I know that this is an awkward way to begin. I need to write an introduction, but if I wait until I do so to begin journaling, I'll get too far behind and overwhelmed. I'm just going to jump right in with where I am today, do the next thing, and write an introduction when I have the time and clear-thinking a good introduction requires.
December was a difficult month physically, but spiritually and emotionally it was tender and sweet. How could it not have been with all the rich fullness of Christmas and family and a brand new granddaughter who is perfect in every way. And though RA is not a diagnosis I welcome, it is a relief to have a name for what has been attacking me. It's awfully difficult to swat flies in the dark.
And how can it be anything but the favor of God that I have found a kind and patient rheumatologist? When I told him about my mother and her legacy of a "merry heart", a big smile crossed his face. "She was a gift of God to me," I told him, "and I intend to face this disease with the grace and humor she possessed."
"That's good," he said. "That's very good."
And I want y'all to hold me to it. If I start leaning into the pit of "poor me", you have my permission to correct me. Honest.
So where am I today? Certainly grateful for prednisone and voltaren gel - they have dramatically improved the quality of my life over the past couple of weeks. Before the voltaren gel was prescribed I'd been relying on ibuprophen or naprosyn to take the edge off the pain, and not only were they ineffective, my stomach did not approve. Now that I am also on prednisone, I can look forward to several hours a day (usually mid-afternoon after a nap) of increased mobility and much less pain overall.
I would like to sleep better. I wake up frequently during the night, unable to bend or straighten my legs, and I awaken every morning with stiff and painful hands and feet, but nothing compared to the pain and stiffness I experienced before.
I take my meds and eat a little something as soon as I can each morning and try to accomplish a simple chore or two - like making the bed. It is usually a couple of hours after I take the prednisone before I consider taking a walk or tackling other chores. I battle fatigue and brain fog most mornings until after lunch and a nap when the prednisone seems to kick in and I get a second wind - a boost in energy and flexibility that has allowed me to take short walks in the late afternoon.
My current greatest challenge in the morning is the one day a week that I help an elderly disabled widow friend. I help her get a shower, change the sheets on her hospital bed, take her large dog for a short walk and drive her to the beauty shop every 2-3 weeks. We have a wonderful time together, talking, laughing and praying, but I do worry about what would happen now if she fell or if the dog decided to run and pulled hard on the leash. For a few weeks, I had almost as much difficultly getting in and out of the car as she does, but the prednisone has made that much easier. Just yesterday, after the relative ease at which I was able to fold up her walker and lift it into the back of my car, I actually said out loud, "I love prednisone."
At the same time, I will be anxious to come off the prednisone. It is hopefully just a temporary stopgap measure until I am able to begin more aggressive treatment.
Off to breakfast with my honey...