Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Get Thee Behind Me, RA!

I'm getting a bit concerned about myself - I've noted it before... I have rheumatoid arthritis.  It's been my uninvited companion through life since I was 19 years old, so I have no clue what it feels like to be a healthy adult.  Now, at nearly 50 years old, it's classified as 'severe', which means my hands are gnarled like an old oak, I walk with a cane, and there are days when I feel like the Tin Man before he got his oil.  These days, I've also got osteo-arthritis, the result of age and side effects from RA treatments. (It's that a delightful joke??)

The less visible symptom of active RA is exhaustion - the kind you feel when you've worked out to the point where your muscles are just done.  It's not 'sleepiness' - in fact, insomnia is an occasional issue, too.  It's flat out physical and mental exhaustion, that's it, I'm done, leave me alone while I stare at the wall a bit.

A couple years ago, I spent the entire winter in that state of being - intense crushing pain, brain fog, exhaustion that had me needing a nap everytime I got up to cross the room.  I quite literally thought I might be dying.

Now, nothing like that is happening right now - but the weather is turning, and with it, I'm feeling that creeping sensation of an incoming flare, and all I can think is, NO, not now!  I have a list of things I want to do before Christmas, and I've got time enough to do it in without overdoing... but only if I don't lose days to RA.

Time management is such an issue for me - it's always a gamble to plan ahead for anything, because I don't know how functional I'm going to be on any given day.  On the other hand, precisely because my own energy and capability levels are so variable, I have to plan and set deadlines for just about anything I actually want to get done, just so I can pad the time with unscheduled down time and have some hope of doing what I intended when I intended.

Can you guess how crazy that makes people around me... I need to know what my plans are, so I know how much I can let RA modify the plan without feeling bad about it... otherwise, every flare makes me feel like I'm letting down the world.  Hah, never thought of it like that but that's what this is... guilt management.

Right now, all that I want to get done has to do with things I want to do for others.  The baking is so that Deanna and I have gifts to give to a few people around us that have been wonderful to us both... it's non-negotiable, and as long as I do a bit each day, there will be enough to pass around even if I have to let go of a couple planned items.  I'm shopping this afternoon for the rest of what I need to do about that, so I'll feel better once it's all on hand to let me work.

The rest involves stitching... I have to make progress on Michaels (mumble) and Deanna's blanket - I know they'll both understand if RA keeps me from finishing, but I want to finish.  I'm excited to see their faces.

So while yesterday and today, I just felt a little extra tiredness and overall sense of blah, and today, my hands are complaining a bit more loudly than normal, I'm watching the weather settle into winter bonecrushing weariness, and I worry.

Next month, RA - just leave me be for now, ok?


  1. " there are days when I feel like the Tin Man before he got his oil.2
    not sure what drew me here today, but...have you ever tried Udo's Choice Oil?
    It's brilliant for arthritis, you can read about him on google.

  2. Wow, thanks Mimi! I'd not heard of it, no - but looking at what it is (essential fatty acid supplement), I know what every ingredient is for and why it'd be in there, so yes, I think this would be a great product to use! Good call! I will have to wait to be able to afford to buy it, but I'll definitely give it a try when I can.

  3. You know blogdom brings people together under the most interesting circumstances and then we learn about each other and find that we are not separated by much at all. So many common areas affect our lives, pull on our emotions, eat away at our spirits. Fibromyalgia is my demon. It betrays me much like RA does you. Kinda controls how I can do what I love to do. It all seems so unfair and then you learn someone else has something that affects them and now we are sisters by another mother. Knowing each others pain if you will, story if you prefer.
    I am so sorry for your hints of the nasty rearing its head. Be well new friend. The Olde Bagg, Linda

  4. ::hugs:: Sending calm and healing thoughts your way.

  5. Hmmm...do you use any herbal remedies to help? In one book, they recommend drinking potato juice from organic potatoes on a daily basis. It's supposed to help with inflammation. They also recommend eating lots of celery, and drink a half glass of celery juice daily for 3 weeks. There's also cabbage leaf compresses over your joints...umm...check out "The Green Witch Herbal" by Barbara Griggs. I picked it up when I was a teenager and is my go-to book for natural home health care. The remedies work pretty well - they might take longer than traditional Western health care, but they do work, unless it's a very severe illness. Then I usually hit the doc for meds.

  6. I have also have severe rheumatoid arthritis for most of my adult life and I can certainly identify with your post :) Some days I also feel as if my joints need a little oil (tin man syndrome!). Unfortunately my loved ones have not figured out the fatigue part - they can't seem to understand that I am tired even if I didn't do much!

    Lets hope for a painless and stress free Christmas.

    Chriz’ stitchy spot

  7. I'm sorry to hear that you are dealing with this Lynda, I hope you do find a remedy that will help.

    I am actually stopping by to ask you to send me an email to smartmomj[@]gmail[.]com. I need your address to get your giveaway prize from Frugality Is Free shipped out. I sent you a second email to the address listed in your profile, you can just respond to that.

    Frugality Is Free

  8. Linda - I'm so sorry to hear you have fibro to deal with! I remember when that diagnosis was first becoming known, thinking that's got to be the absolute worst, because of the constant battle to even convince people anything is going on (the ONE bright spot to RA deformity is that it's proof!). I definitely think the online world helps find our 'people' and I'm very glad of the budding friendships developing here!

    DW - thank you so much for your healing energy. It means a lot! I think I got through the worst of it last night... it did indeed roll in, but feels like it's on its way out now.

    Vagabond - I pay attention to herbal and homeopathic remedies as well as trying to watch out for additives and food types that seem to worsen flares. Thanks for the book recommend! I've seen it but it's not a part of my library (yet..lol).

    Crizette - I hear you on the family front. My ex acted surprised for 20 years everytime I had to say no to something. heh! It can get a bit old having to say it, doesn't it?

    JR - I'm so sorry, I was sure I'd sent it! An email is on its way to you now - thanks again!