Friday, November 27, 2009

Who Ordered This Train Wreck?

It's a terrible thing to be diagnosed with any type of disease. I know what I suffer from pales in comparison to what a lot of people suffer from, but when I was first diagnosed with RA, I felt numb for what must have been a solid two weeks. I had more questions than answers, didn't know who to talk to, trust or how to research a good rheumatologist. My first rheumatologist was not much help either, didn't like you asking questions, was not open to trying anything except what he wanted to give you. I stuck it out with him for a full year before finding a good one.
In my first 6 years, I have had my ups and downs, pain and near pain free days, but I am so glad it was me and not my wife or daughter. I usually play down the effects of my RA or or my true feelings about having it, but some days it is so frustrating while other days it just plain hurts me. This has been one of those days, this morning I couldn't seem to hang on to anything (good that I did not go riding today) and I was extremely tired after just waking up from 9 hours of sleep. I am stiff and hurt all over and my hands are swollen and hurting badly.
I learned a couple of lesson's Monday. I have said before that having RA is a constant learning experience. Monday I learned that 171 miles is too long for me to ride with my RA along with a much more important lesson. I often take Tylenol Arthritis after a ride to help with some of the pain, if needed. Monday I was going to be slick so I took 2 Tylenol Arthritis 1 hour before we started riding. Then I took 2 more with me to take at our gas stop, about halfway or 83 miles into the ride. I didn't hurt at all during the ride and as I was loading up Monday, was patting myself on the back. I had ridden farther that I ever did in 1 day when I was younger and healthy. I could just barely get out of bed Tuesday from hurting so bad. It seems that the Tylenol covered up my normal pains. When I start hurting I will head back to the truck and load up, but since I was not feeling any pain, I kept on riding way past my tolerance point.
I can deal with the pain if I know I caused it and had fun getting there. But somedays my RA just bestows excessive amounts of pain on me for no good reason at all. And then there is the clumsiness, the days you can't think clearly, the swelling and fatigue. Who ordered this train wreck? I truly hate that any of us have to go through what we are enduring.


andrew said...

Happy Thanksgiving Terry. Sorry to hear you're hurting so much. It seems to happen everytime we "overdo" it. I hate it but enjoyed reading about your recent, long bike ride!

Anonymous said...

I think this is probably one of the hardest things to accept about RA: the physical limitations it forces on us. But almost worse are the times when it's hard to do simple things, like hold a coffee cup by the handle, or carry a shopping bag, or turn a lamp off. That sick, ugly pain and fatigue is demoralizing even to the most upbeat types of people.

Terry, I know exactly what you're talking about and my heart goes out to you. This disease takes a lot away from us even as it shows us our own unimagined depths of persistence and bravery, and teaches us to live in new directions. You had a great ride the other day, one you'll remember fondly for many years to come. It was a gift. You'll find strength in the memory and the courage to take on new challenges -- while using the wisdom you've gained meanwhile.

I'm sending all the calm and comfort I can in your direction through the ether, hoping that you'll be feeling much better very soon.

Kelly said...

Hi Terry,
I enjoyed "catching up" here on the blog with your recent rides. I loved this post, of course, because you just tell it like it is. You create an excellent window into how it is to be living with RA. And fighting back! The photos help me imagine the whole ride.

PS: just noticed the "do follow" brand on the home page. I applaud that too. I need to make one of those which will go w/ my wallpaper. Hehe. ;D

Anonymous said...

Proud of your accomplishment. I know you paid a price for your long ride but I am proud of your commitment to continue to do something you obviously "love" to do. It has been and will continue to be one of my core goals to continue to do those things that I "love". I am thankful to have you and all the others who write about their RA accomplishments and struggles. I am also thankful for the responses and encouragements from you and all others in my own little slice of the blog world. Hoping you had a great Thanksgiving and also wishing you the best this upcoming holiday season. Mike...