“Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance you must keep moving.” Albert Einstein
Yesterday was a rough day for Rheumatoid Arthritis Guy. All day long, I felt like everything was way off balance…sort of like a tall stack of plates that is beginning to wobble around. If there is anything good that came from the difficulties that I encountered yesterday, it was confidence in the knowledge that the tall stack of plates doesn’t always have to come crashing down.
Sometimes, it is possible to find a sense of balance when everything is out of whack. (Some of the feats we see in Cirque du Soleil are a breeze when compared to living with rheumatoid arthritis!)
I slept in until almost noon. The pain was everywhere – in my feet, in my knees, in my elbows, in my shoulders, and in my hands. For those readers who do already know, I currently reside in the southern hemisphere, which means that we are just coming out of a grueling winter. During the past few weeks it seemed like we were cruising on our way to warmer temperatures…but yesterday the mercury in the thermometer dipped back down.
For most people coping with this change in weather is as simple as pulling out the thick jacket in the morning. For me, it means once again spending the entire morning trying to bring my body to the point where it will actually move.
I finally got out of bed in order to go to the lunch table. (The country where I reside still incorporates a long midday break in the workday, complete with a big lunch – the largest meal of the day.) Unfortunately, my sciatica was so inflamed that I could not even comfortably sit upright in a chair. So back to a reclined position I went.
The afternoon hours were some of my best of the day, a complete flip on most days where my afternoon hours are often the worst of the day. I spent an hour or so organizing that drawer (we all know that drawer…the one into which every paper and receipt goes until it is no longer possible to open or close the drawer, let alone squeeze in the last handful of papers in the upper slot) in my office, and even turned on the television to squeeze in some cheesy afternoon court tv.
By early evening, I was once again taking a nap and listening to my relaxation music. When I was woken up to eat a little dinner, I could barely feel the outer half of both hands. My feet quickly jumped into the mix, and before I knew it my upper and lower extremities were numb from pain and inflammation. I made it through dinner, but then the dam burst and the river of tears once again flowed.
And my mother, who is visiting me for a month, saw firsthand some of these realities of living with rheumatoid arthritis. While she has seen various effects during the past few years, she had yet to see anything like yesterday. I know it’s difficult for her to see, but I am happy to have her close by, and to have her learn how my illness has progressed since our last visit this past March.
I called my rheumatologist’s cell phone at 8pm. He gave me his home number and asked me to call him in thirty minutes. We spoke half an hour later and I updated him on my past week and on my current state. He prescribed me four weeks of Prednisone, my third blast in the past four months. The first one was three weeks. The second one was two weeks. In this third one we are not only increasing the duration, but the dosage as well. He wants to try to stop this current flare as quickly as possible.
I’m soon going to start my sixth month of Arava. It’s been pricey, paying for it out of pocket…but the good thing is that I pay about 1/10th the price of what it costs in the United States. And on top of that, for every 5 months I get the sixth month free. Factor in this free month, and I’m paying probably 1/12th of what it would cost me in the U.S.
So this is where I am at the moment. Obviously now where I would choose to be, but since I am here I will continue to do my best to get through things. While the wobbling stack of plates does make me a little nervous, I will be okay as long as they don’t come crashing down.
And if they do, I’ll once again pull out my broom, sweep up the pieces, and put everything back together…little by little.
Stay tuned…for the next adventure of Rheumatoid Arthritis Guy!