Arthritis Hands Suck and Other Musings

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Everyone is posting on Facebook with their pumpkin recipes, jack-o-lanterns, and fall-themed things. To me, fall means the start of cold weather and the start of increased pain. Today was the first day in a while that I spent in bed most of the day. I couldn’t get warm, even with my heated blanket. My hands were cold, stiff, and painful. And to top it off, my youngest daughter faked being sick (age 8) because she missed coming to the gym with me.

You know those times where you are in a lot of pain and just want to sleep and something is talking incessantly? Yep, that was my day. I got to watch youtube videos on how I need to do her makeup tomorrow for her Elsa costume. She talked and talked…and talked. Even though she was incredibly annoying today (and I say that with love), I love the age she’s as and her out-of-the-box thinking. I love her exuberance about everything. Even on days like this, I know I’m very blessed to have my kids. They are everything.

I just spent the last 20 minutes on Amazon shopping for heated gloves. Those suckers are expensive. I’m going to try and buy a set of those heat packs for gloves and see if that helps. I have to go to my son’s football game on Sunday and it’s going to be cold. I don’t want to miss it because it’s the first game that he’s a starting player. I know I have written a lot about my son, and that he’s just not the star athlete that he wants to be, but for him, this is a huge moment. The coaches noticed how hard he’s been working and playing and they shifted him to a starting player because of it.

Don’t ask what position he’s playing because I probably don’t know, but I have heard nose guard and some other kind of guard. Someday I’ll be a football mom and understand the game, but for now I’m just super proud of my son. I feel guilty without much to say about my middle daughter today. She is thrilled that I’m going to be the room mom at Nutcracker this weekend and that I can finally see her practice the Ginger Clown piece.

I feel like everything else I have to say tonight is more of a grumble on not feeling well. I’m trying to keep my head up for my appointment on Tuesday, but I have to be prepared for the “non-answer” and no solution. I just want a reason for getting this heavy. I’m not eating enough to be this fat. I never thought I’d be one of those people looking for the quick fix to lose weight, but at the moment, that’s me. It just sucks. I hope the endocrinologist will at least let me try metformin based on my symptoms. but I have no idea.

Tomorrow is a busy day and I can’t sleep (even with a half an ambien). I have to work with my tutoring client and then my daughter’s class has a large pumpkin carving event at school. The whole fourth grade participates and she’s so excited about it. Then we’re coming home and getting ready to go to a party at the neighbors for Halloween. It’s very casual, and then we’ll go trick-or-treating. I know it will be fun, but walking around in the cold doesn’t sound appealing at the moment. I’ll get in the spirit at some point during the day tomorrow.

I just wish I could get some sleep now so I can stay awake and have some energy for it. I’m off to try. Sleep well friends!

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Another Bump in the Road

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I’m not in a good mood today. I’m not sure when it went bad, but I think it was when I received a letter from the endocrinologist saying that the male factor hormones that they tested were all in the normal range. Elevated androgens are a sign of polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS). I still have every symptom of the disease, including the most important one of the highly cystic ovaries.

I suppose I could have had a normal result because I’m on the birth control pill and that could be helping to regulate those hormones, but it doesn’t change the rest of my symptoms. So what’s really bothering me? I’m afraid to walk into that office next Tuesday and hear that there is nothing wrong, and that they just don’t have a reason for the weight gain and other symptoms.

I gave up hope that I was going to hear that I don’t have rheumatoid arthritis weeks ago. When I self-diagnosed hypothyroid, I thought the muscle and joint pain might be caused by that. The endo was clear when he shot that theory down. I suppose the newest plan is to hear what he has to say on Tuesday, and then going back to the rheumatologist to start plaquenil again before it gets really cold and my joints get worse.

In the past week my hip, legs and feet have been stiff and painful. My hands have been experiences the neuropathy symptoms with the painful pins and needless and numbness. Who knew numbness would be painful? Believe me, it is! The colder weather also brings out my Raynaud’s, which just adds to the pain.

I’m frustrated tonight because I am still here with no answers and now I’ve already decided that the endo is going to say there is nothing wrong and to exercise more. I haven’t really been hungry at all lately. I’ve hardly had a snack and my meals have all been healthy. In my depression today, I opened the damn bag of Halloween candy and had 4 KitKats. Do I regret it? No! They were delicious.

The highlight of my day was at a clinic meeting for my son at school. They set up monthly clinics to stay on top of his progress after they fucked up on his IEP (Individualized Education Program) last year. He receives special education services for dyslexia and comprehension issues. My son can be a big pain in the ass when it comes to getting his services, mostly because he’s so afraid of looking different or standing out. I do understand that, but I’m trying to explain the harder he works now with comprehension and reading strategies, the less time overall he’ll need to go to resource.

Anyway, what a wonderful meeting. Each of his teachers wrote up really nice things about what a good student, and hard worker he is. Both is science teacher and his literacy teacher noted that he does struggle with writing, but both said he is working really hard and seeing them during his free periods for extra help. It was one of those meetings that you just can’t help but smile. I know school isn’t easy for my son, but at one point this semester he had straight As. He now has a B in Spanish, and that’s completely fine. He’s working his butt off, and I think (I hope) he’s also proud of himself.

I have a lot to be happy about, but I’m just not tonight. I’m blue and sad. Not sad enough to cry about anything, but with the exception of my kids, this just isn’t the life I thought I’d have. And, I don’t know whether it’s best to accept that I now have limitations, or try and find help to work through them.

I don’t talk about it with friends. I used to talk about it and my insecurities about it with my friend (the one who is no longer a friend). He was actually a good listener for a long time. The thing is, it went both ways as I was always a good listener to him…and he had no shortage of drama. When he told me that he didn’t want to hear that I didn’t feel well or was in pain anymore, it really hit me. Even my friends don’t get it. Of course, I have way more polite friends than him–many of whom ask how I’m doing and really want to know. Ok, maybe not many, but definitely a few. That one conversation though, made me re-examine how much I was talking about it.

I never thought that I was talking about it 24/7, but when he asked, I would tell him if I was in pain, etc. But, because someone pointed out that I was talking about it too much, I think I shut down. I don’t want to be Debbie Downer. I love to laugh and have fun. I smile and laugh more with my kids than I do anywhere else. I truly enjoy them (even when they are beasts). I thought there was a balance, and now I’m not so sure. I don’t bring it up unless people ask, except on this blog, of course. This is my place to vent and talk about my autoimmune issues and if anyone is annoyed they can simply stop reading.

I just wondered if anyone else has had a friend or family member tell them they are too focused on their illness. I always joke that I’m a hermit and not a people-person, and things like that are the reason why. I don’t want to open up and be shut down by someone.

I hope you all are having a pain free night!

Two-Faced People Annoy Me

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They are everywhere. Two-faced people. As I mentioned last night, there was a situation at my son’s school and another boy, who happens to have some severe anger issues and needs attacked him during gym. I get that it might be the subject of concern for other parents. This is the fourth time this year (that I know of) that this boy has snapped and attacked another student for no reason. I understand concern for my son, and I understand the concern for safety for other students, but I’m not an idiot.

If you don’t give me the time of day on a regular basis, please don’t email me like we’re best friends when you want information. I’m gong to give you as little information as possible. Something like…My son is doing fine. Thanks so much for your concern. Buh-bye. Okay, I left out the buh-bye, but I was thinking it.

One mom went as far as to ask if I was pressing charges, if I contacted the parents directly, what I said to the school, how the child was being punished…and accused the boy of being the next Adam Lanza (the shooter from Newtown). Now, I’m not thrilled that anyone put there hands on my child. This never should have happened. I’m even surprised at how calm I am about it, but perhaps it’s because I understand that it wasn’t personal. It wasn’t with malicious intent toward my son. There wasn’t a vendetta behind it. It doesn’t excuse the behavior, but it does make it different in my mind.

However, today, my son told me his back was bothering him where he had been kicked. I guess I was so concerned that he got punched in the head, I’m not even sure if I heard the part about being kicked in the back, but he has a good deal of swelling and bruising. So, Mamabear kicked in. I sent an email to the principal and let him know that tomorrow morning I’d be taking my son to the doctor to have the injury looked at because of the swelling. I thought that because there wasn’t any significant bruising yesterday I should notify them in writing. I also, in as nice a way as I could, mentioned that I did have concerns on what was being done to address the violent outbursts that this child was having. Clearly a suspension wasn’t working. I know they can’t tell me what they are doing, but as a mom, I want to hear that steps are being taken to ensure the safety of the other students in the school. I also want my sons injuries documented by our pediatrician in case something else happens. Maybe that sounds terrible, but it’s what I feel I need to do.

Anyway, today was better in terms of my pain level. My allergies have been bugging me, though. Toward the end of the day, my right hip and leg were sore and I had to sit down and end my day a lot sooner than I wanted to. Needless to say, my house is still a disaster. I have to bring my daughter to a two-hour vocal rehearsal tomorrow and then hopefully I can clean for a while. We don’t have major Father’s Day plans. Later in the afternoon we are going to stop by my Dad’s house, but as far as I know we aren’t doing too much around here. Possibly going on the boat for a bit. Did I mention I’m not a boat person? I’m a freakin crab tonight!

I will suck it up because it’s Father’s Day, but only after I vacuum and clean the bedrooms. At the moment I feel like I need to hook up my heating pad or go grab some ice for my back. The end of the day is always so difficult. Sometimes I just wonder if it will get easier. I do have days that I feel pretty good, but it’s rare that by this time of night that I still feel good. I’m trying not to complain, but being in chronic pain gets old. You forget what it’s like to not have the pain. To walk around without the aches and pains or stiffness.

I don’t remember what it’s like to sit for an hour and then get up from a chair and be able to do that quickly. That pretty much debilitates me. I’m just asking my readers and cyberspace friends? Does it get better? Is the medicine making it better for you? I’m off of almost everything at the moment, and I’m wondering if it’s all worth it. Let me know your thoughts.

 

Still Crabby…And Afraid of My Scale

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You read that correctly! I’m afraid of my scale. Tomorrow is the big day. I’ve spent one full week on Take Shape for Life/MediFast and the last time I stepped on the scale was last Tuesday morning. Technically, I started the diet a week ago today, but I forgot to weight myself that morning and ended up weighing myself on Tuesday.

So tomorrow morning, first thing, I need to get on the scale. Oh it’s going to suck. Why? Because I’m not sure how I did. I stuck to the plan. I didn’t even mind the plan (with the exception of the god-awful mac & cheese). I’ve enjoyed the foods, and I don’t feel hungry. In terms of being easy to do, it’s working for me, but tomorrow will tell if it’s working for me in terms of the pounds, and that’s what really matters.

I will get discouraged if I only lost one pound, or if heaven forbid, I gained weight. I truly didn’t stray from the plan with the exception of one Chips Ahoy cookie this weekend. It was staring me down on the kitchen table and I caved. It was one. I ate it, and moved on!

I told my coach today, it’s almost easier not knowing how much I lost because I feel like if I didn’t lose a lot of enough, I’ll lose my motivation. Part of the problem is that with this plan they don’t want to you do heavy exercise for the first few weeks because of the reduces calorie diet. On the days I teach classes, my coach has me eating extra servings of protein and calories to compensate for what I’m burning off in class. So there you have it, I’m scared.

So to sum up today’s two blogs, I’m depressed and scared. Pretty darn good day, huh! I snapped out of the depression a bit. My daughter came home and apologized for our argument and told me how much she loved me. We had a good took about her fears about singing and decided that we’d talk to her voice coach about some strategies to help with her nerves.

My son is lucky he survived the day after he took a Sharpie to my youngest daughter’s doll. He had to cough up $40 from his own bank to pay for another one for her. I was so angry and disappointed in him for doing something do mean. I really don’t think he even understood just how mean it was until he saw her crying. That was super fun to deal with.

There’s just been a lot going on. So many things weighing on me, culminating with my son’s special education PPT on Wednesday morning—the first PPT ever that I will be bringing an advocate. I’m excited and nervous at the same time. I have the upper hand, but it’s still nerve-racking. The good news is, the advocate I’m bring with me is so knowledgeable and calm, I know I’m in good hands.

I just think the stress is wreaking havoc on my autoimmune system. My body is shutting down and I’m feeling exhausted and flu-ish. I’m not sick. I’m just achy and rundown. Exactly the way I feel at the start of a flare, minus the pain. I have some stiffness, but other than some leg pain, there really isn’t any extreme pain; just aches.

This too shall pass. Hopefully I’ll have time for another nap tomorrow and that will help!

 

All in the Day of a Mom

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Another day of waking up nauseous, but it faded pretty quick this time. I was able to teach a killer class that involved walking lunges, wall sits, abs with weights, dead lifts, and crazy planks with weights. Needless to say, I wasn’t in too much pain this morning, and I was able to do a lot more than usual. It was one of the first mornings in a while that I was able to grasp my hands around 8lb weights without feeling like my hands were going to drop them at any moment.

Needless to say, I had a lot of fun with my this morning, and that set the tone for my day. It was a busy day and I didn’t have a lot of time to relax, so it was lucky that I felt pretty good. I had to pick my son up early for a doctor’s appointment, only to find out that he fell at recess and hurt his arm. Not sure if I’ve mentioned this before but of all of my children, my son is the one I refer to (behind his back) as Sophia Loren. Any injury leads to his Oscar reel performance of pain and suffering, so he gets into the car with his sweatshirt tied around his arm like a sling.

He explained what happened an I did notice a bit of swelling, so I got irritated that I had to hear it from him and not the nurse. I went into Mamabear mode and called the school nurse who said she didn’t notice any swelling, which is why she didn’t call me, but she did give him Advil for the pain. We were on our way to his monthly therapy appointment for his ADD meds and one would have thought his arm might fall off from pain.

He wanted to go to the doctor, but being the wonderful mom that I am, I explained that I had to take an online webinar from 3-4:30 today that I could not get out of. I told him we’d go home and ice it, and if it still bothered him at 4:30 we’d go get an xray. By the time 4:30 rolled around he wanted a cast, but I reminded him that he had baseball tryouts on Saturday and that it was his left arm (he’s a lefty). He got quiet, and thought for a while.

“What if they just give me a sling?”

“Then you can’t tryout for travel baseball, and we should probably cancel your sleepover tomorrow night since you’re in so much pain.”

…silence…

A short while later, shockingly, he felt a lot better! He thinks it was the Advil, I’m thinking it was the threat of losing the sleepover. Now I’m going to feel like the worst mom ever if his arm is broken, but I really think he’s fine.

The only thing I missed out on today was my walk. Although I taught I good class this morning, I didn’t get to any cardio exercise today. I’ll try and do something more tomorrow. What I’m finding difficult is not have a snack at night. I’m eating reasonable, small portions during the day, but if I eat at 5:30-6pm I’m hungry at 8:30-9pm. Tonight I had a rice cake with peanut butter…then I had a small bowl of cereal. Now I’m stuffed.

I could have done without the damn cereal. Tomorrow’s goal is not to have anything but one rice cake with peanut butter after dinner. I am also trying to wait until I’m really hungry to eat. I think I eat because I’m supposed to eat, not because I’m really hungry. I’m working on that too.

Now that it’s the end of the day, I’m pretty sore. My knees are more than pretty sore, which might be the RA and it might be the lunges (or a combination). The rest of me is just very stiff. After I’ve been sitting a while, it’s so difficult to get up and walk. I’m hunched over and holding onto a walk as I go down the hall. Let’s be honest — that just plain sucks!

Don’t forget to join our Facebook Autoimmune Mama Group for anyone suffering from an autoimmune disease. We’re off to a nice start, so please feel free to share the page with anyone you know that has rheumatoid arthritis, fibromyalgia, lupus, MS, MCTD, Raynaud’s Psoriasis, or any other autoimmune disease.

Also, don’t forget to email or send comments on the “best” bad comments you’ve received regarding your autoimmune disease. I’m compiling a list for an article and I know we’ve all heard some doozies at one time or another, whether it be the well-meaning advice, or someone who can relate because they have arthritis in their pinky toe 🙂 I want to hear your story! You can email me at autoimmunemama@gmail.com or comment on this article.

 

The Highs and Lows of St. Patrick’s Day

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Today didn’t start out well. My seven-year-old woke up and didn’t feel well. She then threw up every 15 minutes for a few hours. She finally fell asleep, then woke up completely fine and asking for pizza. I was thinking more along the lines of Saltines, but she insisted that pizza would make her tummy happy, and apparently she knew what she’s talking about.

She kept down two slices of pizza and by 2pm was singing Karaoke in the living room. This added an unwelcome twist into my enjoyment of a quiet Monday after a crazy weekend, but luckily it was a fast moving stomach bug. Hopefully the rest of us will be spared.

My good news of the day is that I completed 20 minutes (consecutively) on the elliptical. The former me inside is rolling her eyes, but I have to count my achievements even when they are small. I found that watching television helped pass the time. Usually I’m a music girl. I put my iPod on and go, but I decided that tomorrow, I’m going to allow myself to indulge in my guilty pleasure of watching The Young & The Restless if I do my elliptical during the parts where it is on. I can do abs or weights during the commercials. My goal is to do 30 minutes total of cardio.

I do have to say that while I felt really good for a while after the exercise, my hips got very tight and painful a few hours later. At the moment, I have my heating pad on, and I’m hoping for the best tomorrow. To be honest, I wish I’d get my ass outside and walk with the crazy dog. I know I have to push myself in my area with the hills, but it’s fresh air, and I’d probably walk for a longer duration than I’m on the elliptical — not to mention my dog is being referred to as a sausage by the neighbors. She’s put on a lot of weight since we took on the kittens. She cleans up after all three cats are finished eating, and she has about as much to lose as I do.

The problem is it seems overwhelming to me. It takes me 30-40 minutes to do my neighborhood circle and the last hill to get home is straight up. It’s daunting, but on the next nice day I’m going to go out there and see how I do.

I’m not Irish, but I enjoyed some corned beef and cabbage for dinner tonight. It’s something I never crave or really want, but I eat it every year anyway.

Did anyone watch Dancing With The Stars? I admit, I tuned in tonight. Poor Lando Calrissian, though Billy Dee looks darn good for his age, he didn’t do so well tonight. And, I need to discuss Meryl Davis. I’m not sure if I brought this up during the Olympics and I’m too lazy to go back and look. Does it look like there is something weird about her face?

Don’t get me wrong, she’s lovely and beautiful, but there is just something odd about her. I think it’s that you can’t quite tell where her nose starts. It kind of blends into her forehead. Of course, her body is to die for. I’d love to have some definition in my arms, but even at my peak of fitness, I had skinny arms. She’s got some good muscles.

There’s my bitchiness for the evening. I’m think her partner Charlie will be in the final, along with Meryl, and I’m reserve my last pick for next week. I hope you all had a great St. Patrick’s Day. I feel like I’m getting another migraine so I’m taking an Ambien and trying to get to sleep before 1AM. Here’s to hoping that happens.