Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Hair Loss

Yes, I've been losing hair again. When I started on Methotrexate, for a while my hair was coming out in the shower and gathering in a little clump that I'd have to kick down the drain. Not the best thing to do, I know, but, ick, disgusting! Why is that hair looks so fabulous on your head but is so absolutely sickening when no longer attached to your being???? Blech!

That hair loss finally stopped, thank god, but now Round 2 of the shower kick-downs has begun. And I've been finding loose hairs everywhere around my apartment, which isn't usual. OK, the average person does shed 25-100 hairs a day, but this is way more than that.

Why? I can only think it's because of the stress of being unemployed and worrying about things. I honestly don't feel like I'm totally freaked out about things – really, I'm not! – but, needless to say, the situation does have its emotionally trying moments. I had to go in to my old office to sign my final severance release – stress. I've been figuring out how I'll pay for five prescriptions for RA alone (one of which costs $23,000 a year) when my benefits run out  – stress. I've been thinking about how I'll take care of myself years down the road when I retire now that I don't have a pension in place – stress. You get the picture.

Result: hair everywhere! The technical term for this stress type of hair loss: telogen effluvium. The type that occurs because of the Methotrexate: anagen effluvium. Or, actually, if you read closely, the stress and the start of the new medication could both have caused the first type of hair loss... Whatever! Any way you look at it, I'm losing hair.

Not that anyone on the street would notice. A friend I met for lunch yesterday said she'd expected to see bald patches on my head from what I'd described, but, still, I know what's washing down my drain, and that's dramatic enough for me.

Yet, despite all that, it has been an exciting time. I've launched my new blog, A Capacity for Joy, this past Monday. I've already been approached about writing an architecture piece for a new online magazine based on one of my blog entries. I'm eagerly thinking about what new job opportunities lie ahead for me. I've spent time catching up with family and friends, and I've realized once again what a truly great support network I have.

I hope my hair realizes that, too, and settles down...

Monday, June 28, 2010

My New Blog! – A Capacity for Joy

Yes, I have neglected my posts here, I'll admit it. For two reasons: 1) I was negotiating a settlement with my former employer and didn't want to report on how I was feeling (more on that in another post), and, 2) I've been madly working on a new blog which I've now launched! It's called a Capacity for Joy and you can have a look at it –please do! – at

It'll give you a view into what I did in my work life, with a more personal spin, I hope, since I have no one to report to but me! I've been having such fun doing it. In addition to designing the header (above), I've been doing all sorts of other things I've never done before, or at least not to this crazy extent. Things like playing with xml code and Photoshop, making blue Twitter birds orange, and things I don't even really understand if I'm honest with you. I even hired a woman in Norway to make the images in my archives get bigger when you click on them (it' a long story...).

But I'm pretty pleased with the results so far! There are a few kinks to work out still, but nothing's ever perfect, is it? I hope you do check it out and enjoy it. Please feel free to comment, subscribe, etc....!

And I promise I will try my best to get back to regular posting here!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Paul Klee, Artist & Autoimmune Sufferer

I was working on my (hopefully soon to be launched) other blog today and realized that one of my favourite artists, Paul Klee, suffered from scleroderma, an autoimmune disease and, it is assumed, died from it in 1940 at the age of 60. Too short a life – damn autoimmune diseases...

He produced over 9,000 works of art in his lifetime. Here are just two.

Before the Gates of Kariouan/Vor den Toren von Kariouan, 1914

Once Emerged from the Gray of the Night/Einst dem Grau der Nacht enttaucht..., 1918

Friday, June 11, 2010

A Neurologist's Thoughts

Saw my neurologist yesterday for my regular semi-annual checkup re the migraines. It was the first time I'd seen him since the RA diagnosis. I told him that I'd only had one migraine since the RA started, but that over the last few months I have at times had odd visual disturbances: what looks like black horizontal lines across my entire field of vision. I said I'd mentioned them to my regular doctor and optometrist, both of whom I'd seen in the past couple of weeks, and that they thought they could possibly be migraine auras, even though they never lasted for more than a minute to a few minutes.

My neurologist thought that was possible, that they were auras trying to come out, so to speak. He also thought that all the anti-inflammatory medication I was on for the RA was having a suppressing effect on the migraines, and that there have been studies linking inflammation and migraines. He also said that there are cases of patients being diagnosed with other conditions, like cancer, whose migraines go away.

He didn't say this, but is it a case of a body knowing that you can only handle so much? Now, if only life was like that, too! Hmmm!

Now, I just need to start really trying to wean myself off my migraine meds to see what happens...I really just do not need any more crap in the form of pain or anything right now. But I'm game to slowly, slowly give it a try. And he's such an awesome doctor to make me feel like I'm the one in charge of what to do when and to trust me to do what's right. You gotta like that!

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Pics from the Arthritis Walk

Here are some pictures from the Arthritis Walk. You can see how pretty the grounds are where the one kilometre walk took place!

Yes – they are my sisters!!