Friday, December 23, 2011

Victory Lap

It's been a super year and I'd like to take a victory lap. I've conquered lots of obstacles, and I'd like to share.

On the arthritis side - I am off prednisone. For those who have been reading for a while, feel free to celebrate right along with me. That sentence is enough of an accomplishment that I could stop right there. But wait, there's more! I have had some shoulder surgery (humeral head replacement) to get some pain relief. It was a bit of process to get there, and I am now feeling just great. I am on Actemra and that is all. My drug list is down significantly, I'd say!

One of the harder things for me to write this year was a profile for RA Guy's "Real Profiles of RA". It's an insightful section to his amazing web site, where folks like me with RA from around the globe submit pictures and write about their RA experience. It was hard to answer "How has living with RA helped to improve your life?" Umm, it hasn't. And I left my draft at that for about 4 weeks, but it was peculating the background.. It's easy to see what it has taken away from me. It's harder to see the positives. I eventually found my answer, but it was instinctive for me to get there.

I am married to a hockey fan, and John was telling me about 24/7 - HBO is following two hockey teams behind the scenes leading up to the outdoor Winter Classic hockey game. Ok, all this to say the Philadelphia Flyers listen to "Knock Knock" by Mac Miller when they win. I've had a super year, so this is my victory song! Wishing everyone a wonderful Christmas and a health-filled New Year.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Oh, the irony

You have to have a sense of humour when you have a chronic disease. You have to be able to laugh at yourself a little. And you have to have someone in your life that can lift the mood.

It's too bad it's 3 in the morning, and my husband is sleeping, because I could use a laugh right now. I am recovering from shoulder surgery on my right side, I am relying heavily on my left arm. Wouldn't it be funny if my left wrist puffed up like a balloon, and didn't work properly? That would be just freakin' hilarious. John would have a witty, sarcastic one-liner that would make me smile, and then he would help me get dressed and do my hair. He is a very patient man, as I have long curly hair and strong sense of independence. It doesn't usually go well for either of us.

To add fuel to this fire of inflammation,  that is happening right now, a mere 10 sleeps before Christmas. Don't get me wrong, having shoulder surgery November 1st provides significantly fewer expectations on Christmas, but there are some minimum standards I am hoping to meet. Like presents for everyone on the list.

Just when I was getting my sea legs under me and starting to drive myself around, it seems my body has other ideas for me, as usual. But the irony is not lost on me. If you only have one arm, then let's have a flare in a pivotal joint, just for fun. The other irony is the first thing I think to do while not able to sleep due to the pain and discomfort, is write a blog entry thus using the wrist that is screaming in pain. Oh, the irony.

There is a very fitting song to go with this post, from a fellow Canadian - Alanis Morissette's "Ironic". Yep, this is pretty ironic.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011


I'm alive. The surgery went well, and I am the proud new owner of a resurfaced shoulder. From an Orthopedic perspective, it went very well. From an Anesthesia  perspective, it couldn't have gone worse. OK, check that, I guess that I could have woken up during the procedure but other than that it was an absolute failure.

My nerve block didn't work at all. At all. So I  woke up in recovery in excruciating pain. Anyone who has been in the hospital for an extended period of time will laugh when I say my pain was a 12 on 10. Seriously, it was the worst pain of my life thus far. And it took several hours for it to be under control. It's hard to chase pain and get on top of it.

To top off my experience, the nursing staff was not very kind. I was upset and didn't understand why my nerve block didn't work, and the comment I was given was "Would you rather have your surgery delayed?". As if that was the only choice. Surgery now and no nerve block. I shudder to think that is how some people relate to others. I am younger and stronger than most of the patients through the recovery room - other less strong and strong-willed would have actually bought that line.

I had asked for a nerve block with a pump and catheter. In the end I had a needle that missed the mark and didn't provide any pain relief whatsoever. Clearly my expectations were not met. But after one horrible day, I was feeling better and on a morphine pump. Five days later, I was on Extra-strength Tylenol and a Percacet at night. Not bad. Now, I'm on nothing.

I listened to my iPod at nights to drown out the noise in the hospital. It was my Dance/Rap mix - Nicki Minaj, Jay-Z, eminem, Lady Gaga, Brittney. It was mostly upbeat noise that was better than the hospital sounds. I can't bring myself to link Nicki Minaj in this blog so I'll go Martin Solveig featuring Dragonette and Hello. A happy song about nothing. Just what the doctor ordered.