Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Magnetic Resonance Imaging and RA

Medical technology is fascinating, not to mention a blessing to my existance.  X-rays, blood tests, all my various and varied medicines, and, last but not least, MRIs all make diagnosing, treating, tracking and managing my disease possible and relatively easy.  I am fully aware how lucky I am to live in the times we live in, as opposed to even 30 years ago.  That said:


Whew.  I feel better now, at least a bit.  Last Friday, the day after Bryan and I got back from Costa Rica, I had my appointment for my yearly MRI scan.  This year we scanned both my right and left hands up past the wrists, but not my elbow.  I figure we left out the elbow because we already know it needs surgery and until I actually give in and take care of that, it's only going to stay damaged.  Anyway, back to my wrists.

This year, unlike last, I kept an eye on the MRI computer screen so that I could see what my wrists look like.  My fingers and such all looked fairly normal as far as I could tell, as did my left wrist.  My right wrist, however, looked pretty craptacular--I don't think that normal wrists have that many gaps inbetween the metacarpals, but I'm not trained to read MRI scans, and that wrist already had some preexisting damage as evident from last year's MRI.  Or so I tried to reassure myself, with a very limited degree of success.

Today my feeble attempts at NOT worrying about the damage having progressed were more or less blown out of the water.  (I realize that sentence sounds all doom-and-gloom and really, its not all THAT bad.  I'm just frustrated and a bit worried).  Basically, the MRI technician from Dr. C's office called and there was significant "increased damage" in my right wrist.  Dr. C will "discuss it with" me at my next appointment, April 15th.

Bryan was very sweet and reassuring when I got home.  And he's right about one thing--I did expect some increase in damage in that wrist.  After all, the whole reason I'm on Remicade NOW is that my Enbrel stopped working and it took some time to transfer drugs AND get Remicade up to a successful dose.  And really, the "discussion" will probably be about changing/adjusting my medication.  Hopefully it's not like my elbow--I really don't want to even contemplate having surgery on my right (my dominant) hand.  Especially not at 25.

All that said, I'll do what I have to do...or like my elbow, put it off as long as possible!!!  Lol.  And I know everything will be fine, regardless.  At the worst, I'll just have to readjust things a bit...not the end of the world.  And after all, Rheumatoid Arthritis is a progressive chronic disease, which means that the odds of damage increasing over time are pretty good.  The medicines are to help control the disease and (as much as possible) prevent damage, and Remicade has been doing wonderfully for me so far--this damage quite probably predates us finding the correct dose.  So, I'll just keep reminding myself of all these things--and the fact that I'm a pretty tough, stubborn individual where all this is concerned--and keep on living life to my fullest ability!  After all, this is all just part of my journey with RA.

PS:  I'm putting my return to my workout routine off til next week.  I'm pretty achy with all this weather, so I don't think I'll push it just yet--and that way my new tennis shoes get broken in!

Monday, March 22, 2010

Bad Bad Blogger

Wow, I can't believe it's already March 22nd!  Shame on me!  In my defense, I did spend the week and a half after my last post working and trying to get over the second bout with bronchitis.  And THEN we were off to Costa Rica!!!  Which was an AMAZING trip, and you can read all about it on my newest travel blog.

So what's new?  Not a whole lot.  I weighed in at 160.5 lbs AFTER vacation, which was superexciting for me!  I finished my three new books (two while on vacation and one the day we got back)--The Heir to Sevenwaters, Hood, and White Witch Black Curse.  

The Heir to Sevenwaters was a very well-written book and stayed true to the entire series in its reworking of Celtic mythology into a enteraining and engaging read.  White Witch Black Curse continued the Rachel Morgan series and I have to say I am glad to see the series regaining its stride.  I felt it had stumbled a bit during the book before last, but this book restored my interest and now I can't wait for the current hardback to come out in paperback!

Hood  was incredible!  I had never before been interested in reading a Lawhead book, but I am a sucker for the reworking of old tales and legends.  Seeing that this was the first book in a reworking of the Robin Hood legend, I couldn't help but pick it up.  I am so glad I did!  It really gives depth to the characters, and I especially like the growth of Bran (Robin Hood) that we see from the beginning to the end of the book.  I also really enjoyed the take on Friar Tuck and Marian--and how Lawhead has really put thought into the location of his Robin Hood legend--early Wales.  All told, I can't wait to pick up the next book, and the one after that!

Other than that, we did host a cocktail party for Mark and Alicia in celebration of their upcoming nuptuals next month!  The party was at 6pm the day after the day after we got back from Costa Rica, so I spent Friday cleaning the house and during the day on Saturday getting everything set up!  I was really glad I had bought all the dishes and such ahead of time--that only left the food (of which there was JUST enough!  hooray!) and the drinks.  The party got started a bit later by the time everyone showed up, but we had a heck of a time and it was so much fun to meet everyone!  For the first party we've hosted at our house, I think it went swimmingly!

What else?  Oh, I'm daydreaming of jobs other than teaching.  Lol, not surprised huh?  Really I think I'm just worndown, and maybe at some point over the remaining 11 weeks til summer I'll get some sort of second wind.  But honestly, I'm feeling a bit burnt out, even after Spring Break.  It's not the kids or my school--its the job itself.  The constant chatter in the back of my head questioning and planning for the next day's lessons, the feeling like a babysitter for a good many of my teenaged students, and the fact that most of my classes have between 29 and 32 students is really starting to irk me.  That all said, I'll probably sit tight for another 3 years or so, until Bryan and I have a baby.  Then I'll take a few years off and THEN I might look at implementing one or two of my part-time/work from home employment plans.  We'll see :-).  But for now, I've just got to hang in there...which is honestly really hard right now.  That said, I'm sure tomorrow will be easier.

Now I'm going to go get ready to go to my first water aerobics class in 3 weeks.  I'm super achy, so I'll have to be careful (and I wish I hadn't eaten so much yogurt when I got home from school!).  Until next time!

***EDIT***   Due to achy joints and an especially stiff neck (and a desire to play with pictures and my new travel blog) I am not going to water aerobics tonite.  I will go do an hour of cardio tomorrow though.  Time to get back on the horse!

Monday, March 1, 2010

Focus on Health

This will be a very short entry, but tehre will be some hobby-focused entries to follow later this week!

Last week--I did not go to water aerobics on Monday because, frankly, last Monday sucked and I needed a down evening.  I went and did 30 mins elliptical and 30 mins bike (at higher resistance levels!) on Tuesday, and did make it to water aerobics Wednesday, but that was the extent of my workout week, much to my chagrin.  This was because on Tuesday I developed a cough, Wednesday this resulted in my sounding like a man, Thursday I had a sore throat and the cough, and Friday was, well Friday!  I did weigh in on Sunday morning and--hooray!--was down to 158.5 pounds. 

I told myself if my cough didn't get better by today, I would go to the doctor.  It persisted through the weekend, so today I scheduled a 3:30 with Dr. Y.  And the diagnosis?  BRONCHITIS.  Yes, AGAIN.  What kind of person gets bronchitis TWICE in a TWO MONTH PERIOD?!?!  I guess the answer is me.  Suck for me.  This is a probable result of my immune system being down after my recent Remicade infusion, plus my methotrexate.  Unfortunately this results in my finding myself in a damned if I do, damned if I don't situation.  If I take my drugs, I get sick (or at least am incredibly prone to gettking sick).  If I don't take my drugs, I flare and can't walk/move/workout like a "normal" person..  All in all, however, I'll take the walking and such.

So, no water aerobics tonite, and probably little to no gym time this week.  Again suck.  That said, I do have wonderfu l cough syrup--another reason why this is a short entry.  So, I'm off to lie back down on the couch for the rest of my requisite time before I can take more cough syrup (I already took today's dose of antibiotic).  Hopefully the next dose of syrup will work longer than this first dose.  Hobby blogs to come later!


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