Sunday, November 18, 2012

A Good Old Fashioned Ass Kickin'

RA changes us, sometimes for better, sometimes for worse.  It depends on what we have inside of us that determines which it shall be.  I never saw myself as a strong or successful person until RA came along.  In my pre RA days I never had to fight to maintain any degree of normalcy, it brings out who you really are.  It also shows us that what we once thought was important, often times, really doesn't mean that much now.  It is hard living trapped inside a body that now is exhausted all day, every day and refuses to bend causing even the smallest movement to often be met with excruciating pain.   It doesn't make sense how you can break an ankle and head to the ER ... no big deal.  However, walking through the kitchen and hitting a knuckle on the counter top can drop you to your knees with pain. Real, honest to goodness, intense pain ... not drama queen, I want some attention type pain.  Welcome to my life.

I suppose I needed it, I had almost forgotten what an intense flare up felt like.  Last week we had a cold front blow through, the one I blogged about riding after work just before it hit.  It seized my joints up and provided me with a level of pain I haven't felt in a good while.  My right hand swelled up (including my wrist) so that I could not close it to make a fist.  It literally felt like I had a broken bone in the top of my hand connecting to my wrist.  I could only walk straight legged (you know, the Frankenstein walk) Monday and most of Tuesday.  I couldn't even hold a cup with my right hand, since I am right handed and do everything with said hand, drinking coffee with my left hand provided a bit of a thrill at first.  The hot tub only provided about 30% of the relief it normally does, Voltaren Gel didn't do much (it did keep the dogs away though, they don't like the smell), no help from Tylenol Arthritis or Ibuprofen.  Nope, I had to take care of this flare up the old fashioned way ... wait it out.

Also extreme fatigue nailed me.  I slept 14 hours Monday and 13.5 hours Tuesday.  Even the dogs were looking at me as if they were saying, "holy cow, get up.  Lets play ball, take us to town, something ... anything besides going back to bed!"  It has been a few years since I have slept those kind of hours.  I am used to mild flares and will occasionally sleep 10-11 hours every now and then. 

Yep, to summarize, I had my ass handed to me by RA last week.

But you know me ... I got off work Saturday morning, slept 4 hours and climbed on my bike for a FURA ride (stole that one from Mary).  I am not completely over the flare and it hurt considerably climbing on and off of the tall seated demon, but the rest of the 115 mile ride was great.  A new personal best for me ... 87 mph (140 kph) on a dirt road.  Besides, it was 67 degrees today and I'm too old to waste fun days!
Headed south Saturday riding forest roads to the top of the taller mountain ahead.
I like riding through small communities, this one still has a water tower.
I would never get tired of living here looking at this every morning!
You know me ... I love iron truss bridges.

13 comments:

Cathy said...

I agree, what's inside us definitely determines how we are going to handle this disease or really any tough life altering experience. I have always loved your blog because I know you have strength inside and your strength always motivates me.

mary said...

I was sitting her thinking I just don't feel up to riding today. Days are getting colder and flares are coming faster. Your entry today has motivated me to get up and out, at least for a little while. Winter is coming so it's best to take advantage of the weather when we can. Thanks for the motivation.
Hope your feeling a bit better today.

Kim said...

I totally get what you are saying. Trying to explain this stuff to others is very frustrating. They just don't get it. I had teenage grocery clerks laughing at me because I was wearing gloves in the store ( it was in the 40s outside) . The cold handle of the cart makes my hands hurt like hell.

I was falling into my winter doldrums and then the temp got up to 55 so I did a 150 mile ride yesterday. The first hour my wrist was killing me and then it was fine for the rest of the ride. I don't get it but have to say riding is the best medicine for me. Suppose to be 60 this Wed and Thurday. I know what I'm doing for Thanksgiving. Yes FURA.

The winter here in Wisconsin is the hardest on me. I barely keep it together through the holidays and then I fall apart until I can ride my motorcycle again.

Thanks Terry - you are a motivator but more than that it makes me realize that it just isn't me it's the disease. Someone made a comment a few blogs ago about how that old jail house reminded them how they feel sometimes. Thanks to that person as well - I get that feeling when I have a flare. I thought I was just being antisocial.

Hope you feel better soon.

Terry said...

Thank you Cathy, what an awesome comment!

Hey Mary, glad to hear I could motivate you to ride a little. I really hate this time of year because of the temps and shorter days. Once the sun ducks down behind the mountains it gets cold in a hurry! I had a ride planned today but didn't quite feel up to it today. No problem, I also have rides planned Tuesday and Wednesday.

Kim, keep on doing what you have to. Don't pay attention to anyone else ... especially teenagers. Take care of yourself. You made me jealous today when I read you rode 150 miles, I didn't feel up to riding today. I feel sorry for people that don't ride, they are missing out on one of the best feelings (and medicine) that there is! Thank you Kim and no, it is not you, it's this dreadful disease. I too loved the comment and the analogy with the old jail.

Squirrel said...

Terry I love the way you just pick yourself up and go back to doing what you love despite the setbacks. You're an inspiration! Hope the flare is on its way out now.

Terry said...

Thank you squirrel, this flare keeps hanging on but it is much better. I did a short ride yesterday and have an all day ride planned today, just waiting on the temp to get above 50.

abcsofra said...

Sometimes having something to look forward to helps me get thru the worst of RA. Not always but for sure on some of those flare from hell days! Have a Happy Thanksgiving and I am so glad you have a passion that pulls you forward. Even though I know that often it can be hard to do.

Anonymous said...

Sorry to hear about the flare but I think it's great that you got back out to ride even though you weren't completely over it. Hope you have many more warm rides through the winter.

Terry said...

Happy Thanksgiving Deb, I had to fight off the temptation to leave the family after the meal and go ride... the temp was in the mid 70's here on Thanksgiving day. lol I didn't go though, I also enjoy the family get togethers and getting to catch up with everyone from out of state that comes in. I can only speak from my perspective but my riding is a definite plus (even though it does not come pain free) in dealing with RA.

Anon, thanks but the flares are just a part of living with RA. We are predicted to have above average temps for Dec and Jan, hopefully I can keep on riding most of this winter.

Kim said...

I too had to forego my ride for Thanksgiving. I could tell my boyfriend was feeling neglected so for the third time for the season, I cleaned and put away my bike. Not looking good for another warm up. Temps in the high 20s today with flurries. I did have an amazing ride on Wed - 240 miles mostly unfamiliar road. I love riding through small towns I haven't been. Its deer hunting season here so I was a bit annoyed that I miscalculated the time it would take and ended up riding in the dark on a curvy road where I had seen plenty of deer before for the last 1/2 hour but it was exhilarating and no deer. Another ride to replay in my mind when I need a reminder that this too shall pass. Glad to hear you were able to get some riding in and enjoy Thanksgiving.

Terry said...

Kim, hate hearing that you had to give up a nice day to ride but I've been there. Temps in the 20's with snow is no place to be with RA. haha 240 miles is great! I love riding through the small towns also, I like looking back at what used to be, we ride through a lot of small ghost towns that have empty buildings often times grown over with vines and weeds. I always try to imagine what the towns looked like when they were alive and thriving. Hate riding in the dark in winter, not because of the dark ... it gets so cold, so quickly once the sun drops down behind the mountains. Stay warm with your cold and snow.

Lana said...

I don’t think I ever really knew strength until RA came along. I did not realize that it meant hiding how much pain I was in from the rest of the world. I never thought that maintaining a healthy diet to keep symptoms at bay was success. How funny that our definitions of success and strength have changed. I have been dealing with a flare-up for 11 days now and last weekend, I found myself struggling to put on my socks. After trying to be strong in front my kids for so many days, I started to cry simply because I could not put on my socks. I tried to stop but it was too late- my four year old caught me crying. I struggle with my feelings about RA because of what my kids have to endure as a result. I know that my kids are far above their peers when it comes to empathy and kindness but most of the time, I wish they weren’t. I try so hard to hide the effect of this disease from my kids that I do not realize that they always watching. I think we try to be so strong that it can take its toll on us. I have been doing the Frankenstein walk too. We can go to the Transylvania Ball together, if you would like. :-) Anyway, I am glad things got better pretty quick and I hope that they stay that way for a while at least.

Terry said...

Lana, I thought that I did but you're right, you don't know what you have in you til you have to fight. I have only had limited success with diet, perhaps I'm not disciplined enough. I hate putting on socks and shoes, without exception the hardest part of my day ... and something 95% take for granted. I know that we try to be tough for our kids but they realize far more than we know. My daughter surprised me last year with something she had wrote about watching me progress with RA over the years. They don't understand everything, but they aren't in the dark about it. Your kids are learning a lesson in caring and compassion that many adults don't understand. It does take a toll on us, somedays a big toll. Oh, and the Transylvania Ball, sure! The flare wasn't over, it hung around into most of the next week, you know me always trying to push myself.