Cleaning house physically, emotionally, and mentally.

Posts tagged ‘arthritis’

Wild Week!

It has been a wild week here! And I am glad it is almost over. Here’s my brief summary of the events.

Monday. I have a huge project at work that is consuming the next two weeks. It is a new type of project for me and I was unprepared for the amount of time it would take. By the end of Monday, my eyes were bugging out of my head and my brain was frazzled.

Tuesday. My arthritis has been making itself known for the past month. My knee is so swollen and hot to the touch due to inflammation. The pain has made a good night’s sleep impossible. But a quick trip to the rheumatologist and the magic of a cortisone shot has greatly helped out. Yes, the shot hurts a bit, but not as much as when I don’t get it.

Wednesday. Here’s where the wild comes in. A strong thunderstorm blew through the area just at the end of the work day. I had to take Ellie (my petite Siamese) to the vet to recheck her blood now that her bladder infection seems to be gone. The wind was gusting at 60 mph and tossing trees everywhere. I had to take a couple of detours to get home because traffic lights were out or downed trees were blocking the road. I finally got home but all power was out. Even the vet’s office was without power, so Ellie lucked out. My backyard had several roofing shingles on the lawn. Fortunately, they were my neighbors and not from my roof. The power was out until the next morning.
Thursday. Back to the grind of work. I was able to meet up with Daughter for dinner.

Friday. To stay on schedule with the huge work project, I had to be at work early. The project is going better, so we knocked off for the weekend. I met extended family members at a pizza place because one of my brothers is visiting from out of town. Yay, that takes care of dinner. I make it home with the best intentions to do some laundry and wash dishes. But the Wednesday storm also created a water problem because there is no power to the water reservoirs. Thus everyone is asked to conserve water. So much for laundry. I plan to shut off my lawn sprinklers so they don’t add to the problem. Hoping that tomorrow I can do a small load of laundry though. Wouldn’t you know it; just when I am geared up to clean, water is limited.

Hoping Saturday is somewhat relaxing and calm. I am thankful I have power and water. There are still thousands of homes in the area without power.

Here are a few pictures showing the storm damage. Thankfully my house, yard, and trees are untouched.






Crohn’s Disease–It’s the Sh*ts

Last week I was off sick for the day, sleeping 24 hours and still not feeling up to par. I fear I’m on the verge of a flare-up. And I don’t mean fireworks, fires, or torrid love affairs; I mean Crohn’s disease. I’ve had it for over 30 years and have been in fair remission for several years. Uh oh.

Crohn’s disease is an auto-immune disorder that causes damage to the digestive system; it falls under the umbrella of inflammatory bowel diseases. Basically it causes inflammation to the lining of your digestive tract and often results in diarrhea, among other things. The cause is unknown, but is thought to be a combination of genetics, environmental issues, and an abnormal auto-immune response. (The doctor that diagnosed me called me a mutant since no one in my family had it; loved this doctor for his off-the-wall humor).

And because it is an auto-immune disorder, it may be paired with other auto-immune disorders, such as Ankylosing Spondylitis (AS, a form of arthritis, which I also have) which mostly affects the spinal joints. Episodes of iritis (inflammation of the iris) can also occur.

My history with Crohn’s and AS goes back to my mid-20s. The AS was diagnosed during a time when I was having trouble walking due to intense lower spinal pain. After finally getting a handle on the chronic pain, things were looking better. I had learned a type of bio-feedback where I could “see” myself on a summer day, at the beach, and I would be warm and toasty. This tended to open up my blood vessels for better circulation, and the pain (especially in my hands) would ease up a bit. Basically, I just got used to chronic pain. Deep breaths are often the only way people can now tell when the pain gets too bad.

Then came the Crohn’s diagnosis. Continual abdominal cramping, diarrhea, and loss of appetite. And the diagnosis involved a colonoscopy (kind of like a camera up the butt) among lots of related tests to rule out other issues. Medicine to attempt to control the inflammation did the trick, along with diet changes. Or so I thought.

A few years after my diagnosis, I moved to Florida. Things seemed to go well, but then everything started going crazy with my auto-immune system. I started have trouble walking again and would keep canes in the car, at home, and at work. I would be OK one minute, almost frozen in pain the next minute, and then be OK a few minutes after that. Then the Crohn’s took a giant leap and really started in on me. I ended up having emergency surgery twice because of severe inflammation. The Crohn’s had eaten away though part of my intestines and created little tunnels to the outside of my body. Fistulas, what a lovely word. The surgery was to drain the pockets of infection, and insert mushroom catheters (they look like they sound) to keep the inflammation draining until it was over. Gross, huh? YES IT WAS!

Then came the iritis. Inflammation of the iris of the eye that is so painful, especially to any light. I would lay in a dark room with a dark washcloth over my eyes, and it still wasn’t dark enough. I had to put drops and a gell-like substance in my eye every hour. Try getting any sleep with that regime. I felt like a pirate; a patch on my eye and limping with a cane.

At one point I was pregnant, but had severe iritis and other nasty symptoms which required several months of Prednisone medication. Some concern by everyone (including doctors) about taking corticosteroids while pregnant. Due to these concerns, I had amniocentesis done. I had low folic acid and there was potential for spinal bifida, and because of my AMA (advanced maternal age of 39), Down’s Syndrome. Thankfully, everything checked out OK.  I had to have a caesarean though due to previous fistulas, and my daughter was born earlier and small (5 lbs, 10 oz.). Again, all turned out well though.

I soon moved out of Florida and all seemed well; arthritis and Crohn’s seemed to be in remission.  Could it have been the weather? Hot and humid vs. cold and dry? And then I started having little flare-ups. But they would come and go, so  I didn’t pay a lot of attention to them. After about 18 months of these little flare-ups getting closer together, there was a diagnosis of a blockage in my intestines. And major surgery was required. Doctors removed 7 inches of my colon.  I spent 7 days in the hospital trying to recuperate. Does that correlate to 1 day per inch?  I was extremely nauseous, although everyone told me I can’t be because I had a nasogastric tube and there was nothing in my stomach to make it so upset. Nothing makes me angrier than someone telling me I am not nauseous when I tell them I am. To fix them, I usually just puke on their shoes, but this time I couldn’t, so I just vomited all over the bed (and myself too). That took care of those naysayers. Bad move to vomit on myself though. The doctor came in and said, “oh, your gastro tube is in too deep.”  He then just grabbed it and pulled it out about 3 inches. OMG – the shock and quick pain, much like when you get water up your nose. And then after a few minutes, the nausea disappeared! I went home 2 days later.

The surgery was a calculated risk. Crohn’s people don’t like surgery because it just fixes the current symptom; the disease is always still there. And statistically, once you have big surgery, there is a very high percentage (use to be 70-75%) of having to have surgery again within a couple of years. Apparently, Crohn’s gets pissed if you tinker with it, and to prove who’s boss, comes back with a vengeance.

It has been 12 years since my big surgery and I have been in fairly good remission. My arthritis has been bad, requiring cortisone shots in various joints, but that is settling down a bit now. And apparently just in time, because I feel like a flare-up is in the works. And I feel shitty (pun intended).

Weekend Plans

It’s the Friday of Memorial Day weekend. Here are my plans:

  • Finish planting flowers outside
  • Plant flowers at my moms (it’s her Mother’s Day present)
  • Finish decluttering the kitchen
  • Put away Alia’s (daughter) stuff from college
  • Get caught up on laundry
  • Vacuum
  • Clean bathroom
  • Bring out the lawn furniture

Geez – now that I have written my tasks down, they seem overwhelming. But I have already started the laundry and should get a load or two done tonight.  And I have three days to do everything! Check back over the weekend to see how I”m doing. Wish me luck! Thankfully my sciatica is barely there today. Hoping it will stay away for the weekend as there is a lot of physical stuff to do (planting, furniture, etc.).

So now the rest of the news. I finally sort of connected with a long lost friend in the Joplin area. She answered my Facebook friend request but didn’t provide any info as to whether she and family are OK. Thus I will assume they are until I hear otherwise.

I briefly texted with my daughter today. She’s off on a Saturday/Sunday trip with a bunch of college buddies. Heavy sigh — just another holiday notch in the belt where she’s not home and we are not doing something together. Another heavy sigh.

The weather here is crap! We have had no spring at all. it has been raining, raining, and raining and chilly. Now it’s not the chilly weather, because I like the coolness. But the constant rain is putting a damper on things (ha-pun intended). The cool thing (yup, another pun) is that I have turned the heat off and have not turned on the air conditioning yet. Definately late in the year for AC. And I have not turned on my sprinklers yet either.

Since I don’t have work tomorrow, I plan to sleep in. What I will really do is read late into the night. Then wake up early (about 6:00 a.m.), read a bit more, fall asleep, wake up and read, then sleep again. Sometimes I will do this all day and not even get out of bed at all! But not tomorrow. I vow to be up and working on tasks by 10:00 a.m. Oh and let’s not forget that sleeping in seems to be a quality cat-time session, at least that’s what MeiMei and Sunni think.

I’m off to finish up with today’s laundry and plan to go to bed early so I can read. “Crunch Time” is a fun read and I’ve been a Diane Mott Davidson fan for years. When I finish it (will be done this weekend), I’ll expound on the books.

Enjoy the long weekend and stay safe.