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Showing posts from February, 2014

Pain

One of the lovely gifts of RA is the accompaniment of chronic pain. People with RA suffer from stiffness, swollen joints, and extreme fatigue, too, but the pain is really something special. Sometimes - much of the time for me, thankfully - it is like background noise, that muzak you hear in K-Mart but don't really listen to unless the same song plays over and over, and it's a cover of something by Michael Bolton that you really hate. Most of the time, it's a down-beat version of some easy-listening song from the late seventies that is droning and annoying but possible to ignore.

Yesterday, I had one of those screaming Michael Bolton days. Words aren't enough to describe the kind of pain I had yesterday, but I'm going to take a stab at it, because hey, why not? And also because a huge part of being honest about life and about my disease is not sugarcoating anything, especially to myself.

It started with a low-grade fever, as it so often does. Around 10 am, my vocal-…

Nothing is normal

Back in 2011 I bought a house - the first one I've ever owned. It has good bones; a sturdy roof, attractive brick, a large yard. The person who owned it before me was in the process of renovating when he sold it. The house was built in 1989, which incidentally is the year I graduated high school. The previous owner made some important upgrades. A new roof. Hardwood flooring in a pretty mahogany shade. Tile in the kitchen and bathroom. He was planning on renovating the kitchen by putting in new cabinets, counter-tops, and appliances. He was going to finish remodeling the bathroom by removing the 1980's style grey fixtures and replacing the ugly medium oak vanity and light bar with more modern editions of the same. But something tragic happened. He was in a very bad car accident, which left him unable to walk without a walker for more than a year. By the time I met him, he had graduated up to a cane, but he wasn't able to use his hands effectively at that point, and finishin…

It could always be worse...

It Could Always be Worse, by Margot Zemach, is a funny children's book about a man who lived in a little hut with his wife and six children. His house was so crowded and his children and wife were so quarrelsome that this poor man sought the help of his rabbi, who advised him over the course of several visits to move his cow, his goats, his chickens, and his mother-in-law into the house. Each time the harried man came to the rabbi complaining of the noise, the smell, the fights, and the cramped quarters, the rabbi would say, "oh, it could always be worse!" and order him to add another member to his menagerie. Finally the rabbi lets the poor man off the hook and tells him to move the animals out and send his mother-in-law packing. The man comes back to the rabbi, happy and relaxed, bragging about how clean, quiet, and spacious his house is now that it's just him, the wife, and the six kids. The rabbi was right - things could always be worse no matter how bad the man&#…

More waiting

Today is the third day on Plaquenil. Several folks have asked me is it helping yet, and the answer is no. The thing about Plaquenil is it takes anywhere from 2 to 6 months to make a difference in the disease process. So, more waiting. I think the best thing I can say so far is the Plaquenil isn't hurting.

Well.
That isn't entirely true. I'm having pretty vicious stomach cramps right after I eat, but they go away within a few minutes. I am having low-grade nausea which is comparable to early stages of morning sickness. On the plus side, it has become much easier to stick with my Weight Watchers eating plan. I have almost no appetite. I do get hungry, but nothing sounds tasty, so I'm just as happy with veggies and hummus as anything else.
I woke up to cloudy skies and impending rain today. I'd had a really good week, RA-wise. I was active, worked every day with little pain, and was even able to sneak in some laundry and exercise. This morning I could barely move. I h…

Enter Plaquenil

It is 2:40 am as I begin this post, on the first morning after I began taking Plaquenil for my RA. I had the final blood test and the pre-Plaquenil eye-exam last week. The prescription was called in on Thursday and I picked it up late Thursday night. I decided to hold off on taking the first dose until after work on Friday because I didn't want to be sick on the job. Boy, am I glad I held off.

About thirty minutes after I took the first dose, which is 300 mg daily, I started to feel a bit itchy. Then a lot itchy. All over. I monitored myself but no rash developed and I didn't have any difficulty breathing or swelling. After another thirty minutes the itching went away. Then the queasiness started. By then it was late, and I was tired, so I decided to go to bed. I went to sleep pretty quickly.

And then I woke up. Stomach cramps. Nausea. Just a general icky feeling all over. I stayed in bed for a while and then gave up and got up. Worked on my taxes. Drank some water. Tried not …