Friday, September 21, 2012

Rheumatoid arthritis.. And me.

Some days, I feel that my life is ruled by my arthritis. For those of you who haven't read my blog until recently, I was diagnosed in 2011 with rheumatoid arthritis (RA). It began while I was training for my 2nd half ironman and just chalked my exhaustion, pain, and stiffness from training so much... And ignored it. Then, one day, I woke up feeling as though I had jammed my middle finger as it was stiff, painful, and stuck in a half-upright position. I went and got X-rays and given a splint. My joints got more and more swollen and painful, and my exhaustion more severe... So ultimately ended up seeing my primary care doctor who ran a ton of tests... And the conclusion: rheumatoid arthritis.

My joints, especially in my elbows and fingers, were painful and swollen, and I basically felt like I had the flu all the time. My rheumatologist prescribed some crazy meds and I was nauseous and extremely tired all the time. To top that off, the meds were not fixing the problem. My feet were so swollen, my shoes hardly fit and waking was a challenge. I took a leave of absence from work to try and find other solutions... Acupuncture, massage, physical therapy, dramatic diet changes, less working out, more working out, lots of rest, heating pads and patches, pain meds... But very little changed for the better... Except for the dietary changes - those made a decent improvement.

I started to feel a bit better towards the end of 2011 and Jax and I trained for an ultra marathon together... Which I then completed in April 2012.

Flash forward to the present... I struggle with RA daily. The exhaustion, the "flu like" symptoms... The sore and stiff joints... I try not to complain much but the reality is, I really just don't feel well most of the time. I hate feeling "weak" and that I need help with certain things... That I can't do all the things I used to without pain or exhaustion. I hate asking for help and do not like feeling defeated by my own body. It feels like such a betrayal - my body attacks itself. Some days, getting out of bed is a challenge and it really doesn't help that I have developed insomnia as well. Take the exhaustion from the RA plus not getting sleep from insomnia, and it makes me a cranky and short tempered and such a pain in the ass for those around me.

I want to feel good again. I want to be able to clap without wanting to cry, sleep without waking up stiff, have days when I am not so tired that sometimes, logic escapes me and I'm irrational. I often times wish that most people do not have much of an idea how severely this ailment affects me. I want to educate the ones closest to me about HOW this has an impact on me, WHY I'm sometimes totally irrationally tired to the point of being completely frustrating to deal with. And I need to take better care of myself... Sleeping more, eating even better... I need to try and adopt new methods of handling myself when feeling particularly shitty.

In any case, here are some links... So that you, my friends and loved ones, can better understand me.

Anyway, that's enough blogging from me today...

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

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