Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Now Up ... Actemra

I started a new class of treatments for my RA at the first of this month. I am now trying Actemra infusions and I am cautiously optimistic that they may work for me.
It will simply take time to verify that it will or will not work. I always feel best in the fall and have less pain and aches during this time due to the mild temps and mostly dry climate where we live..
I have felt good since taking the first infusion up until this past weekend. Over the weekend I did a ton of yard work and got less rest than I normally do plus we had rain and storms all day Sunday.
I go in next Tuesday for my second infusion. It will be normal strength for the infusions. My first treatment was half strength. For now I'm just hanging on and hoping the Actemra works for a while.

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Salida 2015 Part 2

The long car ride out to Colorado woke up my RA. I started my bike and just checked out the area around our cabin on our first day there. We had a nice 2 bedroom cabin with air, full kitchen, wifi, satellite tv (like either one of us were going to watch tv) and you could step out our front porch and see the Arkansas River. 

I rode 153 miles on the second day (first full day of riding). But my RA was making itself known on the ride back to the cabin. I stopped twice to get off of the bike and walk around for a while. This helps when my hips, knees and shoulders are hurting. A quick 5 minutes off of the bike works wonders for a few miles before the pain start creeping back in. I pulled back in to our cabin fully expecting to get back out and go for a short night ride but that didn't happen. I did sit out on the front porch and eat a sandwich as the sun went down. I just didn't feel up to getting back out tonight. It was soon cool enough that I had to put a sweatshirt on. I could have listened to the river running all night but retired back inside shortly. 

After a good nights sleep, I was ready for another full day of riding. The only problem was my jackass friend RA was also. I headed south to photograph two old iron bridges I had spotted on our way to the cabin. I looked it up on the internet and it was on County Road 6. I found it quite easily and as I turned onto the road, I was greeted with a Private Property sign. I knew it was a county road so I thought the sign was just telling you to stay on the road and not get off onto the land. I found the bridges and had taken a few pictures when a truck pulls up behind me and instructs me to leave. I was not happy ... I know this is a county road but I also know I am in the middle of no where by myself with an angry man and Donna has no idea where I was riding today. I decided it was best to not push the situation, turned around and left. Up til now everyone in Colorado had been super nice and friendly. I wasn't about to let one jackass ruin my ride today though. I jumped on some dirt roads and at one point rode next to the Arkansas River for miles. 

I rode back around town and came in the back way (one day of riding through the chaos was enough) and rode up to the old smelter. They had chain link around it with no trespassing signs but it was pushed over. I wanted to go around back and see if you could get inside. I was sure all of the old equipment was gone but I still would like to have seen inside. The problem was there were 3 guys working in a field next to it and one kept watching me. Again, I didn't push my luck. Actually my luck is the guy watching me was the police chiefs brother!  After leaving here I wound up above the tree line and had a great day riding again.

I finished the day with a little over 100 miles but major league pain from my RA. I went back early and took a hydrocodone and a hot shower. I don't normally take anything for pain unless it's severe. After the second day, it was severe. I don't honestly know how much longer I can ride but I'm not planning on giving it up any time soon. If I can just ride 50 miles a ride before hurting, I will still ride 50 miles. Sure it hurt me but looking back on these moments, on my bad days, is what keeps me going. I have said it before ... riding is my therapy. The day I can no longer ride and get rid of my bikes is the day RA has beat me.
Pair of bridges south of Salida.
Bridge that I was run off from. Note Private Property sign attached to bridge on CR6.
Old smelter just outside of Salida.
Smelter that I wanted to get inside of but decided against.
Smelter stack is 365 feet tall.
Old mine.
Abandoned cabin by Cumberland Pass.
Arkasnsas River.
The railway up Pikes Peak.
Bighorn Sheep on Pikes Peak.
Royal Gorge
Royal Gorge view riding the gondola across.
Above the tree line around the Alpine Tunnel.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Salida 2015 Part 1

We left out for Colorado at the crack of 5:30pm last Wednesday. I got off work at 7am that morning and Donna was going to get up early, get the trailer and pack everything while I grabbed about 3 hours of sleep. She was called in for an emergency surgery and slept til noon. But it doesn't matter ... I'm on vacation!  

It was a grueling car ride out that had us pulling up to our cabin at 7:30 the next morning. The temp was a brisk 44 degrees when we arrived. A quick unload and we both grabbed a couple of hours of sleep before wandering downtown Salida ... the site of Mumford and Sons Gentlemen of the Road stop over that Donna was there for. We walked all over taking in the vendors and merchants on F Street. Stopped in and bought a shirt and visited with Duke form Fat Tees and ADV Rider (does the t-shirts for, great guy. 

A quick note that despite taking steroids and half a hydrocodone over the past 3 days, my RA wasn't sure what was going on but it did not like it. But I did not drag my bike 13 hours (one way) to not ride it. I was riding whether my body and RA liked it or not!

My main goal was to have some fun, see some new stuff and not leave any dismembered, ... more to the point MY dismembered body parts on the roads or trails. After hitting the electric start, I'm off. First stop was to program my GPS (I was so excited to ride that I forgot to turn it on) and I had to pee ... I think I had gone all of about a half mile. As I make it to Salida, I cautiously pass through the chaos that we had strolled through the day before. Exiting the small town I ride by the hospital (I hope this isn't an an omen) and just on the other side is a tall stack that stood out against the deep blue mountain back drop. I would have to check this out later if I have time. 

I rode on forest roads toward St Elmo then turned and rode up north of Buena Vista. Up here I rode through four old train tunnels. Wow! The tops of the tunnels were still black with soot from the train engines decades ago. I walked around photographing and exploring the area for over an hour. The trains run just below the old tunnels now. As I leave the tunnels and head further north, I ride up on an old white Ford truck just crawling along the road. I politely pass him and am standing on the foot pegs cruising about 55 mph when I run past it ... a 20 mph speed limit sign! Are you kidding me? 20mph? On dirt? On a bike? What a crock, but okay ... I'll meet you in the middle. I slowed to 40mph and rode on til I found a RR bridge over the Arkansas River. While taking photos and walking across the RR bridge, I meet a man and his wife coming up to do the same thing. We talk for a moment and he asked how I'm doing. I replied, great ... I'm getting paid for this and before I can get out that I'm on vacation (getting paid), he excitedly says "that's awesome, I would love to do something like that!  At this point I didn't have the heart to tell him I just meant I was on paid vacation. I left him and his wife at the bridge thinking they had just had been talking with a moto journalist. Bwahaha!

I will leave you with some photos and finish up my next post.
Hard to look cool putting your bike in a uhaul motorcycle trailer!
Our cabin we rented for 3 days right on the Arkansas River
F Street Salida for the Mumford & Sons stop over.
M & S logo in lights stood out at night on the mountain.
F Street again ... those girls had some long legs!
Side of building in Salida.
Knee viewpoint.
Affectionately called this BDR - big damn rock.
Trusty steed needed a rest.
Duke from Fat Tees in Salida, great guy and fellow ADV rider.
I got just a little bit lost up there. 
Endless dirt/forest roads.
Abandoned RR bridge next to Arkansas River.
My trusty steed. 
Awesome ... 4 old train tunnels pose for a photo. 
Out of use for decades yet you can still see signs of use on the ceilings.
Couldn't quit taking photos of the tunnels.
I know, I know ... another tunnel.
Somewhere between point A & B Friday.
RR bridge over the Arkansas River.
Same RR bridge from above.

Monday, August 17, 2015

Leaving In Two Days

MTX (chemo), check ... folic acid, check ... Humira injection, check ... Steroids, check ... hydrocodone, check, all of this medicine just to go on vacation and try to maintain my RA to a bearable level. 

I have my bike prepped for Colorado, my gear bag packed with every combination of stuff to wear depending on the weather. It may look like Stevie Wonder picked out my riding ensemble some days but I don't care ... I'M ON VACATION!! I also have my Phantom 2 packed and ready for action. Updated the GPS and added a few routes for up there. I can remember when I use to ride without maps or GPS, would get lost and then find my way back out. Now I'm high tech, riding with a GPS to get me lost then find my way back out. I hope to have some good photos to post after we get back.

My long time friend, riding buddy and ex-racing buddy Randall had a serious crash this past Tuesday. He will be in the hospital for a while. He broke 7 ribs (4 of them twice), his left shoulder blade, punctured a lung and pierced his spleen. I spent part of Saturday with him and he was in and out from the pain meds. He is slowly improving though, it will just be a long road ahead before he is back to work and riding again. Please keep him in your prayers.

I start Actemra when I get back from vacation and am looking forward to it. I usually dread changing meds but I am anxious to see if I can feel any better than what I have endured this year. It may be the progression of the disease and if so ... I will have to accept that but you know me. I'm not giving in til I have no other options.

Saturday, August 8, 2015

Pneumonia In Summer

Perhaps I was looking forward to vacation a bit prematurely. As I posted about vacation, I was feeling a bit under the weather. At one point, I slept 35 hours out of a 40 hour stretch. When I finally got in to see my GP, I had what I was afraid of ... pneumonia. After a big ass shot of rocephin Thursday, a weeks worth of antibiotics and another big ass shot of rocphen Friday, I finally started feeling better. I was actually thankful to be back at work ... man, that's just messed up!

With all of this unnecessary comotion going on, you would think my RA would be content to take a back seat while someone else was driving. OH NO! My jackass friend RA, decided it wanted to share co-honors in the "let's screw T's week up" hijinx. The worst thing it that being on antibiotics, I couldn't take my mtx for at least another week so I had to hang on to the pain train for longer than I wanted.  

I am now, officially ready for vacation ... no more side shows please.

Monday, July 13, 2015

Vacation Is Getting Closer

For the first time this year I'm excited about riding. Donna and I are going to Colorado in August and it's close enough to feel it now. We are heading up to Salida where we have a gorgeous place rented for 3 days and nights. Donna is meeting some friends and they are going to a music festival headlined by Mumford and Sons. That frees me up to go ride where I want solo for 2 or maybe 3 days! I have a couple of abandoned bridges I want to find but mainly I'm just going to ride as long as my body will allow me. After the 3 days at Salida, we are stopping by Royal Gorge then heading up to Colorado Springs and go up Pikes Peak. 

I need to put a Dunlop 606 front tire on before going and replece my battery. Without a kick start on my bike, and the battery being over 2 years old, I don't want to take the chance way out in the middle of nowhere.

Sunday, June 14, 2015


It has been a dismal spring for me, I'm not complaining, just stating the facts. I lost a uncle, a good friend, continue to struggle with my RA and have a new job bid that I have 5 tests that I must pass to keep the job. Forgot to mention the flooding here also.

I always looked up to Uncle Jim. He played pro baseball for 18 years with 12 years in the majors. He was a switch hitter and right handed hit 117 home runs, 401 RBI with a .240 batting average. As a left hander he hit .270 with 11 home runs and 46 RBI. When I was young, he was larger than life to me. I remember watching him play on tv, then every winter getting to see him. Once he retired from ball, he moved back close and I would go spend the night at their house. As a matter of fact, on his farm is where I learned to ride a motorcycle. 

I'm switching meds next month and hoping that will bring me some relief. We are going to Colorado in September and I have to feel better for that trip. 

Friday, May 8, 2015

Update to May Update

The day after posting my previous post, May Update, I received a call from the lab at my rheumatologist. Rachel first asked if doc had talked to me about my lab results and I immediately start thinking the worst. I told her no and she went on to explain that my blood work shows abnormally high disease activity. They would like to do ultra sounds and then look at either adding or changing meds. 
I will see where this next adventure takes me ... hopefully it gets me back to feeling like riding again!