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Further complications and a minor crisis

In the coming weeks I started to feel a little better, at least mentally. I got it all off my chest with the family letter, and felt I was coping. There was a nagging doubt, however, because the way I was feeling physically wasn’t right. I was in pain in places that didn’t seem to fit my diagnosis of rheumatoid arthritis (RA); namely my upper arms and forearms, shins and thighs. I was also a bit confused and lacking concentration — often I would be mid-conversation with someone and suddenly forget what I was going to say.
If my boys were playing and one of them accidentally banged into me, it hurt so much, and the pain took a long time to go away. Crazy right? Who knew babies could be so brutal! I stubbed my toe one time, which we all know can be painful, but this was something else. It was so bad I thought I’d broken my toe, and I couldn’t seem to get over the pain. Ha, ha, yes, I know I may be a drama queen but, joking aside, it started to worry me.
And then there were twoI mentioned …
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Honesty is the best policy, but first…

Within the next few weeks, I had my first sessions with both occupational therapists and physiotherapists.

For those who don’t know, occupational therapists work with people of all ages and look at your daily activities at home, school or workplace to see what you find difficult and if there's a better way you can do it. It’s a great help to me because there are certain tasks I find difficult to do, more so on flare up days but also generally. Small stuff to most people, like opening the lids of jars or tins, lifting or carrying shopping bags, picking my babies up etc., but they are big obstacles to me. As well as helping with the tasks I struggle with day to day, these sessions help so much with my mental health and general outlook.

Physiotherapists similarly work with people of all ages with a wide range of health conditions. Physiotherapy aims to improve your physical activity while preventing further injuries. I benefit from this because there are techniques and workouts I can …

A Rough Start With My Medication

Figuring out a routine for my treatment was not as easy as I thought. For a start I couldn’t get my head round taking medication every day at specific times, sometimes with food, sometimes without, and then at the same time each day. It was so confusing, and since I couldn’t even remember to take paracetamol regularly, how was I ever going to cope with this, especially with a new baby? I couldn’t figure it out; some days I would take it how I should the next I wouldn’t, then I'd forget and other times I couldn’t take it because I hadn’t eaten properly. I could barely find time to shower let alone remember to eat and take medication! Also, at this point I didn’t know how important it was for me to take all the medication in the way I was advised. I didn’t fully understand what could happen if I didn’t.
The drugs and what they doThe specific medications I take are called Disease-Modifying Anti-Rheumatic Drugs (DMARDs). These medicines ease the symptoms of the condition and slow down …

Home with Alfie but nothing comes easy

When we were allowed home with our new baby, it was such an overwhelming experience. Bringing Alfie home, I knew Harry would absolutely adore him and as this was my last baby, I also knew it was a special time we would never experience again. It was, as I expected, truly amazing. Harry did see Alfie at the hospital, but it couldn’t compare to just the four of us in the comfort of our own home. Our happy little family, just us, forever. It’s these memories I cling to and look back on to remember why I am here and why I am doing this.
First days and struggling to copeDuring the following days I started to feel the effects of having had no medication for nine months. The pain hit me so hard, and it didn’t just hit me in one place; it was everywhere. The nights dragged on, and I could barely hold my new-born baby without crying in agony. My wrists and elbows wanted to give way and I sometimes couldn’t do anything to stop them. Most of the time Mike would have to get Alfie for me and posi…

A Pregnant Pause

As the weeks went by, I did find my arthritis was nowhere near as bad as before. Sometimes I'd get through a whole week without any pain. I didn’t even suffer with sickness; it was amazing! I felt like a new person and though I knew it wouldn’t be for long, it was still nice to have some relief from the aches and pains I usually had to endure. While there were days where I had some pain, it was nowhere near what I was used to before getting pregnant.

Then suddenly it was time for my 20-week scan, and I was going to find out whether or not I’d be having another little boy or a baby girl! I can't lie; I LOVED the idea of having a girl. I suppose I was thinking, well I have a boy so it would be nice to have a baby girl too. I have always wanted one of each, but then I guess it’s not an ideal world and there are many people that don’t. However, don’t get me wrong, I was happy with either as long as it was healthy. That was all that really mattered.
Nervous news and a few tears Duri…

Family Concerns and a Twist of Fate

One thing that really upset me about this path of medication (methotrexate) I was about to travel, was that under no circumstances was I allowed to get pregnant while on it. For a lot of people with this condition that would be OK, because some of them are at an age where they have had their children and aren't looking to have any more. That’s fair enough, but for a near 23-year-old who had not long had her first baby, this hurt.

For as long as I can remember, a family has been one of my main goals in life. Having children was something I couldn’t wait to do. I felt I was put on this earth to have children and be a mummy. The last thing I expected was for something to come along and stop me from being able to do that. At 22, who would? There were alternative options, of course there always are, however methotrexate seemed to be the most beneficial medication for my health and the way I was feeling at this particular time. I just didn’t want to say no to taking it. It felt like I h…

Pain like no other

At the beginning of all of this I remember waking every day with the worst pain and stiffness in my fingers. It took maybe two or three hours for it to get better, but the pain was still there - it just eased a little. I’ve never experienced pain quite like it and I don’t think I’ll ever be able to describe it to anybody.

I often wonder if we all feel the same in regard to the rheumatoid pain, or was it just so bad for me? I do know that as the weeks went by, I started to feel worse, so that some days I couldn’t keep my eyes open because I was so tired. No amount of sleep seemed to help - I just couldn’t catch up (I did also have a new baby so catching up with sleep was never easy, ha!). The days became a gradual procession of pain, so I would wake up and there would be something new that was hurting, and I just didn’t understand why. Some days I needed family members to help me with my new baby while Mike was at work. I mean imagine that - you have a new baby and you can’t even look…