All posts tagged: Pain management

My favorite RA Book

When I had a severe episode of RA in December 2012, I was in so much pain that coping day to day was my only focus. As the diagnosis of RA was made clear and treatment commenced, I had to learn as much as I could. I also needed to understand my situation. I turned to the best book I could ever recommend to someone who is new to RA. It is called The First Year Rheumatoid Arthritis by M E A McNeil The book explains a lot. And equally important it helps a person shape a healthy attitude toward  RA It helped me take charge of my illness in a healthy, positive manner. Another pain free day. I am in paradise!

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Disabling RA

One of the big pleasures I have is watching the full moon make its way up and over the mountain. I see it from my patio doors as I am making dinner. Lately, it not only is a big, full moon but also a beautiful, warm yellow. When I first see it, the moon  is just peering over the top edge of the mountain. Then it seems to sit on the edge of the mountain top just before continuing  its journey up into the night sky. A moment in time. I was thinking of good things to distract from the pain I have in my joints and the nagging fear in the back of my mind that I am becoming more disabled with each passing day. My RA was diagnosed seven years ago in January. Since then, I have had three cancers and a hip replacement. Most of that time I have been on methotrexate, mostly injectable. It has slowed the progress of the RA. It could be worse. I’ve been on almost all the …

I’m Back

I have completed chemotherapy and I have completed radiation. At this point I think I am cured. It’s been a long year. I am grateful as I have friends who are not as fortunate. In addition to  being diagnosed with another cancer this year, my computer died. The new one arrived Friday. It is nice to be up and running again. My RA doc has moved on to the VA. She is going to be working on research projects as well as seeing patients. I have followed her as I am a Vet.  She is happy. She had spent several of her student years working at the VA and appreciates its culture. She has ordered Voltaren Gel for the pain I have in my feet. The pain is a problem for me when I go to bed. Voltaren is a topical gel of Diclofenac, an anti-inflammatory. It arrived this morning. I will let you know if it works for me. Albuquerque has been one of the cold spots in the nation. It’s been down to …

Living with RA

  Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is considered a chronic disease. A characteristic of chronic disease is its disabling features. Walking may become more difficult. Activities like dressing, preparing meals, performing personal hygiene and completing household chores become harder and harder. Life becomes increasingly challenging until a person hits a crossroad where they make changes in his or her life or gradually slips down the slippery slope into a dependence that requires custodial care and no turning back.  RA is known for making life challenging in many ways. Like cancer, diabetes or all the other autoimmune diseases, being able to live with RA starts by making changes to our lifestyle. Pain management is a big concern for those with RA. There is no going around the fact that pain is a common feature of every day RA life. There has been much written on managing pain. Managing pain is possible with the help of professionals skilled in pain management. The topic requires its own space although these suggestions will help lease the burden of that pain. For …

Cancer Surgery Number Three

My surgery is over, and after an overnight hospital stay I am safely home. The doctor took many things out of me and she biopsied the rest. My doctor is a GYN oncologist surgeon, Sara Jordan. She is amazing and couldn’t be better. She feels that my serous uterine cancer, a rare subset of endometrial cancer and known for recurring, needs to be treated aggressively. I completed the first step, surgery. Prepping for the surgery was a challenge. I was required to spend Mother’s Day on a clear liquid diet. Then on Monday I was reduced to NPO status even though surgery wasn’t until one pm. I was running on empty so when I approached my preop, well-padded bed, I was relieved to get in. Stripped down like a hijacked car, clothed in the traditional blue gown, IV successfully inserted, I was ready for surgery. OR nurse stopped in. Anesthesiologist checked in. Dr Jordan reviewed the surgery again and introduced me to the second surgeon. Time seemed to accelerate. It was five minutes past one …

My RA and CA and me

If it weren’t for the third cancer hanging over my head, I would be a very happy soul. As it is I am just a happy soul. My roses are blooming. This is their big month and they are not disappointing.  Gardening and puttering through the various chores of my household reminds me of my housewife days. Good days. I aspire to the Hobbit life. Mellow and satisfying. Life in my home. I attend warm water pool classes at the Presbyterian Healthcare facility on Eubank. It is a long drive, but the classes are worth it. A comprehensive and aerobic workout that is manageable in the pool but not on land. Yesterday, I suddenly had a severe pain in my pelvic area that ran down the inside of my leg. Something new. Scared me. I thought about getting out but decided to lower my exercise level and see if it would pass. It did. I am no stranger to pain, back pain, joint pain and now this. Johnny Cash’s Peace in the Valley is sounding …

RA and the Bread Machine

In December I had the urge to make bread. It was the same urge that I had several years ago to start knitting. I knitted everyone a beanie, or a wrap or a special heart to say I cared.  I am still knitting. I am working on a blanket project that is over half done, a wrap for my Watertown, NY sister-in-law and a fluffy, bright red beanie for a friend. Now I am adding breadmaking to my list of activities. I researched bread machines on the internet. Found the one I liked, a two-pound Oster and added it to my wish list. Eventually, Amazon made me an offer that I couldn’t refuse. In December during my hip replacement recovery, I became the happy owner of an Oster bread machine. The bread is made in loaf form, has nine plus settings and produces perfect bread mostly by itself in a little over three hours. Along with the machine, I ordered The Bread Machine Cookbook by Donna Rathmell German. It was her first book and I …

RA, Movement and the Slippery Slope

I need to give you some heartfelt advice that is as close to a warning as I can get. My horrific experience this last year with a hip that was totally worn out put me in a dangerous situation that was as close as I had come to spiraling down the slippery slope to forever. I have rheumatoid arthritis. Those of us who have an autoimmune disorder understand what I mean when I say I have an overwhelming, incapacitating fatigue when I have a flare. Over the last five years I have learned to slow down when the flare signs start to blossom. To take care. So, this last year as the RA pain plus the pain in my hip increased, I did just that. I slowed down. Unfortunately, it wasn’t a flare that passed with additional Medrol and rest. It was a bone on bone raw joint pain that worsened with each passing day. I became debilitated. I was weak. I was living in pain. My doc provided OxyContin and tried very hard to …

Vitamin D deficiency and RA

The first doctor to test my vitamin D level was my oncologist. My level was 60 ng/ml. He suggested I lower my supplement amount. I lowered it to 2000U. My next test level was 16 ng/ml. He said,” Just keep doing what you were doing before you changed it.”  I raised my supplement to 4000U and my blood levels have been normal since then. Without a supplement, I was deficient in vitamin D. I have rheumatoid arthritis. Vitamin D deficiency is common in those with RA, type I diabetes and multiple sclerosis. Additional factors that influence vitamin D levels in those with RA include corticosteroid use. Drugs such as prednisone and Medrol can reduce calcium absorption and impair vitamin D metabolism. Hydroxychloroquine (Plaquenil) is also linked to malabsorption of vitamin D.  I am on both drugs and I do take the above supplement. Those with RA who have a deficiency of vitamin D will have difficulty concentrating, pain may worsen, fatigue and depression increase. Vitamin D is a hormone involved in bone and calcium metabolism. …

Back from my hip replacement

My hip replacement didn’t turn out to be as smooth as I would have expected but my hip joint is fine and all the severe pain I had before the surgery is gone. It is a relief and makes the experience I had well worth the effort. The surgeon said my hip was warn out so I’m very glad he decided to do the surgery. During Thanksgiving week I overdid walking with the cane and sitting too long. So yesterday during my physical  therapy appointment, my therapist and I decided I needed to stay with the walker when I went out and use the cane for practice only at home. My pain had increased and I wasn’t doing as well. Back to the drawing board. Time to let the inflammation in the hip heal and to follow the rules.  And to rest more. I enjoy doing my assigned exercises. Resting more is hard. I have had two RA flares since surgery. One was in the Rehab center as they had skipped my methotrexate dose. Why? …