Recomposing Myself

I’m trying to take better care of myself these days. After my most recent wicked rheumatoid flareup  I determined that if it at all helped with the pain and swelling it was time for a major lifestyle change in the form of an anti-inflammatory diet. I had an inkling that I was screwing myself with what  I was eating, so  I finally got my shit together and read the books my Sister gave me on the subject.

I’ve cut out red meat, dairy, gluten, sugar and nightshade veggies. I still take a small amount of milk in my coffee (which is the one thing I have cut back on but refuse to give up)but will probably switch to coconut milk. I have noticed a decline in symptoms since starting the diet six days ago. This, I’m very certain is also from the Enbrel kicking in. 

I was pretty stiff this morning and have some pain and synovitis but the diet seems to have taken some of the punch out of the swelling. I realize that pain is never really going to disappear but it has been diminished lately. Except over the weekend when  I cheated on my diet at my friend’s wedding. I felt that the next day for sure. 

So, been cooking lots of fish and chicken and various beans, lentils and brown rice as well as loads of veggies. Fruits and nuts (you are what  you eat) as well. I’ve been managing to keep my cuisine pretty interesting so far, naturally I’m happy about that. I’m currently enjoying a lazy day of giving my joints a break for once.

Chilling with my kitty and pondering what to prepare for dinner. We shall see. This diet is rough but  I want to give myself whatever edge I can on my disease process. At least  I still have coffee. If I can just get back to using the elliptical every other day I’ll be in good shape ūüôā

I continue to be immensely excited about Iron Maiden live in June. As well as a few other upcoming shows. I might just try to get another jacket project going soon now that my hands are relatively calm.

That’s about all  I have for now. 

Blessed Be-

Thom

As long as we’re being honest….

I’m doing my best to deal with the recent news. I don’t feel particularly sick right now and my strength and endurance are both pretty good.  Still, I’m aware that my body is waging war on itself and am a bit unsettled.  I have multiple swollen joints and nodules on my knuckles.  If not for those we probably wouldn’t have gotten the diagnosis for a long time.  I’m grateful for this but scared because everything I’ve read indicates that nodules are associated with a more aggressive disease mechanism. 

I’m not just going to take it lying down. I’m improving my diet, working out and staying active. I plan to ask my Rheumatologist what supplements I should be taking.  I’m not wallowing in self-pity or seething with a bunch of ‘Poor me! Why me?’ bullshit. Still, I have to admit that I’m a bit scared. This is one of those illnesses where the treatment can be as rough as the disease itself.

Again,  I don’t feel sick right now  and I’m not going to start soley based on a diagnosis. The prednisone has been giving me some relief and I’m not hurting too badly right now. I just figured this would be a better place than Facebook to get some things off my chest. 

Here’s what really frightens me: I was on SSDI for bipolar disorder for almost five years.  When my case was flagged for termination I appealed and took it up the chain of command. At the time I was severely depressed and struggling with mood issues. After over a year of appealing my medication was changed from lithium to Risperdal. The improvement was astonishing.  I began working and dropped the appeal. Then I got stuck with the bill for my benefits while on appeal (11790$ or so). I’m paying it back at the rate of fifty dollars a month.  My big fear is that Rheumatoid Arthritis will cripple me and I won’t be able to get any help. This is a thought that has been keeping me up at night with apprehension. Essentially I’m being punished for getting better.

My boyfriend is trying to get into law school.  Specifically to be a Disability Attorney.  I’m hanging on to the dream that he’ll be able to help me with this before something bad and RA related happens. The odds are not in my favor. According to Johns Hopkins website sixty percent of people with RA become disabled within ten years of being diagnosed. 

I am trying not to give in to fear and go about my life.  It’s entirely possible I’ll have great treatment results and go into extended remission.  I just don’t know and the future is intimidating the living hell out of me.

I was hospitalized frequently as a kid. I know the drill. I have to fight and keep fighting hard. This is what I keep telling myself when I want to cry, which has been quite a bit lately. I’m not going to use or drink over it and I’m not just gonna sit around and be sick. To hell with that.

I am in desperate need of some inspiration.  Pray for Thom please.

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Creeping gratitude

I just recently passed the one month clean mark and I must say that things are looking up.¬† Granted,¬† life is no less capricious than previously.¬† I’m still dealing with physical and mental health issues as well as trying to get my life in order.¬† It IS happening though.¬† Which is something I was never able to do when I was drinking and drugging.

First, I’ll delve into¬† the health issues a bit. My arthritis and tendonitis are still raging and my hypertension has come back with a vengeance. I had to discontinue my ADHD medication due to my pressure being dangerously high. I’m on meds and have leveled out, but I am no longer able to work as a busser and barback. The fatigue from the meds plus the pain in my hands and forearms was simply too intense to push through. I was getting vicious headaches and feeling like I was going to puke or pass out working in the heat. One day when my amazing boss came in and I felt like death I leveled with her and said ‘What do you think I should do?’. She was really cool about the whole thing and moved me to hosting. It’s less money but I’m so grateful to still have a job.¬†

The bright spot to all this is that I soldiered through it long enough to claw my way out of the financial hole I was in while I was using. My Doctor has been advising me to find a less labor intensive job for over a year so I’m sure he’ll be thrilled when I tell him about all this in two weeks.¬† However,¬† there’s more to the health issues than I’ve so far mentioned.

The pain in my hands has been getting worse and more frequent.¬† I’ve been screened many times,¬† but due to new developments¬† (morning stiffness,¬† nodules on knuckles on both hands) he ordered more blood work,¬† xrays and a referral to a Rheumatologist once again. I’m seeing both doctors on the 24th.¬† I’m not jumping to conclusions but I am a bit worried. I don’t know,¬† we’ll see.¬† As vague as that is it’s the best I’ve got right now.¬†

All these issues aside, I am enjoying life more than I ever thought was possible.¬† I’ve made some new friends in NA and have a great sponsor who’s really easy to talk to. I’ve begun working the steps and am finding it challenging but illuminating. I’m going to NA meetings every day and putting myself in the middle of it all. When I find myself alone and irritable I pick up the phone or read recovery literature. I’m building a support network and dealing with life on it’s own terms as well as I can.¬†

I’m trying to remind myself daily of how much love I have in my life and everything I’m grateful for.¬† Like Death Metal, my Boyfriend, our animals,¬† my family, my friends and most of all, the fellowship of Narcotics Anonymous.¬† Sometimes I can hardly believe any of this is real. This is not to say that I don’t have bad days or still think about getting drunk and high. I’m just getting better at managing my feelings in a constructive manner. I have a home group and am beginning to get involved in service.¬† It’s really awesome.¬† Next month they have me chairing a meeting.  How’d that happen? ūüôā

I already had a decent relationship with a higher power but The fellowship has simply galvanized it. I feel it working in my life daily. Am I insane? Quite.  Doesn’t make me wrong. I have my life back and am not about to give it up.

Thank you, NA. Thank you for slowly but surely restoring me to something approaching real sanity.

-Thom

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The Reconstruction of Thom

I’m plugging away with getting my life in order.  Caught up on bills. Credit card nearly fully paid off. This Tuesday will make thirty days clean, which is something I didn’t believe that I could do for the longest time.  Aside from that I’m just doing my thing, sewing some new stuff to my vest later today and doing some NA literature reading daily.

My program is working fairly well,  though I’m still new to this constructively dealing with my problems thing. My emotional state has been highly variable as well as my health.  The arthritis in my hands as well as my tendonitis have both been getting more severe and getting through a day of work is getting steadily more taxing.  Due to hypertension coming back I’ve had to give up my ADHD medication. It’s whatever.  I’m choosing to look at it as one less thing to have to cough up money for. I could stay the course but my blood pressure meds would be totally pointless and I don’t want to have a fucking heart attack so I just decided to let it go and deal with the fog as well as I can.

Back to the issue of my hands, I have to go to a Rheumatologist soon.  My pain is getting worse and I’ve developed nodules on the knuckles of both hands.  I’m so stiff in the mornings some days that I can barely pour a cup of coffee.  Whatever happens I’ll deal with.  My Doctor seems to think it may be something more serious than simple osteoarthritis hence visiting the specialist soon.

Aside from that,  I’ve been my usual beaten down but determined self. I am salvaging the wreckage of my life, making new friends and doing the best I can.

Not much else I can do, methinks. 

Priorities

I have a few, if not a great many. I want to explore the planet and stand in the sun with a will and be dangerous. The Khalil Gibran interpolation aside, I want to challenge myself. I know I’m not an idiot, but I am kind of an underachiever in many ways.

I try to cut myself some slack. This is a delicate balance in itself. I mean, I’m not incarcerated or held against my will in a hospital having my brain completely twisted with drugs, so that’s a plus I suppose. Honestly, things are better now than I thought they would ever get. For several years I was slowly recovering from my second nervous breakdown. Both came close to totally ruining my life.

I was on a crazy check for almost five years. The fact that I’m supporting myself and in a stable and loving relationship is still somewhat astonishing to me. I’m not out of the woods, but I made it through several years of total fucking darkness and despair.

It’s amazing to be with a guy who builds me up and inspires me like he does. He makes me laugh like no one ever has or ever will again. Or something. I’m being obnoxious and glowing so expect a few bottles of pure nauseating sap from the chief harbinger.

But on to the point (which I do have):

What is the next step?

Marriage for one. A trip to Alaska this fall is officially signed in blood and sealed. But then? My man is trying to get into law school and I’m not sure where that will lead us geographically. I need to develop some kind of lucrative skill here so I can live reasonably well, but what?

I have to accept the fact that I have certain limitations. I mean, I do fairly well for being a bipolar kid on extended release Ritalin with arthritis and tendonitis. However, I’m getting older and I fully understand that I’m not an indestructible machine. My first brush with sciatica was like tasting my own mortality for the first time. It certainly brought me down a peg being barely able to walk.

I think a lot about what I might be good at. I’m neurotic and detail oriented so I’ve always thought something technical and analytical would be for the best. But I have to start thinking a bit harder about this stuff. Life is happening and all.

I also think I’m approaching the point where I’d like my spiritual pursuits to go beyond the realm of solitary practice. Maybe one of the Thelemic societies or a Gardnerian Coven (I do not believe that the two are exclusive of one another). I think it is time to turn will into action.

May it be so for you as well.

93

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Handicapped and bummed out

Well,  the business with my arm finally came to a head. I had already put in two weeks notice at my job but 5 days is as far as I could push through the pain. I was really upset the day I quit I made it through one last really super busy day and I was like I’m sorry I can not continue. I really tried to do the right thing but the job just got to be way too much for me in my current state. The inflammation has gotten really intense and my right hand is for all intents and purposes useless.

I’m not doing anything until I see the rheumatologist Monday morning. Arthritis and tendonitis have already been diagnosed but I think there may be some nerve pinching or something else going on secondary to that. Only reason I can blog right now is that I have discovered the wonder of the voice recognition features of my phone.  I’ve been using ice, my brace and a decent amount of naproxen to try to control the swelling.

I’m not that bad off but I’m going a bit stir crazy. Signing off for now.

-Thom

The next chapter…

I am moved in and enjoying myself. Just finished up yesterday and I’m feeling pretty good about things. Of course, I’ve felt moved in since my kilt and sword were placed in the closet. To each their subjective sense of measurement I suppose.

When we were standing in the kitchen after my final trip with my Cat and my bicycle he said “Welcome home, baby.”. It was a lovely little moment we shared.

Aside from moving things have been relatively chill but a tad frantic. I need to find a new job soon. I like my current job well enough but there’s a problem. Arthritis/Tendonitis in my knife forearm. My Doctor told me to keep using the brace and taking ibuprofen. He also advised me to find a new line of work. He said it’s definitely an occupational injury and treating it is pointless if I just keep aggravating the shit out of it every day.

I can’t argue. I just don’t know what to do. Being a prep cook is one of the few jobs I’ve ever been any good at. But I’m not a kid anymore. Le sigh.

I know some kind of schooling is in order. I just hope what I have to settle for in the meantime isn’t too terribly nauseating.

Whatever. This is the new chapter. A chapter not yet written and full of possibility. Ad astra per aspara.