Well hello there! It’s been awhile, hasn’t it? You’re probably hoping for some dirty sex story, but I’m going to switch gears over to my health. In November of last year, I started having this weird pain. And thinking back, I’d actually been having this pain for a long time, especially in my hands and feet, but just ignored it and chalked it up to sleeping weird or wearing bad shoes. And right before the pain got worse, I remember commenting to my coworkers that it felt like I’d been punching walls all night while I was sleeping. I asked my mom what arthritis felt like and her description sounded similar to what I had in my hands. I thought, Oh great, I’m getting so old! About a week later, I woke up and my ankle hurt. It was swollen and there were red spots on my foot. It had gotten better by the next day, but the morning after that, one of my knees was all red and swollen up like a balloon and it hurt to bend it. I tried going for a walk that day to loosen it up, but my knee just kept locking up on me. And it just got worse from there. Every one or two days, I woke up with a new pain location, just one joint at a time. Ankles, knees, hips, wrists, fingers, shoulders…They all hurt at some point. By the second week, the pain was becoming unbearable. I would wake up in the middle of the night feeling like I’d broken a bone and then lit it on fire. I could.not.get.comfortable. I would have to get up and move around and take some Tylenol or whatever I had just to try to obtain enough relief to go back to bed. And then in the morning, if it was anywhere in my upper body, I would have trouble getting dressed. My parents happened to be visiting in the middle of this and my mom had to put my socks on for me one day. Every woman has a different way she likes to put on a bra. Some do the hook and twist, some hook and pull over their heads, I prefer the bend and hook. If you don’t understand this, you’re probably a man. I slip my arms through the straps, bend slightly to fill the cups with my tits, then straighten up, reach back, and hook it up. That was impossible for me to do on the days that either my wrists, fingers, or shoulders were inflamed.Clearly I knew this was not normal, but I kept putting off going to the doctor until the day I couldn’t wait anymore. I was at work and we had a staff meeting for the first part of the day. My hands hurt, but I could handle it since I was just sitting there. When I had to go back to work and start using a computer and answering the phone, the pain almost made me cry. I dropped the phone receiver because it hurt just to have my right hand touching anything. I left and went straight to a medi clinic. Which was as helpful as you can imagine. The doctor asked me some questions and said it was probably a virus that would go away in a week or two. Ohhhhkaaaaay. But, just in case, he sent me for bloodwork too. I had to ask him about painkillers. He looked at me and said, oh, well how bad is it? Taking a breath because I’d already told him how it felt, I said It’s bad. It’s an 11 on a scale of one to ten. I left work to come here because I can’t do my job. So he gave me a high dose of naproxen and sent me on my way. The naproxen didn’t do much. I would still wake up in the night and have to take Tylenol with it to get some relief. The next week, the doctor’s office called me to come in and gave me the results of my blood test and referred me to a rheumatologist. The problem with that was the waiting list for the referral I was given was close to 3 years. 3 years! So I put it on facebook and I got a couple responses from friends who either worked in, or knew someone in the medical field who could help. One referred me to a family doctor who would hopefully take me on as a patient and be able to move the referral along quicker, and the other actually has a rheumatologist for a sister-in-law. It’s good to know people who know people. I had an appointment within a week of the rheumatologist seeing my bloodwork results. And, even though it took a couple months to get an appointment with him, I also now have a family doctor.
During my first appointment with the rheumatologist, she diagnosed me with rheumatoid arthritis. I started taking medication for it and had almost immediate relief from my symptoms. And limited side effects. I now give myself an injection of the medication every week, as well as taking folic acid to counteract some of the possible side effects of the drug. I’m on an aggressive plan right now to get the RA into remission as soon as we can. It’s important to treat it as quickly as possible to prevent permanent damage to the joints, but even with remission, the rheumatologist told me I’ll be on medication the rest of my life. Cool. One of the side effects means I should not get pregnant while on the drug because it causes miscarriages. So if I do want to have a family the “natural” way, I will have to talk to my rheumatologist and switch to a possibly less effective drug that I can safely take while pregnant. And then if I do go back to the original medication, there is no guarantee that it will work as well for me as it does right now. There’s also a chance it could stop working for me altogether without going off of it and I’ll have to switch anyways.
In February I decided to try Whole30. You can google it to find out all the details, but basically it’s an elimination diet. You take out things like dairy, sugar, alcohol, grains, etc for 30 days and then slowly reintroduce them to gauge the affects they have on your body. At first, it sounds terrible. All the fun, good stuff is gone haha But it’s not the bad! Admittedly, I didn’t follow it 100%. And if you don’t follow to the letter, you’re supposed to start over. Fuck that. I made it work for me and did a 90-10 split. I followed it exactly 90% of the time and the other 10, I gave myself some leeway. That doesn’t mean that I went crazy, but if I couldn’t find whole30 compliant something, or if I was at the farm and mom used an ingredient that wasn’t compliant, I didn’t freak out over it and start over. I just kept living my goddman life! About 2 weeks in, I noticed that I had more energy. Maybe about 6 months before my diagnosis, I started losing all energy. Now, I know some of that was just due to my weight and poor diet, but it dropped to zero. All I wanted to do all the time was sleep. Fatigue is a symptom of both RA and the medication, but it’s better than losing my hair! BUT! Two weeks into Whole30, suddenly I had energy again. I mean, I wasn’t jumping up to go for a run or anything (gross), but I also wasn’t falling asleep as soon as I got home from work or needing a nap every day. My skin improved, my stomach didn’t hurt, and I didn’t have any joint pain. Now, the pain had already mostly gone away because of the medication I’d already been on for a month and a half, but it stayed away for that month. Oh, and I lost about 12 pounds.
As I started reintroducing foods, I began to really pay attention to how certain foods made me feel. White rice and sugar, especially white sugar, causes me pain. If I have just a little bit of it, I can feel it almost immediately. The first knuckle on my right hand has become my inflammation indicator. The first time I felt it was when I had a twizzler and 3 pieces of candy. The pain radiated around that knuckle within a half hour. If I have more than just a little bit of sugar, it starts in my knuckle and then will move around. I had sugar yesterday in some pancake syrup, ketchup, and a few pieces of candy. Yesterday my knuckle hurt. Today, I can feel it in my feet.
Dairy. Now that I’m paying attention, I am figuring out how dairy affects me. It doesn’t cause any arthritis pain, but it sure fucks up my stomach. I’m sure all you lactose intolerants out there can identify with this. Milk does not do this body good. I recently had a London Fog and didn’t even think to ask for almond milk and it killed my stomach. Some cheeses are good, some are not so good. Sometimes I don’t care and it’s completely worth it.
So that’s that. Stay tuned for my participation in the Little Black Dress Project at a local gym, a search I have started, and, of course, some sex stories!