Surgery tomorrow

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!

Update: surgery, prednisone, etc.

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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Once again I can’t believe how long it’s been since I updated this thing.  I am truly sorry, if there’s anybody out there missing me (hello? hello?).  I’m still alive and unfortunately I still have arthritis and all of the joys and pains that go along with it.

So what’s new?  After a seemingly failed synovectomy surgery on my right ankle three years ago, I basically had given up in frustration on the stubborn joint.  Just recently I decided to take up the fight again and try to see if there’s anything else/new that can be done to help me.  I’m so tired of having to limit myself and being forced to sacrifice little things that I desperately want and enjoy, such as taking a simple WALK, and being able to travel.  I can’t stand to be on my feet for very long due to this constantly swollen and painful ankle.  I don’t understand why it has been such a mystery and struggle to figure out what’s wrong with it and to fix it.  So, I have started the “process” again of doctor appointments, X-rays, fighting with my insurance company, and having to hand over most of my paychecks to pay the bills.  I just had another MRI yesterday and will find out the results in time for my doctor appointment Tuesday.  I fear that another surgery is on the horizon, but what other choice do I have?  I need to get my life back.  Soon.

Despite all of this complaining, I do have some wonderful news that I saved for last.  I have been PREDNISONE-FREE for almost two months!  You have no idea how happy this makes me.  Well, maybe you do.  I’m extremely thankful for this and I hope it can continue for a long time.

OK, that’s all for now.  I’m also very happy to be back writing on this blog.  I have some exciting and positive things coming up soon with the Arthritis Foundation, but I’ll save that news for another time.

Good night!

EOB = Explanation of Benefits = how much money I have to shell out for medical bills

PANF = Patient Access Network Foundation – I just found out that they are currently out of funds for rheumatoid arthritis patients, so now I’m on the waitlist.  This is bad since I have an upcoming remicade infusion at the end of the month and have no way to pay for the out-of-pocket portion ($900).

Today is her birthday

I can’t believe another year is gone and it’s already my birthday again. Crazy! It’s also crazy to think that a year ago today I had a synovectomy on my right ankle (what a nice birthday present, eh?). The surgery was not a great success and my ankle (both actually) is still in a lot of pain and I’m very limited in how much and how long I can stand and walk.

After 2.5 years of living with the agony and worry of inflamed and intensely painful ankles, I felt such relief when I found the orthopedic ankle surgeon who performed my surgery. I thought that finally this hell would end and I would be on my way to healing and recovery. However, now a year later, it seems this is not the case.

My ankles (both are painful and inflamed) are a bit better and the right one is a little better, but nowhere close to being normal and pain-free. I recently got the name and number of an orthopedic doctor from my rheumatologist, however I have seen this orthopedic doctor once before and he referred me to my ankle surgeon. My rheumatologist suggested that I see him again, now post-surgery, and see what he says and that maybe something else can be done. I’ve been meaning to call and set up an appointment for two weeks but I either keep forgetting or maybe it’s just subconscious hesitation.

Over the last two years of this mystery-ankle-nightmare, I’ve seen so many different doctors, specialists, orthopedic doctors, podiatrists, physical therapists, etc. How can this “problem” be so difficult to correctly diagnose and treat? My ultimate fear is that it is indeed arthritis-related and the pain and inflammation and disability will be permanent (which means not being able to walk or function like a normal person ever again).

I know I can’t give up yet I can’t even begin to express how exhausted and tired I am with trying with this. Life has turned into a giant schedule of doctor’s appointments with conflicting, confusing answers or no answers at all. Do I want to get back into this “game” of musical doctors again? I’ve been in pain yet limping along fairly well since returning from France in May, trying to occupy my mind and time with other distractions. I know the situation can’t stay like this though. So yes, I will give the doctor a call and set up an appointment, although I fear that once again I will only get no answers or the wrong ones.

On a positive note, I seem to be tolerating the Orencia pretty well. I haven’t had any serious side effects or any side effects at all, it seems. My immune system is quite weak and frankly is pretty shitty lately – hence my weird sinus sickness and now nasty cold. Let’s hope the Orencia kicks in soon and kicks the inflammation right out of my poor little ankles. That’s right, I said “poor little ankles.” They used to be little, anyway.

So yes, today is my birthday. Each year I find birthdays to be more depressing and weird than the previous ones. Maybe that’s normal? I don’t know. Tonight my family will go out for dinner to celebrate not only my birthday but my dad’s as well (his birthday is today too). It will be nice to go out together and it will be a relief to not have the fear of surgery looming ahead. The best birthday gift would be to have normal, healthy ankles again, but I don’t think I’ll get that, unless some miracle happens. However, friendship, love, support and understanding from the people in my life would be a close 2nd, I’d say. Or maybe even better than good ankles.