Friday, February 15, 2013

Pain in Pink

I know everyone is wondering what happened to me, since I haven't been on Twitter and Facebook much lately. I am having a Rheumatoid Arthritis "Flare-up".

My feet are swollen and hurt badly. My arms and hands are the worst parts, although my neck comes in a close second. It is difficult to type and use the mouse.

Wikipedia explains Rheumatoid Arthritis:

Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a chronic, systemic inflammatory disorder that may affect many tissues and organs, but principally attacks flexible (synovial) joints. It can be a disabling and painful condition, which can lead to substantial loss of functioning and mobility if not adequately treated.
The process involves an inflammatory response of the capsule around the joints (synovium) secondary to swelling (hyperplasia) of synovial cells, excess synovial fluid, and the development of fibrous tissue (pannus) in the synovium. The pathology of the disease process often leads to the destruction of articular cartilage and ankylosis (fusion) of the joints. Rheumatoid arthritis can also produce diffuse inflammation in the lungs, membrane around the heart (pericardium), the membranes of the lung (pleura), and white of the eye (sclera), and also nodular lesions, most common insubcutaneous tissue. Although the cause of rheumatoid arthritis is unknown, autoimmunity plays a pivotal role in both its chronicity and progression, and RA is considered a systemic autoimmune disease. It is a clinical diagnosis made on the basis of symptoms, physical exam, radiographs (X-rays) and labs.[1]"

Rheumatoid Arthritis is a auto-immune disease. Although Arthritis is mentioned, it is not a real factor, unless you also have Osteoarthritis, as I do. You can look up on Wikipedia; it goes into much more detail. So, don't ever dismiss someone when they tell you they have RA, with the phrase "Oh, yeah! I have trouble with arthritis in my knees." RA is so much worse than arthritis. It can be extremely painful. It was discovered in 2009 after I had pneumonia in North Carolina. I was in the hospital in New Bern for 10 days in August. Everyone you can imagine was trying to find out what was wrong. I had every x-ray you could possibly think of. All they could come up with was pneumonia. They had me on morphine because the pain was so bad and oxygen because if I hurt, I would forget to breathe. 

There was a group of traveling doctors that spent their time going to different hospitals and working for a month or so, then moving on to another hospital. They were some of the best in their fields in NC. I saw heart, internal medicine, infectious disease doctors, and a neurologist. I didn't feel like I had pneumonia, but that was probably due to the generous doses of morphine.

My daughter, Rhonda would spend the night with me. She was a teacher-assistant and they were on Summer break. I slept a lot. After they determined I wasn't dying, my mother left to go home to Kentucky. When I finally got out of the hospital, Ray took me to our little house in NC for the night. Then we got up the next morning and came back to Virginia. I was so glad to drive over that State line. That was on Sunday. On Monday, I went to get my blood checked at the Cancer Center. Dr. Schlesinger had been the intermediary with the hospital in NC and with Riverside Regional. She wanted to see me and insisted I have another chest x-ray. Well, guess what, I still had pneumonia and I was put in Riverside for the next 9 days. The doctor had her nurse go back through my records and see if there was anything that might be causing this. He went through everything and then he was going through test results and he came to the BRACA test for breast cancer. I didn't test positive for breast cancer, but evidently I had two markers for Rheumatoid Arthritis. They had found the cause of a lot of my pain. 

When I was over the pneumonia and sent home, they sent me to Dr. Wilson, one of the few RA doctors in this area. He put me on Enbrel, which is a biologic and comes in a shot. I give myself a shot every week in my belly. Oh, don't worry, I have had a tummy tuck and have no nerves that work there. Doesn't hurt at all. I also take methotrexate and prednisone. I have pain pills that I try not to use, but sometimes when I start to hurt, it is better to take something and head the pain off at the pass. I cannot take over-the-counter medicine for pain because it might take so many that it could cause liver failure.

So, right now, I am going through a flareup in my RA. This too shall pass. I am on a few prayer lists. I know it is driving Ray crazy because I cannot drive. I simply cannot take pain medication and drive. The few places I have gone lately, he has taken me. 

I contacted the doctor on Wednesday and he put me on a prednisone pack, and I am better already. The only thing about the prednisone is that it helps add weight to my thighs.

So, if you have a friend or relative that has RA, don't feel sorry for them, but ask if there is anything you can do to help. A dear friend brought a quiche for our dinner for Valentines Day! I still was not feeling well enough to go out.

For more information about Rheumatoid Arthritis click here.


By the way, if you like this blog,  
Please subscribe, leave a comment,
or send cookies.

Read my other blog The Professional Encourager - Spam Bullies  

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Mitzee PINK

The groundhog saw his shadow and that is supposed to mean that Spring is on it's way. That is a wonderful idea to me.

My little puppy, Mitzi came to live with us the first week in January. She is a ShitzuPoo and is incredibly cute. Even though she kept me awake a lot last night, she occasionally uses the puppy paper, and loves to bite on my hands, she (Mitzee) has captured our hearts. She is not quite 5 months old.

We also have a Maltepoo, Snowball. We got him last June. He is about 5 years old and a little set in his ways. Mitzee chases him around while he growls. It has taken a month, but he is becoming tolerant of her.

This morning she actually did both of her businesses on the paper. I am so proud. She didn't wake me up once last night.

Ray is so good with them both. He is as patient with them as he is with me. He never has a bad word for anyone.

Ray with Mitzee and Snowball

By the way, if you like this blog,  
Please subscribe, leave a comment, 
or send cookies.

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Mayo Clinic - Cardiac Care Pink

My sister Jan's dear friend Anne passed away. They believe she had a heart attack. She was getting ready for work and called her husband's name and by the time he got there, she was gone. 

Jan sent me this. She had known Anne for over 20 years and I know she is hurting. When a friend dies, we face our own mortality. Jan is concerned that so many people are her age. We are Boomers and we need this information.

Good things to know!  Mayo Clinic
How many folks do you know who say they don't want to drink anything before going to bed because they'll have to get up during the night!!
I  never knew all of this! Interesting.......
I asked my Doctor why people need to urinate so much at night time.  Answer from my Cardiac Doctor: “Gravity holds water in the lower part of your body when you are upright (legs swell). When you lie down and the lower body seeks level with the kidneys, it is then that the kidneys can remove the water because it is easier.”

I knew you need a minimum of water to help flush the toxins out of your body, but this was news to me.
Correct time to drink water... Very Important. From A Cardiac Specialist!
Drinking water at a certain time maximizes its  effectiveness on the body:
  • 2 glasses of water after waking up -  helps activate internal organs
  • 1 glass of water 30 minutes before a meal - helps digestion
  • 1 glass of water before taking a bath - helps  lower blood pressure
  • 1 glass of water before going to bed -  avoids stroke or heart attack

My Physician also told me that water at bedtime will help prevent night time leg cramps. Your leg muscles are seeking hydration when they cramp and wake you up with a Charlie Horse.

Mayo Clinic on Aspirin 
Dr. VirendSomers, a Cardiologist from the Mayo Clinic, is lead author of the report in the July 29,  2008 issue of the Journal of the American College of  Cardiology.
Most heart attacks occur in the day, generally between 6 a.m. and noon. Having one during the night, when the heart should be most at rest, means that something unusual happened. Somers and his colleagues have been working for a decade to show that sleep apnea is to blame.

  • If you take an aspirin or a baby aspirin once a day, take it at night. The reason: Aspirin has a 24-hour "half-life"; therefore, if most heart attacks happen in the wee hours of the morning, the Aspirin would be strongest in your system.
  • Aspirin lasts a really long time in your medicine chest - for years, (when it gets old, it smells like vinegar).
  • Bayer is making crystal aspirin to dissolve instantly on the tongue. It works much faster than the tablets.

Why keep aspirin by your bedside? The majority of people (about 60%) who had a heart attack during their sleep did not wake up. However, if it occurs, the chest pain may wake you up from your deep sleep. If that happens, immediately dissolve two aspirins in your mouth and swallow them with a bit of water. Then call 911.

Phone a neighbor or a family member who lives very close by.  Say "heart attack!"  Say that you have taken 2 Aspirins. Take a seat on a chair or sofa near the front door, and wait for their arrival and  ...DO NOT LIE DOWN!

There are other symptoms of a heart attack besides pain in the left arm. One must also be aware of an intense pain on the chin, as well as nausea and lots of sweating;  however, these symptoms may also occur less frequently.

Note: It is possible that there may be NO pain in the chest during a heart attack.
A Cardiologist has stated that if each person after  receiving this information and lets more people know where to get the information, probably one life could be saved!
 I have already shared this information. What about you? It may save lives!
 "Life is a one-time gift."


By the way, if you like this blog,  
Please subscribe, leave a comment,
or send cookies.