It's also a long one, folks, so hang in there.
My poor lil body needs some rehab. But it all started last winter . . .
I was on this detox kick for a while. I wanted to rid my body of all the nasty stuff that I put into it . . . like, ahem, soda and sweet potato fries. Thus started my Paleo lifestyle and all the goodness that came with it. But there was still my medicine . . .
I don't want to get into the drama with my old medicine and the insurance situation I had to deal with. That's an entire different blog post.Let's just say my relationship with the hospital, the insurance company and my medicine came to an end. It was a messy break up.
At the time, I realized I had been on the same medicine for about five years. The medicine was called Remicade, and while some call it a miracle drug, it's one of the heaviest arthritis drugs out there.
It had to be given through an IV and it took about four hours to administer. And after five years I was questioning what this medicine was really doing to my body.
Hey, I gotta lighten up this blog entry somehow.
So I was pondering this, as well as going through other turmoil, and decided . . .
I'm going to go off the medicine! *
I flew back to WA to see Doc Wiz and I was nervous. I mean, how crazy is it that I decided to go off the medicine without consulting him first? Was he going to flip out? Tell me I'm out of my mind? Tell me to go back on it? Oh the madness!
But funny enough, Doc Wiz did not react so negatively. He agreed that if I felt I needed to do this, and I was in good shape so far, I should go ahead and see what happens.
I was reminded a while later by a friend, Carol (who also has arthritis), that your doctor is there to help you though it all. And whatever you want to do, your doctor should support your decisions. If you aren't comfortable with something, your doctor should never force you to do it.
Six months later, we moved back to Bellingham. . . .That's when the trouble started.
Swelling in my knees, hips, elbows, wrists . . .
It was all awful and all very painful. I can't even begin to tell you how many tears I cried and how frustrated I was that I couldn't walk the two blocks to the book store to get a book and a coffee.
Our storage unit before I organized it.
And I did all the organizing with two swollen knees.
I took prednisone. I took methylprednisolone. I had steroid injections. It worked for the short term, but it all kept coming back.
I had to see Doc Wiz again and all those nerves from months ago were back. What if he makes me go back on the medicine? What if I made a huge mistake?
I spent my birthday with swollen knees.
Birkenstocks were my go-to shoes.
But again, as a good doctor should, he was supportive of my decision to stay off the Remicade. Instead, the two of us decided that I should give Enbrel another try. (I had been on Enbrel for a while when I was a teenager.)
About two months later, I was good as new! . . . almost.
At the time of this picture I had at least one swollen knee and one swollen elbow.
In November, Doc Wiz checked my joints out and all my swelling was down. But so were my muscles. After four months of little to no physical activity, my body had gone down hill. Even though my eating habits were great, I had gained weight from having to stay off my feet for all that time. And those of you who have been through a similar situation in which you are stuck on a couch for weeks or months at a time, you know how quickly you lose muscle. I lost so much muscle in my legs especially, that I was exhausted and could barely walk a few laps around my little neighborhood.
I spent most of the Summer and Fall icing my knees with this lil guy.
So Doc Wiz recommended that I find a way to budget in enough money to pay for a gym membership. Since I couldn't easily walk on the pavement due to the jarring effect it had on my knees, I needed to be able to access the equipment at a gym in order to get any cardio. And if there was a way to meet up with a trainer to help me get my muscle back, I needed to figure out how to do it.
So can you do that, Lyda?
Well . . . I'll have to convince Mitch . . .
Want me to write you a prescription for it?
. . . uh . . . YEAH!
Doc Wiz, being the hilarious man he his, wrote me a prescription to give to Mitch, to let him know how important it was that I do this. My Doc and I were laughing the entire time he wrote it out. I couldn't wait to see the look on his face when I handed him my prescription.
Unfortunately his reaction was simply . . .
Sure. We can do that.
. . .Wait! Did you read it? It's funny!
So we got ourselves a gym membership and luckily to the gym that is right next door. My doctor recently hooked me up with a trainer there who specializes in sports medicine and works with a lot of people who have arthritis and knee pain in general. I'm finally starting to get back to normal.
No amount of arthritis will ever keep me from eating my birthday cake!
So that's where I am now. I'm still recovering. It gets frustrating quite often, when I realize that there are things I used to do with ease that I now have to really work at. Some things I just can't do at all anymore. I have to take things very slow, and that can be hard. But someday . . . I'll be back!
More about my training soon to come!
*Note: I have to give another shout out to my friend Jen down in Utah. She was the first person I was able to go to to talk about the whole ordeal with my medicine and my insurance and my decision to go off of it. And she was the perfect person to talk about it with too. She gave me so much support and motivation, and was so caring through my troubles that when I look back on that situation and how stressed I was, I nearly cry thinking about how much she helped me get through it! Don't know what I would have done without that girl! Thank you.