Wednesday, February 19, 2020

Personal Update

I've been struggling with joint pain since autumn started. My doctors have tried steroid shots (relief for a few weeks), NSAIDS (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs), and cold/warmth to relieve pain/improve mobility.

I've tried chiropractic adjustment (some relief, but it also preceded my most recent problem), water therapy, and bed rest when it got too painful.

This Monday, I was walking when I suddenly had a sharp burning pain in my right knee. By morning, I was unable to walk without assistance. I contacted my doctor, and the diagnosis is sprained ligaments. I was prescribed a knee brace (with a hinge), and given advice on managing the pain. This morning (on Motrin and with the brace), I can walk, with a cane, for limited amounts of time. Basically, just to the bathroom and to get food/drink from the fridge.

This may take some time to clear up; it's not unusual for soft tissue injuries to require months to fully heal. I previously had a bad ankle sprain that took more than 6 months to heal.

A complicating factor is that I've been receiving medical care for osteoarthritis (basically, wear-and-tear breakdown of joints - it eventually happens to most of us, particularly if we have weight issues, which I do). Last week, after testing, it was confirmed that I also have RA - rheumatoid arthritis.

My mother, an RA patient, was in a wheelchair for more than 15 years before her death. The disease affects more than 2 million Americans, most of them women. Those with twitchy immune systems seem to be more at risk - allergies, asthma, and other immune diseases.

From Mayo Clinic:
Unlike the wear-and-tear damage of osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis affects the lining of your joints, causing a painful swelling that can eventually result in bone erosion and joint deformity.
 I've also been experiencing some 'brain fog' and memory loss (not major, just difficulty remembering little things - to call people on the phone, storing offhand information my husband tosses me on the way out the door). I'm fine as long as I write it down (usually), and memory usually is not a factor when I'm not feeling poorly.

However, the malaise and brain fog is hindering my progress on my book. Shorter things - blog posts, journaling, short stories - are fine. But, I've been having a devil of a time getting further on my book. As a result, I'm frustrated. Filled with ideas, and just not making progress on writing them down.

Most of this is not life-threatening. Just affecting quality of life. I'm hopeful that, now that I have a diagnosis, I can start attacking the problems head on. The knee thing is already improving, with caution and use of the brace. Decent levels of Motrin help, too.

No comments: