When I battled COVID for the second time at the beginning of this year, it threw my health up in the air and now, two months later, I am officially a bit out of whack -a tad wonky, out of balance, off-centered, and not too happy about it. The last two months have been more painful than usual.
Rheumatoid Arthritis (Rheuma) oh, how unpredictable it can be. Even the rich and famous have to deal with it and feel as helpless as I am. Many disappeared right after they got diagnosed, and tried to come to terms with a new reality that seems so surreal. Kathleen Turner, Tatum O’Neil, Lucille Ball, Terry Bradshaw to name just a few.
We look so healthy, and are often so active, how can we hurt so much inside?
Last Wednesday I had to finish a deadline. A last-minute job, two chairs had to be finished in the evening, the next day they would be placed into a moving pod to be transported out of state.
I woke up in pain, which is nothing unusual, but this time it was worse than normal and it lingered -and it was self-inflicted. I had given in to my cravings when I saw the chocolate Easter eggs and against my better knowledge, I had enjoyed a few (too many.) Sugar hurts me, I know it, but it’s just no fun to be always perfect. Who is?
Actions have consequences! Certain foods trigger inflammation and while I try to be as disciplined as possible I cheat a little now and then, and have gotten away with it. Overall, I had my autoimmune disorder under control and while we never heal, or can be cured, we can be in remission for a very long time, if not for the rest of our earthly being.
Remission, is the same word doctors use for cancer patients. Autoimmune disorders, many call them “Cancer of the immune system.” Remission or partial remission means some, but not all, signs and symptoms of the disease have disappeared. In complete remission, all signs and symptoms of the disease have vanished, although the disease itself is still lingering in our bodies but can’t be detected.
COVID has thrown me out of remission, into a whirlwind of emotions and health problems.
Wednesday I worked through the pain and the first four hours, from 8 am to 12 pm it was excruciating. On a scale from 1 to 10, a solid 8. I didn’t have a choice and so I continued. I took a few harmless painkillers, which didn’t help much, and in the afternoon I was on autopilot. Surprisingly, the pain went down to a bearable level, and I functioned as expected for the rest of the day. “
I knew the next day would be extra special, and it was. I could hardly move, every bone in my body hurt and I ached, everywhere. I walked downstairs like an old woman and made it to my desk stiff-legged like a senior dog.
I felt so much anger toward myself for acting extra-stupid. Rage aimed at the disease and life in general. How can you not be furious if you have so many questions and there are no answers? How can you not be frustrated if you hurt so much?
I called my Rheumatologist, left her a message, and a couple of hours later she called back. Turns out I am not the only one who has to come to terms with the COVID after mass. Long-therm COVID they call it.
It all doesn’t sound too good, does it?
“Let’s put you on Methotrexate for a while,” my doctor recommended and the thought of even taking a low dose of a chemotherapy drug took my breath away.
Deep down I knew she was right, but I fought the idea for 24 hours. Friday in the morning I agreed and we will meet today at 10 am.
Injections or pills she wanted to know? I decided to go with the injections, which I will give myself once a week. Piece of cake!
I pulled a hamstring years ago and had to get injections to prevent thrombosis. Every day I hopped on one foot to the doctor’s office, so the nurse could give me the injection. After a couple of days of one-legged-jumping, I was brave enough to do it myself. “Give me the box, I can do it,” I bravely declared.
Back at home, the first one took about thirty minutes, the ones afterward about two minutes. It gets easier the moment we conquer our fears. I hardly felt it, it was just the idea of poking myself with a needle that had frightened me.
Chemotherapy Drugs! Knowing I will allow toxins to enter my body is so against my belief, yet I understand it is necessary. Is it chemotherapy?
There is a huge difference between taking a low dose of a drug that is used in cancer as chemotherapy, and being on chemotherapy. It is a chemotherapy drug, but it is used in much lower doses for rheumatoid arthritis -only 7.5 mg to 20 mg max. I don’t compare it to cancer treatment, because it’s not like a cancer treatment.
How lucky am I anyway, in my case it’s optional and most likely only temporarily. How many cancer patients out there don’t have a choice? So many are fighting to their last breath. I cannot compare myself to these brave people.
Nausea, oh well! Been there done that!
Hair thinning. So be it, it’s not the end of the world.
I vow I will try every crazy colored wig and every goofy headcover out there. From pink to teal, from black to red. I will get all the craziness (hair-wise) out of my system.
Who knows, I might even be elegant for a while.
If life hands you lemons, make Margaritas. If you don’t drink alcohol, make lemon cookies and if that’s not an option either, learn to juggle and have fun.
I consider myself very fortunate in so many ways and I mean it from the bottom of my heart.
Either way, I am going back to my Hippy-diet. Everything organic, nothing processed, nothing with eyes or a mother -except sweet potatoes. Clean and healthy eating, no gluten, no sugar, no dairy, no damn chocolate Easter eggs.
I am going to clean up my act for good this time.
Permanent results require permanent changes -there is no in-between. Bye, Bye chocolate it was nice meeting you!