Friday, October 29, 2010

Remicade or not to remicade...

...that is the question. Cheers my fellow RAers! I went for my regular rheumy follow-up yesterday. He began discussing the possibility of beginning treatment with Remicade, a TNF blocker. Are any of my fellow RAers currently receiving Remicade treatments? If so, I am open to your comments. Peace!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Motivation and Inspiration.

Since my last post a week ago, I have been living life and dealing with weird fluctuations in pain. At the start of my week, the pain and inflammation in my knees from osteoarthritis was almost unbearable. Especially during the morning. I would wake up during the night, hurting, moving from side to side in search of a comfortable spot while wanting to cry. Yes, I am man enough to say, I truly felt like crying. I did not.
Because I was not about to let my monster (RA) have control over me. I would wake up, take my meds (my morning cocktail of methotrexate, prednisone and folic acid) and eat breakfast. I must admit, for the purpose of this article, I have not been too motivated to go for my usual walk. Shame on me, right? I have had trials and tribulations in life, yes, as we all have. Like most of you, I feel I am in my most fiercest fight of all. A fight, which intends on a daily basis, to remind me how great this battle will be and to remind me it is here
to stay. Maybe so, as I said, RA will not control me.
I have a life inwhich I intend to live. I have a wonderful family which supports and loves me.
Over the past two years, I have persevered through a myriad of health issues ranging from systemic joint pain/inflammation (hint,hint), anemia, weight loss of 40 pounds (December, 2008), being tested for cancer (results being negative), a plethora of blood tests, cultures, biopsies, CT Scans, etc. Being hospitalized for a staph infection from a bronchoscope (March, 2009) and leading up to a near death experience after a surgical procedure (video-assisted thoracotomy) inwhich I lost 2 liters of blood from a hemothorax. All of this leading up to my diagnosis of RA in August. I digress.
As the week progressed, my pain became an ache. I have been feeling better this weekend and the knee pain feels more like having a rock in my knees. I have noticed myself walking with a little less stiffness and soreness. Although, standing and sitting for long periods still hurts.
My attitude has improved greatly too. Earlier in the week, I felt a sense of loneliness, isolation and alot of anger. I caught myself asking "me", one question; " Why me?" Why not me?
So, my question to all of you is what motivates and inspires you? Me? Since 2008, I have had a spiritual reawakening. The foundation of my soul has been shaken. My faith, as a result, has grown favorably. Although, I had a deep, religious upbringing, questions which echoed in my mind throughout my life were answered.
Music inspires and motivates me. I find inspiration through reading and my own writing as well. The writings of Dr. Wayne Dyer have given me inspiration, enlightened myself to my true self and potential. Even through the face of adversity.
My ultimate source of motivation and inspiration, my family. My wife has been my rock throughout this ordeal. My children fill me with the strength and courage to face each day despite how I may feel and to live each day to the fullest. I bid you peace and good health.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Recapping Saturday night!

I wanted to recap a wonderful evening out with my wife and son. We ventured out to our favorite area of Louisville, Ky. The Highlands. A place where one can stroll for many blocks and window shop, get some ink at one of a few tattoo parlors, eat fine food, visit a local pub or nightclub. A place known for the eccentric and the eclectic. A very laidback environment really. And, not to mention, a few of my local musician friends call this area home.
The Highlands is also steeped in its own history; some of it to be haunted. We went to a popular, local haunted house this fine Saturday evening. The Baxter Avenue Morgue. This historic building was once a family-owned funeral home/mortuary for many years. The morgue was operated in the basement. Due to
many reported strange happenings and disappearances of locals during the early 20th century, the funeral home lost considerable business. The building eventually became vacant.
This building has been a haunted house attraction for many years. This night was also my sons' first haunted house experience. The line moved rather quickly despite the huge early crowd. Our turn to enter, and the mayhem began. I am not easily frightened, so, I must say, I was truly spooked at points along the tour. A damn fine job by the spooks and all involved.
The whole point here, I had a very tough day early on Saturday. I was determined to control my monster and have fun on Saturday night. I did. RA lost out yet again.
Might I add, the Louisville Paranormal Investigators have concluded Baxter Avenue Morgue is indeed, truly haunted. Muahahahahahahaha!!!!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

World Arthritis Day!


HAPPY WORLD ARTHRITIS DAY!!! I bid you peace and good health.

Coping day-to-day with RA!

I am certain if everyone with RA in America (and, our numbers are high) were asked, " How do you cope with the pain of RA from day-to-day?", one would receive millions (literally) of different answers. I'm sure everyone would reply by stating they take their medication regularly as prescribed by their rheumatologist. Same goes here. I try to keep a positive, mental outlook. I do what I can around the house each day. Housework also keeps me busy, which keeps me active, which takes my mind off of my RA.
I enjoy reading and writing (which, I have been doing more of), playing music and spending time with my family. I stay mindful the events of the past 2 years have not only affected me, but, everyone around me; my family and my friends.
I am definitely learning how to live this new life. Lately, I have found myself a bit pissed off. I want to do certain things as I had before. On my own and at a quicker pace. Not happening now. I have been exercising again for awhile now. My workouts now are not as intense as they once were-with intense cardio and resistance training. My pace is a bit slower, but hey, it's working for me right now.
The pain differs from each day. Some mornings are brutal, especially if I have been very active the day before. Maybe, this where I am still learning and coping with my RA.
I would love to hear from others how they are coping with RA. Peace!

Rambling about RA!

Lately, I have found myself wanting to vent and ramble about RA. Please excuse me if I happen to mention what many folks with RA have already ranted and raved about. I am an RA newbie and this is my time. Although I am being proactive and educating myself to this autoimmune disorder and how to live with RA, this " monster" inside me wants to control every facet of my life. I refuse to give it the control it seeks.
I just recently read a report from the Tin Mom blog on Arthritis Today. (This blog is an excellent source of information about RA. Thank you, Annette. Kudos).
This is a report by Jennifer Davis revealing new information on the debilitating effects of arthritis (as a whole) on America's population, as well as, our economy. I was floored, to say the least. What I read also backed up the information I have read recently from a book titled, The Autoimmune Epidemic, by Donna Jackson Nakazawa. ( I could give my own review in a later blog). And, I may do just that; once I complete the book.
This report was astounding. Apparently, 1 in 10 adults in the U.S. (currently), reports limited activity as a result of joint pain. That is roughly, 21 million people. Also, a government report stated the number of American adults with doctor-diagnosed arthritis is increasing. A CDC report listed an increased number of doctor-diagnosed, adult (over age 18) arthritis cases from 46 million to 50 million over a four year period.
A study from 2007-2009 revealed 22% of the American population has arthritis. Pardon me, but, WTF!!
That equals an annual cost of 128 billion dollars.
Oh yes! Might I add; arthritis is one of the most prevalent chronic health problems, not to mention, the nation's leading cause of disability amongst Americans over the age of 15.
Arthritis also results in 39 million physician office visits annually, as well as, more than 500,000 hospitalizations each year. This chronic illness affects people of ALL age groups, including 300,000 children. Gees, America, is this really good enough? Thank you for the recent passage of the Arthritis Control and Cure Act on September 30, 2010. A major accomplishment indeed, yet, much work still lies ahead.
The point here is this; arthritis is a chronic, debilitating disease that affects more people than cancer. Yes, I said that. And, may I add, I say that with respect for those whom have survived, are currently fighting, or, whom have lost someone dear from cancer. I have. And, my mother is a breast cancer survivor.
Cancer is tracked and the patients are placed on a registry. Currently, 9 million Americans alone are diagnosed with some form of cancer. No method of tracking rheumatoid arthritis and other autoimmune disorders exists. This isn't good enough!