kapowRemember those scenes from old superhero television shows, when brightly colored sound bubbles such as bam and splatt popped up during fight scenes?

Well, if my evening last night were ever to be depicted in this comic book art form, let me just say that it would include a lot of these sound bubbles…including one final kapow!

Fight scenes are rarely pretty. They are even more ugly when the superhero seems to lose. But Rheumatoid Arthritis Guy has gotten beat up before, and he continues to learn how to pick himself back up after episodes such as these.

The weapons that I encountered, while they were somewhat familiar, seemed to be much more potent than anything I have previously come across.

My left hand continued to curl inwards, forming an almost closed fist. And if that wasn’t bad enough, it seems like some “Tim Burton” magic dust was added to the spell, making my fingers look like the bare crooked branches that have become a visual trademark of that director.

Simultaneously, my right shoulder was being attacked like never before. Close inspection revealed a wide, bright red swath of inflammation that was completely wrapped around my shoulder. Talk about searing pain!

Then, both ankles and my right wrist decided that they, too, would jump on the bandwagon.

All I could muster, at that moment, was a blank stare into nothingness.


But then the punches finally stopped landing, and the pain slowly started to subside. Within an hour, I was back to “normal”.

I wonder what sound bubbles might appear next time?

Stay tuned…for the next adventure of Rheumatoid Arthritis Guy!

Smoke Signals

smokesignalsSometimes, Friday afternoons can’t come soon enough. This week, I eagerly anticipated its arrival not because of any unhappiness at work (I love my job, and grading 34 essays in one sitting has actually become routine), but because I started coming down with a cold mid-week.

Yesterday, I took some sick leave and left after the first half of class. My department head filled in for me during the second half of class. Who would have known? The first time that I actually took some sick time and it had absolutely nothing to do with my rheumatoid arthritis.

I am feeling better today, after getting some much needed rest yesterday. I look forward to getting more rest this weekend. Unfortunately, there is a factor outside of my control that is aggravating my respiratory problems. Wild fires are raging out of control in my part of the world, and even though they are quite distant from where I live, my city is still getting smothered with smoke. The sky is hazy all day long, and for more than a week the current conditions on my web browser’s weather gadget have actually been “smoke”.

So while these current conditions can’t be helping either my cold or my rheumatoid arthritis, I am looking forward to getting some additional rest this weekend. I hope that clean, fresh smoke-free air follows soon after.

Stay tuned…for the next adventure of Rheumatoid Arthritis Guy!


erdingerIt’s been almost a month since I received the news about my elevated liver enzymes. Over these past few weeks I’ve done an even better job than usual (I think) of taking care of different aspects of my health, so earlier today I decided to celebrate.

I had a beer.

Celebrating with a beer? Wasn’t I supposed to completely eliminate alcohol from my diet?

The answer to both of those questions continues to be “yes”. The beer I had today was an alcohol-free beer…and it was actually quite good! It is brewed in Germany by Erdinger.

So I’d like to make a Saturday night “cheers” to all of my readers, friends, and family. Thanks for all of the support that you gave me earlier this week. (Just a quick update: I had some low-medium pain over the past few days, but nothing even close to the episode that I had on Wednesday.)

Stay tuned…for the next adventure of Rheumatoid Arthritis Guy!

Ready Or Not

Hide-and-Seek-GameSometimes, if feels like life with rheumatoid arthritis is a never-ending game of hide and seek. There are times when we find that oh so comfortable spot, where it feels like we have actually discovered that perfect place where we will never be found out. And then, the inevitable happens. Rheumatoid arthritis — once again — finds us.

Earlier today, I thought to myself “this never ends, does it?” (I can’t even count how many times I have asked myself this question in the past.) Usually, it’s right around this point when I start getting depressed. Feelings of failure once again enter my mind. “If I had only done this” or “if only I had not done that.”

Today, however, my response was different. I actually had an answer to my question. No, it doesn’t end. And ready or not, my rheumatoid arthritis is once again coming back. I can continue to fight against this, or I can get ready.

So I am getting ready, as best I can.

I had my “RA talk” with my students today. I always find it easier to explain things up front, should my crutches or cane once again come out of the corner, than have to respond to multiple inquiries regarding my drastic change in physical condition. After I finished explaining things, I looked around and saw each student had diligently copied all of my notes and sketches on the board into their notebook. (I always tell my students that anything I write on the board is fair game for a test or quiz.) I told them that they would not be tested on anything I had just covered.

I went to the gym this afternoon, and immediately cut my planned workout in half. My mind wanted to do much more than my body. In the past, my mind always won. Today, I stood up for my body.

And as I sit here at my desk, typing, I have a batch of paraffin wax melting nearby in an electric warmer. Although the wax dips do not provide any long-term relief, they do provide excellent momentary relief.

So yes, the pain is coming back, and the tears are once again falling. But I remind myself that things will be okay…and I keep moving forward.

Stay tuned…for the next adventure of Rheumatoid Arthritis Guy!

RA Guy Sighting

I just had to share this wonderful comment that I received earlier today.

Hi! I’ve been considering responding to your blog for a while now (actually a year-ish while…)! I was born in South-Africa and still find myself here. Lovely country, and among other amazingly strange facts, we have 11 official languages! I was diagnosed with RA 8yrs ago, and at a point in 2009 when my sense of humor totally deserted me, I came across a poster of your 60 Sec Guide to RA behind the restroom door at my rheumatologist’s rooms. (Fortunately it was a copy of an original, imagine that same guide in all 11 languages). I couldn’t stop grinning all the way home-imagining the logical way to explain to people why I’m younger than their grannies that have the “same disease” that I have!? Thank you so much for that: not only can I now explain the DIS-ease of the disease, but I can also encourage other people living with RA to count their blessings. I live with an altered perseption of what it means to be blessed and that makes the day-to-day surprises when living with RA a unique adventure at a special pace. Like living in Africa. God Bless! God Bless!

Might I be accused of lurking, though?