"What matters most is how well you walk through the fire" -- Charles Bukowski

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Bad Day Blues and Breaking Points

Rheumatologist appointments are always a nerve-wracking experience for me. It seems that between each appointment I develop absurd amounts of new symptoms I had no idea were related to my autoimmune diseases. I am constantly holding my breath wondering if today is going to be a good rheumy day or a day of poor blood results and bad news— a bad rheumy day. Today was one of those bad days…

My sed rate is up, there is concern over the pain/shortness of breath I’ve been having, and the RA has hit my neck. My disease is as active as it’s ever been. I have a small spot near my forehead where the hair is noticeably thin and nearly nonexistent. I had to cancel surgery because my body is not stable enough to have the procedure and there is question as to whether my back pain is actually caused by another form of autoimmune arthritis (such as Ankylosing Spondylitis) or the RA itself. Such is the problem with autoimmune diseases: there is no one definitive test to determine what exactly out of five conditions is causing pain where. Autoimmune is just one big question mark, one long waiting game, a game of trial and error, making plans and rearranging them. The plan for now? I start Methotrexate on Friday for six weeks, see what happens with my chest, and then I plan surgery once again. Four hours with my physician and too many tears shed, it was a bad day. I had reached my breaking point.

Since I was a child, whenever I had a not-so-great doctor appointment or a difficult procedure, I treat myself to something I do not ordinarily do. A pedicure, a coffee that isn’t nonfat, a rum and coke (more of these than the coffees lately!). When I reach that final breaking point, however, I find that I struggle to do anything I enjoy— I get too down in the dumps.

Today I am treating myself with two percocet and a nap because that is all I can handle right now. I will watch Pretty Little Liars (my new guilty pleasure), have a 90 calorie brownie, and go to sleep early knowing that tomorrow is a new day, tomorrow I can smile, and tomorrow I will keep on fighting. For now though, I surrender. I am not fighting tonight.

What do you on your bad days or after receiving bad news to get yourself out of a funk? What about a deep depression? Share your pick-me-up ideas— I would love to hear them.

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