Tag Archives: Positive Attitude

A Revelation

handwritingI’ve been cleaning out my office, getting rid of old papers and transcribing some of the hundreds of handwritten pages I had stored away into my word processor. Writing has always been my catharsis, my therapy. And I’ve come to realize just how much as I go through the stack of pages and numerous journals.

Reading these pages have brought back memories, and I suppose I could also say, have wrung back memories as well. Sometimes it hurts to remember. Sometimes remembering brings back the pain, emotional and physical.

I have always known that I’d had RA for some time before I was officially diagnosed in 2004. I knew I’d been sick, tired, listless, and pain-ridden for several years before my current rheumatologist finally produced that Aha! moment, when I finally knew what I was up against. Prior to that moment of revelation,  I’d blamed it all on being a busy mom at home and a busy nurse at work.

But my assumption was that it had been only a couple of years. It couldn’t have gone on for more than that without a proper diagnosis, could it? Without my searching for and demanding an answer as to what ailed me.

Imagine my surprise when I found a letter I’d written to my husband who was out at sea in 1995. By the looks of it, I never mailed it. I probably meant to, but was so busy I forgot. Or maybe I changed my mind and decided not to burden him with my tale of woe. More than likely, I felt so much better after pouring out my angst onto the paper that I didn’t need to.

What I wrote astounded me in that apparently, I’d had RA back then. I had it and didn’t know it. And neither did my doctors because when I started the letter I was sitting in the internist’s waiting room, waiting to find out my lab results regarding my “inflammatory process.” Waiting to find out what was wrong with me. In it I write:

I tried going off my Prednisone. I hate being on steroids but my hands became very painful so I went back on it. But my right hand is worse, My grip is weak because it hurts when I try to grip things like when wringing the mop. Yesterday, I met a new doctor at work and he shook my hand. To me, it seemed so hard, I saw stars and it hurt for hours. . . .  My hands getting worse is very depressing.

I go on to describe a nightmare I had about something drastic happening to my left hand. I will not subject you to the details. Suffice to say, it was so horrible that it yanked me terrified out of my sleep and I could not go back to sleep for the rest of that night.

It just goes to show how RA can affect our subconscious, as well as our body. And unless I come across other writings, that describe my symptoms so accurately, from before the summer of ’95, it would appear that I have had RA not for twelve or so years, but for at least twenty-one.

In my last post, I mentioned how my lab numbers are now normal, after a supposed twelve-year span. But with this new/old information, I’m wondering if perhaps, like my kids, RA has reached its maturity and has moved away.

One can only hope.

BTW, my left hand is just fine. So far.

hand

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Single-tasking

Without Prednisone for over a month now, my hands feel a little plumper. That sounds better than a little swollen, doesn’t it?

And a little stiffer. They look the same, but they don’t feel the same. And they don’t act the same. The Prednisone made them more limber, yet I still had some trouble with the digital multitasking of yore.

Today, my hands work better performing one gripping task at a time. Hold a pen, or hold the phone, or hold the notepad, or hold the remote, or hold a glass. If I try to manage several items at once, one invariably hits the floor.

My heart stops when it’s my phone that crashes on the tile. How can anything be so expensive? But in the grand scheme of things, it’s a small price to pay in exchange for pouring less medication into my system on a daily basis.

I wasn’t content to nix only one med, though. I told my rheumy I also wanted to wean down on the Methotrexate and he asked me a funny question.

“Can you afford it?”

I noticed the sudden perplexed look from the medical student shadowing him that day. One doesn’t consider paying for less medication as something one cannot afford. But I knew exactly where he was coming from and I didn’t hesitate.

“Yes,” I said.

“Because when I’m stable, I have to leave things unchanged,” he said.

He, unlike me, has to show up to work at his office every day. He cannot afford a flare.

But I can. My office is at the other end of the house. I don’t even have to get out of my jammies to show up at my desk.

I don’t want a flare, but I’m willing to take the chance. So I’ve been counting out nine tabs, instead of ten.

If worse comes to worse, I’ll go back to ten tabs a week. If a flare comes calling, I’ll chase it away with a Prednisone hit. After all, we’re not divorced, only separated.