Monday, October 1, 2012

Hanging in there...

I'm trying to stay positive -- thus the thumbs-up photo to indicate that I'm hanging in there despite unrelenting pain. It was a rough weekend. Extremely rough rain, lots of thunderstorms and general crappy weather. It's very good for our reservoirs and plant life in the state. NC has been fortunate in not having tragic droughts that we've seen in the midwest.

Unfortunately since I've been off of my rheumatoid arthritis medications for almost a month now, and I this weather meant a bad flare-up of joint pain (and resulting extreme fatigue) that made me pretty worthless on Saturday. I've been off of the meds because I don't know when/if I will need surgery to address the bad herniated disc and other degenerating crap in my spine. Tomorrow I go for the epidural steroid injection (ESI), that may or may not give me relief. I'll know in about a week. This is the conservative first whack at things.

Right: am I crazy running this pretty miserable web cam shot of myself? Maybe I should be -- no makeup, half sleepy, but reminding myself that things could be worse, right? At this point my vanity is at a pretty low level. My only real nod is that I wear hats when I go out because I've enough hair from RA meds to make me self-conscious.

I was mildly better on Sunday as the front passed and got some light housework done, but that put me in bed quite early. A former early riser (5:30), it's hard to get myself showered, dressed and sentient before 9 when I'm in this condition. My hope is that the back issues adding to my chronic pain issues can be addressed ASAP.

Of course today -- Monday -- another front with more rain blew in overnight and I'm sitting here still working from home, with my wrists all bound with Ace bandages to support the joints that are on fire. At least I can accomplish something. I don't know what I would do if I didn't have the capacity to work. It's horrible being trapped in a body so wracked with multiple ailments that are hard to treat in unison. Each represents another hurdle that I've been able to adapt to -- diabetes, PCOS, fibromyalgia, rheumatoid arthritis, and now these spine issues.

The triple punch of the fibro, RA and the back -- all in the last couple of years -- has really challenged me emotionally, physically, and professionally. You can only cry for so much before the anger and resolve take over (at least it is for me, I don't lean toward a depressive state, I'm more of an obsessive problem-solver. The problem with that is it's pretty difficult to accept what you cannot change or have control over. My health decline is frustrating because the target keeps moving as your energy is drained by having to navigate endless paperwork that our health "care" system puts in your way, the need to keep track of various doctors and providers to make sure your interests are met in those few moments you have with them, the strain it puts on yourself and loved know the drill. I hate relying on people, since I've been self-reliant to the extreme for so long. It's hard to let others take care of you. It wasn't until the RA hurdle was thrown up that I largely gave up trying to do it all for myself. And it wasn't so bad. Just kind of demoralizing.

Sometimes you can't do it all.

Anyway, I am apprehensive about tomorrow. Some of what runs through my mind:

  • Will the shot work?
  • How painful will it be after the procedure?
  • Will I have any side effects?
  • How soon will I feel relief?

I've read up on this and spoken with the doctor performing the procedure so I feel fairly confident things will go ok. What neither of us know is my individual reaction -- side effects like fever, infection and soreness are just a roll of the dice. I already know my blood sugar levels will be adversely affected so I'll have to watch that carefully and may need more insulin.

All that matters is that I'm well enough Wed afternoon for Kate to drive me to Greensboro for the Journey concert, lol. Pat Benatar opens for the band and I just found out from Facebook friend Ron Clapham that we'll be able to get to a meet and greet. Many many thanks, Ron. More motivation to get there!

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