So far, so good
In my last post, I talked about alternative treatments for RA. For the last week I have experimented with diet as a way to help control my inflammation. I was feeling pretty good by Friday, and on Saturday, I decided to eat "normally" in order to see if the change was real or only a placebo effect. Yesterday's menu included eggs and grits for breakfast, a sandwich for lunch, and spaghetti bolognese for dinner. I had oatmeal-chocolate chip cookies for dessert. I didn't eat too much of anything, but by this morning I had gained four pounds of fluid and I felt awful. My voice was rough, my sinuses inflamed, and my body ached, especially my left shoulder, both hips, and my right knee.
I got up around seven this morning and I felt so bad that I thought about just sitting on the couch under a blanket and abandoning my original plan of heading out for an early morning hike. After some thought, I decided to go ahead and hike. Yes, I felt bad, but I would probably feel just as bad on the sofa as I would on my feet. So I put Oskar, my dachshund, on the leash and we headed out.
I wasn't able to do any climbing or difficult trails, but I prowled around in the woods for over an hour. I was still in pain, but at least I was in pain in the forest, which is much nicer than being in pain in my living room. After a while, my right knee started to swell, so Oskar and I drove to Lowe's, where we picked out some shade-loving plants for a flower bed that has been neglected since I purchased my house. We went home and I made lunch - or should I say a non-alcoholic brunch? Omelet with broccoli, tomato, onion, and mozarella. Bacon cooked crisp, just the way I like it, and a cup of coffee. Then I took Relafen, my NSAID of the moment, and headed out to plant flowers.
It was a good day. During the course of it, I realized how much better life is when I accept the pain and keep moving as long as I possibly can, rather than sitting down and giving myself over to it. There are times when I really can't keep moving, but when I can, it seems to be the better choice.
I made one other important decision this weekend, and that is to forgo taking Plaquenil. I have been on it for six months with no discernible changes in my inflammatory markers or my physical condition, save one: my hair has started coming out. Earlier this week, I got out of my car and noticed a mass of curly red hairs on the seat. I thought little of it, believing that it was an accumulation of shedding. I pulled the hairs out and discarded them. However, when I got home that evening, I found another handful of hair on the seat. And on my shirt, on the sofa, and pretty much everywhere else I spent any time. When I took a shower the next morning, I lost another handful of hair. There is just no point in continuing a treatment that has no positive effect, but has the negative one I dreaded more than any other when I started this journey. I see my Rheumatologist on Wednesday of this week, and I will ask him about discontinuing the medication then.
Today, I have been right on target with my food choices. I feel better now after being active all day long than I did after a full day of rest yesterday. I was tired after gardening, so I took a short nap this afternoon. I am still a little sore and my right knee is still swollen, but all in all, I feel ok. I'll take that any day.