Imagine you’re a seventeen year old girl. You enjoy doing things with your friends, and you enjoy school, most of your classes anyway. Life is good.
Suddenly you begin experiencing pain in your hands every morning. Your fingers are stiff and swollen; they look like little, fat sausages. When you walk across the room, it feels like you’re stepping on sharp rocks. Constant pain puts a damper on your appetite and you begin to lose weight.
Now imagine being told you have a crippling disease that will change your life. I was that young girl; the disease was rheumatoid arthritis (RA).
Rheumatoid arthritis is a life-changing disease. However, I didn’t know how much it would effect my life when the doctor told me I had RA. For forty years, I have experienced struggles and triumphs that have weakened my body, but strengthened my character and my faith. It’s been an interesting journey and I’m going to share some of it with you.
So, fasten your seatbelt and get ready for the ride!
If you have questions, comments, or feedback don’t hesitate to add them below.
(I’m sorry I’m not posting often, I’ve started a new venture and it’s taking up a lot of my time.)
It’s been 1 1/2 years since my last aneurysm surgery and I have awesome news. I had another MRA and the aneurysm is stable. The doctor says I don’t need another MRA for a year instead of six months.
If you’re new to this site, or want to refresh your memory by reading past posts about my “brain aneurysm adventure” these two links will take you to them.
Discovery and surgery
Second surgery and update
I’m happy to say I had my six month MRA on my brain aneurysm last week. Everything is normal. I go back in another six months to recheck it.
I had more coils inserted into the aneurysm on November 10. Everything went well and I was able to come home the next day. I’m feeling good, stronger and less painful than I expected. I did sleep more than usual, but that helps the body heal more easily. My hope is that this surgery has taken care of the problem and I don’t have to do it again!
Thanks for all the prayers and good thoughts you sent me. I appreciate every one of you!
If you’ve been following along with my blog, then you know about the discovery of my aneurysm and the complications during the surgery to fix it.
Well, I had another MRA done a couple weeks ago. The aneurysm has grown from 2.5 mm six months after the procedure to 6mm and has developed a second lobe.
Yesterday we saw the neurosurgeon. He has given me a week or so to think about it, but he wants to do another angiogram. That’s where he just went up to my leg to check out the situation. The difference is this time if it looks necessary, he will put more coils in at same time. He says it’s not unusual for an aneurysm of my kind (wide-mouth) to have to have more coils put in a second. He’s doing the angiogram because he says an MRA does not always show everything.
The angiogram only involves sedation, but if he has to put the coils in he will have to put me under. You know, putting something down my throat again! At least he knows what to expect this time.
When I wrote this post Shots, Oh My! I was getting weekly Enbrel shots for my RA. Two years ago I was able to wean myself off the shots. I now control my RA with a more natural method. I try to eat a “clean” diet–no processed foods, gluten, dairy, soy, and very little sugar. I manage pain with turmeric, ginger, and the recently discovered thyme tea works.
I still struggle , especially when I’m frustrated or depressed. My last post Chronic Disease Sucks! was written during one of those dark times.
I know many people with chronic disease are unable to follow a natural diet and need to take medications. I’m not against this, as everybody is different. I just pray, that whatever they’re doing , their disease is under control and the pain is being managed.
I try to look at life in a positive way; putting a spin on it to show the good. However, sometimes I just have a lot of difficulty with it. Sometimes, I get down in the dumps and have to work to dig myself out. This is one of those times. Just a warning to you, this will not be a happy-go-lucky post. I’ve been feeling unmotivated, depressed, and really tired.
A little under two years ago I was diagnosed with Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, another autoimmune disease. I call it Diagnosis 2015 🙂 What’s another challenge for my life? I AM STRONG AND WILL NOT BE STOPPED. (Am I convincing anyone?) Anyway, this disease involves my thyroid. My body is attacking it because it sees it as a foreign invader. Unfortunately, the thyroid controls a lot of systems in the body. Although I’ve been working diligently on managing it, I still have moments of depression, brain fog, and lethargy. That I can handle, sleeping late, or spending the day in bed, are not a problem for me. In fact, I kind of like it. However, not having a lot of strength to do things I would really like to do is very depressing.
I was diagnosed with RA over 50 years ago…..I have been sick a big part of my life…..never had the stamina others had, but refused to give in to it…..I’ve worked very hard all my life.
I live with RA but its not my life……I applied for disability and was awarded…. eventually I decided to start my own business…..one that would supplement the disability and allow me to work at my own pace…..it’s not about the money because I do not make a lot, but I can be productive….I can be creative, and that gives me an outlet….on the days I feel good enough….from my home….I do not have to work…its perfect for my RA….I still set goals for myself….solid goals I can work towards. This life is fragile….unexpected things can, and do, happen to us….But I have a God who is a great cheerleader…..that continues to push me in the right direction!!!
It helps when we stay positive. It does take time for us to re-invent our lives – to salvage and modify what we used to do that has brought us joy all our lives. These are the gifts that make us special, that I believe God has created us for. Our lives are not wasted because we have a chronic illness. We have a lot to offer with our gifts AND we have a lot to offer just because of who we are – nevermind what we do.
We are as limited as we let our selves be limited our mental outlook is a huge part of our overall happiness and it’s extremely hard to focus on that with pain encompassing every minute of every day.
I debated on whether I should move this post from ruthiespoonemore.com. After some thought, I finally decided to do it, so here is.
The following is a section I’ve added to my book, Diagnosed at Seventeen My Struggles and Triumphs of Living with Rheumatoid Arthritis. I hope you enjoy reading it.
Entered my book into the Writer’s Digest Self-Published Book Awards. Although I didn’t win, I got some nice comments from the judges which I wanted to share with you. I copied and pasted the email body text here so you can read it. I’m happy with what the judges had to say. I know I did a good job in writing it. Continue reading
PS: I had my MRI last week. Everything is stable and looks good. I will have to schedule another MRI a year from now.
In my last post, I told you about discovering an aneurysm in my brain after falling and having to go to the emergency room. Much has happened since then, and I’ve been trying to digest it all. Here is the rest of the story.
The end of 2015 was a rough time for me. Two very important things happened in October. I was diagnosed with Hashimoto’s thyroiditis and I took a very devastating fall. I will discuss the Hashi’s in a later post, but right now I want to talk about the fall.
I’ve fallen before, in fact at least two other times in the last 40 years. (That doesn’t sound like a bad set of odds to me.) However, this tumble turned out to be frightening. This time I banged my head against the linoleum floor opening up a big gash in my forehead. Needless to say, I panicked–foreheads can bleed profusely when cut. SInce you could see the bone, we decided I should go to the emergency room.