Monday, April 13, 2015

The Self, the State, and the State of Self

DS1 brilliantly defended his senior thesis this afternoon. I was a bit late - driving over to his school always takes longer than I think it will, and then there's the need to park-- but I only missed the first few minutes.  By the time I arrived, he was settling in to the groove of addressing the very tough but fair questions his panel of professors addressed to him.  I asked him over the weekend if he wanted to practice, but he assured me he didn't need to; he loves to talk about this stuff.  It was evident in his responses, which consistently referred back to his source material even if they did get a big circular at times (glimpses of the old expressive fluency issues, coming to the surface.)   Still, he made his professors think in a new way about personal "truth," not as something that just happens inside your head, but as something that you act upon and build your life around.  It was obvious that it was a new idea to them all, and there was some push back, but that's not a bad thing.  I am extraordinarily proud of him for making them re-evaluate their approaches to the question of truth.  It was fascinating.

This year has been marked by huge accomplishments by all the offspring (as I often call them.)  DS1 with his thesis, DD with her brilliant musical composition, and DS2 in becoming a more active participant in his own life by auditioning for, and winning a spot to perform at, the Titan Triad and going out for the track team.  After 18 years I'm seeing the first indications of the adults they will become, and it is literally amazing.  I am so often overwhelmed these days, but I will never mind this feeling of my heart being too full when I see what my children can do.

Saturday, April 11, 2015

meloxicam, day 3

So far my impression is "meh."

It has done a good job of reducing swelling, so I'll give it that.  But pain in hands, collar bone, hips, etc is all still there, just slightly less -- say a 4 on the pain scale instead of 6.  So that's better. 

However, neck pain is nearly as bad as if I were taking nothing.  The ibuprofen did a much better job controlling that.  This is not muscle pain but pain at the vertebrae themselves.  It feels "crunchy" (which makes me think bone-on-bone, but I don't think it's that bad) and it hurts.

Headaches range from ignorable (1-2) to killer (7-8), which is pretty consistent with the ibruprofen.  I intensely dislike it when my front teeth hurt...

Worst of all, though, is the reflux.  I had a smidge of heartburn yesterday (Thursday, day 2), but today I feel the way I did years ago when I had gastroparesis and my gerd was out of control.  Sick.  Popping some calcium antacids helped; omeprazole would've been better but we're out. I'm not willing to get back on a drug I worked hard to wean myself from (omeprazole).  Even one day of reflux left me struggling with my voice today.

On the upside, trying to keep the reflux down encouraged me to drink tons of water today.

I don't think this is the drug for me, but I'm not sure how much longer to give it before I say "enough". I have been taking it before bed (about midnight) to help mitigate that side effect, but that hasn't been entirely (or even moderately) successful.

I'm not taking any more tonight -- I'll investigate more tomorrow and figure out if I should try to tough it out another couple of weeks, but I don't think that makes any sense.

Thursday, April 09, 2015

pain management

After an inordinate delay caused by the insurance company's long telephone wait times, I was finally able to get in to see my new rheumatologist on Tuesday.  I have mixed impressions but I'm trying to remain open about the experience.

First off, his manner is a complete 180 from my previous rheumatologist, was a nurturer and very much into building a relationship.  New doc is all business and brusque, and that's OK, except he seemed to be discounting everything I said: when I told him I had RA, he challenged the diagnosis, going so far as to examine - without explaining what he was doing and why - every joint in my body (literally). 

I want to say that it was his tone that made his questions ruffle my feathers, but that's not quite true: When Dr. P diagnosed you, do you happen to know if your lab test were positive?  (I said I didn't know, but I have a feeling they were not...)  Then: How is your anxiety?  (I told him I was feeling stressed because I was concerned about getting to my class on time.)

He pretty much completely dismissed the problem with my neck, saying that arthritis rarely strikes the spine -- to which I replied, it could be osteo, but the MRI showed arthritic changes -- and his response was, "You probably have a disc problem." 

No, I don't have a disc problem, and I know that because I finally got the MRI report from my doctor's office today and it specifically says that the problem is not a disc problem.  So there.

He ordered a billion tests (I had the blood drawn yesterday) and put me on a once-a-day NSAID called meloxicam, 15mg/day, which is interestingly double the normal starting dose.  I started it Tuesday night so I have had 2 doses and I have noticed that it is helping tremendously with the swellng, but not the pain, as my hands are still killing me and my neck is now giving me more issues than it did when I was on the ibuprofen, plus the return of the ever-so-delightful headaches. 

OTOH, I have lost a few pounds of the fluid I was retaining and I'm happy about that, and my fingers don't look like little fat sausages every morning -- yesterday I could put my rings on almost right away, but today, again, I had to wait about 2 hours before I could wear them on their proper finger.

I'm seeing him again on the 28th, and I'm praying that my bloodwork shows something "real" because he seems like he might be one of those doctors who needs labs to back up a diagnosis, even though 25-30% of RA patients don't have RA factor.  All I know is, I'm miserable, and if it's not RA, what is it?