Saturday, December 15, 2012

Acupuncture, Meditation, Pain Management Psychologist, OH MY!

I have been so so busy these last couple of weeks with multiple doctors appointments.

I thought I had an infected mastoid. Turns out it was way worse than what I self-diagnosed myself with. I have an infected parotid gland thanks to Rheumatoid Arthritis. It is a gland that takes up most of your cheek goes behind your ear and down your jaw. The right side of my face looked as though I got socked in the face. The swelling and pain was so intense. The huge swelling behind my right ear is a killer too. I had to have a head and neck MRI. Turns out RA infects glands too. Go figure. If I keep continuing with these infections, the gland must come out. My ENT doc was not making any jokes, if a piece of staph breaks loose it goes to my brain or down my spinal column and I then get menigitis. Bummer news on what a conscience positive choices I have been trying to make.

First, my chronic pain psychologist is a real great and HELPFUL guy. We've met twice and are working on feelings, how to resolve feelings, how to meditate, and do relaxation techniques through breathing. He made me start a gratitude journal. I have to focus on 3 things a day I am grateful for. He wants me to practice on being. Not doing or what I have done, just to in the moment, be in the moment of pain and body scan and see what joint is hurting and how can I manage the pain right then and there, I am happy where this work is going.

I started the acupuncturist this week. We had a long meeting first and I went over everything. Then I had two treatments. This woman knows her stuff and I must admit the intense pain in my right hip has subsided some. It turns out in eastern medicine I have what is known as "wind damp heat" RA. In Eastern medicine, RA is called an impediment brought upon by evils. Can I get an amen? My RA is one of the rarest forms and apparently I was born with the evil in my spleen and liver. So besides hitting joints that need help the acupuncturist is working on spleen and liver cleansing because of my stagnate chi. She tells me every session to trust the universe. The universe has everything planned. It clicked with me the other day.

I was feeling a bit physically better and mentally healthy but then the tragedies of Sandy Hook Elementary happened yesterday. It brought me way back down to wear I was. My heart goes out to all of the victims and their families. As a teacher, I have been on many lockdowns and I know in my heart I would have protected my babies the way that one first grade teacher did. There is such evil in the world and it is easily to get sucked into it but I have to keep reminding myself that kindness exists as well.

I hope all of my readers are doing well. I have exciting news to share in January. It hasn't been made public yet so I will wait until it does.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Starting a New RA Path

So, I have to face the fact that I have RA. Rita and I will make peculiar bed fellows for life. The Duke Rheumatologist with her fancy blood tests has definitely diagnosed that I had JRA. I think I have been carrying Rita with me for a solid 26 years. My levels of inflammation are not going down Hello SED rate of 71 and climbing! Woot woot! I'm on my way to the 100 I always want to achieve hahaha.

I have to try a new path for RA. First, I need to accept that this is my "new normal" and that the disease (for now) won't quit raging in my body. That is why I saw a pain management specialist. He was quite nice (and I usually do not trust doctors) and I have started my new compounded pain relief gel. So far it has helped some joints but not my right hip. I'm hoping for relief in that bad boy soon. I have an appointment this Tuesday to see a Chronic Illness and Pain psychologist. I have some hope for that seeing I have a strong psychological background.

I went to one therapist two years ago and specifically stated the following:

1. I need to learn solid coping mechanisms.
2. I need to learn resiliency.
3. I need to train my brain not to focus on pain (Hello Cognitive Behavior therapy)
4. I need to work on self-efficacy.

Yep, how more can a patient be specific? I went fully telling this dip shit what I needed assistance with. She did not know how to handle me, my disease, or chronic pain. We didn' last long.

So now this time I need help with the same 4 issues and hopefully this specialist in the field can truly help.

My next appointment is on December 11th for acupuncture. I am not a huge believer in Eastern medicine but if it doesn't hurt and it might help, I'll give it a solid try.

Then in January I am heading back to my home state, Florida. My Dad wants me to try cryosauna therapy and freeze my synovial fluid and release my inflammation. I'm all for being cold. I open the freezer doors at the grocery store and stand in front of them for some joint relief towards the end of my shopping.

I will continue with my meds and hopefully I will start to feel well enough I can try some exercise and not suffer weeks after for trying to move.

If none of these things work, then I don't know what I'll do? I am running out of options after all this. However, the pain management specialist said there are still some things to try so I have to hold on hope for this guy.

I feel like I am going to be an experimentation but I promise to report any findings to you all in case you can try the same things for relief.

Here's to a new path everyone!