Tuesday, July 12, 2011


I've been struggling.  For so long I've been telling myself I will get better.  I will be able to do all the things I used to.  I will have my nice normal(ish) life back.  Yeah, this is something we call denial.  Yup, I'm in denial. 

I have Rheumatoid Arthritis.  I have secondary Fibromyalgia.  I am chronically ill.  There I said it.  Happy?

Yeah, so I get a little testy when pushed.  I'm still learning to navigate the waterways of my new life.  A life where it is hard to sleep, hard to get out of bed, hard to care of my children.  A life where I have to ask for help.  A life where I feel trapped and a little scared and uncertain about my future.

The truth is, I've never been very good at asking for help.  You need my help? Want me to carry something, pick up something, bring you somewhere?  Sure!  No problem.  Do I need something?  No, I'm fine.  Really, I'm totally fine!  There have been times in my life where I was the exact opposite of that.  So totally far gone that I needed help and couldn't ask for it. 

Things are different now, I have to ask for help.  I have to ask my 7 year old daughter to get her own snacks.  Heck, I have to ask her to get ME snacks.  I have to ask her to help me open things, carry things, and care for her younger siblings.  She is sweet and wonderful and I hope I am teaching her a lesson in compassion because I feel horrible about the whole thing. I have to ask my husband to take on the burden of the housework because while I can accomplish somethings, there are many things that are out of my reach.  I hate it.  I feel like a failure. 

Its summer and that means we have lots of visitors and do lots of visiting.  I hate it.  I used to love it, but now I hate it.  Why?  I can't do things and I hate that.  I hate that there are limitations and I hate letting people see my limitations.  My family is understanding and loving I know they see it, but I often push myself too hard when others are around because I don't want to be less than.  But these things, they aren't coming from other people.  They are coming from myself.  No one comes up to me and says "hey your house looks like crap and you should really be trying harder".  I'm telling myself these things.

I guess there are a few more miles on my road to acceptance.

Monday, May 2, 2011

My story

In May of 2009 I got pregnant with our third child. It was a hard pregnancy. I was sick, nauseous, and chasing two other children around. It was ok, right? I mean, i was growing a person.

In January of 2010, I gave birth to our handsome son, Liam after an extremely long and taxing labor. He was perfect! I however, was suffering. About 12 hours after i had him (thank you adrenaline) I tried to get out of bed and could barely walk. I had massively pulled a muscle in my left leg. Excruciating pain. I took pain killers kind of pain...and we are talking about the woman who 12 short hours ago had pushed a 7.5 lb baby from her body without pain medication of any kind.

Two days after giving birth they sent me home from the hospital. I was still in massive pain and barely made it into the house. By this time the knee in my right leg had started to hurt. Bad. I couldn't move it. I figured it was probably another byproduct of excruciating labor and continued to spend every day in my recliner because getting upstairs was out of the question.

About a month later, we went to the orthopedist because I still couldn't move my leg. I also couldn't walk. This was a major problem and my husband had been home all this time from work. Two ortho appointments and an MRI later he thought I had torn the meniscus in my knee and I had surgery.

A week later I started physical therapy with the therapist I affectionately refer to as Dr Evil. He was good at his job, but I was not enjoying it! 4 weeks of 3 times a week PT and my leg wasn't really a lot better. As a matter of fact it wasn't better at all. My orthopedist recommended another procedure to break up scar tissue in hopes of restoring some of my range of motion. So, in I went again. It did help, but not as much as anyone had hoped.

At this point my ortho and my physical therapist have decided I am some kind of freak of medicine. I'm not a lot better (thankfully, at this point I could walk, albeit with a noticeable limp and plenty of pain) and the dr suggests I see a rheumatologist to see if the is an underlying issue.

Three months later, i went to visit the rheumatologist.  He was nice, but didn't think there was anything he could do to help.  He had me do some blood work and tried to take some fluid out of my bad knee, but couldn't and made an appointment to come in 2 weeks later.  Two weeks later, I went in and he and I were both surprised to find that my blood work showed significant inflammation markers.  Back to the orthopedist and my third surgery that year.  Everyone wanted a better look at my knee, to make sure that there was no lurking infection and get some biopsies.  Knee surgery and a 3 day hospital stay later I was home.  The surgery helped loosen things up a little in my knee and they had determined I did not have an infection in my knee.

By this point, I had started to experience a lot of pain and stiffness in other parts of my body.  My shoulders, the other knee, my hands and ankles.  Based on this information and the information from my knee biopsies, my dr determined that I did indeed have Rheumatoid Arthritis.

There was a lot of emotions on this journey and at no point did I think this was wear I would end up.  But, here I am, learning to live with my RA.