Of distance and longing

To say  I’m having a rough time of late would be quite fair. The usual physical and mental troubles plus the fact of my Darling Man being in Alaska for two months. I’m almost two weeks in and my public face is still pretty good, though it has been wearing on me something fierce. I’m going to work, taking care of our Dog and two Cats and just going through the day to day motions. At some point every day when  I’m alone (usually when I get home from work)  I curl up in our bed and start sobbing. It passes quickly enough, but every day without fail since he left.

I’ve been flirting with escapism, wanting to delete this blog, my facebook, my myrateam.com account and I haven’t done so. Why? Because I know it’ll not really accomplish anything outside of worrying people. I realize that a lot of people care about me but when  I get in a depressed state  I just want to shut out everything under and including the Sun. I know that that’s when  I need to reach out and  I’m slowly getting better about this.

Apparently RA can cause or exacerbate depression. I read this and  I’m like ‘Oh joy.’. I have to at this point stress that I am mostly alright, just having a rough go of things. My joint issues have if anything gotten more pronounced in the last year but they haven’t stopped me yet. I am especially fortunate to have discovered myrateam.com , it’s a really good resource for people with RA. It’s nice to have a place where  I can vent among people in the same situation who  can relate and offer insights and or encouragement. 

So yeah, I’m not going anywhere, as this blog is a major stabilizing factor in my life. I’m hanging in there. I’m in the weeds, and  I hurt. Sometimes terribly. I try not to be that flaky person always bitching and moaning about something be it physical or mental. But if this blog was intended for anything it’s precisely this. More than anything it’s for me to help with sorting myself out. I tend to be a person who suffers privately but  I’m trying to get more open with other people about what  I think and feel. Because sometimes people want to help me. What’s more, sometimes I want to let them 😉

I promise to keep doing my best. 93

-Thom

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Latest News from Planet Berserk 

I’m back in Florida after a glorious almost two weeks in lovely Alaska. Met some really cool people,  enjoyed the scenery and just freaking relaxed in the boonies. Even encountered a Moose on my last day of the trip. 

Shannon’s parents were nice enough to let me use their big-ass Diesel Chevy truck to explore Fairbanks and the surrounding area. Driving up there is an immense experience.  The roads are SO steep and twisty and there are many places where you barely touch the gas pedal and just let gravity do it’s job. 

The trip was not all play as Shannon’s eye procedures went quite well and only slowed us down a day or two. As for myself I started flaring up a couple days after we arrived. Not sure if the traveling wore me down or what but my hands were pretty sore and my elbows and wrists were rather swollen.  In a stroke of brilliance I remembered to pack my bottle of prednisone even though I was certain I wouldn’t need it. I had been prescribed the steroid when I was first diagnosed and it gave me amazing relief. Not for long term use, though.  After that the Rheumatologist said we would wait and see if the inflammation and swelling came back without the prednisone.  It sure enough did so my first day back in Florida my Doctor prescribed my first DMARD (Disease Modifying Anti Rheumatic Drug/ Immune Suppressant ) in the form of Arava. I had some stomach pain the first couple of days but it seems to have passed as long as I take it with food. So now we wait a month or two and then I get a liver panel and we see how well my body is tolerating it. I’m also taking Tylenol and Motrin along with my usual cocktail.  

So yeah,  after a few years of complaining about my joints to various doctors I’m finally getting treated for what has been diagnosed as Seronegative Rheumatoid Arthritis.  I’m not too worried about side effects outside of hair loss.  That one is a  bit intimidating.  We shall see. 

Not much has changed mentally,  I’m in a good place and mean to keep it that way.  I leave you with a cute cartoon and the sincere hope I don’t get sued for using it 

3000 miles from home! 

I’m blogging today from lovely Fairbanks Alaska.  In a few short days I’ve completely fallen in love with this place. Haven’t gotten to do a whole lot yet but been really enjoying just chilling and being away from the urban sprawl.  There’s an undeniable calm that permeates the landscape here and the energy is absolutely amazing.  

Of course,  it’s not all vacation fun. Shannon’s here to get some laser eye surgery procedures.  I’m actually sitting in the waiting room of the outpatient center as I type this.  Enjoying meeting Shannon’s friends, got to check out the Shakespeare Camp in the boonies which was awesome.  Looks like Shannon and I may be getting involved with next summer’s production as well. I’m thinking that I’ve had enough of a break from theatre now but I’ve been absolutely burning to get involved at some other theatres and branch out. I love my Franwilly people but just feel like I need to get out and see more. This would be an excellent opportunity to do so. I’m still kind of burnt out from my last show and a little chewed up and screwy feeling but I have to keep going. I don’t want my break to be too much longer lest it becomes terminal sort of thing. 

I’m an actor and a stagehand  and damnit I miss it. Plus I really want to do another show with my Boyfriend. It’s been a year and I’m finally getting the itch to go back. 

That is about all I have right now.  Relaxing and doing the vacation thing for the first time since I was sixteen years old. Everything is breathtakingly beautiful up here and I am rejoicing in the experience of the Last Frontier.  More to come. 

When all things are considered…

I’m strangely content of late. It’s actually rather nice. I’m keeping up with my obligations and looking forward to my vacation in Alaska  next week. As for my health,  it’s pretty solid. I’m seeming to get some ADHD coverage from the Wellbutrin I was prescribed for depression,  so that’s a plus I’d say. I’m not sure what my current status is diagnosis-wise. If it is Rheumatoid Arthritis it’s the Seronegative type, as the blood work doesn’t really support this as SED rate, Rheumatoid Factor and C-reactive Protein are in the  normal range . I have to see a Dermatologist to get a biopsy on one of my nodules. If there are palisading lymphocytes then they are rheumatoid nodules, according to the Rheumatologist. At any rate,  I’m not particularly swollen or inflamed right now,  at least not badly. 

    It’s very strange the way my pain and fatigue wax and wane. Most days I feel relatively strong and capable.  But some days I flare up and come home feeling like I’ve been beaten by a golf club. As for fatigue,  I’m a fairly crazy coffee drinker, but when it hits, no amount of caffeine will move me. I had a day or two that I slept way too much and pretty much felt drunk and disoriented no matter what I did to kick myself into gear. My fatigue and stiffness have mostly been sparing me lately, for which I am grateful.  When the fatigue does hit nothing can touch it. 

    So if not RA, then what? My Mom came with me to my last appointment with the Rheumatologist.  At one point she looked confused and said  ‘So does he have RA or not?’. He said, ‘I’d bet my car on it but I’m not ready to bet my house.’. Which I presume is doctor-speak for I dunno. We shall see I guess.  My flares are erratic and won’t bother me for a decent amount of time in between.  I can’t really figure out what aggravates it. I had lots of swollen joints when I first saw my current doctor. That plus nodules which I still have on many knuckles. Also the xrays revealed some erosion.  The prednisone helped a lot but steroids are not for long term use. Anyhow,  the crucial thing is I’m alright and not feeling sick or sore right now.  

    On the Metal front life is good. Last show was a bit of a mixed bag.  Great bands but too much Metalcore filler.  Got to see Brazilian Death Metal Juggernaut Krisiun as well as Nile, Cannibal Corpse,  Revocation and SUFFOCATION SHOULD HAVE BEEN THERE DAMNIT! I GOT ROBBED DAMNIT! Oh well.  It’s just that they are the primary reason I went to that show. I was sorely disappointed.  Seeing Master in a month and DRI in December.  Hoping to get my copy of Harald Oimoen’s book signed! Metal Nerd for Life.  Aside from that,  just doing my thing. Finally decided to quit shaving my head too. Ha!

    Keeping up

    I’m trying to become more prolific with this blog. My small cult of readers seem to somewhat enjoy it and it gives me a medium with which I can observe my life and thoughts as if I were an outsider. I’m hoping to eventually start doing some creative writing as well.  I’m something of a poet at times but the inspiration rarely strikes me. I like words. They put thoughts into practice and ascribe meaning to the seemingly mundane. 

    I plan to do a post one day strictly about all the concerts I’ve been to and the related awesome memories. Perhaps I could do a post about things I enjoy cooking. I’m just trying to think of ways in which I could diversify my content a bit. 

    I’m trying to avoid the usual stream of consciousness stuff that I so frequently resort to.  I’m not trying to play to an audience as much as I’m simply growing bored with same old rundown and generalized updates. I’m well aware that my life really is not THAT fascinating. 

    As unfocused as this particular post is, I feel it’s important to have a brainstorming session of sorts with myself. I’m not certain what my strong points as a writer really are. I’d like to think I have a few, but honestly I’m far too critical of my own work most of the time.  I’m not above taking some feedback from my readers as long as it’s understood that I’m not really doing this for you. 

    I have a few upcoming events which should give me some fresh subject matter to ruminate upon. Next Sunday I’m going to see the Summer Slaughter tour with Cannibal Corpse,  Nile,  Suffocation and many other bands. If nothing else I’ll have lots of fun to gush about.  I’m going to Alaska in a month and am quite excited about it as well.  It’ll be farther than I’ve ever been from home and I plan on taking lots of pictures and being outdoorsy as all hell. I’m a bit nervous about traveling that far but it’s an adventure not to be missed.

    Some of my posting will still consist of Mental and Physical health updates. Some of my friends read this blog and it’s an easy way to keep my dear ones in the loop. I’m dealing with two chronic illnesses and WordPress is a wonderfully supportive environment for those like myself. Admittedly,  I need to start using the reader feature more and be more interactive with other bloggers. I’m slacking with keeping up with the blogs I like reading and for that you all have my profuse apologies.  I’m trying to branch out a little without getting sidetracked from the original purpose of this blog. Above all it’s a place where I can be myself.  

    For those who read and get something out of it I extend my thanks. Thanks for making this more than just a space for me to bitch. As I said,  I do this mostly for myself but it blows my mind how many subscribers I have now.  Not bad for what was originally intended to be a ‘Hide out from my family and complain about my issues’ blog. I’m glad I relaxed and went public with it. My family doesn’t always understand me and I don’t always get them, but I love them dearly and I’m glad they more or less accept me and my various  quirks.

    So yeah,  that’s about where I’m at with the ol’ Planet Berserk.  Thanks for reading and being a part of this strange exercise in documenting my thoughts. 

    Regards-

    Berserker