November 1, 2011

My surgery went well yesterday and I’m feeling pretty good recovering today. In addition to the general anesthesia I was given, the anesthesiologist also gave me a localized nerve block for my right ankle/foot, which meant it was basically paralyzed for 24 hours. So, needless to say, I didn’t feel much pain at all yesterday after the surgery. This morning I could wiggle my toes again and the feeling in my foot is starting to creep back. My ankle is starting to hurt now, too. I’m drugged up on some percocet and vistaril, which is pretty nice, I must say. However I’m already bored just lying around on the couch with my foot up. Trying to walk at all is a huge challenge – especially with cumbersome crutches I can’t really seem to get the hang of. I will also have to wear this attractive giant black boot for at least two weeks, depending on how fast my ankle heals. This means I can’t drive until I can wear a normal shoe again. Hopefully I can bribe friends to pick me up and help me escape from the house during the next few weeks.

Good news – after I came out of surgery my doctor/surgeon went to speak with my parents about the operation. He said that the scope showed that my ankle joint is not damaged, so this is really great. He also said he removed scar tissue and damaged/inflamed tissue that was from the RA. I wish I had been able to talk to him myself, like last time, but maybe he figured I was too out of it from the anesthesia. I might call the doctor’s office tomorrow or something to see if I can speak with him.

So that’s the surgery news. I’m glad it’s over. And I really hope it works this time and that removing all of that inflamed crap will cut down on my pain, swelling and immobility. I just want to have a normal ankle again.

Surgery tomorrow

October 30, 2011

My ankle surgery is tomorrow morning. I’m trying to not think about it too much, but I am really nervous. I can’t wait until it’s over. Surgery is scheduled for 9:50 and I have to check in by 7:50. The procedure should take about an hour and I will go home sometime later tomorrow. I’m sure everything will be fine, but it just freaks me out thinking about it – thinking about being put under and the doctor scraping around inside my ankle. Ick.

Prayers, good thoughts, healing vibes, etc. are very welcome!

So I went to one of the Massage Envy spas last night for their Arthritis Foundation deal. It was an…uh…interesting experience. Basically, my massage therapist was a weirdo girl who tried to chat me up during the massage while I was lying face down shirtless and already feeling a bit uncomfortable. Practically straight away she asked me in a creepy voice, “So what do you like to do for fun?” Huh? NOTHING. DO NOT TALK TO ME DURING MASSAGE, PLEASE. Throughout the rest of the hour she proceeded to tell me about how she thinks about what it would be like if her dad was a cat and that she has psychic abilities. Regarding the latter, of course I couldn’t resist asking (still lying face down while she pummeled my back and called me “Dear”) – Ok, so what do you sense about me and my “energy?” She replied, “Your right side is full of work stress and…FEAR.” Uh ok. She went on, “Your left side has some…anger. Is there trouble with your mom?” What? No. She said, “I sense an older, female energy in there.” Well I’m certainly mad at plenty of people these days but my mother is not one of them. And I’m pretty sure she’s not in my left shoulder. Maybe it’s Grandma? Er, okay, thank you, Creepy Girl, glad I asked.

I think I walked out of there more tense than when I walked in.

A lot of things have been happening regarding my RA, and well, with everything really. I’m having surgery on my right ankle again on October 31st (I hope my surgeon doesn’t play any “tricks” on me in the operating room). It’s the same surgery I had five years ago – the doctor is going to scope my ankle to try to see what’s going on in there. Like last time, I have a feeling that he’ll also end up removing inflamed synovial tissue. The frustrating thing about my ankles, the right one in particular, is that nothing ever shows up on the MRIs and X-ray scans yet I continue to have debilitating pain and swelling. As the surgery date gets closer, I’m starting to get more nervous and scared, but I just hope the surgery is more of a success than it was last time. I had my pre-op physical yesterday and I’m good to go. Whoohoo! Happy Halloween, eh?

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Margo’s Story

September 28, 2011

This video is really good! I found it on the Arthritis Foundation’s Facebook page.

I gave up playing the piano (I had taken lessons for nine years) 14 years ago when I was diagnosed with RA. This girl is amazing – maybe there’s hope I can play again too?

Arthritis Walk 2011

September 27, 2011

The Arthritis Walk 2011, Edina, MN

Sorry I haven’t updated in a while but I’ve been busy working at a new temp job for the last month and doing a million other things – doctor’s appointments, photography stuff, volunteer work, passing out on the couch, etc. Last weekend was a busy one, but it was pretty good. The Arthritis Foundation’s annual Arthritis Walk was held at a lovely park in Edina last Saturday morning. I volunteered to take photos again for my local chapter, The Upper Midwest Region. Luckily it was a perfect, beautiful day for the walk and a lot of people participated in the event, raising money for the Arthritis Foundation. Also exciting, a few of my photos were shown on the local news broadcast later that night (KARE 11 News/NBC) and I was credited for them (this did not happen last year)!  As soon as I get a chance I’ll upload the photos to the MN chapter’s Shutterfly site:

The Arthritis Walk, Sept. 24, 2011

The New York Times article: Williams Says She Struggled with Fatigue for Years

Tennis star Venus Williams just recently withdrew from the US Open tournament announcing that she has Sjogren’s Syndrome, which is an arthritis-related auto-immune disease. I heard the news on the radio when I was driving home from work last night and I immediately felt surprised and really sad. If she has been having any joint pain and fatigue similar to RA, I can’t imagine how she can continue to play tennis. Hopefully she will get on a good treatment regimen right away and that she won’t have to give it up.

In 2004 I was diagnosed with Sjögren’s myself after waking up one morning with extremely dry and inflamed eyes. It was horrible and probably the worst pain I have ever experienced in my life. My vision became blurred and I felt like I had shards of glass cutting into my eyes. The only relief I got was when I was asleep; my time awake was torture. After waiting a month to see a dry eye specialist (I fault my former rheumatologist for this), I finally got in and had tests done to try to determine what was really going on. I was scared to death that the inflammation was attacking my tear glands and that my eyes would never be normal again. Luckily, my tear glands were fine and were producing enough tears. It was my tear quality that was bad resulting from inflammation of my eyelids, also known as blepharitis. After using steroid eye drops and other drops and tedious home remedies, my eyes finally returned to “normal” after about a year of dealing with this. I have little flare-ups from time to time but thankfully my eyes have never gone back to being as bad as they once were. However, I still can’t wear contact lenses (which makes me really mad and depressed because I hate glasses).

My heart really goes out to anybody who suffers from Sjögren’s  Syndrome because I know how incredibly painful and frustrating it can be, emotionally as well as physically. I hope Venus will get the care and support that she needs having this chronic disease.


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