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Alternate Title: Headcolds in the Office

I have been sick pretty much non-stop for three weeks now. I’m not sure if I relapsed or picked up a new bug when I went back into work, but right now any day without a nosebleed is a win. I am sure the family will be thrilled to have my stuffy-headed mumbling at the dinner table Thursday. To top it off, the fire alarm went off at work and we had to evacuate- into the rain. I had my umbrella but not my sweater and by the time I found shelter to put on my poncho I was already wet. *curses and shakes fist* I am looking forward to Thanksgiving however, if only for a four-day weekend where I (hopefully) won’t be too sick to enjoy it.

I go back to the urologist next week for the results of the kidney stone biopsy. I had an x-ray of my digestive system done but I won’t have those results until I see the doctor. Wish me luck!

Honestly not much else is going on. Hubby and I ended up having a nice dinner-and-movie for our ten year anniversary despite me being a sodden lump, and then we were able to drag our friends out the following weekend for the same by arranging a babysitter at our house (MIL to the rescue!). It’s only their second date without the baby since he was born, and he just turned two!

I still cannot find my fitbit anywhere and now wonder if it fell off somewhere rather than been stolen by the cat. The second option is still the more likely, but I just can’t find it anywhere. If I replace it that’s the sure way to find it again… *grumble*

Speaking of gifts, I am belatedly getting my gift-giving list together, thanks to people’s wishlists. It might be “cheating” but I’d much rather get someone something they want rather than a wild stab in the dark at the last minute thanks to cold medicine. I would like to try holiday cards this year- especially for New Hampshire family since I just visited them, so hopefully the long weekend will give me a jump-start for that… *crosses fingers*

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Victory!

I’m so relieved- my latest liver panel came back normal! It was definitely the cholesterol med that was stressing out my liver. I still need to deal with the high cholesterol, but I really didn’t need liver disease and/or failure on top of everything else right now. My rheumatoid meds put me at high risk, which is why I don’t drink alcohol- it’s just not worth the risk.

I am officially up to four doctor appointments next week to match the four this week. I let hubby hear my crinkly knee and I now have a doctor appointment. I had picked up a knee wrap from the pharmacy but it barely fits and doesn’t restrict my knee movement at all. It still doesn’t hurt and I don’t feel anything, but I’m starting to hear it going up stairs at well. This is the same knee I messed up in high school, but I’m sure all the limping from the plantar fasciitis in my left foot has contributed.

In other news, I still can’t find my FitBit Alta. I took it off for the shower and Scout stole it and I can’t figure out where he hid it for the life of me. At this rate I suspect it’ll turn up whenever we move  next.  :\ It’s a good thing he’s so darn cute.

Updates

I saw the podiatrist and it looks like my plantar fasciitis is totally cleared up. The spiral fracture is healing, and he showed me a different way to tie my sneaker so it will put less pressure on the break (I wish he had showed me that sooner). Oh, and walking barefoot is bad which is… something I do a lot. I don’t know that I can commit myself to a 50$ pair of fancy (and ugly) “recovery” flip-flops to wear in the house. I probably will eventually, but hopefully I can find a sale or something. The tendon in my heel is getting better, and I only need to wear my night splint 2-3 nights a week now. Yay! I do have to keep up with my icing and topical treatment, which I am not as religious about as I should be. Argh.

Wednesday night about 6:30 I started getting a frighteningly familiar pain in my side. I checked the pharmacy hours and ran out to fill the pain prescription the hospital gave me. Sure enough, it was another kidney stone. Thankfully, I did not start throwing up this time (which would have landed me back in the hospital), and I was able to doze fitfully between cramps until it passed around 3 am. I slept in the next day, but I did manage to work four days that week, which is probably the most I’ve managed in over a month. If you factor in all my doctor appointments and lab tests I’ll be short a day this week and next as well.

Saturday night I fell asleep with a headache and woke up with it still in the morning. I fought a migraine most of the day until I gave in and took the prescription med for it. I really dislike the nerve buzzing I get from it, but it kept things down to a dull roar when our friends came over with their 2-year old. I hadn’t seen them in weeks and really didn’t want to reschedule again or have to hole up in my room and not socailize.

Oh, and I have a cold. And menstrual cramps, which is just adding insult to injury, really.

Mostly, I am badly fatigued. I’d like to blame it on cutting out all sodas but it’s not caffeine withdrawal. I’m worried it might be related to my liver issues. I get my follow-up bloodwork done on that today and I’m keeping my fingers crossed.

I haven’t updated here in a very long time, mostly because no news is (usually) good news.

The other option is when I’m hit by one thing after another and it takes a while to get to a place where I can actually look back and summarize what’s going on.

Sadly, recently it’s been the second option.

Let’s start with plantar fasciitis. (Yes, I know I spelled it wrong in my Categories tag- I’ll fix it… eventually.) A few months ago (? six? I honestly don’t remember how long this has been going on) I started having severe pain in my left foot that made it difficult to walk. Since starting with a podiatrist I have stretched, iced, medicated, gelled, electro-therapied, splinted, spent way too much on increasingly specialized sneakers, inserted and padded my foot. This has gotten me to be mostly mobile but with possible Achilles tendon issues and a stress fracture in my foot. (Remember the Year of Foot Fractures? Sadly, I do.) In all, I am better than I was, but not being able to walk reliably has led to weight gain that I really don’t need. I am progressing, just very slowly.

Hurricane Irma. That worked out much better than expected, with my pharmacies being very proactive in making sure I had enough meds until things were back to normal (apparently they learned some painful lessons with Harvey that they didn’t want to repeat). I am deeply grateful for this. The aftermath was hot, muggy, and I chopped off my hair. We had water but cold showers could only do so much and my hair. Just. Didn’t. Dry. A minor injury on my spouse’s part kept me very busy and I was pretty exhausted by the end of it all, despite work being closed for a week.

My rheumatoid is doing well. Sadly, my liver is acting up. My biologic medication can impact my liver. Tests are ongoing. I am already off my cholesterol meds and have blood work scheduled next week so wish me luck.

And hey! A hospital visit! I went from “Hmm- maybe that sushi I had for lunch was off” to “oh crap- is that my appendix?” within 20 minutes last Thursday. There was a LOT of throwing up, which is one of my least favorite things to do. My throat was wrecked for days from it all. I ended up with an ambulance ride to the hospital for what turned out to be a kidney stone! Fantastic! I ended up only being there around 8 hours and the stone passed on its own. I only picked up a mild respiratory cold while I was there, and was singularly unimpressed with morphine’s lack of impact on kidney stone pain. They were going to keep me in observation overnight when the pain suddenly stopped (I thought they had finally put me on The Good Drugs, but no).  I have to agree with most folks who have experienced a kidney stone- this is probably the new “10” on my pain scale. I continue to be pissed as hell at how tiny the stone actually is (3 mm. Yep- I have it. Going to see a Urologist next week. Whee!)

I… could say a lot more about my whole experience. The EMT who couldn’t get my vein because it kept rolling- I forgive you even if it meant blood running down my arm and terrible bruising, but dang I could have lived without that on top of everything else. I am wearing long sleeves while it heals- the bruising for my IV is already gone. Overall, for an unexpected admission I did pretty well. Hubby was fantastic and grabbed my medical emergency sheet and stack of prescriptions, which was useful. Mostly it was a lot of waiting. Hopefully, I just need to drink  more water *crosses fingers* because there are more stones in there and I VERY much want to never go through that again. I was just grateful that it waited until I was back from the rural mountains of New Hampshire or that would have been a much, much worse experience.

And then there’s the fact that my right knee sounds like crinkling cellophane when I walk down stairs. I don’t even have an appointment for that yet since there’s no pain and I’m pretty sure they’re just going to tell me it’s arthritis. I’m dealing with one crisis at a time here.

In good news a cold front came through so we have cool, dry weather and I got to wear one of my sweaters today- yay! And I am forever grateful for my insurance- we are still covering hubby’s medical bills from his ambulance ride and hospital visit for a sliced finger (the night before Irma hit no less. We waved at his room as we left the hospital after my stay). Overall I am- tired. And my stomach is easily made unhappy, but I am much, much better and dealing.

Oh! And no allergy shot for me this week- I picked up four fire ant bites over the weekend. Thankfully, this is my last vial- once I use it up no more allergy shots! It only took five years!

Lots has been going on health-wise but I’ve had a hard time writing about it (or about anything). I am working on giving myself permission to not feel guilty about my lack of posts, but it’s a work in progress. However, since I have some good news to share, I thought I would finally write something.  :}

About six weeks ago I started Enbrel. It’s been a challenge (mostly, a challenge to deal with my fear of needles so I can self-inject once a week). It’s not getting easier, but I’m more confident that I’m not going to do myself serious injury in the process. It’s hard to say how much impact it’s having- it’s still pretty early in treatment, but my energy is better and the arthritis in my feet and toes is hugely improved, which helps me get on the treadmill and is always a good thing. I do find myself getting fatigued more easily and sleeping more/taking naps on weekends, but hopefully that’s just part of the adjustment process (whether to the medicine, the exercise, or both).

The biggest positive outcome is that I am now off the sulfsalazine (which didn’t seem to have any effect on my RA whatsoever). That means four less huge pills a day and they’re not turning my hands and other pills yellow any more. Yay! If all continues to go well in the next couple of weeks I can taper off of Prednisone (which would make me SO happy).

It’s hard to think that I have been trying to treat my RA for nine years now and we’re only just starting on biologics. I track when I stop medications, and it’s a long list of trying different things with only partial success. It’s not a magic cure (if only!), but the rate of temporary remission is fairly high and I have hopes. It’s not likely that I’ll ever be 100% pain-free, but any reduction is welcome.

I haven’t updated in a bit and there’s quite a lot going on. For one, I am doing a fair job of keeping up with exercising a minimum of 30 minutes a day at least four times a week. I’ve been able to walk longer (up to 40 minutes) but I’m not always able to make it five times. I’m allowing myself some flexibility so I don’t push too hard. I had a turned ankle that slowed me down for a couple days, and my knees are occasionally cranking up, especially with the cold turn the weather has taken. I need to work some of my PT for my knee and shoulders back into my schedule but haven’t quite sorted that yet.

I had a terrible pain flare yesterday, mostly in my thighs and knees. It took me most of the day to figure out what triggered it- I had topped off the air in my tires Monday after work and squatting and bending must have done it. I am still stiff and sore today, but not nearly as bad as yesterday. It might not have been such an issue, except my rheumatologist has put me on a 15 day taper-down of prednisone, so I’m not taking my daily naproxen until that’s done with. I had fresh x-rays of my hands yesterday, as well as feet to see what’s going on with my toes. The increased exercise could be aggravating the arthritis there and there is some swelling. I have bloodwork scheduled this week as well, so all that will hopefully tell us something.

Despite all that I’m really doing well- just trying to manage stress with the start of term. We had some technical issues that made the last few days particularly harrowing, but we’ve gotten through it all and are caught up with the work load. I really have an amazing team and am grateful for them every day. Home is wonderful, and with the cold weather three snuggly cats on the bed is the best thing ever! I have my good days and my bad, but I feel like I’m pacing myself well. Hubby and I are tentatively planning holiday in Scotland this year, although we won’t really know for sure until February which is also when my online course starts. If all goes well we may start house-hunting again instead.  :}

Coloring Fun!

My apologies for any confusion if you saw an earlier draft of this post- I’m learning how to use my phone to do posts and it’s a little… limited. (And tricky.) But yay! I got it to work and uploaded pictures from my phone! (I may need to do some editing before uploading next time though- sorry for the file sizes.)image

While buying Christmas gifts I treated myself to a coloring book and pack of 48 colored pencils. This top one is a small pattern on the frontispiece. Since it was a holiday gift to myself and the leaves looked holly-ish I gave it a Christmas theme.  :}

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It took me maybe an hour and a quarter to finish and I had a few thoughts:

  1. I totally missed an opportunity; I should have copied it and then I could do the same pattern in several different colors/patterns. I *might* get myself a second book just for masters. I might also be getting ahead of myself here.
  2. I am slightly disappointed in the color pencils- there is a serious dearth of reds. If I want a maroon or a burgundy I have to try and blend it myself. I may eventually splurge and buy a larger pack for more options (and then I’ll have duplicates of the most common colors).
  3. Colored pencils are misleading. The pencil looks green but is named “tan”. The color is neither what I think green or tan should be. I will probably make myself a color swatch guide going forward.
  4. If I’m going to do this regularly I need to invest in some pencil holders, maybe like these. I may have given myself a blister, I’m so unused to using a writing implement for long periods of time. I still have a writer’s callous, but I gave it a real workout.
  5. I need to lay a thick sheet of paper or shin cardboard in-between pages. The color may not come through, but the page beneath the one I’m drawing on gets embossed in the process.

On the plus side, it was fun and challenging and I just zoned out and colored for a hour, which was pretty much what I was aiming for. I’m also hoping that coloring will strengthen my hands a bit- my handwriting is really decaying. I managed three whole holiday cards and while I may still send cards to everyone who sent us one… even with effort my handwriting is barely legible. My fingers and elbows ache a little, and I’ve had no tremor (which happens if I get muscle fatigue in my hands), but even better I didn’t have any numbness, which usually crops up when driving, holding an eating utensil, or leaning on my forearms at my desk. Fingers crossed (hah! I did a pun) that this new, fun hobby is also maybe a little therapeutic.  ;}

Update: Yep, finger tips are tender. I made myself a swatch reference sheet to keep in my pencil box- I occasionally have trouble telling shades apart, but there are at least two pencils that I swear are the exact same color. I also added a #5 note above as well.