Sunday, February 5, 2012

Where the heck have I been? sure does fly by doesn't it?  My last post was in September!  Nearly 5 months ago! So here's the skinny on what's been going on with me!
     14 weeks until I graduate from Nursing school!  Whaaatt????!!:) Crazy, I know!  I can't wait.  Of course I have already applied for a BSN program that hopefully will start in 2013, so atleast I'll have a year off!  I will continue my education and eventually go for my Master's as well...but at least I'll be working when all that happens! This semester is all about organization and really taking on the role of the RN.  We also get to have some great community experiences outside of the hospital that will help us in discovering what interests us.  I am definitely leaning towards Diabetes Educator...but we'll see what else peaks my interest!
     Been living with RA (officially) for nearly 7 months.  In some ways it feels longer.  The methotrexate wasn't cutting it, as I was still relying heavily on Prednisone to keep the flares at bay.  I had a couple of bad flares around the holidays.  I took photos of my super swollen, red foot and took it to my Rheum and asked him what my expectations should be with the Methotrexate.  His reply (while looking at my photo)..."Um, NOT THIS."  So, needless to say, I wasn't surprised when he said he thought it was time to add a biologic on to my medication regimen.  Enter....Enbrel!  I wasn't upset at all, as I just want to feel better.  After my last flare on Christmas Eve (Merry Christmas to me), which left me unable to walk, I would probably poke a hot stick in my eye if you told me it would help with the RA...but I digress.  The thought of sticking myself in the thigh or stomach once a week doesn't really bother me.  Sure it's not ideal, but since I've been in school I've been giving injections to patients often in their abdomen, so I figured atleast I've had the practice.  And hopefully it will make me more compassionate to my patients, as I'll know what it feels like.  So, I've taken 2 doses of the Enbrel and am approaching the 3rd injection this week.  So far I think the only side effect I'm experiencing is headaches.  They aren't bad, so I'm hoping they will subside.  However, we did up the Methotrexate (I wasn't at the full dose of 20 mg) and that has been making me feel nauseous...which is how I felt when I first started Metho...I'm hoping that it will subside once my body gets used to the additional dose (because it did eventually subside in the beginning).  I have also been weaning down on the prednisone.  This is very exciting and scary for me, because every time that I've tried to taper down on the pred I have had a flare.  I've never been able to go below 10mg.  Well....I'm down to 5!  This is exciting for me!  I know at any moment it could change, but I am embracing the fact that I've been down to 5mg for 3 days now!  I feel pretty good!  I'm hoping to get down to 2.5 and then just take a small dose once a week or so...that is the goal that the Rheum has set for me.  We'll see.  I would love to be off Prednisone!  My father-in-law is on Plaquenil and does not need to take Prednisone. HOWEVER, I know that every BODY responds differently, but a girl can dream right?  So that's the RA saga:)
     My fitness has had some definite downs over the past 7 months.  My body is not as tight or lean as it was last summer.  This has been a real journey to "love myself" and be thankful for the body I have.  I tend to be a perfectionist and this has definitely taken me down quite a few notches.  I am always trying to be perfect "perfect grades, body like a fitness model, etc."  These are nice thoughts, but not if it makes you crazy!  RA has definitely told me to appreciate the days that I CAN workout, and to embrace them.  And to also be happy for the days where I can just be moving!  I do think moving is key, but I've always been an "All or Nothing" girl, which is hard, because RA forces the "NOTHING" on you, and I need to readjust that "Nothing" to "a little bit"...I'm definitely a "work in progress".  I am also cutting myself some slack as these last 14 weeks of school are intense.  I may sign up with my personal trainer again when I am finished with school, I'll definitely have more time and it will be nice to have that structure again!
     I've also been trying to cut "sugar" out of my diet as much as possible as I know many people with RA have had luck with this diet modification.  I've also hear that going "gluten free" has helped as well.  I definitely want to try this at some point, but want to give Enbrel a chance to get in my system and want to see if it works before I start throwing other things my way..and then I won't be able to know which is working!
   Well, I'm going to close, but I will try to post more often than not, as I've been partaking in forums, and looking at other RA blogs and have found a lot of comfort and support in these, and hope that others who read my blog will feel the same way.

Until next time....