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A long, overdue update.

I almost can’t even believe that December is just a few short days away.  Time grew a huge pair of wings these past few months and is flying at records speeds.  That means that I’ve already been living in Columbus for 4 months.  It literally felt like forever waiting for the move to happen and now here I am, slowing starting to realize I need to start figuring out living/working plans for next summer.

I feel so fortunate that the medications that I am taking for my rheumatoid arthritis are working well. (2.5 mg of methotrexate, 1 mg of folic acid, 200 mg of hydroxychloroquine & vitamin D)  I have not had a flare up in several months!  Every so often I do have pretty sharp but short-lived wrist pains.  I find that when I am writing, the position that my wrist is in causes it to basically freeze up and then the pain follows.  The only way for the pain to subside is to keep moving the wrist even though it hurts SO much when that happens.

I also have been struggling with fatigue.  I assume that since my immune system is fighting itself, that is why I am so tired.  I’m positive many RA warriors are sleepy a lot as well.  I rarely have a day where I am not tired.  I always need a nap and if I don’t get a nap I tend to get a headache.  I had a Dr.’s appointment scheduled for December 17th, but I had to reschedule it for February 11th due to insurance changes.  I also am supposed to have a yearly eye exam, in correlation to the medications I am taking to see if they have had a negative impact on my vision.  That will have to wait as well.

Nannying is going really well.  The kiddos and I have a pretty solid routine!  Routine makes a huge difference when watching young ones, so I’ve learned.  I met a wonderful friend recently who is also a nanny and we are hoping to meet up soon so the kids can meet and have a play date.  This will be a huge help, not to mention that we plan on swapping ideas!  I take advantage of the time when Louie & Annie go down for naps, and take a nap myself, or at least get some reading done or prayer.  I definitely would benefit from having an Ipad, smart phone, or kindle to pass time as well. (wink,wink Santa)

My car decided to rebel against me during October/beginning of November… and long story short I spent nearly $2,000 on it.  It’s been running decent since then, but I still have a tiny fear that something else will go wrong.  Now that Christmas is right around the corner, I am suppressing any stresses of money woes since I have so many people I want to buy for.  I have to keep reminding myself that it’s JUST money and of course I trust that God will take care of my needs!  He always has and always will!

A fun little Thanksgiving craft that Annie(3 yr. old) and I did!

Matt’s sister-in-law, Mary Hartman took this lovely photo of us at our friend’s, Travis and Kristy Ell’s wedding!

http://marykathrynphoto.com/ ( to view her work)

Until next time, start decorating for Christmas!

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Posted by on November 26, 2012 in My battle with RA

 

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The young one

On Tuesday, I went to my initial appointment with my new rheumatologist.  I almost didn’t find the building because my gps at the last second decided to restart as soon as I turned onto the correct street.  There were multiple doors that I could’ve entered once I finally found the correct building, and considering I was alone(without parent’s) for this appointment, I was intimidated at how busy the place was.  The lady at the front desk could tell I was clueless, so she guided me along the process of filling out new patient information.  For insurance purposes, she asked me for my father’s birthday to which I replied, “Uhh, well I know it’s in February…”.  Gee, that sure made me feel like a horrible daughter!  Fortunately, before I left, I was able to get that information to her.

So, after having filled out the emergency contact form, I was told sit in the waiting room.  Naturally, I was the youngest patient there.  If I were to guess, I’m sure the majority of the other patient’s waiting to be called upon were in their upper 70s, though I did see a middle aged man and woman.  It’s always interesting when you are in a rather quiet room, and two people start talking, loudly.  Two older men were talking about how “it’s hell to get old”.  Very comforting, just what I wanted to hear.

Not too long after the scheduled time I was supposed to have my appointment, my name was called and they took my weight, blood pressure, and I was asked a series of common health questions concerning myself and my family’s history.  I met my new Dr. and was pleased at how kind he was.  After he looked through the paperwork that was transferred from my previous Dr. he noticed that I am low on Vitamin D.  He told me I should be taking a daily supplement, and to try to get more sunlight, but to be careful since one of the medications I am on advises that I don’t get too much exposure since I could have a reaction.  He also noticed that my elbows and wrist were a bit swollen.  He went ahead and raised the amount of methotrexate I will have to take.  It went from four pills once a week to six pills once a week.  So, on Sunday’s, I will be taking six methotrexate, one plaquenil, and one folic acid.  Monday-Saturday I take a folic acid and a plaquenil.

Afterwards, I had to get blood work taken.  Up until this point, everything had gone smoothly.  A lady called my name and I sat down, thinking she would at least make small talk.  Instead, I sat there awkwardly and didn’t even get a warning before she stuck the needle in my vein.  Personally, I don’t mind needles, however, the lady must have stuck me a bit too far (I’m sorry this is a bit gross, so don’t read if you get easily nauseous).  By the time I got home, I could tell something was wrong cause it hurt to bend my arm.  I’m not sure if it was just fluid or if it was blood, but my arm was puffy and bruised.  I realize it is pretty common for people to bruise, but from the all times I have given blood and have had blood work taken, I haven’t had this sort of reaction.  For those of you who bruise when you give blood, this picture is probably nothing compared to what you’ve dealt with, but regardless, it hurts!

Until next time, don’t trust just anyone when getting blood work taken.

 
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Posted by on April 26, 2012 in My battle with RA

 

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There IS such thing as a great Monday

May I just say that today has been fantastic?!  After months of looking, Matt, my wonderful boyfriend, has received a full time job!  We both have been praying continuously and it was finally time for that prayer to be answered!  We knew God would supply his need, we just had to be patient.  Philippians 4:19, “And this same God who takes care of me will supply all of your needs from his glorious riches, which have been given to us in Christ Jesus”.  I don’t know too much just yet about what Matt will be doing, but he does start May 15th.

In a previous post, I wrote about how God has been rocking my world!  Let me share with you a prime example.  Last month I happened upon Matthew 21:22, ” If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer”.   Even though I’ve read this passage multiple times in the past, it really stuck with me this time.  So, I thought to myself, ANYTHING as long as it’s in God’s will, that’s mind blowing!  I prayed a few “big prayers”, two of which have already been answered!  One of them being that Matt would get a full time job.  The other prayer was that God would place someone in my life whom I could encourage.  I knew that when I asked this, I would have to commit my time to this person and pour out love to them.  So, not even a week or so after I prayed that prayer, I began a wonderful friendship with someone who just so happened to be in NEED of someone to listen.  I am so overjoyed by how faithful God has been to me, and even more joyous after these two prayers have been answered!

Tomorrow is a big day for me.  I’ve successfully transferred rheumatologist’s, and my appointment with my new Dr. begins at 11 A.M.  I am not nervous, I’m rather anxious to hear how I have been responding to the medications I was prescribed back in January.  I’ve written down how I feel each day, along with daily temperatures, which seem to affect how my joints.  I can only hope for positive news, so keep me in your prayers!

A few other positives I noticed today are: I didn’t spend as much on gas as I thought I would.  The sun is shining brightly!  I am in minimal pain today.  After waiting 13 days, I finally get to see Matt tonight.  I hope your day has been enjoyable and blessed just as much, if not more than mine!

Until next time, pray big prayers!

 
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Posted by on April 23, 2012 in My battle with RA

 

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R & R

The past three days have not been all that great.  The temperatures are falling, therefore my pain has increased.

It’s important to remember that with rheumatoid arthritis, you NEED to rest and relax.  I’ve been quite busy so I haven’t had much ME time.  I haven’t been able to workout and walk like I had been when it was in the 70s and 80s.  I am finding myself mentally and physically drained at times throughout the day, but I must keep moving.  I watched my nephew Braden with my sister from about 4-6, then from 7-9:30 I watched my cousin.  Tomorrow I am making sure that I get a workout in, maybe even a walk, considering it’s supposed to jump back up to 70 degrees tomorrow.

I am interested to see if many other arthritis sufferers truly notice a difference when the weather changes.  I honestly just do not feel good.  My wrist was bothering me an exceptional amount on Sunday.  It was rather pathetic, but I insisted on not taking any tylenol.  I am quite stubborn when it comes to taking pain relievers/reducers because I am already taking plaquenil and folic acid, not to mention methotrexate as well on Sundays.  Also, my headaches have returned though I can probably peg those to allergies or sinuses.

Also, do any of you know of family members, friends, or perhaps yourself, who have benefited from living in a warmer area, that has much more consistent temperatures?  I have heard stories of people who suffer from arthritis in a cooler and rainy environment who actually feel much better if they move to a warm area.  Not that I can or want to move out of Ohio, but it is something I should consider for the future.

On a much brighter note, I had an incredible weekend!  I visited Matt in Columbus and had such a great time hanging out with friends who I am getting to know better each time I visit.  Matt and I were able to go on a date to Chipotle and then we went shopping which can always brighten my mood.  I am very thankful that Matt is a helpful shopper.  Instead of dragging through forever 21 with me, I would ask him his opinion on some of the pieces I liked and he let me know whether or not I should get them.

I’m looking forward to a better tomorrow, and attempting to keep a positive attitude.

Until next time, keep resting and feeling better.

 
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Posted by on March 27, 2012 in My battle with RA

 

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greater than 250

Before I begin, I want to genuinely thank each person who found themselves reading my first blog entitled, “The Challenge”.  Your support drives me to continue to keep a positive attitude, because at times it’s hard to not feel discouraged after a “flare up”. (Basically a flare up is when you experience an enormous amount of extra pain, excess swelling and fatigue-they are absolutely no fun and can last for days, weeks, or months).  If I can find a topic I’m passionate about, I do not have a single problem typing about it for long periods of time.  I will try my best to update my blog a few times each week as I continue the fight with RA and appreciate your comments, prayers, and encouragement!  Also, I decided to add another category, as some of you may have noticed called, “The Adventures of Braden Bradley”.  The love I immediately gained after meeting my nephew over 18 months ago continues to grow, and it will be fun for me to share with you the moments that I treasure with him.  Lastly, if any of you ever have a question about RA, my experience with RA, or any other questions regarding my medications that I take- which will be explained further in this post, please don’t hesitate to comment!  THANK YOU!

So…to bring everyone up to speed from these past few days, on Thursday at 3:30 I had my second appointment with my Rheumatologist(rheumy). Thursday I experienced minimal/tolerable pain, which is a huge blessing in itself.  As many of you can relate, just because your appt. is scheduled for a certain time doesn’t mean you actually “get in” at that time.  Dr.’s offices are like a waiting line at Cedar Point.  Though the anticipation behind standing in line for an exhilarating roller coaster doesn’t add up to the “excitement”(NOT) one experiences during the waiting process at the Dr.’s office, you’d be surprised to see the similarities.  For example, when waiting in line at Cedar Point for let’s say…Millennium Force, you unintentionally observe the people in front and behind you and take note of people’s clothing, weird laughs, or sweaty armpits.  Let’s hope there aren’t any sweaty armpits in the Dr.’s office… but I found myself observing the people around me-everyone does it.  Another example is the false hope you feel, like when the line for MF moves yet you look ahead and realize your wait is still over an hour long, similar to when the door opens at the Dr.’s office and you think your name is going to be called when in reality it won’t be.  So, as I was waiting, there were three loud yet very entertaining people.  If my guess is correct, it was a grandma, her daughter and her granddaughter.  The grandmother had a walker and from what I could tell, was probably in her late 70’s-early 80’s.  The grandmother was filling out her paperwork which asks generic questions such as: do you have trouble getting out of bed, can you bend down easily, can you lift an object over five pounds, etc.  After listening to her answer the questions as her daughter read them aloud, I learned that she deals with many pains.  I couldn’t help but wonder if this is what my future looks like.  A small amount of discouragement was creeping into my mood when out of the blue her granddaughter, who appeared to be in her late twenties jokingly said, “Grandma, maybe we could use your arthritis as an advantage…like maybe we could get front row seats to a “Lady Gaga” concert.”  Her grandmother to my surprise replied with, “Yeah, good idea, and I could even send her a telegram explaining to her all the troubles I experienced just getting to her concert.  And you know what, I could be her grandma too.”  Then her granddaughter replied with, “You know, that means you will have to wear crazy outfits!”  The grandmother replied, “Okay, I don’t mind!”  My discouraged mood seemed to have left me after I heard their conversation because I can only hope to have half the spunk that grandma has.

Finally my name was called and after getting my weight, blood pressure, and heart rate checked, I proceeded to wait for a while until my Dr. greeted me.  He right away said it doesn’t look good, you definitely have RA.  You see, in order to determine that I have RA, the blood work they took last appt. shows how many “antibodies” I have in my system that determine my level of inflammation.  The test only goes up to 250, and my tests came back >250. He then explained to me the medications I must be put on.  The first, plaquenil, a treatment more commonly used for treating malaria infections, is also a good medication for sufferers of lupus or RA.  Plaquenil has the capability of reducing swelling and pain.  Some side effects include: nausea, loss of appetite, dizziness.  The second is called Methotrexate.  Used in much higher dosages, it can actually be used to treat cancer patients.  Methotrexate’s purpose is to interfere with cell growth ultimately suppressing the immune system.  Side effects: nausea, vomiting, dizziness. I must take four pills at the same time, once a week.  Lastly, I must take folic acid every day because of the effects of my other medication.  If I fail to take it, I could have damage done to my eyes.  Folic acid has very little side effects and is a B-vitamin that is needed to form healthy red blood cells.  I was supposed to be prescribed prednisone, a steroid, but my Dr. never called in the order, which I’m glad cause there are numerous amounts of side effects that come along with it.  Bottom line, unless things change, I will be taking these for the rest of my life.  At twenty, I’m not fond of being put on medication but I keep telling myself, it can only help.

Friday I had minimal pain.  I picked up the prescriptions and kept praying that they would be inexpensive.  Prayers were answered, I paid less than $20, thanks to insurance.  I will begin treatment Saturday, after I read the large amount of paperwork that came along with my meds.  I am very thankful for a wonderful pharmacist-Kent Zellner.  He explained each medication to me and seemed genuinely interested in my well-being.  I suppose other than minimal pain, my only complaint is the fatigue that I am plagued with on a daily basis.  It’s the kind of fatigue where your eyes are heavy, your body feels weak, and you feel like you could sleep for days.  Thankfully I do not have sleeping issues at this time, I normally can fall asleep within minutes.

As I close this blog this Saturday afternoon, I ask that you please continue to pray for my brother Brad.  Ever since Monday, he’s been admitted at the Cleveland Clinic and we are going to visit him today.  He is a Lupus warrior, but unfortunately he’s now dealing with anxiety and anxiousness as he’s been there longer than he’d like.  His heart rate speeds up when he does simple activities, like getting up to use the bathroom, or walking around.  He will have a heart test done in a few days because they found a small “vegetation”/spot on his heart.  We are hoping antibiotics can clear that up.  He needs our support, and we are more than happy to comfort him in any possible way.

Until next time, keep smiling.

Philippians 4:13

“For I can do everything with the help of Christ who gives me the strength I need.” (NLT)

 
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Posted by on January 20, 2012 in My battle with RA

 

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