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Rheumatoid Arthritis Type 1 Diabetes

Needles

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I have never, in the past 26 years, been so happy to be a Type 1 Diabetic. Earlier today I picked up my injectable methotrexate. I told the pharmacist that I needed syringes and she asked what type. I told her that I hadn’t injected insulin in 15 years but something short and super sharp would be great. She packed up twelve syringes for me and I left. 

Just a few minutes ago, I went to inject methotrexate for the first time (I used it in pill form awhile ago). When I took the cap off the syringe, I couldn’t believe how long the needle was! I figured I was just out of the whole syringe game and went to inject. The needle was so dull and thick that my scar tissued leg wouldn’t let it even pierce my skin. I tried twice. Nothing. 

I sat on my bed, frustrated, and then realized that I’m a Type 1 Diabetic, a neurotic one at that, and always prepared. Of course I have extra syringes, there’s even one in my purse! I searched through the closet and found a few. I quickly drew up the methotrexate and injected- first try, no pain, no issues! 

My syringe on the left, the “super sharp and short one”, given to me by my pharmacist, on the right. 

  

Rheumatoid Arthritis

Unpredictable

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After an evening of pain and irregular sleep, it was surprising to wake up this morning and actually feel ok. I didn’t have any major pain and was able to make breakfast for my family without feeling wiped out afterwards. I took my Meloxicam anyway. 

I ran errands with my daughter which I’m rarely able/willing to do because of either fatigue or pain. Nothing crazy- pharmacy, library, car wash, quick trip to the grocery store. I felt so great when I got home that I sat outside, listened to my audiobook, and enjoyed the Baltimore weather for a few minutes. I took a nap afterwards for about an hour, much shorter than usual! I dropped my son off to play basketball with some friends. Then I came back home. 

The minute I walked in the door, I knew it was coming. I sat my keys down on the counter and saw that my fingers were swollen. My hands started to ache terribly and both legs joined them. I felt like I had just gotten knocked down. 

What the hell? I didn’t do anything. I didn’t go run a marathon, didn’t clean the house, or even go to work. Why would pain come on so suddenly? 

I walked down to the basement to get the laundry, laid down on my husband’s weight bench, and cried. The pain was so strong and so frustrating. 

I always say that having Rheumatoid Arthritis is ten times worse than having Type 1 Diabetes. I don’t mean because of complications, life expectancy, medications, etc. Even though diabetes can is unpredictable, it at least gives you moments of consistency. You can at least assume that if you eat a Snickers bar, your blood sugar will go up (most of the time, ha!). Rheumatoid Arthritis has provided me with nothing even close to predictability. I have no idea what each day will bring. All I know is there will be pain at some point, in some capacity. 

Rheumatoid Arthritis

A Glimpse

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I had my second carpal tunnel surgery 4 days ago (will cover that ordeal in a future post!) and have been recovering since. I have spent the majority of the past few days at home, sleeping or resting. I woke up in the morning when I was ready, not when my alarm clock went off. I ate when I was hungry and slept when I was tired. I became one with my couch and bed. Sure, I had painkillers prescribed by my surgeon but I didn’t need many of them. The best part of this was I had very little pain from my Rheumatoid Arthritis.

So what’s the problem? Well, this isn’t, and can’t be, my lifestyle. I have a fulltime job, 2 kids, a husband, and a home (and of course, Jungle George). I don’t usually have any time to rest during the week, aside from crawling into bed at 8pm. I definitely nap on the weekends but my RA pain doesn’t rest when I do.

I wonder how many less pills, injections, braces, and tears there would be if I won the lottery and could stay home to rest as often as I needed to. I wonder how much my quality of life would improve..how much more time, quality time, I would have to spend with my family.

Has anyone turned a glimpse like this into a reality? I’d like to hope so.

Rheumatoid Arthritis

It’s a Miracle!

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So. Much. Pain. Orencia is really not enough for me and with my second wrist surgery next Friday, I’m off NSAIDS.

When I was picking up my prescriptions this morning, I went to the “home health” aisle looking for something. I wasn’t sure what. I already have compression gloves, a TENS machine, pain killers, topical pain relievers, and a brace for almost every part of my body.

I saw these:

I’d been meaning to order IMAK compression socks for awhile..they’re only carried online..I just hadn’t gotten around to it yet. Yes, these look cheesy (as seen on TV) but I was desperate!

Did they instantly make me feel like I could go run a marathon? Uh, no. Did I feel like I could walk around my house and not be on the verge of tears? Yes!

Maybe it’s a placebo effect or that I’m  reaching that little part of the day, between the morning stiffness and the afternoon pain and fatigue, when things are bearable. Either way, I’m pleased to have discovered a tiny miracle at my local a Walgreens.

 

 

HAWMC Rheumatoid Arthritis

Good Samaritan

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We love random acts of kindness. Write about a time that you benefitted from the kindness of a stranger, or a time when you were the one extending a helping hand. How did you feel? #HAWMC

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On March 6th, I had surgery on my wrist. In anticipation, my rheumatologist suggested I get a handicap parking tag. She said I should have one anyway, so I agreed. I took the application to the MVA and felt extremely self-conscious. I don’t look sick. I don’t use any assistive devices, aside from the insulin pump, aka my pancreas, strapped to my side.

Fast forward a few weeks post-surgery. In retrospect, I should have waited and had my husband or son help me at the store but being as hardheaded and stubborn as I am, I went on my own. I still couldn’t lift anything heavier than 1lb with my left hand, but that wouldn’t stop me. I parked in a handicapped spot for the first time and did my weekly Target run. Anyone that has a teenage son, a preteen daughter, and a hard-working husband, knows that a weekly Target run means a cart filled to the brim. It also means that the entire cart of food will be gone in three days, but that’s another story.

I managed to check out successfully and got to my car, which was in the very first handicapped parking spot. Despite the fact that my left arm was in a brace and that by that time, I was walking much slower because my feet were killing me, I still felt unworthy of using the spot. I popped the trunk and started putting the bags in, one by one, with my good arm. A man and his wife came up to me and offered to hold my cart so it wouldn’t roll away. They then offered to return my cart to the store and said they hoped I had a nice day. I thanked them and watched as they went into Target, put the cart back, and then came right back out and went to their car. They were done shopping but had seen me and stopped what they were doing to help.

Their gesture was small and to them probably didn’t mean much. But it did to me. It showed me that despite my perceived notion that people were going to judge me or find me unworthy of using a handicapped spot, this couple knew there had to be a reason to park there and didn’t assume anything other than the fact that I might need a little help.

HAWMC Rheumatoid Arthritis

Key to Happiness

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What do you think is the key to happiness? Is it being able to overcome a hard time? Laughter?
Maintaining a positive attitude? Tell us what you
think and why. #HAWMC 

I find this post rather fitting for me tonight. I would love to pour out how I feel about laughter and how it connects me to others and brings me great happiness.

The truth is, right now, when I’m in pain and exhausted, what makes me the happiest is changing into comfy clothes. Loose yoga pants and a hooded sweatshirt can do wonders for me. I swear they make my pain diminish just a bit as soon as I put them on. Could anything make me happier right now? I guess comfy clothes, in my bed, under a fluffy comforter, wouldn’t hurt! ?image

HAWMC Rheumatoid Arthritis

Wordless Wednesday

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First post of The Health Activist Writer’s Month Challenge!

Since this is the start of HAWMC, post a picture
that shows how excited you are for the next 30
days. We always love a good Health Activist
selfie! #HAWMC

Still sleepy, off to work, but definitely excited for the next 30 days of blogging!

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Rheumatoid Arthritis

As Good As It Gets

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Ever since I was diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis, 3 years ago, I’ve had a burning question. A question that I’ve really wanted to ask but that I also really didn’t want to have answered:

“Is this as good as it’s going to get?”

Over the past 3 years I’ve been on different injectables, pills, creams, etc. Some are supposed to reduce my disease’s activity, others should take away pain.  Currently, my injectable, Orencia, seems to be working. I’m not noticing any new pain, stiffness, or swelling which means this medication should be reducing the disease activity in my body. This is a good thing. The only problem is that all of the damage done while I was waiting for a diagnosis years ago and all of the damage done a year ago when I was too sick to take any rheum meds, is just that, damage. It’s damage that I thought could be repaired. It’s damage that ,until I asked my rheumatologist that question, I thought was temporary.

During my most recent visit to my rheumatologist, at my usual 3 month follow-up, we discussed the effectiveness of Orencia and how we both thought we should give it a little more time to see what we can get out of it (I’ve had 30 weekly injections thus far). She then said, our goal right now is pain management and quality of life. Huh? That’s it? To me that sounds like giving up, so I had to ask: “Is this as good as it’s going to get?”. Is my elbow going to ever get better? Is it going to hurt for the rest of my life? Will I feel good enough to exercise one day and without reason, feel like I can barely walk from the car to my front door? Will I never sit cross-legged again because my left knee is so stiff? Will compression gloves and a knee brace be a permanent part of my bedtime attire? 

The questions poured out. I expected my doctor to sugarcoat things with lines like “we’re going to fight this”, “there are still plenty of medications we haven’t tried”, etc.  She didn’t. She said yes, my elbows would probably hurt forever. And my feet, hands, and knee probably would too. The damage was done before I was even diagnosed. 

In all honesty, her answers didn’t shock me but they definitely were a reality check. I’m 35 years old. I have a husband and two children. I have things I want to do and places I want to go. No amount of work or hope is going to change my joints but I can definitely change my mind-set. Some days are going to be hard, I’m going to need to rest, dinner will be thrown together, and that’s ok. Other days, I’m going to be dancing in the kitchen and making my children laugh hysterically while I attempt to rap. 

I’m hoping for more kitchen dances. 

Rheumatoid Arthritis

And Then There Was One..

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✔️ Physical

✔️ EKG

✔️ Bloodwork

 

One week from tomorrow, I’ll have surgery on my left wrist. I eventually need to have nerve release surgery on my left elbow and my right wrist, but I’m starting off slow. I’m right handed so this shouldn’t be too big of a deal, right? Uh, wrong. All I can think about are all of the things I need two hands to do:

  • Blow drying my hair. Yes it has to be dried every morning. I don’t have that wonderful type of hair that can just be pulled back into a ponytail (which, I should add, I wouldn’t be able to do any way because you need two hands for a
  • Eye liner. Should be really fun trying to hold my eyelid and use the eyeliner with one good hand. Suggestions appreciated.
  • Parallel parking. I do this every single day at work. Or, I used to.
  • Putting my contacts in. This should be a treat. Thank goodness they’re daily disposables.
  • Getting dressed. My bra, buttons, you get the idea. It’s not like I can wear sweats and sneakers every day. I couldn’t even tie my own shoe!
  • Managing my Type 1 Diabetes- pricking my finger, inserting a new infusion set. Ugh.

 

There are some bright spots though. I’ve thought of some things that I won’t be able to do and I’m looking forward to not doing them:

  • Grocery shopping. Push a cart with one hand? Not a good idea.
  • Cooking. Definitely going to need help with this one.
  • Dishes. Can’t really hold a dish and wash it with one hand, right? Especially while my stitches are in and I can’t get them wet.

Have you ever had an injury to your arm? How did you complete your normal activities? Any suggestions would be much appreciated!

Daily Prompts

First

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The first thing I notice each morning, is my husband. Sure my alarm clock goes off or the cat bites my elbow, but I automatically deal with those things. Paying attention to my sleeping husband is my first conscious decision of the day.

I immediately notice the small, sweet noises he makes while breathing in and out. I notice how soft his facial features are..his boyish charm is visible, even in the darkness of our bedroom. I can feel his warmth without even touching him.

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “First!.”