Category Archives: Health: good or bad

Kicking my own butt

I walk a lot. I walk maybe thirteen miles per week. Some alone, some with Deck, some with Bill and Decky.

I used to walk a lot. Hours per day sometimes. And I would go fast. I would go hard. I would kick my own ass. I would start running because it was just easier. I haven’t done that in a while.

I was on methotrexate for iritis a year or two ago. I took it for about six months, then stopped. I wanted my body to fight this autoimmune disease itself, and the doctors told me that taking the drug could ‘reset’ my immune system. Well, I haven’t had any eye problems for a while (except for eye strain and allergies). (Knock wood.)

But I have noticed that after stopping the drug, I got some really painful arthritis in the bases of my big toes and thumbs. They get swollen and hurt. Especially during and after a walk. But I also know that if I didn’t walk, it would probably be much worse.

So I power through the pain. It does not get better ever. Today I did walking lunges and knee lifts during my 5.71 mile aggressive walk up and down the hills of Kansas. And they hurt a lot. Almost enough to make me want to take the methotrexate again. Almost.

I would like to get into yoga again, but I don’t know if my toes can take it. When I get up off of the floor, I have to avoid bending my feet. Not an easy thing to do. Try it sometime.

But the walk/workout today made me feel really good otherwise. In all my recent walks, I go fairly quickly, but I wasn’t attaining the speed I used to be able to. Today I did. I pushed myself hard, then kept pushing. Then I pushed some more. I made good time, despite the slower intervals of exercise thrown in. It felt really good.

Maybe I can actually get back to that level of exercise again. Wouldn’t that be great?

I’ll just have to figure out what to do about my toes later.

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First day of fall

I love fall. I loved it in Chicago and I love it Kansas. The weather lately has been beautiful – low 70 during the day, upper 40s at night. Sunny most of the time. Just gorgeous.

But the allergies are killing me. My eyes are red and itchy and irritated. The left eye is much redder than the right, so I’m consumed with worry about a recurrence of the scleritis. There’s no goop, so I know it’s not pinkeye, but I don’t get itching with scleritis. And I really don’t have pain, except for the usual eye strain.

I took my last dose of methotrexate August 21. And I stopped taking the antiinflammatory eye drops 9/10/11. I did resume the drops yesterday, hoping to head off any inflammatory response to the allergies, and I realize it is possible that I may have to start taking the methotrexate again, but I am still not convinced I have an autoimmune disease. I feel that until someone can actually prove it to me, I won’t be taking those heavy-duty meds for it.

So for now, it’s allergy drops and ketorolac drops, just to manage the symptoms. So far, so good. If it gets worse, I’ll go back on the steroid drops. Then try to wean off of them as quickly as I can.

If this is something I have to deal with every so often, fine. If it won’t respond to what I’m doing, then Ill consider more drastic options.

In the meantime, I’ll just put in my drops and carry on with my life. There’s to much to enjoy to worry about this small thing all the time.

Feast

I have over fifty mosquito bites on my legs below my knees. I woke twice last night to find myself scratching my legs furiously.

I have been taking benadryl and applying cortisone cream around the clock, but I still want to scratch my legs until they are bloody stumps. It’s even worse than the time we inadvertently kayaked into a stagnant marsh in Miami.

I now realize that there is another depth of misery to be reached beside pain and nausea. Itching.

Just drug me until they’re gone, okay?

News of the day

Thought I’d update since it’s been a while. And so much has been going on!

I am on my seventh week of methotrexate. I don’t feel anything but mild nausea, maybe a little inattention and spaciness, but that’s it. It’s no big deal. The iritis and scleritis are gone. The CT of my orbits and sinuses was negative, so there is really no reason for my behind-the-eye pain and headache. So I will just forget about them and carry on. I see my eye doctor and the orbit doctor next week, so maybe we can figure out why my left eye stays swollen.

Koby and Caitlyn are engaged and plan to marry toward the end of June. Her ring is beautiful and they are both so happy planning their honeymoon. We’re just psyched we get to have Owen while they’re gone!

Stefanie’s shower is this weekend. We have been planning and working on this for a while and it’s finally almost here – we’re so excited! Stefanie is gonna pass away when she sees what we have planned. I can’t wait!

Bill has figured out how to make separate playlists for his ipod so he can rotate content periodically, so he’s really happy. He’s working on this project for hours each day. I’m not so happy about this. He’s also in the best shape since he was a young man. He’s feeling great and I’m happy for him.

Ryan had the hardware in his leg removed and is now just about fully recovered. It was rough on him, but he got through it. I’m just glad it’s over and we don’t have to think about it anymore. He stays busy with work and friends and Michela. He seems happy but tired. I think he’s looking for a change.

Decky is busy drumming and playing tennis. He’s not been sleeping very well lately and I think it’s due to stress at school. He really doesn’t like it. They’re considering him for the gifted program, but the evaluation takes a few months. If he gets in, he’ll get out of his classroom for a while each day. I’m crossing my fingers. His second grade teacher is a fierce advocate for him. She’s a blessing to us.

Work is work. I gave my presentation to the nurse practice council last month, and now it looks like more people want me to give the talk to their departments. I don’t think I’ll be doing that until I get part-time status back. Why do all the extra work when I don’t get any credit toward the clinical ladder for it?

And I’ll be getting the veins on my left leg taken care of soon. I thought I would never bother with them again, but my brother has inspired me to do it. I have another thirty or so years left on these legs so I guess I better do the maintenance. I don’t want major problems down the road.

I haven’t been exercising lately because my eye pressure has been elevated. I’m hoping that gradual weaning off the steroid drops will resolve that issue, and I’ll be able to get back on the treadmill (or out on the trails) soon.

Cait and I leave for Chicago Friday, so we’re hustling to get everything done and settled before we leave. It’s stressful, but we’re going to have so much fun!

Fight

Okay, I think I have it figured out: this drug has thrown me, abruptly and rudely, into hypothyroidism.

It makes sense. I have many of the same symptoms I had when my thyroid was irradiated and killed back in 1997: fatigue, depression, weight gain, hair loss, sensitivity to cold, etc. The symptoms I have actually experienced this time are indigestion, nausea, sensitivity to cold and fatigue, but it brings it all back for me.

My body has slammed on the brakes.

Yesterday I spent the whole day on the couch. I couldn’t move. Life went on around me, and I just watched movies, read books, and watched the birds out the window, while the food I ate sat just at the base of my throat. I fought sleep all day. Today, I felt pretty good upon arising, but the fatigue dragged me back down very quickly, and the nausea flared up after breakfast and has remained my companion all day.

After Bill and Decky left for the gym, I got online and found that many people who take methotrexate experience those symptoms associated with hypothyroidism. And some advised that they felt better when they exercised. So I packed my gym bag and met the boys at the club. We walked together (they ran every other lap – which was a joyful sight to behold – Bill following Decky as he ran like the wind around the track), then I walked alone for about 35 minutes at a decent clip. I also did three sets of ten walking lunges on each side. I feel better, more energized now.

Although the indigestion abated during my walking workout, it came back soon after. I don’t really want to eat anything. I have a feeling my metabolism has slowed down drastically now, and I’m terrified I will gain more weight than I already have. I’m pushing the fluids, and I enlisted the help of Decky and Bill to keep me active and motivated. They will not have an easy job of it. And Bill will make me healthy smoothies, if I can stomach them.

I will still go to work – I’d rather be fatigued at work than home, since I get paid for it. And the running around I do all day at the ED will be good for me.

What I feel is that this will be a fight. A long, continuous, difficult fight against gravity, fatigue and depression. A fight just to stay even.

All I can say is that this drug sure better work on my scleritis.