Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Pink(er) - 2 - Getting ready for Reconstruction

I am sitting here typing and looking at some of the most beautiful roses I have ever seen. My Social Media Girlfriend, Dabney Porte, sent a dozen Pink Roses. She is just the most wonderful "sister." It is so nice to receive something when someone wants to show their appreciation. Dabney is always so positive and I love her energy and spirit so much. She is an inspiration to so many women. Watch out world, Dabney is watching you!

I apologize for not keeping my promise to blog every day until surgery. It is Friday and I am sitting here trying to think of something to say. It has been a harrowing week. Express Scripts merged with MEDCO and I must have gotten lost in the mix. I have spent hours on the phone waiting for someone to finally talk to, but not much luck. I thought I had it all straightened out the week before when I spent an hour and 15 minutes on hold and then over 30 minutes with the customer service representative, who assured me that everything was taken care of. Here it is Friday, and I still do not have my Enbrel or Methotrexate.

I received four bags of medications yesterday, but not the ones that I need the most. The Rheumatoid Arthritis is really kicking up. My joints are swelling, I am not sure I am going to make it until the surgery. It is painful to type. Thank God my Rheumatologist gave me a Cortisone shot in my right wrist. It is still swelling, but does not hurt quite as bad. 

I would like to thank the people who retweeted and shared my last post. I think it got more hits than any post I have ever done.

Tonight is the #Slumberparty on #SMGirlfriends. We have a Sponsor. Pretzel Crisps.

What is rheumatoid arthritis?

Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease, which means it's a disease of the immune system. Your immune system works to protect your body against attacks by bacteria or viruses. But when it's not working correctly—such as with rheumatoid arthritis—your immune system mistakenly attacks your own body, specifically at the joints. This can cause the pain, swelling, and stiffness associated with rheumatoid arthritis. 
While the exact causes of RA are unknown, researchers believe genetics, environmental factors and a protein in the body called tumor necrosis factor (TNF) may play a role. Some people with RA have too much of the protein TNF in the affected area of the body. TNF causes inflammation in the joints, and the inflammation is what leads to the pain and stiffness of RA.
Only a doctor can diagnose rheumatoid arthritis. If you're not sure you have rheumatoid arthritis, please talk to your doctor. Rheumatoid arthritis is a chronic disease. So it's important to slow the progression of joint damage as well as reduce the signs and symptoms associated with rheumatoid arthritis.
Do not make the mistake most people make. RA is not the same as Osteoarthritis, not by a long shot. I have both and I can tell you the RA part much worse.

Reconstruction - First Surgery

I know that I said that I was going to write about the reconstruction surgery right after it happened. I have had "writer's block." First, I was disappointed. The right breast didn't seem any bigger, just squarer, and the left breast had the nipple re-sectioned higher, but still hung low.

I went in after a couple of weeks and saw the surgeon and he was not too happy either. Anyway, we are going to do surgery again in September. The girls will be standing tall and be a full C cup, kind of like when I was twenty. Wow! And, the good news is that the insurance will pay for it again. I found out that there is a law in Virginia that says that if you have breast cancer and surgery to remove the breast, then your insurance is obligated to pay for reconstruction, even if it is years down the road.

The bad news is that I had to quit my shots of Enbrel for 3 weeks because it lowers my immune system. So then, the RA got worse, which I fixed with 20m of prednisone. Not good, now I am back on Enbrel but feel so much better taking the prednisone, I don't want to stop. I don't like to think of the swelling, inflammation, and pain that will happen when I cut back. At least, I was able to enjoy my trip to Kentucky to see my mother. She is in assisted living now. She has dementia. That is really difficult.