I finally finished editing the photos I took at The Walk to Cure Juvenile Arthritis a couple weekends ago. The event is an annual 5k walk that brings out tons of people to raise money to help find a cure for Juvenile Arthritis and support the kids and families who live with the disease. This was my fifth year photographing the walk for my local Arthritis Foundation chapter, and as always, it was great to see all of the people who participated in the event and to be surrounded by so many people who are dedicated to and passionate about arthritis advocacy.
I, myself, was diagnosed with RA when I was 18 (although I started having symptoms at age 17), so I was on the cusp of juvenile vs adult rheumatoid arthritis. My pediatrician gave me a preliminary diagnosis and immediately sent me to see an adult rheumatologist who I stayed with for the next 10 years. During the end of my teen years and into my 20s, I lived a very isolated and lonely life regarding my RA. I didn’t know any other teenagers or college-age people with the disease and spent these young years battling the physical and emotional pain essentially alone. To say it was hard would be a big understatement.
Volunteering at the walk this year, like the previous years, it made me feel happy to see all of these young people and their families coming together to support each other, and to nurture the friendships and relationships they’ve made over the years, as well as forming new ones. It breaks my heart to think of little kids having to deal with the intense, debilitating pain of RA, but I do feel better knowing that many of them are not alone.
Well, maybe I shouldn’t have said something so soon. Sadly and frustratingly, I’m back on prednisone–5 mg. My right foot and ankle are flaring up again (seriously, what is WRONG with THAT foot and ankle?!). I see my rheumatologist on Thursday so we’ll see what he says about it.
And in other painful health news, I’ve been battling a bad case of gastritis (I think) for over a week. Thanks to omeprazole (Prilosec), and an anti-nausea drug, and severely limiting my diet, it seems to be getting better. What relief! The constant nausea (with some vomiting) and stomach pain has been so horrible. But on the bright side, I have been losing weight. This isn’t exactly the weight loss plan I had imagined for myself, however. Another good forced diet change: no Diet Coke or caffeine!
And in GOOD NEWS, I went on my first bike ride a couple days ago! I had to make a few stops and take breaks (I’m weak from sickness and not eating hardly anything and not exercising all winter), but it felt so good. It was a lot colder out today so I chickened out, but I hope to go on another ride very soon.
I don’t want to have to get dressed and go out into frigid 7 degree weather now just to pick up a new Vicodin prescription when I’m not feeling well. But, I have to. Remember the good old days (before October) when your doctor could just call in the prescription to your pharmacy? Those days are dead. And I’m really crabby about it. I’m also annoyed by how inconvenient it is to drive and park at my clinic; it’s not a quick and easy trip. It’s a huge hassle. I hope a cup of coffee can give me a little burst of energy to leave the house.
In addition to the daily RA maladies, I’ve been sick with an upper respiratory virus thing since last Thursday–coughing, choking on snot, head about to explode, etc. So I REALLY do not want to have to drive all the way over to the clinic just to physically pick up this piece of paper.
I am thankful that I’m able to even have access to pain medication when many people in my situation aren’t so lucky. All right, I’ll shut up now so I can go get my meds and hopefully do something productive today that isn’t related to managing my health, since I did stay home from work.
I just found out that my hemoglobin level is low again (9). This could explain some things. Like, how I’ve been feeling so dragged-down tired all the time. But it’s often so hard to know what the source of the fatigue is. RA? Sinus problems? Lack of sleep? Depression? Anemia? Pain? Stress? ALL?
So, I’m back popping the iron pills. I hope this helps some.
I saw this written in graffiti on the side of a building one day when I was riding the subway in November. I wished I could’ve taken a photo of the original, but instead I grabbed my little notebook out of my purse and scrawled this down quickly.
To whomever wrote this quote, I thank you. It’s beautiful, much appreciated, and often times quite needed.