Saturday, October 30, 2010

Injection Rejection

The shoulder pain continues. I have no clue why.

I had a corticosteroid shoulder injection Monday morning, which, one would think, would be working by this point.

I know the injections don't actually help with pain, they reduce inflammation. I also know that they can cause a flare, which indeed this one seemed to have.

By Thursday, there was a brief period of relief, and I though to myself, Yes, this is it, it's working!

Alas, it was not. I don't know ho to sit or lie. Or stand for that matter. Yesterday I went to watch my niece's riding lesson and it was bloody cold. Tried to put my left hand in my coat pocket, but that was a no go, BECAUSE IT HURT TOO MUCH!!! So then, on top of the pain, I ended up with white corpselike fingers because of Raynaud's, which in turn, is because of the rhuematoid arthritis. Perfect timing for Hallowe'en. Ah, it's a grand little world. (I did, by the way, have Thinsulate-lined gloves on.)

Again, I have no clue why the damned injection isn't working for me. They don't work for everyone, it's true, and, apparently, I'm one of those lucky few, as fate would have it.

Could I be one of those lucky few who win a lottery? Well, no! That would just be too much luck!

I had a systemic corticosteroid injection back in December of last year and that didn't work either. It did zip all. Nada. Zilch. Same for this. In fact, if anything my shoulder is worse off because I haven't done my physio exercises for a few days now.

Seriously irritated.

And getting a cold on top of things.

P.S. For those who are interested, the injection didn't hurt. It was my first joint injection and as far as I can figure, was a posterior glenohumeral injection, I believe. Since I'm not a doctor, don't quote me on that!! Piece of cake, though, especially if you've been injecting yourself and getting blood tests done left, right and centre...

Sunday, October 24, 2010


Here, girls and boys, is why you should never do an Enbrel injection without icing beforehand!

The other night I got home, took the Enbrel out of the fridge, set my timer, figured I could jump in the shower, do my Methotrexate injection, then get the Enbrel shot done, all before getting dinner. Why not? The shots are a breeze now!

By the time I'd taken out my contacts and had my shower and gotten all the other stuff out for my shots, 22 minutes had elapsed. Hmm, 8 minutes for the Methotrexate injection? Sure! And, indeed, I did it – with 2 minutes to spare. Course that meant no time for icing my stomach. When I first started doing injections, I'd been icing my stomach for 20 minutes, but lately it's been 10, sometimes slightly less, so I figured, what the hell? So off I went with the Enbrel. I didn't even both with alcohol swabs for either injection, since I'd just had a shower, and I'd read somewhere (couldn't remember where, but I knew it was a reputable site) that soap and water were just as good as alcohol.

Bang! And it was done. There was a biggish blood drop, but that's happened before, and it didn't sting anymore than normal, so great!

Next day, huge bloody bruise!

I didn't make the connection at all until sometime later: no icing, big bloody bruise. Oh!!! No icing = big bloody bruise.

So, this week, back to icing for at least 10 minutes....

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Fatigue Takes Its Toll

The other day I slept in almost an hour past my alarm clock. That never happens. And I'm not exaggerating. It's the truth.

There have been a handful of times in the last decade that my alarm woke me up. Other than that, I always, always, always wake up before my alarm goes off. I have an incredible internal alarm clock.

Until the other day! I use my iPhone as an alarm; I have no idea how long it keeps going, but I know it's for quite a long time. But I just slept right through it. Goes to show you how fatigued and tired I am. Fatigued as in feeling totally worn out all day long.

I've always been a sleepy kind of person who loves naps, I'll admit that. But this is different. I wake up after sleeping all night long and could take a nap after breakfast. If I'm at home during the day, I usually do take a nap in the afternoon, but it's not a treat and a pleasure the way it was in the past, it feels like a necessity.

I don't sleep all night long, so that could be a definite cause. I fall asleep right away at night, but usually wake up four or five hours later and am awake for at least an hour to two hours (!), so that certainly doesn't help. That was going on before RA hit, but now it's way more firmly established.

It could be medications I'm on, like Methotrexate, as fatigue is a known side effect.

It could just be the crap RA! Fatigue, yes, is also a result of this crap disease. (Ha! Just like saying that word "crap"!)

And, of course, this past week, it doesn't help that my shoulder is still sore because of the ongoing tendinitis issue, and sleeping isn't supercomfortable.

Whatever it is, I'd say I'm getting a minimum of 7 hours of actual sleep 3 nights a week and at least 9-10 hours the other nights. Add naps to that, and the fact that I am getting to the gym at least 3 times a week for cardio workouts and going for long walks on the other days, and there's no way I should be feeling as tired as I am.

Am meeting with my rheumatologist on Monday for a regular checkup. Will ask what's up with this and report back!

For now, it's almost 10 in the morning and it's clearly naptime!!!!!

Sunday, October 3, 2010

The Conclusion: Shoulder Tendinitis

So went to see a  physiotherapist last Wednesday and he did an assessment and thinks I have tendinitis in my left shoulder.

The assessment, which involved him asking lots of questions and having me move my arm about in all sorts of directions, killed! My shoulder was incredibly painful for the rest of the day and night, and I slept like crap. I actually took some acetaminophen, which I haven't taken in ages because I just couldn't take the pain (I'm already on so many freakin' drugs, I don't really want to take more, particularly any which might, might upset my stomach but there you go...). I also iced my shoulder on and off all evening as instructed.

Luckily I got in for a treatment appointment Thursday morning. I was given some ultrasound, then heat. Then the physio manipulated my shoulder a bunch, basically jiggling it up and down a lot in the socket, which, surprisingly, didn't hurt at all, and massaged it very  lightly, then iced it. It felt a whole lot better after that.

This left shoulder has always been weaker. In fact, as I've mentioned before, my whole left side is weaker, since my right side is my dominant one. And the shoulder has caused me some very slight pain before, ironically enough, during the longer periods of time when I haven't done any strength training! But this amount of pain is very unusual and I have been doing strength training, so I can only suspect that RA has something to do with it. Call me suspicious, call me wrong, but there you go...

I've been icing the shoulder every couple of hours (when I remember!), as instructed, and I go back for another physio appointment tomorrow (Monday).

I hope we can nip this thing in the bud, so I can get back to normal life – and normal workouts!