Monday, July 18, 2011

Total Rock Star

I gave Simba a hair cut yesterday since his mane was getting a little long and we don't want him to get too hot. He turned out looking like a rock star from an 80's band. And no styling was involved - I am not that bad.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Where I Have Been ...

I have to admit that it has been a strange few months heath-wise. When I saw Dr. Zen four months ago, I was feeling okay and not in too much pain except when I overextended myself. But I felt comforted by the fact the each time I had a blood test the inflammation was lower and Dr. Zen was confident the medications are working and I would only continue to get better.

Eight weeks later I had a blood test that showed normal levels of inflammation, which had me excited but completely baffled because I was in some serious pain at the time I took the test. According to my doctor I should not feel any pain when when there was no inflammation so what was going on?

I knew I had another blood test in eight weeks before I saw Dr. Zen again plus I knew that one could not base everything on one blood test, so I should wait and see how things play out.

Over the next couple of months I began to have chest pains and like anyone else probably would, my mind went to possible heart problems. But the pain was along my sternum and alternating sides of my chest, especially after working in the yard and things like that. First thing I do is hit the internet, my usual process. It turns out that Rheumatoid Arthritis can effect the cartiledge that joins the ribs to the sternum. It definitely explained the pain along the sternum but not the ache in my chest that feels like someone poked me way to hard deep inside the muscle. I found a few different possibilities, but some are so crazy that I am going to leave it to the doctor.

I just received the results from the blood test I had last week and the inflammation levels that showed were even better, but yet again I was in quite a bit of pain when I took the test. So I went onto RA Chicks Facebook page and asked if anyone else has experienced the same thing. I was honestly surprised to receive as many responses as I did which just goes to show that no one ever knows as much as they think they do when it comes to a disease will no cure (as of today). Quite a few women said that their doctors do not even go off the blood tests to judge disease activity. There is also something called seronegative Rheumatoid Arthritis, which I do not know a lot about but they said that it does not show any inflammation at all. The most important thing to me is that the is no ongoing joint damage.

So now I am counting the days until I see Dr. Zen and luckily it is only a few days away. I am definitely going in prepared this time with my research, comments from other RA ladies, and my specific questions. I want to make sure I walk out with answers to the pain without inflammation on my blood test and the chest pain. Anything else can wait since there will always be another appointment and I only have so many minutes with Dr. Zen.

And the pain is pretty much why I have been away. My hands are bothering me the worst and when they are not too bad at the end of the work day, I want to use that time constructedly around the house. I was pretty happy to have had the energy to do some gardening, cleaning in the garage, and even replace the toilets in our two bathrooms. The fact that I have been able to do that much keeps me feeling good and I am always planning what I am going to next. Believe me, it is a very long list!

Another random item - I talked my primary care physician into ordering allergy tests since I have read articles about allergies and RA. It turns out that I am allergic to quite a lot of things. The biggest reactions were sesame seeds, mold, and cats and dogs so the doctor told me I should avoid all four. That is totally not happening! I grew up in a house constantly full of animals and continue to live that way. My two dogs and one cat are not going anywhere. I am also allergic to several trees and grasses. On the low end of the reaction scale, I am allergic to wheat and corn. My big question is whether avoiding allergens will lessen the occurrence of RA flares and is it worth avoiding the food items if they are such low reactions. Lots of questions.