Before December 1st my last post was April 24 of this year. That’s over seven months of silence. I don’t owe blog posts to anyone, but if I want to start writing again (and I do, so much so) I figured I’d at least try to explain myself, even if it is just for myself.
In 2012 I was diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis. It is an inflammatory autoimmune disease that affects joints, muscles, organs, tendons – you name it, RA can affect it. At the time of my diagnosis I was only experiencing pain and inflammation in my hands (also known as sausage fingers), and only mildly at that. I didn’t trust my doctor and since I had been steadily improving, I decided to forgo mediation and continue my life as normal.
At the beginning of May 2013 my family and I went on a trip to Florida. The week before I had been trying new running shoes and experienced some wicked pain in the balls of my feet. I chalked it up to the new shoes, exchanged them, and enjoyed my vacation. But the pain didn’t get better, it continued to get worse.
Soon it wasn’t just the balls of my feet, but my ankles, knees, hips, wrists, fingers, jaw – etc etc. It would take me about 20 minutes to work up the courage to get out of bed in the morning, and going up and down stairs was slow and painful. I couldn’t open jars, I hated driving long distances because it hurt to sit but it hurt even more to get out of the car once I’d reached my destination. I was tired all the time and, truthfully, sometimes I felt just like staying in bed for days and days, because at least then I wouldn’t have to force a smile and pretend that nothing was wrong. Because I still don’t think that everyone really got it.
You don’t really understand chronic pain until you experience it yourself. I couldn’t ever get away from it. NOTHING over the counter worked. Advil was the only thing that would take the edge off and I held out for a long time because I hate the idea of being a slave to medication. I tried to get in with my specialist but the closest appointment he had was August (most of the time I love the Canadian health care system, I swear).
I went on an elimination diet which alleviated some of my symptoms, or at least improved my quality of life. I now mostly avoid gluten as it causes pain and inflammation in my joints. I’m off most diary as it makes me feel crappy.
In the midst of all this we decided to move 3 hours away. So new jobs, a new house, a 14 hour day of moving the last 6 years of our lives across the province. I wasn’t doing anything blog worthy, and I didn’t want to be someone who only defined themselves by their health issues, and I didn’t want to seem like I was complaining so I didn’t blog.
With our move, however, came a sort of blessing – a new rheumatologist.
I met with my new doctor early in November and the experience was like a breath of fresh air. She WANTED me to feel better, immediately. And with her help and prescriptions, I did. The day after that appointment I felt – normal. Pain and stiffness free. And now, a month later, I still feel just as good. I know that RA isn’t curable, and that it can come out of remission just as bad or worse, but I am going to enjoy my reprieve from pain for as long as it lasts.
Now that I have my life back I’m trying to figure out how to ease myself back into exercise. I started run/walking again in September. I’ve been swimming a few times and been to a few classes at my local gym, and I completely fell in love with my bike. But my motivation hasn’t exactly returned to the same level it had been before, and that’s something I hope that blogging can partially help me get back.
So that’s it, in a not-so-nutshell. Sick, painful, moving – and now I’m back. I think.