Weaving my way around Rheumatoid Arthritis.


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Two years… since the RA diagnosis.

Two years, and I am better. Not healed, not free of RA, but so much better.

A year ago, there was lava flowing in my arms, all day most days. Today, only occasionally do I feel a faint twinge of fire there.

My knees still ache some days – most days, but the bright red orbs look normal now, and are cool to the touch.

My wrists are still swollen, but less so than a year ago, the snuff-box only occasionally tender. My left pinky is often achy, my right pointer finger almost always tender, and sometimes my thumbs join the conversation. My hands are still stiff in the morning, most mornings, but less stiff than a year ago, and the strength and flexibility returns more quickly.

I can’t open jars the way I used to, can’t pick up my cast iron skillets with one hand. There are differences, but still improvements from a year ago, two years ago.

I’ve lost 25 pounds. I no longer look like a sock monkey, with sausage tubes for arms and legs. There is still edema, noticeable in some places, less in others. Overall, I can see bones and veins and skin texture and muscles. I still have many pounds to lose.

I still gain 3-5 pounds, overnight, if I get zapped by gluten cross contamination. I still dream of eating cake when I’ve been exposed. I still get diarrhea and DH blisters, red eyes and sleepy bugs and crusty, stuffy nasal passages and occasional nose bleeds.

The lymph nodes under my arm are normal now – not hot and swollen and sore to the touch. It’s been over 2 months since I felt any tenderness there.

The DH on my hands was totally cleared, for the first time since I was 16. It stayed clear for almost 2 months, and then I got zapped by some gluten surprise, and broke out in blisters once more. I am on the mend; it is a slow process when the skin has been damaged for so many years.

The balls of my feet are still swollen, less than a year ago, but swollen every day. My heels are sore occasionally, and that is new this year. All my toes are less swollen; the redness has gone. Only the baby toe on my left foot maintains its constant ache, yet that ache is also less. Sometimes, especially with the weather changes, my big toes like to talk, but softly.

My arches ached for a month after my hike, which was new, but they have quieted down now.

My back still responds to the weather fronts, and if I spend too much time on my feet, but a 15 minute time out usually will buy me another hour; and most days I am able to function all day.

The stand up desk has been a blessing. I no longer get stiff from sitting, as I stand most of the day. When my knees start complaining, I can easily sit. Of course, having the desk makes it difficult to judge if/how much my joints have changed.

I know that some of this improvement is due to changes, big and small, that I have made. For instance,  my finger no longer hurts when I jab the elevator button… because I now use the side of my hand or my car key, or coffee mug or elbow or whatever is handy, but never my pointer finger.

In general, if something hurts, I stop doing it, find a different way to do it, get someone else to do it, find a tool to do it. I try to be as gentle to my achy parts as I can be.

The RA still flares with the weather, a constant roller coaster parallel to the fronts moving in and out. It’s not the wet or the cold or the heat, it’s the shift; actually the hours before the shift. A change from 80 to 50 is bad, but so is a change from 50 to 80. A change from dry to wet is bad, but so is a change from wet to dry. It’s the betweens that are good. My joints like consistency, they don’t much care if it’s cold or hot or dry or wet, they just don’t like the approaching change. They are like many of us in that way. The most difficult part of change is the anticipation. Once the change occurs, whatever it is, we are able to steady ourselves and get on with life.


Written by wovensongs

May 23, 2012 at 5:42 am

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