Tag Archives: Theories

Almost…but not quite.

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I almost love this time of year.

The warmer weather (high 80’s for the past few days!), enjoying a glass of vino on the back patio after work, joints not being stiff and achy from the cold.  And then there’s all of that yellow stuff.  I left one of my clients this afternoon and witnessed a pollen tornado when the wind blew slightly. 

Allergies.  Ugh.

I got in my car and promptly called my eye doctor to order a new box of contacts so I can throw the ones currently caked to my eyes in the trash.

Pre RA, I had serious allergy issues starting in high school.  I was the unlucky butt of the high school gossip machine when, for a whole week during an especially rough allergy season, I threw up every morning in the high school bathroom.  Yes, they thought I was pregnant- friends, teachers, the whole lot of them- and even though I assured everyone that my boyfriend of the time and I were doing nothing that could even remotely cause a pregnancy, it was still highly awkward to have to field those questions, especially when my parents heard about it.  For the record, we realized after a week of this that it was caused by my taking a new prescription of allergy meds in the morning on an empty stomach.  The vomiting stopped when I started taking them at bedtime.  Yes, I’m still slightly defensive of this.

In college, I wound up having to take allergy shots and continued to do so for about five years.  The results were immediate- I remember calling my parents several months after I started them to inform them that I had just been on a hayride. Success!

I’ve always wondered about the interaction between allergy shots and RA.  I mean, I know that if you have serious issues with one thing of the autoimmune variety that it does predispose you to having serious issues with another.  When I was first diagnosed, I really wanted to go back on allergy shots to see if this would help.  I based this off of the fact that I had had such tremendous relief from allergies and that if the shots could train my body how to appropriately respond to allergens, then maybe just maybe it could retrain my body’s response with rheumatoid arthritis. 

I mentioned this to my first rheumatologist and he shot it down immediately.  Oh well.

Apparently, from what he told me, this could actually make it worse.  I can kinda see where he’s coming from with that- I guess that these are two different responses with one immune system- but I have always been curious.  An out of whack immune system is an out of whack immune system is an out of whack immune system, right?

So, while the allergies subsided, the RA ran wild.  My only solace is that allergies tend to change over time- I read somewhere that they run in seven year cycles- so I’m hoping that the RA will surprise me and do the same.

And for now, I will continue to almost love this time of year…with a healthy dose of Zyrtec.

Happy New Years!!!

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I think we’d all agree that 2009 has been a tough year for everyone.  Whether it’s dealing with RA or dealing with the financial crisis or just dealing with life…the stars just didn’t seem to align themselves properly this past year.I mean seriously, last New Year’s Eve, I got food poisoning.  That should’ve given me a heads up…

In my own personal group of friends, we’ve had trying times.  Financial muck, divorces, illnesses, breakups, mother in laws that just need to leave well enough alone, job losses. Nobody seems to be immune. I had a nice long chat with a good friend last night and she mentioned that she felt as though she was in the ocean being dragged by currents and beat up by waves and that she just couldn’t seem to keep her head above water.  She told her mother this and her mother’s response was “but you’re still floating…and the waves will eventually push you back to shore although it might be a little further down the shore from where you started.”  (To which she told me, “yes, until the sharks start attacking.  We really are friends for a reason!!!)

I’ve been mulling it over and I think her analogy and her mother’s comment are the best way to sum up my year too.  I have: sold a house, lost health insurance, had to leave a job because of health insurance, moved, started a new job, been on lots of medicine, been on not much medicine, been back on even more medicine, got promoted, had friend drama, lost several good friends, gained a few new ones, dealt with family issues, started running again, started having problems with my hands again.  Quite an extensive laundry list. Sigh.  And she’s right- everything is different now but different is ok.

I read earlier today that this New Year’s Eve is a blue moon.  A blue moon typically happens every two years- it’s simply two full moons in one month.  But a blue moon on New Year’s Eve is very rare- probably won’t happen again for 20 years.  So, I’m setting my sights on making 2010 awesome in every way possible and am thinking, just maybe, that this is a sign that the stars are finally aligned.  For starters, today I am NOT eating anything that could possibly be undercooked or cross-contaminated.  A tad bit superstitious of me perhaps!

Happy New Year’s to you all- I hope that this new year (and new DECADE) brings you everything you’re looking for!

Traveling with RA: Success! Finally!

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Traveling with RA can be a pretty unpleasant experience for me. Once, I went to the beach on methotrexate and got so nauseous at dinner that I had to leave.  I got sick and cried myself to sleep.  Then I went to the mountains and was so stiff and uncomfortable with the cold and snow that I ended up leaving early.  Again, tears.  It’s just so unfair that I can’t always enjoy the same things that everyone else gets to.  Sometimes I even dread it.

Last weekend, I went to Baltimore for the wedding of one of my favorite people and to hang out with a lot of my other favorite people.  I was absolutely determined that RA was not going to get the better of me.  And…it was an absolute blast!  Someone told me earlier this week that “everybody just looks so happy in the pictures” and they are right- and that was the whole weekend, not just for pictures.  I could tell you story after story about how much each of these ladies means to me….but that’s a whole separate post about support systems. They mean the world to me. Sorry I’m gushing but seriously, they rock. Wedding 

 

I slept well both nights- which is unusual for me in a strange bed.  I was able to still be comfortable even with pouring down rain and cold- I was really stiff Sunday night but that could’ve been from sleeping on the plane.  I haven’t restarted my methotrexate yet (did this on purpose so I could have alcohol) so I didn’t have much trouble eating.  Dancing?  No sweat.  Flip flops in my purse!  Scariest part of the weekend- walking down a steep hill in spike hills in the pouring down rain.  I had visions of my butt hitting the cold, wet concrete and somehow hurting my hands….but I didn’t.  I will admit that I did hit a little bit of a wall on Saturday night after the reception- but I think someone without RA would too after flying, staying up late, dancing like crazy, and just having a lot of active fun.  And it wasn’t the bone crushing mental fog inducing fatigue I usually experience but more of a I MUST EITHER SIT DOWN IMMEDIATELY OR GO TO BED IMMEDIATELY.  

Sure, Monday was hard.  I got up late and went to bed early.  But this is the most successful trip I’ve had since being diagnosed.  No crazy “I just don’t have the energy to get out of bed but did anyway and spent the rest of the day in a hateful mood”, no pain, no vomiting, no having to skip out on things because I just don’t feel great.  Whew!

What did I do differently?  I actually planned for all of these things to happen. Seriously- I convinced myself that I was going to feel like crap.  I started taking Airborne, Vitamin C, and Zinc supplements several days before.  I even considered getting a B-12 shot the day before I left.  (I didn’t though- didn’t have time.  But may in the future.)  The night before I left, I went ahead and started taking Aleve.  I had Thermacare heat packs, Biofreeze, and Prednisone with me.  I don’t know if it was the whole immune system jolt I gave myself or the whole “if you wash your car, it’s going to rain” thing that seems to be true of my life, but someway somehow I was able to finally enjoy myself in spite of RA.

Now, if I could only see my peeps more often.  Hint, hint.

From a recent chat with my mom

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Background info: we were discussing how we both have always been impressed with how the Harry Potter books have been translated into movies….

Mom:  I’m usually disappointed in books made into movies but even Quidditch is what I pictured when I read the book.

Me:  Oh, I know. Down to the stadium.

Mom: Even down to the Golden Snitch.  I always thought in my head it looked like a little spider and OH MY GOSH that’s it!  The spider!

Me:  Oh I know. That’s how I saw too.

Mom:  No, no!  The spider!  It was the spider! That’s what did it. That was the turning point.

Me: No, it wasn’t the spider.  It was Snape’s avada kedavra…. (it is not abnormal for our conversations to run like this…I thought I knew where she was going.)

Mom:  No!  The spider!  On the camping trip! (I can hear her wildly gesticulating through the phone.)

Me: Which book?  

Mom:  No, the camping trip Dad and I took you on when you were a toddler.  I was pregnant with your brother and we thought it would be fun.  You got bit by a spider and we had to take you to the emergency room in the middle of the night.  You were having a hard time breathing and looked like you were covered in bruises.

Me: So, we’re not talking about Quidditch anymore?

Mom:  And they had to give you a shot.  And we went back the next day for the tent and everyone there thought we’d left because I’d gone into labor.

Me: Or Harry Potter?

Mom:  It was definitely the spider! 

Me:  You have definitely lost me.

Mom:  The spider! Your RA!  I bet the spider bite is what made your immune system go wacky.

So, it appears that my mom thinks my RA was caused by a rheumatic spider bite at age 1 with no real symptoms manifesting until age 26.  Nice!

Although I think it is terribly sweet and endearing that she continues to go through my childhood illness history to try to figure out my RA, I’m more than a little hesitant to agree.  =) But I’ll let her keep doing it- I think it’s how she deals with it.

Don’t you love how everyone has a different theory?

I would be so much cooler if had it been a radioactive spider.