Goodbye coffee, hello green tea

January 18, 2012


Wow I haven’t posted in nearly two months – sorry for that! Things have been crazy and busy and…challenging. I’m still recovering from my ankle surgery in October and I’ve actually been suffering through a pretty bad flare-up for the last 2-3 weeks. BOTH ankles have been really painful making it difficult to walk or be on my feet much. My hands and wrists have also been bothering me during this time, so I’m fairly confident it’s the RA flaring up and not something else. But who knows. My next Remicade infusion is Jan. 27th so hopefully that will help get rid of it. I also finally managed to speak with my rheumatologist’s nurse today and she told me that my doctor wants me to go on prednisone again for the next couple weeks until I see him on Jan. 26th. Great, PREDNISONE. I’ve been trying so hard to stay off this drug; I haven’t taken it since August. Before that I was able to be off of it for an entire year before a bad flare-up forced me to go back on it again. The thought of taking it now is very depressing and makes me feel anxious and kind of sick inside. But what can I do? The pain and swelling in my ankles is driving me crazy – it can’t go on like this.

Anyway, I started a new temp job at the end of December working for a large non-profit healthcare system located at the University of Minnesota. I actually worked here four years ago in the exact same department and I’m filling in for the same woman who is out on maternity leave again. It’s good to be back, for the most part. The hours are pretty flexible, which is really important, and, well, I need the money. Progress has been made, but I’m still working hard to pay bills and get rid of the debt that seems to keep holding me back from moving on in life.

The good thing about this job is that it forces me to get up and move around and to get more exercise. The bad thing is, well, the same. I’m pretty sure that all of the extra walking I had been doing when I first started here is what has caused the flare-up in my ankles. Also since starting the job, I’ve been consuming large quantities of Diet Coke and coffee all day, which makes me suspicious that the caffeine/coffee might be the culprit as well. So! I stopped drinking coffee and delicious lattes and gave up my Diet Coke addiction cold turkey at the end of last week. Has it helped? I’m not sure, but I think so. My left ankle seems to be somewhat better however the right one is still throbbing constantly. Hopefully the prednisone and staying off caffeine for a good length of time will help calm down the RA and inflammation. Of course no doctor will ever tell me that he/she thinks caffeine or coffee would cause arthritis flare-ups, which is frustrating, because I always want immediate answers. However there seem to be no real answers to any of the questions and mysteries that surround this disease. I’m dying for a coffee right now, but my instinct is telling me to stay away from it. I’ve been trying to drink more tea, especially green tea, but it’s just not the same.

So there you go! That’s basically what I’ve been up to in the last couple months. I’m still trying to be patient while my right ankle is going crazy with inflammation. Oh, I’m also thinking of doing some physical therapy in the warm water pool at Courage Center. I know that would be a really wonderful thing to do – I just have to get over my horror at the idea of wearing a swimsuit in public. Maybe I can wear a sweatsuit in the pool? That would look attractive, I’m sure. Ok, I’m ending this now before I start rambling about how I was traumatized in middle school when we had to take swimming for gym class. Nobody wants to hear about that.

Thanks for reading!

15 Responses to “Goodbye coffee, hello green tea”

  1. mark Says:

    Hi I am aware of your pain my mum was diagnosed with R.A 18 months ago and boy have we been on an emotional roller coaster when she first saw her doc she was put on steroids which increased her wait got her depressed and then the pain was still there.
    She then went to a specialist and was told she had to have this needle every two weeks which she could do herself which after the third time of having the needle she was very sick and the side effects to this med was scary.

    dont want to bore you with to much but if you would like to hear more please contact me.

    machin99@googlemail.com

  2. Kathlyn FitzPatrick Says:

    Hi Angela,

    I too believe that caffine causes my arthritic flairups. In fact I stopped eating chocolate and drinking caffinated tea or coffee after a particularly bad flair up over Christmas. Everything has settled down quite well, but I went out lunchtime today and had 2 caffinated coffees at the cricket club (big mistake) this evening my hands are feeling swollen and tender with inflammation and the finger and thumb joints are hurting again.

    I have started keeping a spreadsheet of all my daily activities, food, drink, medication, weather condtions, weight etc., in fact anything that might trigger a flair up. This keeps me in control and you never know I might find my answer to eliminating or at least minimising flair ups.

    Thanks and keep your chin up. (Sorry British expression)

    • Angela Says:

      Hi Kathlyn,
      Thanks for your comment! Yeah I am getting really suspicious of the caffeine/coffee connection. I’m sorry to read that you’re swollen and in pain again. So frustrating. I also think that’s a great idea – to keep track of daily activities and food, etc. I really should do that.

      Thanks for reading my blog and keep your chin up as well! (I am familiar with this, yes. haha)

      take care,
      Angela

    • Candyoti Says:

      Same here, Every time i take any caffeine i get flare ups, my hand and finger joint hurts. Also fried food makes me sore after a few hours…

  3. Robyn Zahn Says:

    Hi, my name is Robyn and I am feeling very alone and confused with my diagnosis of RA recently. I wonder if my symptoms are usual symptoms or if I am just crazy. I know my job feels like I am faking everything and have stopped using my intermittant fmla as much and just go into work in pain, but that is getting hard. My family doesn’t understand I expend all my energy at work and I have none left for them. It makes me feel sad and angry that I am not the mom I want to be. What’s sad is that I am a nurse and get no understanding from my peers, I feel judged and discriminated against. I have been looking for some sort of support locally, but have found none. I guess I just want a place that I can vent and have some understanding.

    • Angela Says:

      Hi Robyn,
      Thanks for your comment/post. When were you diagnosed with RA? I’m so sorry to hear that you’re going through this. So you work in healthcare? And your boss isn’t understanding at all about you having RA? That’s incredible. Is it possible this could be a case of employment/disability discrimination? You should definitely NOT be judged or “punished” or treated unfairly because you have a painful chronic illness that you have no control over having. Is there someone in HR you could talk to about it?

      I really wish you the best and I hope things will improve. Are you seeing a rheumatologist now? Sometimes it takes a while to get on the right treatment.

      I hope you feel better soon!
      Angela

    • mark Says:

      Hi
      I have been resaerching into R.A as my mum w
      has been diagnosed with this over 18 months ago and it hit her hard energy levels where an issue for her to.

    • Catherine Says:

      Robyn,

      I use to be an ER nurse, and just resigned a position after only one month. Three weeks into orientation I went into flare mode and have been there now for three weeks with no end in sight. Doc advises no more ER jobs.

      I have been in critical care for 20 yrs and am too young to retire, and was denied disability because I could still do adl’s. I began the same symptoms with the same severity last year at this time, and also have throat/vocal cord involvement. I too am frustrated and would like someone who isn’t judgmental to talk with.

      Catherine

      • Angela Says:

        Hi Catherine,

        Thanks for your comment. I’m sorry I’m just replying now. How are you doing? I hope your flareup is better. I can imagine that doing ER work would be really difficult having RA. I, too, have difficulties and frustrations trying to find jobs that I can physically do (no standing, no lifting, no lengthy walking, etc). It’s really frustrating and depressing when you WANT to work but physically can’t handle it because of RA. I’ve also been denied disability in the past because I’ve been able to do temp jobs (nevermind I can’t really survive on their low pay and inconsistency). Please feel free to email me if you want someone to talk to more about this stuff.

        Take care,
        Angela

      • Catherine Says:

        Angela,

        My email is cmullikin0879@gmail.com

  4. Catherine Says:

    Angela.

    My hands are misbehaving…email

    cmullikin089@gmail.com


  5. I have rheumatoid arthritis which I discovered is triggered by a gluten and dairy intolerance after seeing a naturopathic doctor. She explained that digestion, immune function and inflammation are symbiotically linked. Of course, there are different types of arthritis but green tea has been shown to address inflammation, whatever the root cause. I’m not going to say that coffee is bad because it also has benefits, but there is evidence that it can contribute to inflammation. I enjoy the taste but I’ve decided to make the sacrifice and instead drink genmaicha in the mornings (I love the green tea and toasted rice flavour together). Good luck!

  6. Cynthia Says:

    Hi there, I was diagnosed with RA in 2006 and have been taking plaquinil and humira since. This year (54 years old) decided to try strong probiotics (14 strains, 80 billion) for “leaky gut syndrome” and stay away from wheat. Have had GREAT RESULTS!!!! Now only have a bit of pain in a couple of fingers and wrists, I could hardly walk before – feet, knee, elbows, hands make it hard to just get out of bed – pushed myself hard everyday as no other choice. Am also now learning about connective tissues and am trying to release tension with balls and handheld massage machine and it seems to be working. Works first day after but second day pain but still sooooo much better than even in December. Interesting is that tension release for hands is also in elbow, upper outer arm and top back of shoulder. Not easy staying away from wheat as it is in everything and I love bread, but know it is a problem. Also read should stay away from soy, corn, sugar, eggs, dairy and peanuts for 3 weeks and new reasearch about tea – I also love tea – figures! There is hope, as new research finally being done regarding these things, although my rheumatologist initially told me not related – I KNOW IT IS!! and am seeing results weekly. Don’t stop doing your own research – I believe different food sensitivities are related for each of us. Also check out Dr. Oz – reporter cured her son of Juvenile RA in 6 weeks of probiotics show was a couple of weeks ago. Take care!! Hope this helps.

  7. dolly Says:

    Hi…I recently started having pain in my middle left upper finger. It started swelling and it would go away but but the bone felt like it was growing a little crooked. I was drinking at least 3-4 of cups of coffee with creamer and the swelling and pain sometimes can be unbearable. I got blood work today and they have told me that now they want me to get a X-ray next week. I will keep you posted if it’s RA. But yes…my finger would swell a lot and now researching about RA inflamation of the joints…I have only recently started drinking coffee and creamer. I will stop as of today and see if the will help stop the swelling and pain and keep you posted.

  8. Thelma williams Says:

    Enjoy reading your messages my knee and my hip is giving me problems I don’t want surgery I heard a lot about surgery you will be in worse shape before you had it so I am trying any thing else. I need relief I want to go back to work soon can you help me out of this jam.thanks in advance.


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