Hi friends! I’ve been quiet for a while now. I would love to say I’ve been incredibly busy, but that would be a lie. I have actually been enjoying the sanctity of home and spending precious time with my kids. They are growing up and getting ready to head out into this ole world. BUT…a couple of weeks ago, I started feeling bad, really bad. Bad to the point of just wanting to crawl in bed and sleep the bad away. I had no energy, no get-up-and-go. Cooking and creating meals were just absolutely hard to do. The harder things got, the more frustrated I became.
So, let’s give a short back-story. I have lived with back pain, elbow pain, knee pain, foot pain for a looooooooooooooong time. Every time I would seek medical help, the doctors would take X-rays, say there is inflammation, prescribe drugs and physical therapy and send me on my happy little way. I’ve been to chiropractors, physical therapists, pain doctors, primary doctors, ER’s…I would have short-term relief, but I would most always have some form of stiffness to contend with. So, I did what anyone else would do…I learned to live with pain. I learned to beg for back rubs, take ibuprofen, increase water intake, hot showers, or try to forget about it. It is important to stress that I don’t live in constant pain. I could go months pain-free, then boom my back would go out, my heels would shoot fire up my legs, knees would hurt, headaches, blah blah blah. When it would happen, I would just press on. BUT 2 weeks ago, some things were different.
I started feeling tired, and of course the other aches were there, but the tiredness was rough. It kept getting worse over the course of time. In fact, it got to the point that I couldn’t function. Making dinner was torturous. Going up and and down stairs was paramount to completing an Olympic event. My get-up-and-go flew right out of the window and was replaced with lying down, resting, sleeping, getting more sore because I was in a vicious cycle. I had also been living in some kind of mental fog…I don’t know how else to describe it. My mind wasn’t terribly sharp, I would have bouts of unsteadiness, I couldn’t remember my ass from a hole in the ground. I noticed that I was misplacing things more often and repeating myself frequently. THAT sucked! I always prided myself on being “with-it” and having an uncanny ability to remember things (much to the chagrin of those I love the most). This fog, held those abilities at bay. I hated that big time. Then came the windedness. I had absolutely no energy whatsoever. Brian and I went to the bread store and Aldi, I had to stop a few times and catch my breath. I ran a 5K a few years ago, and I was more out of breath walking through a grocery store than finishing that darned 5K. It took some persuasion, but I finally relented to go to the ER.
At the ER, they ran the usual battery of tests…CBC, cardiac enzymes, chest X-rays…anything that would confirm or rule out infection, heart issues, or blood clots to the lung. The good news…they were all negative. Everything came back normal. Which was a huge weight lifted off my heart and mind. I was so afraid I was dealing with a major heart or lung issue, but the tests proved otherwise. Then another bout of frustration set in. I feel like crap. This feeling like crap comes and goes and frankly, it’s starting to piss me off. It’s so frustrating having months of feeling normal, then having bouts of having your butt kicked. At times, I would seek medical attention. When I did go to the doctor, I usually heard the same things…control your blood pressure, lose weight (hard to lose weight when every joint in your body hurts), take drugs…but I always resigned myself to their prescribed treatments and physical therapies and feel better for awhile. Then the cycle would start again. So I pretty much decided that when I hurt, I would just have to do home remedies and live with it. But this time, it was honestly the worst I had felt in a long time. The fatigue was almost debilitating and I was scared to death of how I was going to start back to work in 3 weeks. It got to where I was sleeping until 10 a.m. or later, then needing to take a nap a few hours later. THAT is not normal for me. Thankfully, the ER doctor was different. She asked questions and listened.
The most important question she asked was if there was a history of Rheumatoid Arthritis, and/or Lupus in my family. As a matter of fact there is, my Daddy was diagnosed with it in the late 1960s. As she continued to listen to my frustrations and tears, she told me that she had RA. Wow…let me say that again…SHE HAD RA. She continued to tell me that she felt my fluctuations in blood pressure was the result of my body reacting to feeling poorly and NOT my blood pressure causing me to feel bad. After listening to my diatribes, she prescribed an IV and oral steroid in the ER, with a 10 day, low-dose regiment to follow. Then she referred me to a Rheumatologist, one who is better qualified to get to the bottom of what’s going on. As of this moment, I feel better. Not 100%, but better. I have more energy, I can move UP the stairs more fluidly (down the stairs is more challenging). My mental fog is lifting.
Nothing has been diagnosed, but what I have right now is a starting ground. I may not be dealing with RA at all, but I had a doctor who took the time to listen and not dismiss me as overweight and tired.
So, what’s my next step? Pick up the steroid prescription tomorrow and finish that course. On Monday, call the Rheumatologist doctor that was recommended to me and make that appointment. Honestly, I hope and pray that the doctor will tell me I’m healthy, but I know there is something going on. I just feel a sense of peace that I have a starting point to move forward. Just keeping my fingers crossed that all is well.
As I reflect on the events of the day, the one thing that resonates loudly is this…the doctor listened. She had compassion. She didn’t assume. Pretty humbling. It’s a lesson that I must remember as a new school year gets ready to begin. As a teacher of beautiful, amazing, impulsive, and wonderful six and seven year olds, I must remember to have compassion and not make assumptions as to why a child reacts/behaves a certain way. Her bed-side manner brought a huge sense of peace to me, I felt respected and listened to and NOT dismissed. In a few weeks, I hope to have more answers medically. Additionally, I truly believe I have a new attitude a mind-set starting the school year. I may feel crummy, but I do not know what my kiddos are bringing to the classroom, just like many people may not realize that I am feeling poorly. I’m ready for a new year and some answers!!!!
Peace and much love,