Saturday, February 27, 2010

Can someone help me with my socks?

My joint pain has followed a pretty predictable course lately. I wake up around 6:30 in the morning feeling stiff and achy. By 10:00 my joints warm up and I am no longer hobbling around like an old lady. Around 1:00, sometimes 2:00 in the afternoon, I crash energy-wise and start sliding downhill. By the time I get home from work at 5:00, I have some energy left, but not enough to get things done around the house. My pain level also increases and leaves me stuck on the couch with a book.

But yesterday came the realization of just how debilitating RA could be and how fast it has overcome my body. I came home from work, grabbed the new National Geographic that came in the mail, and crawled under the covers to read. (Okay, I left out the part about the thin mint cookies I bought from the adorable, but evil girl scouts that ambushed me at the grocery store.) Rommel called around 6:30 and suggested walking to some nearby stores to find a present for a friend's birthday and grab dinner. I was tired but totally up for it, besides we only had to walk about four blocks. We slowly made our way there and after wandering around the first store for about twenty minutes, we found the birthday present and an adorable panda pajama set for a friend's expected arrival. My back was incredibly sore and my feet were throbbing, but I didn't say anything and we went to a second store to see if we could find some work clothes for Rommel. After another twenty minutes on my feet, I started to feel really sick. We managed to check out even though I could not continually stand in one place because it hurt my feet too much. I kind of looked like I had to pee, switching feet constantly. We bought dinner for each of us and slowly walked the few blocks home.

I crashed on the couch as soon as we made it in the door. Every joint and muscle in my body was in pain. I normally try to stay away from pain killers like ibuprofen, choosing to deal with the pain instead, but I was practically begging Rommel to bring me the bottle. After a short rest, I managed to get off the couch and very, very slowly change into my PJ's. The hardest part was getting my socks off. For some reason I could not bend over to get to my feet or raise my leg high enough to reach them. The whole time I was thinking "I just turned 30 dammit, not 100!!!". I threw in a lot more curse words though.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Where do I go from here?

I went to the rheumatologist yesterday to discuss my blood test results, etc. There are three blood tests normally done to test for rheumatoid arthritis (RA), even though you can test negative for all of them and still have it. I tested positive on one of two tests specifically for RA. The other test was for inflammation and a normal range is below 20. A month ago I was at 30 and now I am at 38. Between the test results and the fact that any area of my body where a joint is located feels like it has been beaten repeatedly with a stick, my doctor is more than certain I have RA.

He gave me a prescription to prevent joint deterioration, which takes up to three months to work, and offered me steroids to get me through that time period, which I declined. I made an appointment for April and he sent me on my way. Apparently it is too much to ask for a doctor to spend more than a couple of minutes with you after he announces that you have an illness that will probably affect you for the rest of your life if you do not make the proper changes to your lifestyle.

I went home depressed and crawled into bed with my dogs. After a long nap, I decided that I would give myself a short amount of time to pout and feel sorry for myself. Then I would start making the changes necessary to make my life better.

Luckily I was pretty sure that it was RA and began doing my own research a few weeks ago. It will be a lifestyle overhaul really because it involves diet, exercise, and stress management. But they will all be changes that will help not only the RA, but every aspect of my life.

I honestly think the RA is my body's way of telling me that all the stress and anxiety has finally taken its toll and I need to make big changes.

My first step is to incorporate more whole foods into my diet, like fruits and veggies, which will leave less room for the bad stuff. I am not planning on giving up all the sugar at once because I do not want to set myself up. Today I had a donut for breakfast, which has been my routine lately. But instead of crap for lunch, I had carrots and a Ceasar salad for lunch.

Rommel is also pushing me to walk or use the elliptical more often, which I am trying to do. The walking helps the pain in my feet and ankles as long as I do not do too much.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Why my husband is so AWESOME!

I am blessed to have a husband that takes whatever I throw at him, such as my anxiety, and is completely supportive in the process. The most recent curve ball is that I might be dealing with rheumatoid arthritis. My hands, wrists, knees, ankles, and feet are extremely tender and ache 24/7. I also have a horrible time trying to get up in the morning and am exhausted by mid morning.

Even after a stressful twelve hour work day, Rommel will help me around the house or make dinner for me. If there is something in particular I would like, he will pick it up on his way home.

Yesterday was a particularly bad day for me and I was ready to break out in tears by noon. I took a nap over my lunch hour which helped, but I also depended on caffeine and sugar to get me through work. I was able to summon the energy to cook dinner for both of us, but otherwise I was not able to get off the couch. Rommel came home and suggested we go for a walk. My feet were achy, but after he bribed me with Starbucks green iced tea, I was more willing to go. After a short walk, I crashed in front of the TV, but he nagged me until I spent at least five minutes on the elliptical/bike thing. It took the little energy I had left, but I slept better than I have in quite a few nights and felt better this morning.

Instead of letting me off the hook because I was tired and bitchy, Rommel encouraged me to do what was best for me. I know he was exhausted from working an extremely long day and I love him for pushing my fat ass out the door.

Friday, February 12, 2010