California, USA
August 10
When I figure it out I'll add it, one blog at a time. I illustrated "Travel Tales I Couldn't Put in the Guidebooks" written by Lea Lane. You can get it at Amazon and on Kindle!


BuffyW's Links

AUGUST 6, 2012 2:03PM

A Path Unknown.

Rate: 22 Flag

I am embarking on a new path this week.  It is a scary one to be sure.  I'm fortunate to have a partner in life who will provide the wind beneath my wings as I try to soar.

 As I mentioned before, I have Rheumatoid Arthritis.  Each day is filled with pain, Gypsy pains which are feeling the need to roam all throughout my body, at will.  I never know where the bugger will be when I find myself awakend each morning.  The very first thing I do upon opening my eyes is to look over at my husband and say "Yea!"  It is a reaffirmation of the fact I am alive.  I really do have this wonderful man lying next to me.  Then it's time to take inventory of my body. I do a mental checklist starting with my neck and proceeding town to my toes.

 There is not one morning in which pain is totally absent, only those which I find to be bearable enough to go without taking an ibupropen to take the "edge" off of the pain.  Those are my "good days".  For months my neck, shoulder and right hand were so painful I could hardly focus on anything else.  Then, a person from my past re-entered my life and brought me a miracle, a portable, mini TENS unit.   Within an hour the pain cycle had been broken!  And then I began noticing pains elsewhere in my body; the back, shoulders, knees, wrist, thumb, ankle, shoulders and hips.  (Unfortunately I couldn't make the TENS unit work all over my body at once, but it still is effective in localized areas.)

 My Rhuematologist is a nice man, and we even share a birthday (though he will be only 39), but why does he insist on writing me prescriptions to "solve" a problem when it really only addresses a symptom?  For instance I have been taking a low dose of methotrexate (four pills) once a week  since October.  Yes, I'll admit it did brought some of the pain down from, "I don't want to live like this" to, "I can live with this."  It was huge and I am grateful.  Yet, I am also not happy that he seems to want to increase the dosage to six pills a week.  I have tried, but each time I do I get a different illness (a cause of my lowered immunity due to side effects of this chemo-drug).  A month or so ago I had gastric problems which forced me to not eat, or go on the BRAT diet.  The problems went on for three weeks. I had no idea if it was what I was eating (salmon grilled, a salad, fruits) my normal diet,  or what.  So I lowered the dosage of pills and voila, no more problems in my gut.  It didn't take a genius to figure out the correlation.  I researched and discovered I could take the medicine as a shot, bypassing the whole stomach issue.  I asked my doctor about it and his response was, "Sure, you can do that."  Nearly the identical response he had to my asking him why he didn't tell his patients about the TENS unit.  (At which time he said he'd written me a prescription for physical therapy where they would do it.  Uh-huh, five weeks of two appointments a week.  Sheesh.) So I began taking a shot once a week, and I don't like shots.  My husband is kind enough to do the deed for me.  He does a wonderful job, no pain.  Yea!!

 Then a friend sent me a text with a link to a book about an Arthritis breakthrough.  It was the same friend who gave me the TENS, so I bought the book and was astounded.  I also began to research and found out there is an alternative treatment which is inexpensive, no side effects and can end the pain and inflammation.

 Excitedly I researched until I found a clinic in a not too distant city whose doctors offered the treatment.   I called, got an appointment and casually asked about my insurance.  "Oh, we CAN'T take your insurance, we have a contract with them."  Huh?  Okay, I'll just pay out of pocket, isn't that what I had an emergency fund saved for?  "No, if they found out you had a card WE could be fined."  Appointment cancelled.I was so confused, and angry.

Then something kicked in, something inside my brain said to me, "This is not where you should be going."  So I redirected my energies and went to my local doctor to research this idea further.  He said he would monitor me.  In fact he did research the following weekend and his office called with a referral.  Wow.  My next move was my Rheummy.  "Have you heard of this?"  I asked after explaining what I knew.

 "Yes, but it has fallen out of favor."  He said without looking up from his notes.  A moment of mixed reaction, then I asked, "Would you be adverse to me trying it?"  He said he would need to research the dosage (which to me meant for a normal sized person) then call in the prescription.  My husband and I left the office hopeful...for the first time in a year, and laughing at the absurdity of the scene.

This week I will begin taking the low-dose antibiotic in conjunction with a stepping down my other drug.  Hopefully in the ensuing weeks I'll be able to get off the nasty one and be on my way to become a Gypsy Vanquisher.  I know it can take months, but some hope is way better than none. 

I've had to stop being creative and I will say it has almost been worse than the pain.  My life has been about communication, by words or my drawings and paintings.  To me, despite everything else, I have always been defined by my optomistic view of life.  Finally after the past year I am optomistic again!  YEA!!!


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Shelia...SO good to see you here. But so sorry to know you have been in pain all this time. If you remember, I have RA. I take 10 methotrexate/week (and have very little pain) but Please tell me what this TENS Unit is...actually I'll go Google it now. Looking forward to seeing how it works for you.
If anyone can be a "Gyspy" killer, it will be you my friend. I wish you well and will keep you in my thoughts. It is so very good to see you in here again, I have missed your presence.
Dear Sheila:

I'm so sorry to read about your struggles with RA. I cannot imagine the suffering you go through when you keep up such a positive front and keep your optimism. I'm optimistic by nature too but I hope never to be pushed to limits beyond bearable.

Are you familiar with or have you tried gold treatment?

I had published a medical article a few years ago on the treatment of RA with gold. I have it on another site, and if you wish, I can send you the link in a pm. Please let me know. Meanwhile, you have my best thoughts and wishes for your well being.

Continue that optimism - it's catching! R
I was so glad to see your name pop up! It sounds like you are very proactive and you are teaching your Dr in the process. I hope it works and you can end your cycle of pain.
Pain robs you of your life. I know, as I have it constantly too. I am now on Cymbalta which relieves the pain of Fibromyalgia and is an anti-depressant. It is helping but I wish it would help more. Good luck./r
I didn't know you had rheumatoid arthritis. I'm glad you are exploring all options. I always get a dx. from mainstream medicine and then use both mainstream AND alternative medicine to treat everything from menopause, pregnancy and the common cold. rated.
I have been waiting to hear from you, BW. I know you've been having difficulties with the RA, and didn't want to bother you with inane questions. I'm so pleased to hear you've maybe found a solution, I can't say.

I'd say be strong, but that's a given where you're concerned. Our best to you both.
All the best, and hoping this treatment works.
I am happy that you are coming to some resolution here, even if it is to try something else. Pain sucks and there's no other way around it. I so want you to be a Gypsy Vanquisher! All healing and loving thoughts going your way.
Even when you think you are not being positive Buffy, you are the most positive person I know. I understand pain and the frustration that goes with it. Good read. Rated
This is fascinating, Sheila, altho I'm sorry you are suffering. I hadn't heard of the TENS treatment, but will Google it. I have regular old Arthur Itus, which can only progressively get worse with age. Good luck with the new antibiotic therapy!
Raise a glass to hope. Sometimes it can see us through until things really do begin to get better. Best wishes.
We all just pounce on you when you come back here to write. Miss you and love your spirit. There is always hope.
I had no idea you were suffering from this disease. I do know, however, that if anyone can stay upbeat and resourceful in finding a way to live comfortably with it, you are that person.
I know how much you've been suffering and for far too long. I also know how painful arthritis can be as hubby has suffered with it for most of his life.

Unlike you he is prepared to swallow any pill offered by doctors without question. He cannot see the correlation between the cocktail and other health problems. But that is his choice. Your approach is far better in my humble opinion. I know this problem will not beat your determined and indomitable spirit.

He did however think the supplements he bought in LA helped. Can't remember what they were now, but I know you'll find a way to deal with all this. Not fair you should suffer after all you've been through. Love you.
buffy - so happy to read some good news. i wish your doctor were a little more proactive and attentive, but at least he is not obstructive. i hope this new medicine works, and i am more impressed with your kindness and reaching out, even while going through this, than i was already.

love and hugs to you.
I miss your art. I look forward to seeing more of it.
Hope this works, Sheila. You may know that my younger son suffers from RA and has worked his meds so that he has minimal pain. You two should talk. Hope you feel much better and that we can continue what we had discussed before. Will wait for you. (And best to Paul.)
Wow, how can we share so many similarities? Sheila, I have gone down the path that runs through the gamut of possibilities and so far, I find only one thing that does the job without making me sicker, narcotics. This is so unpopular as a treatment that I fear that it will soon be taken away from me by people who think that the possibility of abuse is to great to allow it. I've had a TENS unit for years and while it isn't the miracle cure that the therapist believed it to be it can be useful. The problem now is that much of my pain is in my shoulders, neck and back and my heart disease makes the use of it dangerous. I am so glad that you sent me some of your work, I cherish it.