Tuesday, April 27, 2010

My 35th Birhday

Sunday was my 35th birthday. I am now 35 years old. I now have to check off the 35 - 49 box on random surveys. Or at least the ones where I get a free Starbucks beverage. Hmm, Starbucks. I digress.

April 25th was eventful. At midnight I was in a bar supporting my soon-to-be sister-in-law through the rite of passage known as the bachlorette party. There were about 10 of us, and most were closer to her age (27) than mine. I would have felt old, except for the dodgy 40 year old men who were leering at all of the younger women. We had a super time.

Needless to say, on Sunday I was a little tired and sore. And my feet hurt, a lot. So much so, that 1/2 way home on my 3.5 hour car ride from Toronto to Ottawa, I pulled over, called my hubby and cried. I was wearing running shoes done up as loosely a I could, and they were throbbing and inflamed. After a good cry and a few rounds of "how the hell am I going to get home?", I pulled myself together, got a Timmy's Steeped Tea, took two Tylenol and just kept driving. What else was there to do? I think this is reflection of my life. Sometimes you just need to suck it up and keep going - because there aren't any other options.

My day improved when I got home - the kids came out running to see me and had lots of hugs and stories about their weekend. I had a lovely birthday dinner, home made cards and some thoughtful gifts. And then a migrane which lasted for 12 hours.

My birthday brought a little from column A and a little from column B. There is happiness and joy, and at the same time there is pain and frustration. I think my birthday reflected the balance of my life right now. I'm hoping for a little more from column A (happiness and joy). We'll see how the year unfolds.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

My new job

My new job started this week - I am now a full-time mom. Yeah! I worked for my employer for almost 10 years, and felt I was missing something at home - so here I am, at home. While I was only working 3 days a week when I finished, there was a toll on me and my health. I think I just wanted to slow down. I wanted to make sure that in 10 years, I didn't look back and wish I had spent more time at home with the kids. I know I am fortunate to be able to stay home with them and I'm glad I am taking advantage of this opportunity.

The kids just turned 3 and 5 - along with their birthday parties (on back to back weekends, as their actual birthdays are 4 days apart - whew, that was beyond busy), came their annual check-ups with our family doctor. All is well, but every year we go, I have a fear that she will find something with their joints - and to be honest, I check them from time to time myself. I know that the cause of RA is unknown, however there is a small, but irrational, fear that they will live through what I have. And I do not want this part of my life for them.

Patrick (my 5 year old) had to get a booster for a few of his immunizations, and he did not take his needle well. On the way home he went on and on about how he was never ever going back to Dr. Karen's. And then out of the blue, he asked me if I still take needles. It's funny what kids remember - we had talked about it 3 - 4 months ago, but they have minds like steel traps. So I told Patrick that I take medication to help me feel better. That's my line for now, I'm sure it will change as his capacity to understand grows. He said he didn't want to be me and take needles every week. In my head I agree with him - sometimes I don't want to be me either...

I have seen a glimpse of the pain of being a parent of a child with RA - when I was younger when my dad created the pain machine and recently, when I had my shoulder replaced last year.
When I was post surgery, I was able to leave the hospital room with my parents, so we went downstairs to the atrium at the Ottawa General hospital. I drank a Tim Horton's Iced Capp with a tube sticking out of my neck and my arm in a sling. Nice. It's the feeling of helplessness as a parent - knowing that all you can do is sit there, be there and hold their hand. I'm grateful for my parent's ongoing support through my ups and downs and I hope that I don't have to face those particular parental challenges, as I don't know if I would be as strong as they have been.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Oh, med students . . .

I saw my rheumatologist yesterday. Good visit. We checked-out my mini-flare, my joints, and a quick physical exam. To help my through the final stages of my Prednisone reduction I will be enlisting the help of an old friend - Naproxen. The appointment went well - except for that pesky med student. To be fair - he is a doctor of Internal Medicine going for extra training in Immunology. So not a super green 3rd year med student - but still seemed just as green and clinical.

Now don't get me wrong - I always agree to have med students watch procedures, perform procedures, take my blood, interview me, perform joint injections - the whole nine yards. This time, however, it was beyond awkward - he just didn't get RA. Here are a few excerpts from our conversation.

Med Student: Are you sure you're flaring? Because I can't find any inflammation...
Me: Um, yes - I am flaring and there is inflammation in the following joints...

Nice. I've had RA for 19 years, but - according to him - perchance I can't recognize a flare when I see one. Perchance he can't recognize a joint if he sees one.

MS: I see you are on Enbrel. Well, Enbrel is a biologic that -
Me: (smoothly cutting him off) I'm a fairly well education patient and I've been on Enbrel for 10 months. I know what it does.

Seriously? Did he honestly think that I would take a medication, any medication, that I didn't know what it did? For 10 months?

MS: I don't see why we don't raise your Prednisone back up to 2 mg
Me: I just explained that I've worked for the past 10 months to get off of it - I'd rather look at NSAIDs as an alternative. I don't want to be on Prednisone anymore.
MS: It's not that much Prednisone.
Me: For whom?

The Med Student seemed like a nice guy, he just treated me like a number and was quite clinical about the whole thing. A + B = Flare. Not matter what the patient actually says.

He hadn't reviewed my file (I know, because I asked in one exasperated moment) - not even the last letter to my GP updated on my current status. Sigh. I usually have a good amount of patience for this kind of thing, but I couldn't help feel that he was wasting my time. I knew a 5 minute conversation with Dr. T (my rheumatologist) would solve everything - and quickly. And in the end it did. Whew, that was as exhausting to write about as it was to experience it.