Follow up on the last post

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.

It was supposed to be a “simple” procedure; going up a vein in my leg, entering the brain, inserting a stent and some coils, to stop any further growth. Although still considered brain surgery, the doctor had performed many of these procedures without problems. Unfortunately, things don’t always turn out the way they are planned. What was supposed to be one operation, turned out to be 3 operations in as many days.

During the first procedure, the breathing tube nicked a blood vessel in my throat and I started to bleed. The neurosurgeon went ahead and put in the stent. However, they couldn’t figure out where the bleeding was coming from and decided to discontinue the operation.

They finally figured out the blood was coming from a blood vessel in the back of my throat. The second surgery, done the next day, was going in and cautereizing the area so they could stop the blood flow. I lost a lot of blood, and had to have an infusion.

In the third surgery, the doctor went up the leg again and inserted coils into the aneurysm to encourage clotting of the blood within the aneurysm.

At one time during this whole adventure, I had IVs coming out of both arms, a large one out of the side of my neck, a feeding tube down my throat, and a breathing tube down my nose. I was a sight!

At a follow-up appointment with my primary care doctor, we learned that one time during my stay my heart pumped inefficiently. It was only pumping out 40% of the blood it would normally. (I’m happy to say, after being released, I went in for a stress test and an EKG and my heart is normal again.)

I spent 10 days in the hospital, most of it in the ICU. It was an unnerving situation, one that I never want to go through again!

In September, I go in for an MRI to make sure everything is okay.

I send out heartfelt gratitude to the staff who cared for me while in the hospital. The doctors and nurses, therapists, and all the others, made my stay as stress-free as possible in this situation.

I also want to thank all of you who sent their prayers, and good thoughts. Now that it’s over I’m hoping to get back to somewhat a normal life.

Getting Over Fatigue and Being Productive Again

 

The last couple of weeks have been a struggle for me. I’ve experienced fatigue every afternoon. I noticed that by one or two o’clock my body had begun to feel limp and my eyes refused to stay open. I know that this is normal for people with rheumatoid arthritis. We are told to ‟rest frequently” and not ‟over do it.” However, this is not normal for me.

Unless I’m sick, I don’t take naps. I am active throughout the day, writing, watching television, or playing on my computer. Having the urge–no, the need—to lie on the sofa and rest is rather disconcerting.

Why am I so tired? Being a logical person, I had to analyze the situation. After some thought, I’ve come up with two possible reasons.

  1. I was taking prednisone for ear problems and when I finished the prescription, my body was in withdrawal. One of the side effects of prednisone is feeling antsy and nervous.
  2. I’ve been off my Enbrel since April 13. It is possible my RA is causing the fatigue. Not taking anything except ibuprofen for pain may have created more activity.

I’m happy to report that I am feeling more energetic this week. Enough so, that I was able to work on my book and sent files to my editor. Looking at my list, I see that there are only four chapters left to rewrite. Yay!

How has you week been? I’d love to read your comments.

 

Don’t lose heart

I wanted to write an upbeat, cheerful post this week. I hoped to bring you a positive story about how my life was easy and free flowing last week. However, I’d be lying. Over the last seven to ten days my body has been screaming for attention—not that it doesn’t get enough attention already; but it wants to be front and center. That is the nature of any chronic illness, and certainly rheumatoid arthritis. So, settle in and let me tell you about my week.

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Memory Flashes

orange moving truck

 

It’s interesting how memories emerge when your focused on trying to remember past events. Like scraps of paper with snippets of scenes written on them. Not developed yet, but intriguing enough to invite further examination.

For example, I remember a trip I took with my brother, Rod, our friend Sandi, and her three boys. We all crammed into the cab of a U-Haul truck, the trailer filled with all our earthly belongings, and my cat. Continue reading

I meditate to relieve pain

body, mind, spirit quote MEDITATION

 

Rheumatoid arthritis can be a painful disease. Some days more so than others. Occasionally, I’ll wake up feeling so much sore that, even after taking a couple of extra ibuprofen, I don’t get relief. I describe those times as feeling like I’d ‟been French-kissed by a Mack truck.” A time when every movement, every touch, or every breath screams pain. Over the years, I’ve learned that the only way to ease the pain is through meditation. I find that relaxing my body and calming my mind reduces the tension of tight, achy muscles which helps me get past it..

When people think of meditation, they often picture someone sitting in the lotus position—legs crossed and arms folded across their chest—repeating an obscure sound or word in a chant-like way. Well, that isn’t how I do it. First, there is no way I can sit in that position. Second, I’d feel foolish repeating something over and over.
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Snowstorm (FEB 2014)

Harlo, it's too cold! snow covers everything

 

The last week has been unusually cold in Portland. Between Thursday February 8 and Sunday the 10th we received between 5 and 8 inches of snow and suffered through temperatures dipping into the teens. After the snowstorms we were blasted with some freezing rain that deposited 0.1 inch of ice on top of the white stuff.
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My new toy to make life with RA easier

counter top  oven

I love to cook and bake. However, I can’t, unless there is someone around to chop the ingredients, lift heavy pans, and open jars–basically be my “sous chef.” Most of the time, that person is Greg. He doesn’t like cooking, and really dislikes cleaning up the mess, but he is willing to do it for me.

It is impossible for me to use a regular oven, so last Christmas he bought me a counter top oven. I had one for years, but, before I moved in here, it quit working. I asked for a new one every time I wanted to cook something. I guess I finally wore him down. Now, although Greg still helps with the preparation of the meal, I am able to do more. This is a big boast to my sense of independence.

Even if you don’t have a condition that restricts your ability to do something, there are many aids on the market that help make life easier. Do you have a favorite appliance or tool that you can’t live without? Leave a comment below and share it with us.

I have RA, but…

I have RA, but it does not have me. It is not my life. Yes, sometimes I grieve for the old life–the life before RA—but, I know I can’t change what life has thrown at me. I can however, learn to cope and focus on what I can do each day. Although, I have had to change the direction of my dreams and have to do some things differently, I keep on dreaming.
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Writing with RA

sample of my handwriting

 Sample of my handwriting

I’m always surprised when someone hands me a form then asks, ‟Can you sign this? Or do you want me to do it and you can initial it?” My hands aren’t pretty, by any means; they are gnarled and weak looking. At first glance, they give the impression of being difficult to use. However, once I write my name, it is east to see that they are still useful in some tasks.
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