Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Welcome to the Sunny Side Up!

It's only been 4 months since my official diagnosis.  I remember it as clear as day, going back to my rheumatologist to let her know that I tapered off of my Fibromyalgia medications because they just weren't doing anything for me.  She finally seemed to listen when I said, "the pain seems to be just in my joints."  My wrists were hurting, the small joints in my hands and fingers were throbbing-and let's not forget the swelling-yikes!  There were times, as well, that I would have used a little walker, if I had one and didn't think it would freak out my 29 5th grade students.  My ankles and feet were getting bad enough that I limped around most of the day. 

But, on this appointment day, there must have been something different in my voice, or maybe I was able to articulate precisely where the pain was better then ever before.  On this day, my rheumatologist decided to do all sorts of bloodwork and X-Rays of my joints.  I dreaded returning for the follow up results visit.  I mean, come on, it's not like it was the Idol results show or anything which comes with live entertainment.  :)  Nope, I was prepared to hear the words I had heard for about 3 years:  "well, we didn't find anything."  Instead, she went through my bloodwork, said it all looked ok, and said she wanted to pull up my X-Rays.  Several minutes later, she asked me into another room, where my X-Rays were up for viewing.  I assumed this was a formality, so my husband and I went in, listened to her talk show the different images, and she stopped at my hands.  I remember hearing the word "lesions" and "erosion" and the whole thing became surreal.  We went back into our exam room, she said she conferred with the other Rheumatologist and they believe it is Rheumatoid Arthritis.  I think she asked if I had any questions....questions??  I don't even remember hearing anything she said, and she wanted to know if I had I nodded a "no" and let her keep talking.  She mentioned something about trying me out on Prednisone to see how I feel, and to come back.

Prednisone.  My friend, my foe.  Prednisone and I have a love/hate relationship.  I love to take it because of how differently I feel on it, but I HATE how I have changed as a result of it.  Alas, at my follow up appointment, it was all still a blur because she was still talking about this RA thing, and now some Methotrexate, a chemotherapy, and at this point my head is spinning.  So, I stopped her and asked her, "are you sure, this is what you think it is?  I do not want to be taking these medications if you aren't absolutely positive."  She assured me (or at least convinced me) that she was sure I had RA, and we were going to take an aggressive approach to stop the progression.

4 months.  That was 4 months ago.  I have since then started Humira injections, well, I have taken 1 injection to date.  I will be decreasing my Methotrexate because she believes it is attributing to my exhaustion, and she wrote me a prescription for Prednisone again.  I will have to deliberate with my vanity and pride about whether or not I will actually be taking this! 

Why the "Sunny Side Up"?  For 4 months, (well, for 3 years and 4 months), I have been having a very difficult time dealing with and accepting my diagnosis.  Well, I've made it.  I am accepting it-not 100%, but I am on my way.  I am not angry, though I have angry moments.  I am not depressed, though sad moments can creep in.  I have an illness that MANY people, including myself, do not understand.  I feel like I am being pulled to help others through their journey as well.  I would like to use this blog to focus, not only on the pain, frustration, and exhaustion of RA, but the positive things in life that are there if we just look past the harder things.  My goal is two-fold:  to educate and inform the public about what this illness is all about and help others see the brighter side.  Cause really, if you don't look at the bright side, what else do you have to look forward to?

I enjoy mine, Sunny Side about you?


  1. i'm just glad you finally got dx'd! positive attitude really helps too!

  2. Sue your story sounds just about the same as mine....thank you kindly
    I was diagnosis four years ago and still having my horrible moments with this terrible disease..
    Jackie Burgas

  3. great blog :)

  4. "Cause really, if you don't look at the bright side, what else do you have to look forward to?"
    EXACTLY! :)

  5. Wow, I can so relate. I was diagnosed 3 years ago and am on ebrel injections, prednisone daily and celebrex. Nothing has really had a big effect except the prednisone, which has turned my face into a moon and made me put on weight, as well as make my vision blurry! I really hope the injections help you. They really help a lot of others.
    I love your blog!:-)

  6. Sue -- you have a wonderful attitude. When I was diagnosed 3 1/2 years ago it was devastating. I have really healed. I also live in the north Chicago suburbs. Have you considered any alternative therapies? I have some great local providers I can recommend -- I even love my rheumatologist. And check out this website, -- Good luck to you.