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Something I Want to Talk About

February 25, 2010

Before I begin, I want to preface this post with the statement that I hope no one interprets this as a huge complaint/whining/bitch session. The one trouble I have with blogging is that so much is lost when we can’t hear the voice of another, and this leads to misinterpretation. If you could hear my voice, you would hear the apprehension and concern I have.

Now, on to what’s bothering me. I have Rheumatoid Arthritis. I’ve lived with this diagnosis for the last nine years ( I was 21 when I was diagnosed). And right now, I’m in the middle of a flare-up. While most days I’m able to do what I want, when I want, I have other days that I can’t. And I’ve not been up to par for the last couple of weeks, and back on the ol’ medication regime.

There have been several very successful medications that are self-administered injections introduced to the market, and so I have hope for treatment as I age. But let me tell you, it’s not pretty. They are freakin’ expensive, and health insurance companies hate on you for it. These things are prescribed in conjunction with another drug called methotrexate. It’s a low dose of chemotherapy. Yes, you read that correctly. Chemo. And steroids. I’m fortunate that it’s nothing like what cancer patients have to tolerate, but nausea, hair loss, and loss of appetite are all there. And I get so damn tired.

The difficulty is in that it interferes with doing the things I love most: digging in the garden, knitting and sewing. It makes my new resolution of self-taught piano very difficult. Even managing the keyboard is a daunting menace.  I consider myself an urban homesteader and RA tends to cramp my style. What am I going to do as I get older? What about those chickens and rabbits I daydream about? And the self-sufficient B&B I hope to run in the Texas hill country?  I know I just said there are new, great medications available,  But what if one day I will never be able to plant seeds for our garden? What if I can’t lift the shovel or rake? What if I can’t knit that hat for my daughter? There are so many activities that I’ve learned to do in different ways so that I will not have to rely on others, but this disease forces me to question it all.

But I can’t give up, right?! Or do I just one day live vicariously through my fellow homesteaders? The thought of only being able to read other peoples’ homesteading blogs makes me want to barf. That thought makes me more nauseated than the medication.

I hope this flare-up backs off quickly. Our last frost date is March 14. And I need to be able to get out there and dig in the dirt. Goodbye stiff and swollen hands. Goodbye painful feet and neck that won’t turn. Don’t let the door hit you in the ass on the way out. Arthritis has just been served an eviction notice.

Cross your fingers for me- I can’t do it myself right now.

7 Comments leave one →
  1. Allison Coffin permalink
    February 25, 2010 11:40 pm

    Big Hugs, Holly. I’m sorry to read about your flare up, and I hope it packs its bags and moves out quickly.

    I don’t know much about RA, but if it’s anything like MS (which my mother has been fighting for 30 years), then keeping up your fighting spirit is a big part in slowing the progression of the disease. So please please please don’t give up on living your life the way you want.

    And I’ll cross my fingers for you, 5thotguh it ddoes msake typings dficciciult.

    • greenanthropology permalink*
      February 26, 2010 12:52 am

      Lol, Thanks!
      RA is degenerative. Keeping a positive attitude helps, but in the end you know what your fate is going to be. It’s an autoimmune disease that gets lumped into the same category as lupus and fibromyalgia.
      Every now and then I have these flare ups- I think the sustained unusually cold weather has irritated it this time. Once it starts becoming controlled again it gets much easier to cope with. Getting to that point is the downer part.
      So, I have about 3 weeks to kick it’s ass before I need to go roll around in the soil.

  2. February 26, 2010 5:50 pm

    ughhh. My grandmother lived with RA for many, many years (when she was younger she was very active in the Arthritis Foundation) so I know from her accounts some of what you are going through. I do feel a little guilty enjoying our “real winter” when I read accounts of this and a friend of mine who experiences unbearable hip pain when it gets cold like this.

    At least this weekend it looks like it will be sunny and in the 60s. I hope you can get a break. Times like these you need some indoor herbs that you can have near you to smell and feel like you’re near green things.

  3. Chris permalink
    March 1, 2010 9:11 pm

    I love to garden, but, I am a busy parent and I work long hours as a software developer. There are many times when I can’t get to do those gardening chores that I love to do. I am expecting another child in August and that will mean less time outside too. So, I spend an awful lot of time thinking and re-thinking my plans. As a result, when I do get the time I feel like I have a good game plan and I am ready to go. It is sad that you’re prevented from doing these things due to arthritis. It truly is. I’ve automated all my watering with driplines and that alone has saved me many hours. I also got flood lights to work in the dark hours (after work) when I do have time. And last, but, not least, I got my youngest son fired up about gardening and he is a great help. So, please, don’t give up. I am sure God will bless you with some ways around your problems.

    Happy Gardening,

  4. littlehousesouthernprairie permalink
    March 15, 2010 8:37 pm

    oooh, girl. i hear ya. you are not whining, not at all. it’s so damn hard. i’m crossing my fingers for you and wishing you well. xo from emily, who is high as a kite right now because of the steroids for my back. don’t you feel like we’re too young to be dealing with this stuff?!

    • greenanthropology permalink*
      March 15, 2010 9:26 pm

      Thanks. Yeah, gotta love the steroids with this crap. First, they give you meds to manage the pain, THEN they give you steroids to beef you up- after a few days, I think to myself, ‘Wow, I feel like an Amazon. I feel like I can do anything, and now I’m crazy enough to do it.’ Not in a good way either.

      And yes, we are too young to have to deal with this kind of stuff. It throws the whole ’30 is the new 20′ thing right out the window. My grandma is 90 and doesn’t have the arthritic complaints that I do.


      • littlehousesouthernprairie permalink
        March 15, 2010 9:41 pm

        Yes! The steroids give me the same scary confidence feelings. Hang in there! No getting around the suckage, but know you aren’t alone.

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