Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Still Trying to Get Healthy

Darn tick!

I don't know when it bit me. Or if more than one bit me. A couple of years ago I had the symptoms of tick disease, but didn't go to the doc and apparently my body fought it off, for all of the symptoms disappeared. Then around Independence Day this year they came back. By the third week of July I was a physical basket case. I went to the doc, got the normal anti-biotic treatment, and slowly got better. That is, the pains in my rib cage went away, my neck loosened up (though still not to pre-tick condition), and the drab feeling went away. The tests showed that I'd had the disease for more than six weeks. So how come it suddenly hit me again?

However, my rheumatoid arthritis has coincidentally flared up to the worst it has ever been, and has been getting worse by the week. I'm now being treated for it, which I never had to be before—except for occasional over the counter pain pills on the minor flare-ups and four steroid shots over two decades. This current treatment takes a month or so to bring relief, and I'm only about two weeks in, with no relief so far.

To contrast my current status, when we went to Chicago June 4-14 for Charles' graduation and hooding, I was feeling the best I'd felt in years. I hadn't had any RA symptoms for five or six years (except for the ring finger in my right hand, which flared up in Dec 2009 and has never subsided), and my weight was the lowest it had been since 2001, and still dropping. I was getting great exercise walking and working in my wood lot. My blood pressure was so low I had to cut my pills in half, then quit taking them all together.

Now, my fingers, wrists, elbows, rt shoulder, and both knees are extremely painful. The knees are the worst. My walking is greatly curtailed, even though we are having great walking weather. I've had to mostly give up my wood lot work. Sleeping has become a cycle of waking and turning to find a non-painful position. OTC painkillers don't seem to work, though I suppose it might be even worse without them. And my weight is back up almost fifteen pounds in three months. My blood pressure is still pretty good, however.

All because of a stinking little tick. At least, that's what I attribute this to. I suspect that sometime between June 15 and July 4 I had another tick bite, getting a fresh dose of ehrlichiosis chaffeensis, with my autoimmune system over-compensating and causing all the joint pain. I'm sure the weight gain is a combination of fluid on my joints and failure to cut back eating to match activity levels.

Today is a beautiful day. I'm going to walk twelve minutes no matter how much it hurts. I'm going to cut my normal lunch portion in half and just be hungry for the afternoon. I'm going to drink my water like a good boy, in the process cutting back a little on the coffee. By Wednesday of next week I hope to report a 2-3 pound weight loss, a little easing of joint pain, an increase in physical activity, and completion of my novel.

Wait, how did that slip in?

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