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Last night, I came home from the hospital.  My new knee came home with me.  Overall the surgical procedure was fine.  The thing I was most nervous about was the epidural, which was a very insignificant part of the process.  No pain or discomfort and I was numb for 3 hours after surgery in recovery.  Sadly, the block wore off sooner and more completely than they expected, my room wasn’t ready, and they didn’t have pain meds in the recovery room.  Which I had trouble understanding.  That, and the recovery room wasn’t too busy that day.

They finally put some dilaudid in the IV, but it was too late and I was way behind on the pain.  When I got to the room I was in such distress, I cried for 3 hours. Mr Phat kept trying to encourage me to breathe deeply in and out.  Ultimately they got enough pain meds in me to get ahead of it and I’ve been doing fine since then.

The day after surgery I was getting in and out of bed fairly easily, and did the long “loop” on the ortho floor.  My doctor visited and said that the old knee had a lot of erosion, which is typical of what they see with Rheumatoid patients.  Not surprising.

I’ve already had my first Physical Therapy session this morning.  He thought I was moving along on my walker pretty well, and he showed me some exercises to do, interspersed with walking and icing.  That’s what I will be doing for the next few days – walking, icing, exercising and resting.  I will keep you posted on my progress.

T minus 6

Snow day!!  The state is closed down because of an all day snow event that will bring  8 – 16 inches.  We are also getting Thunder too, which is eerie.  Amazing when it snows and thunders.

So 6 days until total knee replacement surgery.  I’ve been off my Xeljanz for a week and took my last methotrexate shot Sunday night.  I won’t lie to you.  I hurt.  The Rheumatoid Pain is very strong.  More than I expected.  I had actually told Mr. Phat that I was going to consider not going back on the Xeljanz after surgery because it didn’t seem to do anything.  Boy was I fooled!!  Mornings are the worst – the pain and stiffness makes movement slow.  It takes a few hours to loosen up the joints.

That’s why I’m appreciating the snow day today.  I was able to stay in bed until almost 9 and catch up on the sleep I lost while in pain overnight.  I will actually hook up my laptop this afternoon and do some work. I’ve been working ahead and am in good shape, but I want to stay ahead and I’m not sure I’ll be able to work much the 2 days before surgery – if this is any indication of how I’m going to feel.

I’m reminded of my early days with RA – before biologics and metho.  I would have to take pain meds while still in bed and I remember sitting in my living in the morning crying due to the pain.  Also, thoughts of my grandmother with RA fill my brain.  She didn’t have any fancy medications to relieve her inflammation and pain.  And she never complained. My role model for sure.  We called her Memere and when I became a grandmother, That’s what my grandchildren call me.

Blessed indeed that I can have a total knee replacement, then ultimately go back on my RA meds and hopefully resume my active and busy lifestyle.  I’m also especially blessed to have Mr. Phat who takes care of me both physically and emotionally.

Speaking of Blessed – How about those New England Patriots?

Saturday 8:20 am

cannon-mountain

 

Damn.  I missed first tram.  Again.  It leaves the station on weekends at Cannon Mountain in Franconia, NH at 8:15 am and for the past decade I’ve been on it.  This morning there’s a little layer of new snow.  “Freshies” we call it.  I love skiing freshies from first tram – there’s no real sound but the skis moving through the snow, pushing it out of your path.  The cold crisp air feels great on your smiling face.  These are my favorite ski mornings.

Since I can’t rush to first tram this morning, I can sit here and enjoy the Freshies out my window.  The flakes are still falling down and the quiet pierces the air.  I’m trying to find the silver lining in the cloud that is my season of not skiing.  Knowing I’ll be stronger and pain free next year.

2 1/2 weeks until Total Knee replacement surgery.  I won’t lie – it hurts.  Rolling over in bed hurts, getting in and out of the car hurts.  Walking hurts.  Finally it seems that the RA flare that has been with me for 6+ months has moderated a bit.  I can open jars again, and cut food without wincing.  Of course starting in 5 days I have to start weaning myself off my meds prior to surgery.  That will be challenging as well.  But I’m  willing to take it if it means “freshies” next ski season.

Snow Day

Traditionally the first weekend after New Years has always been my favorite weekend to ski.  The hard core regulars are there but the casual skiers are home.  It’s not so crowded, and always an enjoyable weekend to ski.

Alas, this year that’s not to be as I wait for my surgery on a total knee replacement.  But there’s a silver lining to my cloud.  It’s a snowday and I am happier than anything to be snowbound with Mr. Phat with our brand new kitchen a little post holiday organizing and football later this afternoon.  We made breakfast together and the whole house smelled wonderful.  Later we will roast a chicken with some vegetables for dinner.  Yum.  What more could a gal want on a snowy Saturday?  Oh right, a nice cozy great room with a roaring wood stove. Life is truly good my friends, no matter what the circumstances are.  My silver lining is being in my comfy home surrounding by warmth, good smells, the man I love and our dog.

My other silver lining this week?  My eating.  This is a diet blog, right?  I did a lot of reading last week about food and the immune system.  My immune system has definitely been out of whack since summer.  Changing RA meds hasn’t helped my immune system.  Being sick and stopping my RA meds intermittently most likely has contributed to this yoyo effect.

So this week I eliminated all the inflammatory foods from my diet – dairy, grains, sugar, alcohol and legumes.  The latter is no biggie as Legumes aren’t my favorite food.  I also fasted during the day on Tuesday and Wednesday and had coffee, tea, water and bouillon during the day and salad or eggs with protein for dinner those nights.

I have already been able to cut my prednisone does in half and my goal is to be off of it shortly.  At some point in the near future for several weeks prior to my February 15 surgery date I’m going to need to be off all RA meds.  I’d like to have the inflammation as minimal as possible prior to that date.  I will keep you posted.

In the meantime, if you’re in a snow zone, relax and enjoy.

TKR

TKR = Total Knee Replacement.  I admit to blaming much of my recent pain on RA, which has been more active this year, but in reality my left knee has been problematic since the end of ski season last year.  I’ve limped most of the year and kept thinking that changing RA meds would magically fix it.

Denial.  When a coworker stated recently that I’d been limping for months and when was I going to do something about it, it hit home.  I shed a couple of tears as the reality hit that the knee wasn’t going to get better.  I knew that the cartilage was gone and I was bone on bone and that no medication is going to fix that, but I was still hoping.

I called the orthopedic and saw him this past week.  A few new x-rays were enough to show how bad it has gotten and the doctor and I agreed to schedule surgery soon.

So February 15th I will be undergoing a total knee replacement and it can’t come soon enough.

Wishing all my WordPress friends far and near a happy, healthy and peaceful 2017!!  Happy New Year!

12/20/16

Sick again.  It appears that I have no immune system.  Or that it’s not very effective these days as I’m home sick again.  I just got out of bed at 11:30.  The very sore throat has subsided a bit, I don’t have a fever today, but there’s a little congestion.  And major fatigue.  I got up this morning hoping to go to work for about half a day, but I knew I couldn’t do it and I did not want to spread germs.  I rescheduled several appointments and went back to bed.

It’s been extremely frustrating dealing with this.  I did just ask on one of my RA forums if anyone is on Xeljanz and are they having similar issues.

The good news?  When I’m sick, my RA seems to be a bit more in check.  I think that my immune systems starts fighting the germs and lays off attacking my joints.

Sigh.

That’s all I can think of to call this post.  More of the same.  I’m not a complainer and that’s what I told the Rheumy yesterday when I saw him.  And he knows I don’t complain. I’ve been sick twice this fall, and mid November was probably the flu which I’m finally recovered from.  So I started my Xeljanz again, for the third time, but it doesn’t seem to have any impact on my pain and inflammation.  I had a blood test this week and he said that the markers for inflammation were elevated.  I’ve been taking prednisone which suppresses the tests, so he knew I was worse than what the tests showed.

I was actually back using my cane one day this week.  I’m tired of limping.  I did put on a pair of skis last Saturday but I wasn’t able to ski.  I’m not sure that I will be able to ski this season.  Which has always been a priority but I know that I can’t make my decisions based on my ability to ski or not.  Walking is enough of a benchmark.

The Rheumy suggested that I change from the twice a day 5mg Xeljanz to once a day 11mg dose.  Today is my first day trying that.  I am willing to try anything and know that small tweaks are sometimes all that is needed.  I haven’t given up hope.