Friday, December 31, 2010

سنة جديدة سعيدة‎

Happy new year! (well, soonish)

This has been a rather interesting year for me, with a lot of major events. I think they might be worth a little recap.

Okay, so we started off the year with posts on the horrible effects of RA and Still's Disease. Not maybe the best way to start off the year, but I made up for it by posting about great RA-ers like Sandy Koufax, Jamie Farr, and Renoir. Then, I finally got back on track medically by going to a few doctor's appointments and being told I should be on medicine. My rheumy was nice at first, but quickly started to suck. My arthritis was getting worse too - so bad that I decided it was time to get a disabled parking permit. I don't know what I would've done without that this year.

But! Thankfully, my arthritis behaved pretty well during my college graduation and my wonderful boyfriend's gift of a trip to go visit my extended family where I grew up in Oregon. I really miss being there for many reasons, but I think the weather is a big part of it. He's a pretty awesome person I think, and I'm not sure how I'd get by without all the things he does for me.

I moved, twice, and started two new jobs - one at a hotel and one on campus at the Wisconsin State Historical Society. They're both pretty awesome jobs, and they hardly seem like work... in my head at least. Stupid body. Oh yeah, and I started graduate school! Learning Arabic is pretty tough, but getting an AB in it is awesome. Also, I got a new rheumy and GP.

I began to understand what having Still's Disease does to a relationship as things get worse. I also decided to be a little more open about my disease to everyone, with this blog being a big part of that plan. I blogged about one of my busy days too, even though it wasn't one of the busiest I've had. Oh, and let's not forget that beautiful flare up at the end of October, but I didn't let it screw up my weekend away.

I started taking steroids, first to get rid of that flare and now to control symptoms. And now I'm also taking vitamin D and 600mg ibuprofen. But honestly the ibuprofen I think is making me sick to my stomach everyday. I thought at first it was maybe because I wasn't eating enough, but I've been eating a lot (for me) lately with still the same issues. Bah!

But all in all, I'm a pretty lucky person this year. I mean, I even discovered some things I like about RA...ish. I've been through a lot and the stress level is understandable, but having a break from school is helping, even if I'm working both jobs more.

Happy 2011 everybody! I hope this next year brings better health for all of us.

Friday, December 24, 2010

The Thankful Post

Okay, so I should've done this back when Thanksgiving happened, but if you remember, I had kind of a lot going on. Bah.

Random things I'm thankful for this year:
  • Having a job - not just that, but one that I really like and where I really like management and the other workers. I could see myself staying here until I'm done with my PhD even... which takes forever mind you :)
  • That school's out for almost a month.
  • Now that classes are over, I feel like I have a few friends, which makes being in Madison a little more bearable.
  • Lotion, because my fingers keep cracking open :(  (also, band-aids)
  • Netflix, because it's one of the most awesome things invented.
  • Being able to be on medicine, because I don't even want to think about how hard the last 6 months would've been without it.
  • My family, who is always supportive of me.
  • Pain medicine haha
  • On a related note, alcohol
  • My sister, who is pretty hilarious and pretty much awesome
  • Egg Nog, and my annual nog binge (which was this morning btw)
  • Random guests who give me dessert! (Also, I think I'm in love with flan now)
  • My boyfriend, who is probably the nicest and sweetest and funniest person I know. Also, he knows when to kick my butt into gear, which is awesome.
  • Getting to establish a small sort of relationship with my real dad. It's not much now, but there's a lot of time to work on that.
  • Anti-fatigue mats
  • Christmas music will be over soon and I get my oldies station back (yeah, shut up, I like oldies)
  • I've learned how to buy things a little healthier now, and feel better than I have for a while, comparatively speaking.
  • Humor! Otherwise, I don't think I'd make it.
  • And you! Whoever you are reading this- whether you're a friend, from my family, or just some random person - you mean something to me.
  • Also, cheese.
My grades were supposed to be up today I thought, and they're not. I think I'm grateful for that too.

I hope everyone has a safe and happy holiday season!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Thank you, Christmas break!

I am finally done with finals. It's sad, but at this point as long as I've passed my classes, I don't even care what kind of grades I got. I'll know after Christmas apparently, so we'll see what happens.

As I was writing my final paper Tuesday night, my right hand went from fine to unbelievably swollen in about five minutes. I figured it was just because of me typing a lot lately, and ignored it. I then could literally feel the swelling traveling up my hand, into my wrist, and up into my arm. Needless to say, I ended up taking pain medicine and passing out.

Last night, in celebration of finishing the semester, the boyfriend took me out to the Great Dane, which was really good. I had to take pain medicine before we went, and as soon as it took effect it wore off. I'm starting to think that it might be good to have some sort of stronger medicine than that even. Gah, I really don't want to go to a doctor and ask for narcotics. I really would love being looked at like a junky.

So I'm at work this morning, without really feeling up to it. Good news is that there isn't a lot going on.

Between tonight and tomorrow morning, I get to finish my Christmas shopping and get to wrapping. Hopefully I don't have to spend too long at the store. Also, I'm thinking about going with gift bags this year instead of trying to wrap things. I have a feeling my hands will be thankful.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Mmm Blizzards

So I didn't stay at the hotel on Friday night, but I DID stay on Saturday. We got a ton of snow, and it took me forever to clear my car off. Thanks to temperatures, it's still not all the way cleared off. Awesome.

It's officially finals week, which means I actually have to do the papers I've been putting off all semester. Crap. Good news is, after tonight, I'm done with hotel work until Sunday, so I've got plenty of time. And I'm going to talk to my advisor tomorrow about the paper for her class, because I feel lost.

I am so ready for exactly one week from now. My final final paper is due next Tuesday by 5pm, and I can start to focus for realz on Christmasy things. Oh, and random reading. I'm kind of excited about that.

For now, I'm going to try to make more headway on that paper, and hopefully get ready for my last day of classes tomorrow.

Friday, December 10, 2010

I'm Crazy

Sometimes, literally, I think.

I volunteered for an extra shift at work tonight, 3-11:30. And the guy coming after me is always late. Oh, did I mention I work tomorrow 7-3? And that we have a huge snowstorm coming soon? Laaaaammmmeee.

I'm trying to figure out if I should sleep at the hotel or go home. I'm leaning toward the former, but I just don't know. The boyfriend brought up the issue of clean clothes. I feel like I need emergency underclothes in my car at all times.

If I do stay here tonight (aka, yeah I probably will), I am thinking I will stay in one of the handicapped-friendly rooms. The shower has a low bath lip (edge? is there a term for this?), and there is a bath chair if I need it... which might be interesting to try.

Hopefully tomorrow afternoon it'll be easy to get home, but who knows with 6-12" on the way... Blech!

Sunday, December 5, 2010

I love weekends (sometimes)

I had Saturday off this weekend, because the boyfriend and I were supposed to go to a RISE conference on RA in Chicago. We had it planned - wake up early and drive down the morning of. But weather had other plans in store, so we decided that wasn't the best idea after all.

Instead, I got to watch the Oregon Ducks clinch their spot in the BCS national championship, and had a nice quiet day. I kept falling asleep, but I think that has to do with having to take the new pain meds. I seem to get pretty tired when I take them.

I think I might need to take another one. I've been standing a lot at work so far today, and my ankles are starting to plot my demise.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

New rheumy, new meds

Well, my appointment with my new rheumy yesterday went well. He's a quick in-and-out kind of guy, and basically will do what I think I need, which is awesome. He put me back on prednisone, 5mg a day, and gave me 600mg ibuprofen that I'm allowed to take three times a day. But I'm pretty sure that I don't need to take it that much. I'm just gonna take it as needed. I also got the full run of lab work done, as well as a ton of x-rays.

The steroids are starting to kick in and help with the swelling, so hopefully that'll continue to help. We'll look at tapering in a few months.

I was so exhausted by the end of the day. I didn't go to my class directly after the doctor's appt, but instead worked on a paper until a meeting at work, and then had to finish the paper. So busy!