Monday, March 29, 2010

Still Sick!

I can't believe how long this cold is hanging on. It has been almost two weeks and I am still coughing and blowing my nose all the time. I am very happy to have some energy again and be able to take a deep breath without feeling like I might cough up a lung.

But now that the cold is starting to subside, the pain is returning. I am 99% sure that I am the one to blame for that though. Besides throwing any restrictions on my diet out the window, I also did not take my RA meds like I was supposed to. I found out early on that if I do not take plaquenil with a full meal, not just a snack, I become extremely nauseous. Since I did not have much of an appetite most evenings over the past couple of weeks, I tended to skip dinner and I did not feel like forcing myself to eat just so I could take a pill. In return for my irresponsibility, my shoulders and elbows have been throbbing like crazy.

At least in the middle of all the sickness, there was a very large beaming bright spot, which was one of my best friend's baby shower. Shopping and shopping and more shopping for the shower was exhausting, but totally worth it. Everyone had a fabulous time, especially my friend, so I was really happy with how it turned out.

It seems like she just told me that she was pregnant and now she is almost eight months along. I am really excited for both her and her husband and have declared myself aunt and official babysitter. Of course her aunt will have to introduce her to Hello Kitty as soon as she is out of the womb!

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Food Inc.

I am only about 20 minutes into Food Inc. and this is what I have already learned:

  • Most fruit is shipped into the US before ripening and then is sprayed with ethanol gas to ripen.
  • Most chicken never see the light of day in the 48 days they are living. Chickens used to be butchered after almost 3 months and weighed half as much.
  • Chickens are pumped so full of food to "plump" them up that their internal organs and bones cannot keep up and they can only move enough to reach the food and they fall over.
  • The chick hatches and is placed on a conveyor belt leading to its prison.
  • Cows cannot digest the corn they are fed (which is the cheapest possible feed) and the corn actually allows fatal e. coli to grow inside the cattle's stomach.
  • 90% of the food in grocery stores is made with some type of corn or soybeans and are "engineered."

The doctor is in...

I have seen so many doctors recently, two just this week. I was having some serious neck and shoulder pain at the beginning of the week and ended the week with a respiratory infection. Hopefully I will be able to get over everything before my first round of physical therapy next week.

One of my biggest concerns has been work because I have left the office early twice in the last two weeks and called in this morning. I have two big issues that I need to figure out. The first is that sitting at a desk for eight hours a day takes a major toll on my back. Once I start noticing pain in my shoulders, I tense up even more, which causes more pain. I added a step under my desk so that I cannot cross my legs because that throws your back out of alignment. I also found a lumbar support to help with my posture. Lastly I will have to get up and stretch at least every hour, which is the hardest part for me. I can go hours without moving out of my chair even when my back is bothering me. Hopefully the timer going off every hour will not bother the rest of the office.

The second issue is that I just do not have the energy to get through five days of work. I do not have the option of not working full time, but I do work for some very understanding people. Although I was very hesitant about bringing it up at first, I asked to speak to my boss about work. I brought up the idea of changing one of my days off. Instead of having Sunday and Monday off of work, I will have Sunday and Thursday off. That way I will work three days, have a day off, work two days, and then have a day off. It will allow me to really rest in between work days. Hopefully it is only temporary and when my energy comes back I will return to my old schedule.

I keep saying one small step at a time, but I think the change at work is a pretty big step to improving my life at this moment.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Enjoying a sunny day!

I began the day pretty slowly. I have never been a morning person, but the stiffness is my joints makes it tad bit more difficult than it used to be. But once I was up and going, I seemed to have more energy than I have had recently. I can't help but wonder if it has something to do with not taking my new medication last night. I had called the doctor's office because the muscles in my legs have been getting weaker since I started Plaquenil two weeks ago. The nurse told me to stop taking it for now, they would speak to the doctor, and call me back by the end of the day. Well they never called so I did not take it last night or this morning. I called the office again today and spoke with the doctor who told me it might have to be a case of the benefits outweighing the intensity of the side effects. Needless to say, that was a frustrating answer. I might not even know if this stuff works for six months while having a hard time even walking up a flight of stairs. I agreed to take it for a couple more weeks and see if the weakness continues. If it does, we will have to discuss other options. The funny part is that I never really wanted to be on medication in the first place, but the thought of my joints deteriorating while I look for more natural treatment options scared me.

Since I was feeling pretty good at lunch I decided to walk to Starbucks for a green iced tea, which is pretty normal for me, but this time I went to one that is farther away. It was so nice outside, sunny but still cool, so I thought a walk would keep me going.

I did not even feel like I needed a nap when I arrived home after work and had no idea what to do with myself. I felt a little selfish and did not want to waste this new found energy on house work or something mundane, so I decided to do some yoga. I laid out my mat, found a low intensity yoga program I used to follow, and got into position. As soon as I settled into resting pose Simba decided he wanted to join the party. He grabbed his treat and took his place on the mat with me.

He made himself very comfortable and I was not able to continue without bothering him (I know, my pups run this house), so I ended up listening to a CD my hypnotherapist gave me for stress relief.

I had dinner, took a hot bath, and settled under the covers to watch Ghost Hunters until Rommel came home. In the end, I had some pain in my ankles throughout the day and later on in my hands when I was washing my hair, but it was not too bad.

I am slowly pushing the cloud of "worst case scenarios" out of my mind and moving on to the more positive aspects of life. I am going to sleep believing that tomorrow will be just as good, if not better, than today.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Reality is setting in.

These last few days have been rather difficult because of the fatigue. I have been avoiding going home for lunch because I know that I will just fall asleep and feel worse when I go back to sit behind my desk. I am so drained by the time I get home, I end up sleeping for a couple of hours before even considering what I need to do around the house.

It became that much worse when I went to see my primary physician on Friday. First I have to say that I really like my doctor. He has been there for both me and my husband and really listens to us. That's why I made an appointment with him after my rheumatologist, who I wasn't really impressed with, told me I definitely had rheumatoid arthritis. I guess I was hoping he could give me more than just the prescription the other doctor gave me. I was hoping he could tell me that I could overcome this with diet, etc.

What I actually heard was a terrifying portrait of what RA could do to me. He told me about the deformities I could see in my hands over the years, including "swine" hands where your fingers all turn outward and resemble pigs' feet. He explained to me that if I did not drastically drop my weight, I may need knee replacement surgery before I turn 40. He told me I could develop fluid around my heart and that he just had a patient with RA admitted for just that. And it went on...

It was just last Monday that my therapist told me that I seemed like I was in such a good place after my diagnosis, but now I am somewhere completely different. I know that my doctor intended on shocking me. He wants me to realize how serious RA can be and that I need to make serious lifestyle changes. But my god, I came home in shock.

I went to work the next day in sweat pants and an over sized sweatshirt which I accessorized with two wrist guards. I ended up leaving early not only because of the pain, but because I thought I was going to break down in tears at any moment.

Luckily I came home to my wonderful husband who pulled the covers over me, gave me some Kleenex, and told me I would be okay because we are going to do it together.

As for today, after going on a walk, both my feet are throbbing and achy. Rommel and I made one last trip to McDonald's and are now watching the Oscars. But tomorrow is another day.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Knowing My Limits

I was really enthused to start eating better and picked up a large number of vegetables at the farmers market on Sunday. I cleaned and prepared them all so I would have less to do in the morning before work.

I started by making some green juice using celery, carrots, lemon and apple. It actually tasted a lot like celery with cream cheese, kind of sweet tasting. What I did not like about making the juice was all the pulp that was left over. I will go ahead and compost it, but it seemed like a waste.

I also made a smoothie using a strawberry/cacao recipe I found on A Bitt of Raw. I added some hemp protein powder and flax oil to cover all the bases. It tastes just like chocolate covered strawberries. So, so good!

I also made some brown rice because I knew I would be lacking that "full" feeling, which I will totally admit I like. I ended up eating it for breakfast because I was a little worried about taking my medication after only drinking juice.

I did cave and have McDonald's at lunch, but I ordered a small meal instead of the large one I would usually have and only ate half of it. Then I had my smoothie for dinner instead.

Ever since the fatigue set it, I have been eating really, really badly, so I am pretty happy with how I did today. I felt pretty good and I did not hit a wall in the early afternoon, probably because my blood sugar levels were not a roller coaster. My back was in crazy pain, but having more energy than usual made it a tad bit easier.

I will have to prepare better next week though because my large cache of green goodies only lasted two days. I had to stop by the store to pick up some more veggies, which did not help my pain. It would be nice to have everything ready for the whole week and not have to worry about it.

After a pretty good day, I really wanted to get some stuff done at home. I placed some chicken in the oven so that I could mix up dinner for the pups and then got started on our bedroom. I have been letting things pile up for a while now and it was really wearing on me, so I threw myself into cleaning. An hour later our room looks good, but I am completely wiped. I really need to figure out what is too much for me to do on the days I work.