On Sunday morning when my little cock-a-poo, Francis, went outdoors for the first time of the day he came back in quickly. He stopped. He turned, poked his head out the door, raised his head so his nose could be as high as possible, and he sniffed. I couldn’t smell it, but Francis was smelling the smoke from one of our forest fires.
Our governor has declared a state of emergency in four of New Mexico’s counties. Dry land, wind, heat. Fire season. We seem to be safe in Albuquerque. A few years back we had raging fires in our Bosque. Close to home. One year the fires were so bad in California our air was thick with smoke.
I have a friend whose husband was a firefighter in California. He died of cancer. Cancer is common among firefighters because of all the toxic fumes they inhale.
Monday, I had an appointment with my rheumatologist, Dr. R. We had a lot to discuss. She seemed relaxed and less intense than usual. She had scheduled the appointment for an hour. It seemed I was her last appointment. Naturally, we talked for over an hour. I had brought a pain log that covered the last few months. I had also brought a list of items I wanted to discuss.
- Orencia was no longer working.
- I did not want to be on Imuran. It takes twelve weeks to work. It also has its own set of side effects and complications.
- I am willing to try Actemra. I thought it was working the two times we tried it even though I hadn’t been on it long. We had to stop the first time because I was diagnosed with cancer and the second time when I had open wounds on my ankles.
- I have had the current vaccine for shingles. Labs done. I did point out I had diverticulitis several years ago and I had histoplasmosis when I was living in Nebraska. Both of these are potential reoccurrences with Actemra.
- I should be able to start the Actemra this weekend. She wants to continue the Medrol with a very slow taper.
- She reviewed my recent MRI with me. As expected, my back is continuing to degenerate and the degeneration is up into my thoracic spine. She said many patients with a similar back condition are bed ridden. I appreciate my good fortunate. I hope it lasts.
- She discussed my pain doctor. Apparently, the pharmacist who manages pain medicine was at a conference. She is back and working to understand my needs. My pain medicine arrived yesterday. Ahead of schedule.
After a chest x-ray and labs, we were about the last to leave. We drove through rush hour traffic. Welcomed home by Francis. Dinner of fresh chicken ravioli with a salad. Always good to be home.
My hydroponic garden has produced graduates: my tasty treat tomatoes, basil and enough lettuce to supplement three salads. My Hosta are growing and being ignored by the squirrels as is my herb garden. My plan is to transplant my two tomato plants outdoors, one for us and the other for the squirrels.