Tuesday, February 23, 2010

FML

Sunday, I had a pretty swollen ankle - to the point that I actually broke out the ACE bandage/wrap thing. Monday, the pain had traveled into my knee and was pretty bad. Today, though, I almost couldn't take a shower because I couldn't lift my knee high enough to clear the tub. Unfortunately, my ankle is hurting now too. There's just no good way to deal with this. I've taken two Aleve and two ibuprofen and been using my Liquid Freeze.

I need better painkillers or possibly a new left leg... though I'm sure the latter would require the former.

Also, I'm pretty exhausted/tired.

Blech.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Doctors and Me

I don't think it's any secret that I'm not the biggest fan of doctors. If you've read some of my past posts, you know that I was misdiagnosed at the age of six with leukemia and told that I either needed to start chemo right away or I would be dead within six weeks. My mom says that's why it's called practice - sometimes doctors don't know what they're doing. For a good two to three years, I was getting blood drawn and other tests done all the time in an effort to figure out what was wrong with me. All in all, I'm pretty doctored out.

Wednesday, I had my first real doctor's appointment in like forever. I really only went to get a referral, but the doctor only touched me twice - to look at both of my knees. There was no blood drawn, no peeing in a cup - nothing. I obviously don't remember going to the doctor when there wasn't anything wrong with me, but it just seemed really odd.

I have my first rheumatologist appointment in forever on March 9th at the medical college. I'm really hoping that it goes well. I'm sure that it will, but I guess I'm just nervous. No doubt you'll hear all about it.

I have so many things that I feel like I need to talk to the rheumy about and I just have no clue where to start.

As a side note - there are still two celebrities to cover with arthritis, but I probably won't be posting on that subject until mid-March. I've got a string of projects due for school, including my capstone project that I have to focus a little more on here. Also, since I'm already going off on tangents, I got into University of Wisconsin's graduate school in Madison. I start in the fall and I'm pretty ecstatic about it.

Oh and your smile-bringer today? Just a little self-promotion.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Oi!

One of the hardest things to deal with when you have arthritis, especially at a younger age, is the opinion of the people around you. It can be really difficult on days where an ACE wrap around your elbow or another visible spot could help with the pain. You get odd questions - "Oh.my.gosh, what happened to your arm? Are you okay?" It's hard to explain why the wrap may be there one day and not the next.

Taking pills and other medicines can also be a problem. I take OTC pain meds, which are not as noticeable, but can be if you end up having to take them a lot. It can also be embarrassing when you use ointments like Bengay or Icy Hot. Going to class smelling like a poor person's version of a York Peppermint Patty always gets exciting.

And then there's the fatigue. You can't do a whole lot to combat this except to try and push through it. Unfortunately, that doesn't always work. Others probably shouldn't follow my example, but I tend to drink a lot of high caffeine beverages as a result - coffee, Dr. Pepper, Mountain Dew, etc. I probably crash pretty hard because of that when I do crash, but for me right now there seems to be no other alternative.

Working out can give normal people more energy, but it seems as though the opposite is true for many with arthritis. When I work out, I feel great right after (unless I manage to hurt myself doing, which as a clumsy person is very possible). The next day and the day after though, I'm completely wiped out. This doesn't even take into account the pain that happens while working out. The best types of workouts for people with arthritis tend to be those that improve range of motion (dance), strengthening (weight training), and aerobics (bike riding). If you have bad knees, however, dancing and bike riding don't help a ton. One of the hard things about working out is knowing how far to push yourself also. "No pain, no gain" can only go so far before there's negative gain.

So why this focus right now? I should be getting ready to go play with a bunch of awesome second-graders a few blocks away. Instead, I'm sitting in my apartment with ice on my knees, an ACE wrap on my elbow, and Liquid Freeze on my shoulder. It's hard to know when to push yourself and when to sit out unless things get really painful/bad. Usually, I can tell when things are going to end up affecting me this way later. Unfortunately for me, this is how I woke up today.

Even when you try to plan for everything, it's hard to remember that arthritis can be such a random disease. Planning won't help with everything.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Three Little Birds

A lot of things are going well for me right now. I'm 95% sure that I've gotten into the one graduate school I applied to and am applying for a fellowship to cover my tuition there. I should be getting back my tax refund soon and be able to take the GRE. There are, though, a few things awry. Despite the fact that I should be excited for my future, I am left wondering how much of a future I will have - how long will it be before fighting things gets too rough and I am forced to accept the limitations that stalk me? How long before I have to use a cane regularly? Will I be limited to a wheelchair for the last years of my life like my great grandmother?

Questions like these are the ones that keep me up at night - the ones that eventually limit what I choose to do versus what I can do or want to do. When these things get me down, I try to remember the words of the would-be sexagenarian Bob Marley:

"Don't worry about a thing,
'Cause every little thing gonna be all right.
Singin': "Don't worry about a thing,
'Cause every little thing gonna be all right!"

Rise up this mornin',
Smiled with the risin' sun,
Three little birds
Pitch by my doorstep
Singin' sweet songs
Of melodies pure and true,
Sayin', ("This is my message to you-ou-ou:")

Singin': "Don't worry 'bout a thing,
'Cause every little thing gonna be all right."
Singin': "Don't worry (don't worry) 'bout a thing,
'Cause every little thing gonna be all right!"

Rise up this mornin',
Smiled with the risin' sun,
Three little birds
Pitch by my doorstep
Singin' sweet songs
Of melodies pure and true,
Sayin', "This is my message to you-ou-ou:"

Singin': "Don't worry about a thing, worry about a thing, oh!
Every little thing gonna be all right. Don't worry!"
Singin': "Don't worry about a thing" - I won't worry!
"'Cause every little thing gonna be all right."

Singin': "Don't worry about a thing,
'Cause every little thing gonna be all right" - I won't worry!
Singin': "Don't worry about a thing,
'Cause every little thing gonna be all right."
Singin': "Don't worry about a thing, oh no!
'Cause every little thing gonna be all right!