Where I Learn That My Mind Is Mightier Than My Stomach

“Don’t you just love the meds? While Superman gets abs of steel, I’m left with a stomach that seems to be made of tissue paper.” —RA Guy

Yesterday, in honor of completing the first week of my visit at my parent’s house, my body decided to celebrate with a rare mid-afternoon flare. (Most of my flares usually occur in the morning or evening.) Having just left the cold winter weather of South America a little over a week ago, I’ve been raving over the past few days about how much I’ve been enjoying the switch to the warm (hot!) weather here in South Texas. All I can say is that flaring in hot weather (it rarely gets above 70 °F where I live) was definitely a new experience for me…and for the first time in my life, I’ve started to wonder what it would look like to boil fire (because that’s sort of what if felt like for an hour or two yesterday afternoon).

The past week, my first back in the United States for more than three years, has been a wonderful on. I’ve spent a lot of time with my parents, and have been able to visit different relatives who live in the area. I’ve (happily) answered more questions about rheumatoid arthritis than I could have ever imagined being asked, and I somehow managed to actually sit through multiple episodes of Real Housewives of somewhere or another with my mother. (And just the be fair, the movie my father bought last night from Redbox was quite a bomb.) But I’m not going to complain, at least we’re spending time together, and having fun.

Over the past week, I’ve continued to learn even more about my body and about my rheumatoid arthritis. Two things immediately come to mind:

First, with the removal of a few hours of afternoon tutoring that I usually do when I’m at home, my daily schedule is *eerily* similar to that of my happily retired parents. A few days in, my parents had already figured out my nap schedule…and we had a good laugh on Wednesday, when after lunch my mother asked if we could go to Kohl’s and Best Buy. I told her to choose one of the two stores, as within an hour or less of shopping I’m usually too tired to do anything else. We ended up going to Best Buy, and we’ve yet to make it to Kohl’s.

The second lesson I’ve learned is that my stomach, which has always been sensitive to food here in the U.S. (the chicken and meat I buy back home is never frozen and is usually processed the day it’s purchased, and the fruits and vegetables remain unmodified and are usually sold days if not hours within being harvested, and have an extremely short and natural shelf life), is even more sensitive than usual now that I’m currently taking methotrexate. This, combined with the fact that I increased my dose a couple of weeks ago, is leaving to significant issues with my digestive system, problems which I hope to fix as soon as possible.

(And yes, I will admit to drinking a little more than my fair share of Dr. Pepper–something I cannot get where I live–during the first few days that I was back here in the states…but I’ve already returned to just drinking water as often as possible. And while I’m confessing, I’ll go ahead and admit that I ate jalapenos on Wednesday, and hot wings on Thursday…but since Friday I’ve been really, really good…I promise!)

The day after tomorrow I’m traveling to New York City for three days/two nights. I’m dying to eat real Indian food, and I hope to be able to do so with one of my best college friends Monday night…but if my stomach continues on it’s current course, I may have to put these plans on hold. (And if I’m not able to, I’ll just have to try again, when I’m back in New York City for a week in August…the last stop on this extended visit/vacation, before I return home–to Spring!–in South America.)

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

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