Hey there chickadees.
And welcome to another installment of: I am so sorry, I’ve been keeping secrets again.
Sometimes, I just need to frame it up on my own first.
It doesn’t mean I love you any less.
This time, I’m writing to tell you that I had some not-so-great news recently.
Read: also, not-so-terrible.
In any case.
For the past 8 weeks, give or take, my body’s been in a fairly terrible place.
Around Labor Day, I woke up with swollen fingers and stiffness in my joints.
I ignored them, like any normal, usually-healthy, 28-year old girl, and left on a cross-country work trip that lasted about 10 days.
Things got worse. My hands and feet were giant-sized, my bones ached, and I had to sleep with hotel pillows under my legs.
It must be all this salty food, I reasoned. Or the drinking. And the long hours. And the lack of sleep, I was sure.
A little nagging voice in the back of my head might have mentioned that this had never happened before as a result of any of those things, but I pushed it away.
When I got back from my trips and I felt increasingly miserable, I made a doctor’s appointment.
Which was about when things got a bit scary for me.
At the same time my doctor was giving me blood tests, x-raying my chest, and sending me for an echocardiogram, I was simultaneously not sleeping, losing my grip on simple things like coffee cups, and starting to ache in my shoulders and my knees.
I started a Couch to 5K program with my dad, partly because I want him to be a runner like me, and partly because my joints hurt too much to run more than 90 seconds at a time.
But I knew I had to keep moving, chickens.
Thankfully, my blood, organs, and most importantly, my heart (please don’t let it be my heart, I thought to myself), all checked out.
My bones still ached.
In a fit of I can control anything through my sheer willpower, I cut out caffeine. And meat. And salt. And alcohol.
I was hungry.
I was basically living on sweet potatoes and grapefruit juice (chicks, I don’t even freaking like grapefruit juice…sick), since I had deemed those healing foods.
Despite all of that, my rings still didn’t fit.
My fingers couldn’t fasten buttons, pull up zippers, or tie shoes in the morning.
I thought about investing in velcro sneakers and dresses, for just one second, when I was trying to figure out how on earth I could get up early enough to complete the lengthy task of getting dressed and still get to work on time.
I swam so much that I couldn’t tell if my shoulders hurt because of what was happening or because I was slamming them into the water out of frustration.
Finally, finally, I went to see a rheumotologist last week, who took one long look at my swollen hands, listened to my story, and told me I have rheumatoid arthritis.
Which is not awesome, when you’re not thirty.
Or really any time at all, I guess.
To be honest though, for it to have a name and a plan was literally all I needed to feel like I could get a handle on what was happening to me.
Like one of my historical bffs Winston Churchill, I do better when I have something to fight against.
My doctor gave me a shot of steroids, explained my options (more steroids) for what is a chronic (read: not going away) condition, and sent me on my way, armed with information and a couple of possible treatment plans.
The steroids made me feel like myself, and honestly, chickens, that’s what I needed.
I know they won’t last forever, but sometimes, you just need a jumpstart.
Next up: tackling this head on, because it’s the only thing I know how to do.
Also, being thankful for my friends and family, who insisted that I eat something other than a sweet potato and also kept me from doing ridiculous things (read: kettlebells) when I couldn’t make a fist over the past two months.
So I’m letting you know why I might be moving a little slower than usual.
But then, I’ve never been one to equate being down with being out.
I’ve got that 5k to hit next month, after all.