Hello…

… yes, it’s me. I’m back. Again. Sorry for the silence. Again.

It’s been another wee while since I popped my head around the door of the blogging world a couple of months back to promise I hadn’t gone anywhere. I  had hoped to be back here sooner than this, but it’s been a crazy few months as Wayne and I have been busy settling in to our new Manchester life and exploring the city with loads of lovely visits from our nearest and dearest friends and family.

I’m currently sat at home on a stereotypical Sunday afternoon – cosied up in the living room with 50 billion candles on, my FAVOURITE Disney film in the background (pure accident as it was on the telly already but SO glad I stumbled upon it) – Beauty and the Beast if you need to ask and don’t know me well enough 😉 – curled up in a throw on the sofa with my laptop and a cuppa. It’s cold outside – the weather has REALLY turned recently – the winter evenings are well and truly here… but I’m feeling a little bit smug in the fact that usually, at this time of year, I’m in pure agony with joint pain as the cold weather takes it’s toll. For some reason… I’m not feeling it just yet. And I’m really hoping that it doesn’t come looking for me for a little while longer.

Okay, so it’s been a while since I’ve updated you all where I’m at health wise.  And loads of you have been asking me (thank you) so – for my benefit and much as anyone else wondering – here goes.

“WHAT IS SHE ON ABOUT?”
Hi! I have Psoriatic Arthritis. Psoriatic Arthritis is an immune system disease. Basically, my silly immune system thinks that my body is full of bad foreign bodies, so it is constantly attacking itself. In my case, resulting in joint inflammation, pain and bone deterioration. I have it in my feet, hands, lower back and pelvis. 
I take Methotrexate. Methotrexate is is a chemotherapy agent and immune system suppressant. It tries to stop my cells from attacking themselves. 
I also take Humira. Humira is a Biologic drug – which injects man made antibodies (“good ones”) to block the inflammation and kill off the bad ones who can’t think straight and are attacking me. 

I’m used to injecting my methotrexate weekly and Humira fortnightly with relatively few side affects (I used to take the methotrexate orally at first, and was fighting constant nausea, dizziness and headaches, so I switched from that after a few weeks and the injections have been heaven compared to those nasty tablets).

But…

I’VE BEEN MEDICATION FREE FOR THREE MONTHS!

Not through choice, initially. I was unable to continue my prescriptions when i first moved up here as I’ve (obviously) had to transfer hospitals from Guy’s Hospital in London to somewhere up here. Luckily it was a relatively short process to get the referral as my new GP put me through as urgent. However, it did take a while to see my new Rheumy at Withington Hospital a couple of weeks ago, so when my meds ran out, I spent the first few weeks in agony. It really brought back all the memories of the constant pain I was in before I was diagnosed).

But recently it’s started to get better and I’d say on the pain scale of 1(what pain) to 10 (I can’t go on) I’m about a 3. So I’m feeling SMUG. CHUFFED. CHUFF TITTIES.

What’s one of the best things about being off the meds? I feel HEALTHY.  One of the most annoying problems with taking immune suppressing meds is that – surprise surprise – you get ill ALL.THE.TIME and catch anything and everything going. You can catch a common cold and have it for WEEKS.

Now, I am very aware that I do need to get back on them sooner or later because with my immune system disease comes a process of joint degeneration – and I really don’t want that to get any worse, because it’s irreversible. But I do want to have a conversation with my consultant to try and come off the methotrexate. Chemo isn’t good for anyone and shouldn’t be taken out of choice. So if I can come off of that I’ll happily continue with my biologics.

For now, I have been given a new prescription for methotrexate – but it’s for tablets – which I’m not prepared to take (because of said side effects). So I’m holding off to talk to my consultant next week to talk about that.

I’m really keen to help shape the future of these meds and how they’re used. And for a little while I’ve been wanting to get involved in trials and studies for people like me with Psoriatic Arthritis – which is still relatively under-researched. I have some exciting news on that front which I’ll be able to tell you all about in a couple of weeks.

I will definitely keep you posted (promise).

Joey

xXx

P.S Here’s me at Withington hospital two weeks ago having ALL the tests in the sexy backless gown. Hand x-rays, foot x-rays, chest x-rays, a billion pints of blood and talking through my history to a group of medical students. I’m happier than I look ;-).

jo hospital

 

It’s not all bad, promise!

I’m very conscious that I’ve gotten into a habit of posting whenever things start to go a bit pear-shaped. I guess it’s because 1) that’s when I have things on my mind, and 2) there’s sometimes a misconception or two to clear up. Or maybe it’s 3) – an attempt to reach those going through similar experiences to me and will totally get it – because unless you suffer with chronic pain I’m afraid you just don’t get it. So here I am just trying to 4) vocalise my feelings and emotions as I navigate my journey through this.

Now, last time I posted I was in a pretty dire place emotionally and physically – sciatica set in (both legs) and left me unable to stand, walk or sit for a scary few days. Luckily – I managed to turn it around and was back up and partying (with slight precaution) at my friend’s wedding in Cambridge the next weekend. Over the past five weeks I’ve had four weddings! Each one of them have been amazing in many different ways, and I’m very lucky my body’s let me cope with it! I do think there’s huuuuge power in positive mental attitude and your brain’s ability to help deal with pain and healing is properly awesome.  No, it’s not going to cure us, but it helps massively in how you perceive pain, and you certainly need it to get through the bad days and get yourself out of bed, ready to fight another day and get your strength back. I’ve always been the smiler, the giggler, the one to see the good in a situation (though you probably wouldn’t believe it from reading this blog!) so I like to think I’m lucky it comes more naturally to me.

Anyway, I’m keeping this post pretty short and sweet for once, and just wanted to check in to say I’m still here, I’m having some good days, and I’m currently relaxing and soothing my joints in this LOVELY bubble bath cracking up at this book and waiting for Love Island to start at 9pm… what’s there to complain about!? ;-).

Joey

xXx

bath.jpg

 

 

A quick update

I have had so many of you getting in touch to check I’m okay and send your love (thank you!) – so I just wanted to say how much I appreciate it and post a quick update on here.

I am officially sick of the sight of my bedroom! I’m now able to stand easily and walk around for about 10/15mins at a time but I haven’t yet conquered the sitting down comfortably without getting those nasty electrical pulses going down the legs, and my back completely stiffening up like an ironing board – before having to head back to bed in a huff.

What’s helped? Stretches. Stretches stretches stretches every few minutes – and a session on the foam roller when I’m feeling cocky. Though if I roller my back too much then it gets ‘angry’ and I end up getting stuck on the floor for a little while!

Also, my Forever Living Heat Lotion is a god send and soothes my lower back. It’s pretty much Deep Heat but we all know I’m a lover of the aloe so that’s my go-to one.

By some miracle I’m sleeping like a log (the pain is exhausting so luckily I’m shattered and I fall asleep easily). Each morning when I wake up it gets easier and easier, so I’m just being patient with myself, and hopefully in a day or two I’ll be feeling more human. Mustn’t get inpatient.

I’m very lucky to have such supportive friends and family. Usually within about a minute or two of posting, my mum and dad are both on the phone asking if I’m okay. Mum will usually then send me lovely hourly ‘whooaaahhh here comes a hug’ messages for a day or two! And Wayne of course is amazing looking after me the whole time, giving me reassuring cuddles and making me laugh when I cry.

Joey

xXx

Sunday night karma?

There’s nothing better than a weekend of little to no plans. It doesn’t always happen, but when it does, it’s sheer BLISS.

Though it’s a real shame my body doesn’t always agree.

I had plans on Friday night with the girls, but it was dinner at mine so none of the usual required late night trekking across London to get home after a day at work (sorry girls, just you!) which is exhausting enough most of the time.

For the remainder of this weekend, I have just tried to relax; so I’ve been doing a bit of life admin, a bit of work from the comfort of my sofa and I even treated myself to a manicure today for the first time in years. Oh yes and a few hours spent catching up on the latest Grey’s Anatomy and a whole week’s worth of Survival of the Fittest (which is totally filling the Love Island hole in my life right now so I’m not even sorry 😉 ).

But unfortunately, it’s now Sunday night and I have been in agony all day, with the oh so recognisable effects of Sciatica setting in.  I get really frustrated that I can no longer spend a few hours on the sofa trying to relax my mind from everything going on because I just get punished with the most painful back ache. I’m now struggling to stand straight and I’m hobbling around like no-ones business.

I’ve not yet found a way to deal with my frustrations that come as a result of this disease, and having my back problems make it 1,000% worse on bad days. So this evening I’m just taking it out on my keyboard writing this and hoping that an evening on the mat with the dumbbells helps ease the stiffness and pray that I get a good nights’ sleep so that I’m back and better for the start of another week.

In other news I’ve got another apt with my Rheumatology nurses tomorrow – I can’t wait to tell them that I’m now off all of my painkillers (which is probably why the pain today is a shock to the system – I must have been getting cocky). But I have been having some side effects from all the biologicals and the chemo so we’ll be discussing those and seeing what we can do to reduce them. But I think I’ll save that for another post!

Have a lovely and peaceful Sunday evening, everyone.

Joey x x x