Thursday, April 24, 2014

Psoriatic Arthritis...Mmyeah...

I don't know why but it's been a difficult diagnosis for me to share with people in my real every day life.  My friends would ask me "So what all happened with you?"  And I would generalize it by saying it was just an arthritis attack gone awry.  But I didn't want to share with them the fact that coupled with my arthritis, I was suffering with large and small scaly and flaky psoriasis all over my scalp, my back and shoulder blades, my legs and even in my ears!  Gross right?  I am totally embarrassed still so I have pretty much mastered the art of scarf and beanie hat wearing.  Thankfully, I have a head for that (or so I've been told).

I'm still navigating the waters of this illness but so far I know that it's an auto-immune disease.  My immune system is working against me not with me and I find that to be so offensive.  Not cool, body.  Not cool.  So far there have been a few things that have helped me feel a little better since the onset of all this. (I'm going to call it that October 2013 was when everything really started deteriorating.)  Here are a few things you might consider doing as well:

*Daily morning stretches
*Juicing daily
*Dry Brushing
*Elimination Diet
*Get plenty of rest
*Drink plenty of water
*Getting out of bed before 10am

Now all of these things are being done on a pretty consistent basis in my life now and I must say that they help alot.  Like, alot alot.  And I will break down each bullet point as time goes on so you can fall down the health rabbit hole along with me like I did a few months ago when I couldn't move or go anywhere or do anything BUT research my symptoms late into the night and make spreadsheets and Google Drive documents until I was blue in the face.

So on tomorrows agenda we will discuss juicing and how I found the best juicer for my specific needs and how I will ask to be buried with it possibly.  I'm still trying to get The Man on board.

My best,

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

My Diagnosis

Yesterday I left off telling you that my dad said get to the hospital pronto Tonto right?  Okay so since I'm not the type to rush to the Dr. for every little thing (albeit this was NO little thing) I was still apprehensive about going to the hospital for what I thought was a slipped disc.

What could they do for me there?  They're not chiropractors.  What if they say surgery just cause they're "blade crazed" and just want to cut me open?  *Side note: another side effect of Prednisone? Major paranoia - at least in my case and many others that I've heard testify to the same thing.

I posed all these questions to my husband and he agreed.  Now when he agreed I was shocked.  I expected him to push me out the door - literally, because by now I was in such bad shape I was using a wheelchair to get around the house and those electronic chairs in all the supermarkets I'd shop in.  But when he said "Why go to the hospital, they won't do anything but prescribe anti-inflammatory meds and send us home the same day but with a huge bill."  Did I mention our health insurance was still 2 weeks away from kicking in?  Nice right?  A perfect unhealthy storm abrewin'.

"You know though that if you don't take me and I die this weekend, my dad will probably kill you at my funeral right?"

That's all that was needed to be said for both of us to realize that I should just go.  As we were leaving the driveway something made me tell the Hubs to go out of town to a different hospital than we usually use and that I felt more comfortable going to that one.  Our local hospitals can change their names all they want, it doesn't negate the fact that FAR too many people have been going in with stubbed toes or the sniffles and ending up dying.  I am a spiritual person and really think that God directed me to the right hospital that fine Saturday morning.

It was sunny and warm out yet I was shivering like a leaf.  That should have been my first sign that something majorly was out of whack internally.  Hubs wheeled me up to the ER and I could barely stand up out of the wheelchair to sit in the trauma room with the intake nurse to talk with her.  They sent me back to a room in the ER to wait for the Doc.  I got a male nurse who came in to help me get situated and he and my husband had to actually lift me up out of my chair and onto the bed because my legs were so weak.  I had lost approximately 20 lbs in 2 months.  Muscle mass in my thighs? Shredded.

In walks the Dr.  My heart rate was high due to the Prednisone so he decided to run some blood work on me.  After about an hour or two he came back to tell me that my blood work is all over the place and that my inflammation markers were through the roof.  We all walk around with a certain amount of inflammation in our bodies and the norm is measured between 0-20.  Mine was at 125.  He looked at me with the most concerned look on his face and said "You must be in some unimaginable pain, huh?"  Then when he found out that I wasn't able to get an appointment with a Rheumatologist until some time in March he patted my leg and said "That might be too late.  I'm going to admit you and you MUST see our in-house Rheumatologist right away."

And that's when I started crying almost like this....ALmost.... (wait for it at 0:14)

Yeah.  To say I was emotional is an understatement because I was finally going to be seen by someone in the know.  

My Rheumatologist came to see me and took one look at my skin and one look at my thumb, which looked like this by the way...
Don't mind the dry skin, it's from the nail polish remover not my illness. :)

She determined that because my thumb and another finger and some of my toes had severe pitting and little holes all in the nailbed that coupled with the severe joint pain that it must be....drumroll please...........Psoriatic Arthritis!  

I was shocked.  I'm only 31.  Arthritis at my age?  Noooooo......  But actually it was and is a big fat YES.  So now this is my life.  It's taken a hard left turn and I'm still in the thick of it right now trying to figure out how to navigate my health properly.  I'm now on a 15mg dose of daily Prednisone until my Dr. decides what "permanent" pill or shot I should be on to keep things under control.  

Tomorrow let's talk about the things I've tried, am currently trying, and hopefully will accomplish in the near future.  I'm really glad I can put this all down on here so that I can remember how it all went down when I look back on it later.  Online archives are the best.  Internet, may you never die!

My best,

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

I Got Sick. Part Deux.

Okay so where did I leave off?  In yesterday's post I told you that I had fallen ill.  It started with my foot and spread to other parts and joints of my body.  I was in excruciating pain all day and I was popping NSAID's (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, ie, ibuprofen & tylenol) like they were going out of style.  And I hated it because I used to never take pain medicine.  If I had a headache or an ache I would internalize it and think to myself "Self, why is this pain present?" and then realize that I had skipped breakfast and it was 10:00 a.m. and I was woozy and irritated.  Then I'd eat a banana and be fine in 15-20 minutes.

This wasn't the same kind of pain.  It was all over and persistent.  And finally nothing seemed to be working and I didn't want to be on pain meds forever and always so I decided to go to my local clinic and see my SCP - Sometimes Care Physician.  Thankfully, up until now I've never had to see a Dr. more than maybe once a year for a sinus infection.  And before all this I hadn't seen a Dr. in a couple of years.  3 maybe?  I go to the Dr. and describe all my symptoms and she thinks that I have a pinched nerve in my back and she subscribes 20mg of Prednisone to help eliminate the inflammation.  I go home and am grateful for the medicine because the 1st day I felt so good and I realized I was able to start smiling again.  Isn't that sad?  I hadn't realized how sad I had become due to my situation.  A lack of a smile from me is usually a good indicator that something is seriously wrong in my world.

Well the next day I felt about the same as the 1st with the meds in full effect.  By the end of my treatment I was feeling the same pain.  The inflammation came back with a vengeance and I was starting to get panicked because my Dr. wouldn't refill my medicine until she saw me again and looked at my blood work.  I cried.  Ooooohhhhh how I cried!!!!!  My poor husband was at a loss as to how to help me other than what he had done so far which was already so much.  He set me up with a heating pad, round the clock cups of tea, food, entertainment (when I was awake because I slept alot during the day because at night it was hard to lay down and find a good position).

It was Presidents Day weekend so alot of pharmacy's - if not all - were closing early, closed, or wouldn't be open again until Tuesday.  I was on the phone with my Dr. on a Friday...womp, I parceled out the last of my Prednisone and then just prayed that I would make it through the weekend on the NSAID's that I had.

Thankfully my father called me the next day.  I remember it well.  It was a Saturday morning and I was under my covers shivering because I was cold and my blinds were open because I liked to look outside during the day and have the room not be so cavernous.

The phone rang.

I saw it was my dad but I didn't feel up to answering his questions.  I mean how many times can I say "I'm fine." to someone when I'm clearly not fine?  So I let it ring for far too long until the sound of the ringtone grated more on my nerves than any question he could ever ask me.  So I picked up.

"Hi Dad."
"Hi Lynn, how are you doing?"

And then I broke dad was in NY on business and not even around to see how bad of a shape I was in but he was so concerned for my well being that he called me all day, ever day at random times and always sounded eager to hear that I was doing okay.  So everything that I had been holding in for months and not letting out just finally bubbled up to the surface and I snapped.


After my wild womans rant ended, my dad was silent for only a moment before he said calmly and seriously "Lynn, get dressed and have your husband take you to the hospital IMMEDIATELY."

Aaaaand tomorrow I will tell you more about what happened next.  Another side effect of the Prednisone? Rapid heart rate.  So my heartbeat right now sounds like a Budweiser Clydesdale in my chest and I need to calm down a bit.  Tune in tomorrow for the next installment!

My best,

psstt....I hope that you have listened to the Song Of the Week by now.  Kimbra is on fire!
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