Category Archives: Arthritis

I HATE Needles. Seriously.

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So, I really really really REALLY hate needs. I cannot reiterate this enough. Something happened to me and I don’t know what. When I was younger and I had blood tests done (I had a lot of them when I had a bout of fainting spells) and then I gave blood and never had a problem. I would watch the nurses put the needle in, watch the tubes filling up and keep a smile on my face.

Then something happened.

I’m not sure exactly what but it was as if a switch was flipped. bam. I went from “stab me” Meghan to “black out” Meghan. I can’t do it. I hate needles. I can’t watch. I see the nurse grab the little tubes to fill and I get sweaty and anxious and light-headed. I get sick to my stomach. And, I usually pass out… at least when something is removed from my body. Sometimes even when they don’t take blood! When I was in college, I had to get my wisdom teeth pulled out. I passed out before the anesthesia needle hit my skin. They had to bring me back with smelling salts just to put me back under. Couldn’t they have just done it while I was out? ;0)

Regardless, this is my life now. So, you can imagine how unhappy I was when I had to get blood tests at my Rheumy appointment two weeks ago. Then, I had to get dye injected for my MRIs. Now, on Tuesday, I had to get a freaking TB test. I HATE needles. I know I can’t really complain becauseĀ  a lot of people have it worse than me, but I hate it and I feel for anyway who has to get pricked. Here’s my latest prickling:

So where does this bring me to? I had my follow up appointment with my Rheumatologist. He was pretty nice- he doesn’t seem overly knowledgeable about AS, but he told me that once we figure out a proper course of medication, I can get back to running. So that makes me love him. He gave me a pamphlet of information and told me that I should start Physical Therapy again (I don’t enjoy PT, but maybe this time I will?) and that the PT will help me figure out some breathing exercises and back exercises to help out. He said I should also be exercising because mobility is key (shout out to World Arthritis Day’s theme, Move to Improve).

Then we get to medication. So there are several types of medications out there, some are anti-inflammatories and they seem to not really be helping me at all. So then you move up to Tumor Necrosis Factors. They’re super drugs! Haha, no but they are used to treat Rheumatoid arthritis. So, at my appointment, my Rheumy decided that the best course of action as far as pain medication is to try out these TNF medications. He has prescribed Enbrel (Etanercept). I’ll spend a post on it later. Right after he prescribed it, he let me know that I should get the TB test and then come back in on Friday so that I could learn how to use the Enbrel because it’s injected twice a week either in the abdomen or the thigh.

I’m sorry, WHAT?!?! I hate needles. Now I have to inject crap into my body twice a week. And I have to refrigerate the medicine/injectors. I’m going to be that girl on the plane with a little cooler of needles. Awesome. This sucks. For the first time, I can say, this honestly sucks. I went home after my appointment, exhausted, in pain, and worn out. That was the first time I actually broke down and cried. Not for long and not very strongly, but I did.

Here is where I have a nice little shout out to Mariah Zebrowski at From this Point. Forward. She is Andrew’s sister-in-law and was diagnosed with RA a three (?) years ago. We were just talking about it and she mentioned that I was braver than her about finding out. I remarked that it’s probably because it hasn’t sunk in yet. Well, I think it is starting to… I really thought I’d go to the doctor’s office and he’d say he screwed up the results. Oh well. Life goes on. On to the next chapter of my life.

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World Arthritis Day is Coming…

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So I was over on Mariah Z-Leach’s blog, From This Point. Forward. earlier today and she had posted a fun fact about the Empire State building and World Arthritis Day; it appears as though the Empire State Building will be lighting up in blue on October 12th in support of World Arthritis Day! How cool is that? Anyway, seeing the fun fact made me look up what else was going on for Arthritis Day. There are a lot of cool projects and programs going on, and I found out that there is a huge supporting of Arthritis in Europe; they the European League actually has a huge map of all of the arthritis events going on (users can self-add events too). It’s over here.

Anyway, the theme for this year is Move to Improve. I like it. a lot. I’ve found a great deal of information on exercising with different types of arthritis and which types of sports are good/bad. The European League’s activity of the month is cycling, which makes me happy because I’m trying to get more into cycling in preparation for our Climate Ride next May! Cycling is supposed to be a great activity because it’s easier on the hips and knees then say, running (although now that I think about from a different perspective, in what way is running actually a good impact on your body… except for being a cardio-workout).

Ok, I guess that sounded a bit bitter, I really do love running and I think it’s great for you, despite what my past 5 or 6 doctors and orthopedists and physical therapists have told me. The combination of ankle surgery in 2009 and this continuing pain in my butt (literally), along with a host of other issues, have prevented me from getting back into running at the level that I would like to be. I was trying to think of questions to ask my Rheumy this week and honestly, my number one question is whether or not I can pick up running again… I just miss it. a lot. From what I’ve gathered online, there are certain medications that are not good to take if you have AS and are running because they further restrict your lung capacity which is apparently an issue with AS by itself. So, we’ll see what the outcome is…

Anyway, back to World Arthritis Day. There are a bunch of things going on, but the two that are pretty cool that everyone (arthritees and non-arthritees alike) should participate in are:

1. Massage Envy! Who doesn’t love massages? Get a massage and they’ll donate $10 to the Arthritis Foundation! Easy and relaxing :0)

2. Jingle Bell 5K for Arthritis: You can run or walk! It’s only 5k or 3.1 miles. It’s a great, fast, and enjoyable distance and it’s a ton of fun. We did it last year in Baltimore, MD. Andrew and I dressed up like Christmas trees. Everyone gets decked out in costumes and has a great time. If you sign up for it on October 12th, and you’re one of the first 1,000, you’ll get a free present, too! So go on and sign up; I know I will be!