On Monday, November 2nd, I had an appointment with my rheumatologist for an ultrasound of my fingers, and a followup regarding bloodwork from last month. Dr. Matsueda informed me that my bloodwork, along with my ultrasound results, completely ruled out Rheumatoid Arthritis. Since my ANA and Smith AB were high, he is suspecting SLE (Systemic Lupus Erythematosus). He can’t confirm this diagnosis until I provide more bloodwork sometime in mid-December. But, considering that my ANA has been high since November 2018, I’m almost certain that I have SLE, or at least some kind of auto-immune disease for sure. My migrating joint, muscle, and nerve pains just don’t align with any form of classical arthritis.
It hasn’t really hit me yet. I feel like I’m in some sort of limbo teetering on the edge of a nightmare. But I’m doing what I can to keep my head above water. The pile of work I have for me at my job following my recent promotion is overwhelming and the constant barrage of house chores and mom responsibilities leave me little room to succumb to defeat.
Throughout all this uncertainty and quiet chaos, I’m only ever aware of one truth. And that is…I will find a way to get through this, just like I always do.
Toward the end of August, I started noticing that my arthritis pain was getting more frequent and intense. The following month of September was pretty much a series of flareups that killed my mood to blog. If it wasn’t my fingers or wrists, it was my ankles, knees, elbows, or shoulders. Actually, it was so bad this time around that even my hip joint hurt. Two of those flareups were caused by significant dips in atmospheric pressure, so it had absolutely nothing to do with the foods I ate. The most recent flareup was so bad that Ken had to help me shower because I couldn’t bend my right elbow.
Fasting helped for a while, but then I noticed my body was burning through its meager stash of vitamins and minerals and I wasn’t feeling so great. As a result, my intermittent fasting is currently on hold while I’m making an effort to eat meals that (1) avoid sugar, gluten, and milk, and (2) contain good fats, protein, and spinach. I was going to say leafy greens there but in reality, spinach is the only dark leafy green that I actually like. I’m also taking Vitamin D3 (2,000 IU) and Magnesium Complex supplements. So far, I’ve noticed that the intensity and frequency of my pain have significantly lessened. The only major factor that’s left for me to correct now is making sure I get at least 7 hours of sleep each night, which is proving difficult for me. I’ll think about exercising once this pain is under control.
On the plus side, because I fasted a lot during September, I managed to lose a good chunk of weight. As of October 4 at 7am, I weighed 125lbs, which is a total of 26.2lbs lost since April 2019. I’m almost at my happy weight range of 110-115! I swear the remaining ten pounds is in the spare tire hanging at my midsection.
Friday night, just when my right hand was getting better, I started experiencing the tell-tale snapping-crab pain in my ankles, where it feels like an army of crabs are constantly snapping at my ankles with each painful step. Well, after Friday night and into the weekend, my right ankle faired worse and I had to call in sick to work for today (Monday). It got so bad that I had a hard time walking around the house and Ken would have to help me get around. The area feels warm, tender, and extremely painful with the slightest touch. Any movement or pressure on this ankle is painful. Putting a light blanket on my legs elicited pain from this ankle. It doesn’t look very swollen in the photo, but even Ken said he could tell that it was swollen. Needless to say, I had to call in sick again for tomorrow.
It was yesterday night when I started to wonder about the air pressure and sure enough, it was below the green zone of 29.9 inHg or 1010 hPa. This week is supposed to be rainy with some thundershowers. There seems to be so many ways to express air pressure that I’ve been confused, but for now I guess I’ll just stick to hectopascals or hPa, since apparently that is the international unit for measuring atmospheric pressure.
I recently discovered that I am sensitive to gluten. Last year I knew that bread and sugar were definite triggers for my arthritis, but I didn’t investigate further and suspect gluten as the actual culprit. So, in my quest to heal my arthritis, I’ve decided to adopt a new lifestyle as free from gluten, milk, and sugar as possible. I’ve read that the body sees milk proteins as gluten, so I don’t want to take a chance, plus I’m lactose intolerant anyway.
Today was a busy day. I had to wake up a little bit earlier than usual in the morning so that I could make Miyu her onigiri (rice ball) to complete her obento (lunch box) since her class went on a field trip to the zoo. My mother-in-law cooked the major parts of her obento, thank God, because I did not have the time or energy to make it myself.
Work was stressful because our building was doing its annual carpet cleaning so I had a lot of anxiety with all the clutter and junk that accumulated in my office over the years. I had to get all the little movable things off the floor, but luckily I had help from my coworker friend and he actually did all the heavy lifting. We threw a lot of old stuff away and it felt good to get rid of junk!
I ordered a few things from Amazon the other night. One of the items was a new apron for Miyu for her cooking lessons at school. She had outgrown the one we bought her nearly two years ago now, understandably. I also got a small bathroom clock for our shower area (on top of the vanity) because I always find myself needing to check the time each night when we shower. I feel like a lot of my anxiety is centered around time. I hate that I always find myself rushing each night and each morning. Like water through my fingers, I just keep losing track of time. Nevertheless, I need to find a way to break this awful, anxiety-inducing cycle. Friday nights (or any other non-work night) are my anxiety relief days because I don’t have to worry about the time. Go figure.
I also bought Moringa tea. In the Philippines, my family eats Moringa leaves regularly (made into a stew). In Bisaya, it’s called “Utan.” Well apparently, it’s supposedly very healthy, especially when consumed regularly in the super concentrated powder form, which I also bought. I watched a YouTube video claiming that this miracle powder completely reversed their arthritis. So we’ll see about that.
And then lastly, inspired by her Yoshi’s Crafted World game on the Switch, Miyu has dubbed the Amazon cardboard box we received this evening her new “adventure car.” 🙂