Thursday, August 11, 2011

The game of RA

Sorry I've been so's been a long time since I've blogged.  Time for some updates!

Finished the intense summer class of Med/Surg 3 AND did well!  It was super stressful but I have never been so thrilled to finish something in my entire life!  Looking forward to the fall semester and a bit of a lighter load.

Started a new job!  I am finally in the healthcare field!:)...I found an amazing place to start my work in healthcare and am enjoying this new journey thus far.

The only downside to this summer of bliss is my nemesis RA!  I have had many ups and downs this past month.  I have begun my medication but have had many flare ups.  At my last appointment I pretty much limped into the Rheums office and was close to tears.  He could tell that I was very frustrated and tried to reassure me and told me to not give up....reassuring me that the medicine wasn't completely in my system yet, and that of course we would reassess in a few months in case we needed to add a biologic to my regimen.  Also, he instructed me to use the prednisone in a more effective way.  I have been very nervous about using prednisone because of all the side-effects one encounters.  He reassured me that this was not a "long-term" solution, but merely something to offer me comfort while we let the methotrexate kick in.  Taking his advice I am definitely feeling much better.

Here's the interesting stuff I've learned though.  The weather DOES seem to affect my husband has become the "weather bunny" and alerts me when a low front is coming through...because that seems to mean a flare up for me.  Also, I am thinking that after I take the methotrexate I have increased joint/muscle pain for the next day or two.  I didn't put this together until I did some research online and found that a number of people experience this.  This will definitely be something that I discuss with the Rheum.

Something else I want to comment on is the stress I've encountered with the RA and training for my new job.  Training for a new job can be stressful in and of itself, but add a disease that will rear it's ugly head with no warning?  Now that's a level of stress that I can't even begin to describe.  I'm sure those of you who have RA can relate to this.  There was a day of training where we were going to be practicing patient biggie right?  Well....that was a day where my left wrist decided it was going to flare up and not function.  This sent me into a major panic.  How was I going to get through this? How could I fake it without letting anyone know?  It's one thing to share your condition with co-workers that you've worked with for sometime, but it's a whole other story to divulge this while TRAINING for a new about lack of job security!!  Long story short, I got through it.  I think my endorphins kicked in or the universe was just looking out for me, but I got through it and was even told that I was "strong"....ha, go figure!  Thank god, all those weight lifting days I had done was paying off:).

I had my latest scare just this week.  On Tuesday evening (the day I take my methotrexate), I was at work on my 3rd official "on the floor" training, when about halfway through my shift my left hand/wrist started to become "nonfunctioning".  To make matters worse, I was on the Ortho floor....lots of patients with knee replacements, amputees, etc.  Luckily I was working with a precepter, but we were still transferring patients, etc.  The fear that I felt for those 4-5 hours was unbelievable.  I barely got through it.  The pain was intense and I was trying desperately to hide the fact that I couldn't move my left hand.  It was a struggle to say the least.  I have such compassion for those that deal with this on a daily basis.  It was so very frustrating and frightening.

I've decided RA is truly a game, and I am just trying to learn all the right moves so that I can manage this.  It's a strategy like chess, I need to plan ahead my meds and the days that I may need more prednisone.  Or plan what days I will be home so that I can relax on the bad days and let my body do it's thing.

This is a game that is neverending with constant, everchanging rules...I just need to start winning a few rounds!

Until next time....:)