would try to keep the ones that I make by using the plugs.

Today I had two lower absorbable punctal plugs inserted. They should last about a month. I'll go back in two months, and if they helped, I'll have lower permanent plugs placed. I can have the upper two plugged later if I want to. I can tell a difference already. There is a slight irritation from having it done, but it should be gone in a day. I'm happy because my vision is not blurry and my eyes feel fairly moist.

I'm also liking the etodolac, even though I thought I wouldn't. All in all, I'm not feeling too bad right now. That could be due to having a nice four day weekend, I suppose. I'm just going to have to see how it goes for the next 3 1/2 months

I'm not even going to try to explain to anyone how arthritis can effect your eyes or your internal organs. No one quite gets it until they've got it themselves. A little over four years ago, I didn't know anything about rheumatoid arthritis. That ignorance was definitely bliss. I just didn't know it at the time.

Maybe someday, I'll return to my former ignorance. Every little bliss I can win back from RA is a cherished blessing. Thank you God and Doctor "S" for my blissful blessing. I am a very grateful girl.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

What's the point here?

I'm back from a rather disappointing appointment with my rheumatologist. I am not starting a new DMARD like I'd hoped. My weight is still not what he wants it to be. He is afraid that the gastrointestinal side effects that go along with the medication would cause even more weight loss which I cannot afford.

Now, my medication list looks like this: Etodolac (NEW), Prednisone (7.5 mg), Plaquenil, Restasis, Voltaren gel and Tylenol III (NEW).

I got so upset I was near tears when I asked if I could ever hope to be free from pain and he said in my case, no. I have too much osteoarthritis which is secondary to the RA and he can only give me pain medication and NSAIDs for that.

We discussed my thumb joint replacement and he wants me to see a hand specialist instead of the orthopedic surgeon I saw in December. I'm happy about that. I'd rather trust the resulting usefulness of my thumb to someone who only does hands.

So, again I am waiting, four months this time. I'm on a higher dose of pred, which will only worsen my osteoporosis. I have no DMARD but plaquenil to control the RA. The RA is worsening the osteoarthritis, which will lead to more pain and more joint replacements.

I'm not too happy, or too comfortable. I'm too agitated to sleep if my parts would even let me. I wish I'd rushed to the pharmacy before they closed. Maybe the codeine would have been a little help.

I really doubt that I'll ever gain enough weight to satisfy him. My pre-RA weight was 98lbs. and since RA, I've had a lot of trouble staying above 90. I'm almost to the point of just relying on pain treatment alone. It doesn't seem like my disease treatment is going anywhere at all. I don't know how long I can tread this kind of water, or how much more patience I can find to keep up the waiting. I. just. feel. about done.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Waiting for Wednesday

When you have rheumatoid arthritis you spend a lot of time waiting. It seems you are always waiting to see if the latest DMARD (Disease Modifying Antirheumatic Drug) is going to work to control the disease. You wait in numerous doctors offices and labs. Most of all, you just wait to have your life back. RA CAN take your life.

I guess I haven't given up all hope in having my pre-RA life back. I still have hopes that I'll run more 10K races, play more bluegrass music, hike for miles, mow my own grass, wear rings and bracelets and cute shoes, ride half-crazy horses, restore old violins, sleep through the night and spring out of bed the next day . . . you know I could go on and on.

I pin hopes on every appointment with my rheumatologist. I have a lot of faith in him, but the visits are so short that I often come away wondering what I can expect from the changes he makes in my medication. RA waxes and wanes on its own, for me, even without treatment. So, it is awfully hard to tell if anything really makes a difference or not. I'm wanting the difference that cannot be mistaken. I want to feel like I did before I knew what RA was.

Right now my hopes are on Wednesday, my next rheumatologist appointment. I have hopes that this appointment will bring all the things I've been missing back to me. If it does, I promise not to take any of those things for granted. I know that remission usually doesn't last forever and you have to start the whole process over again when your treatment stops working. I'll take whatever I can get.

I haven't been feeling too bad today. I'm still fighting the sinus infection and I've had to rely on pain medication to manage, but I don't feel like chopping off any body parts. I'm living the usual life with rheumatoid arthritis, I'm waiting, for Wednesday.