Sunday, February 28, 2010

Mission Accomplished

Okay, so I was feeling pretty cruddy yesterday and today, and I even started writing a post about how "blah" I was feeling.  Then I went for a walk this afternoon, which was my second walk since friday.  Wait just a darn gosh minute there!  Why am I feeling so down when I have started walking again?!?!?  This has been one of my goals for quite a while now.  There had been days when I can barely get around my house, or from my house to my car.  But, my meds have kicked in and a while back I walked home from work (which is indeed close, but an accomplishment none-the-less).

And then on friday the weather was amazing, I had energy and little pain in my ankle.  So, I decided to take the mutt for a walk.  And I did, and it was glorious.  Let me tell you folks, I even cried on this walk.  Then, I did it again today.  I feel awesome, not perfect, but pretty darn awesome.

Walking is my calm.  It gets me where I need to go.  It gets me outdoors, in the wilderness, close to the earth.  Sometimes it stresses me out, when I see a big lynx up ahead, or in situations where my dog feels the need to run after a moose, or get herself caught in an animal trap (this has happened twice.  A serious downer on walks in the woods.  And, I don't mean a park, I mean the forest).  Don't worry, Fran is a real trooper and loves a good bunny to run after. 

I need it, I need to be able to walk, it keeps me balanced.  I don't feel cruddy, I feel good.  I'm walkin' again!

Sunday, February 21, 2010

1 step forward, 700 steps back

So, I am trying to make preventative plans to manage my disease for when I actually get pregnant and everything seems to come back and bite me in the butt! I've always heard that turmeric is great for inflammation, and recently read about turmeric tea here :

Then, I thought, "I drink a green smoothie nearly everyday. Why don't I just add it to my smoothie?" And, I did, that very morning. I also started making plans to really up my drinking of juniper tea (it grows wild here) during my future pregnancy. This stuff is the shiz-nit. I've heard that they (you know, "they" being the medical establishment) are actually studying it as a treatment in cancer patients.

So, I got to the office (what? Am I supposed to be working at the office?) and started googling these things, just checking them out, reading all about their lovely benefits, when I get down to the contraindications: to be avoided while pregnant. What?!?!? But, what about my plan? I know that the majority of women go into remission while pregnant, but that doesn't usually happen until the second trimester or so. What about the first few months of no meds?

So, my question is: are there any natural anti-inflammatories out there that can be safely used while pregnant?

Friday, February 19, 2010

Surgery story, mucus and all

I've been reading all about surgery over here :, she is another young woman who has had jra and recently received two new hips! She seems to be doing really well (you know, aside from recovering from major surgery. That takes the best out of any of us). Her writing has been bringing up memories of my own replacement surgery. As happy as I am now with my bionic elbow, I'm recalling just how crappy a time that actually was in my life.

I'd had ra for about 4/5 years when I was at a long overdue appointment with my rheumatologist and he told me that I would need a total elbow replacement. I had been back living in Labrador for over a year, working and living my life.

It was such a shock! And, I am not entirely sure why. I had spent years suffering in pain, long periods of time struggling to even touch my face, wash my hair, dress myself, sleep like a normal person. It's not that I had never considered surgery a part of my future, I just hadn't considered it so soon! I was only 25. So, a surgery was scheduled (really quickly, I might add. I guess they considered me some kind of emergency case? Most people wait up to two years or more, I waited about 5 months from referral to a surgeon to the consultation appointment to the actual surgery). I would have to go to another province, and my mom was coming with me to help me perform basic daily tasks.

The night before surgery, I started freaking out just a little, oddly enough not about the actual surgery, but of general anaesthesia! I had heard so many terrible stories of hallucinations, it wasn't the thought of pain that scared me, it was the thought of not having control over my mind. An amazing nurse let me cry, told me her survival story and calmed me down immensely. I wish I could remember her name (I'll have to ask my mom), but I am thankful for her. And the nurse that made me laugh about my toes. Laughter really is the best medicine.

So, the surgery went well, and the anaesthesia was actually like having the best sleep of my life. My recovery was pretty good (other than screwing up my meds and experiencing an unbelievably painful afternoon until the dosage was corrected). However, when I went in to have my bandage removed and my incision looked at, blood came flowing out. This is the point where I had to keep it together as my mother was the one about to panic. I'm telling her that it's fine, there's no pain or anything. Meanwhile, I'm thinking, "what the hell?!?!?" So the nurse promptly bandaged me up, good and tight. Now this is where I believe everything went downhill.

My mom and I return to Labrador. En route I set off the alarm at an airport due to the replacement. This, I think, is both cool and disturbing. I have appointments for physio, getting my staples removed, and continued bandage changes. Life seems to be going good. Until I notice some weird stuff leaking out of my arm. A nurse has a look at it, tells me it looks, "a little green" and promptly sends me to emerg. Things progressively get worse from there. I am started on oral and IV antibiotics immediately due to an infected hematoma (remember where I was bleeding and they bandaged me up?), experience vein collapse, and have the most disgusting anything come out of a human body come out of my arm. Now, the number one concern with joint replacements is infection. If the infection gets into the new joint, they have to remove it and put in another one, which is much more difficult than a first replacement. You can see where I start to get worried, right?

But, I perservered. And, the infection didn't go into my joint, it continued draining out in ways that would remind anyone of a horror movie (lets just say the word "mucus" doesn't quite cut it). My infection cleared up and I resumed my physio. I had made it through this nearly month long ordeal. And, I had a shiny new elbow to show for it. No more pain or swelling in this joint, baby!

I can't believe that was nearly 6 years ago. I often don't think about it, but today, all of those fears, and triumphs, are right there. Remembering when I first got my appetite back (with a meal of salmon, naturally), the lovely couple who kept my mom company in the hostel, nurses whose names I cannot remember but who I won't ever forget, and my mom who took care of me. Thanks, mom :)

Hmmm, maybe another day I'll tell the story of my second surgery, in which I was awake, and the surgeon realized that he needed to saw off more bone. With an electric saw. While I was awake. Party time, people!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010


Two posts in one day! I'm getting way ahead of myself....

Anyway, I already have one of these:

Now I would like one of these:

And, one of these:

That's not too much to ask, is it?

I'm having those fears again. Those fears that totally freak me out in the middle of the night when I am all alone. The fear of not being able to take care of a helpless baby due to my stupid RA.

I had a bit of a flare a few days ago, mostly in my hands. Hands that would need to carry and care for a baby. And I can't help but wonder what I will do on the days like that when we do have a baby? There is going to be times when I am all alone with her, and she will need me to pick her up, dress her, feed her.

Sometimes this is really overwhelming. Exciting and eager and happy, but overwhelming. I know that those days are fewer than the good ones, but what do I do on those bad days?

Sunday, February 14, 2010


Now, I am not a big Valentine's Day person, it's pretty commercialized and cheesy. Also partly because I was generally single on this day, and if not, certain love-birds were not in the same town (more exact: as far away from each other as you can get in the second biggest country in the world).

However, I can get behind love. So, I just want to send out some lovin' to my sweetie, who is in mid-air right now, getting ever farther from me. We'll just celebrate our love like we normally do: all of the time, regardless of where we are. Loves :)

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Pretty please?

OK, so as much as I love snow and winter, can I ask that it not snow too much during the time I am all alone? Please? I'm only asking this cause I find it particularly stressful constantly asking people to shovel my driveway for me. And I'm starting to get a little worried as it has not stopped snowing heavily since tuesday.

Oh god, I just looked at the weather forecast. I'm doomed. 54 to 78 cm between friday and wednesday. Great.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Negative Nelly

Sigh. It's only 9:30 in the morning and I am already hating this day. I was so slow and sore this morning, even my rockin' new haircut couldn't keep me going. A ton of snow fell, so the driveway had to be done, I'm guessing the ton of snow caused a ton of hurt in my ankle, slowing me down even more. My pants are totally soaked from the snow. And, I somehow managed to spill a mega amount of coffee all down my leg without even noticing! I was standing outside on the front step leaving for work when this happened, so there was no way in h-e-double hockey-sticks I was going back in, taking off ma boots, changing my pants (into what??? I have no clean clothes!!!), and putting ma boots back on again. Not happening. Fortunately I work at a place where, barring big meetings, I can wear whatever the crap I want to work. Even then, I would totally wear a nice pair of jeans to a big meeting. Just ones that don't have coffee on them.

Now I am off to get my legs checked out for paralysis or nerve damage, due to not feeling hot coffee running down my leg. Sheesh.

Friday, February 5, 2010

My dirty little secret

I have to fess up. I do it, too. Pretty well every day. It gets me really excited and happy, and I just can't stop looking. That's right, I'm addicted to food porn. According to Urban Dictionary food porn is: close-up images of juicy, delicious food in advertisements. Oh yeah, baby.

I love eating and I love looking at pictures of food. How am I not 400 pounds? Do I have an eating disorder? Or perhaps I am just appreciative?

Anyway, this is what I've been doing with most of my computer time lately. It's kind of ridiculous, cause I don't even like to cook! Fortunately I live with a good cook and get some of my own "live" food porn at home :) Looking at all those lovely pictures with the different types of veggies and what-not really makes me wish sometimes I lived elsewhere and had access to different types of food. Ah well, such is life.

Monday, February 1, 2010

The post that contains way tmi about my cycle

*Warning! TMI alert!! Apologies in advance to Mike, who may be the only guy who reads this blog. Well, Dom may occasionally read it, but trust me, he gets waaaayyyyy more details :)

Hey, remember that movie with Katherine Heigl? The funny one in which she got knocked-up? What was it called? Oh yeah, "Knocked Up". Well, let's just say that the title does not apply to me.

That's right, I'm not pregnant :( Boo!

I'm surprisingly alright (having some disappointed moments, but still), mostly due to thinking like this:

1. The pill hasn't totally screwed me up, cycle wise. I was scared that I would be one of those women who didn't get her period for like, six months or something after stopping the pill. Not the case. Score for regularity!

2. I thought trying for a baby would be out in February, what with future daddy being away for a month and all. BUT, with a slightly shorter cycle than expected, we may not miss out. Pending super-strong swimmers, of course.

3. Humira is actually working. I cannot remember the last time I wore my ankle brace. Life is not perfect, but I hobble way less these days. Not being pregnant gives me a chance to keep taking humira for a while longer, get even better, and have a healthier pregnancy. Sweet.

4. An additional month to get mtx out of my system. Just in case there are some lingering bits clinging on to my liver, or kidneys, or fat cells. Maybe I can work on those fat cells a little, while I am at it.

5. Not being huge as a house for one of bestest's weddings in Newfoundland :) At which I am standing. If I got pregnant right away now, I'd be 6 1/2 months at the wedding, which sounds a bit more reasonable for travelling and fitting into a dress.

Ummmm, that's about it. That is all the positivity I can muster right now. Which is pretty damn good, if you ask me.