Sunday, February 16, 2014


At my last rheumatology appointment on January 31st, Dr. Francis mentioned that, of all her patients, only 2 had NOT complained about joint pain or stiffness this winter. She said it's been a very hard winter for those of us with arthritis or other joint problems. She said there's no literature about this theory she has but she thinks the cold shrinks the capillaries that deliver blood to the joint. Without this blood flow, it's worn muscle on bone and that causes inflammation which causes pain. I'm not sure how one would go about proving this either but it's as good of a theory as any other to explain how much I hurt.

And actually, in going through this assessment I do before every appointment, I wasn't quite as bad as I thought I was. I'm not really in a lot of pain. It's more stiffness. It is taking me about 5-10 minutes longer in the morning to get going than it did, even back in December. I try to build that into my morning, by getting up earlier, but I find myself still running behind simply because I'm slow. She put me back on Prednisone for the month of February and, if necessary, into the first 2 weeks of March, just to get through winter's last gasp here, help with the moving about and ease some of the aches that crop up from time to time.

But, in the last 10 days, that hasn't helped. The pain has been in the middle of my butt-cheek, radiating over to the hip and, particularly with my right leg, down the leg to the knee or, sometimes, the top of the calf. As the prednisone kicked in, the left side pain went away. The right side has lingered.

I realized it reminded me of the sciatica I had when I was pregnant. The medications you are given to alleviate sciatica cannot be given to pregnant women so I wound up spending a lot of time off my feet with my legs elevated. I find that now, it's a good way to ease the pain, too. But my friend, Becky, who is a doctor of physical therapy said elevation of the legs needs to be combined with movement. So, once an hour or 3 times a day, if I'm busy, I get up and walk around the office. It helps, but it just isn't making the pain go away.

This is so frustrating. I have a lot of things I want and need to get done. Floors need to be dusted, dishes washed, laundry done. But I can't be on my feet for long periods of time because it eventually hurts, very much, to move or stand or bend. I've moderated my abilities as I've learned what I can and can't do with this disease, but this pain is something else entirely.

Dr. Francis decided I needed to be on a Medpred pack. A what now? I've never heard of this.

I started yesterday with the top row. Each day, the pill count is reduced. It was kind of depressing to see my oatmeal bowl surrounded by all these pills since Saturday and Sunday are my days to take my weekly RA meds and there are a lot of those. But if it helps get through this, then it's necessary.

So, I'm on day two. I've been able to do a bit more than yesterday, but I'm still achy and sore. I'm going to do some reading this afternoon because I can elevate my legs which helps, plus, I've been up and down the stairs to do laundry and move things from upstairs downstairs.

What would also help is if we didn't get snow for a week. Although I take it slow and I bend my knees and not twist to toss the shovels full and I have a shovel that is designed to take some of the stress off shoveling, the sheer amount of snow we've had to shovel this year has contributed to my achiness. Hurry up spring. I'd rather be out raking the lawn than moving white stuff from one place to another.

Beverage:  Darjeeling tea


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