Wednesday, 30 May 2012

Needle Alone

Living with arthritis, it might not occur to many that you are poked and prodded quite a bit, but that is the truth. You will be poked and prodded. I used to get anywhere from five to seven needle sticks a month between blood drawings, Methotrexate (Chemo) injections and contrast for MRI's or something along those lines. Now I'm usually stuck about once a month but it can change depending on what treatment I go on next.
Anyway, I know some people are really afraid of needles and I can relate: I've been there before, I swear. Some people are fine with telling people they're afraid of them, such as one of my friends. Not so much boys though, because most tend to say they don't like them but aren't afraid. And some people just aren't affected by it. I'm not and most people who have chronic illnesses aren't.
A lot of people have coping methods. Most of these involve gritting your teeth and making a fist. Some people may hold another's hand or just appreciate the company. Sometimes children will look at books or blow bubbles. And yes, people cry and show discomfort: I've gotten my blood drawn next to a woman also getting her blood drawn and she was obviously nervous  and seemed as though she could cry. The nurses and I tried joking to help distract her. What people don't realise is if crying or making faces helps you get through it, by all means do it. Don't go overboard, just if it helps release the stress you've built up in anticipation for the needle or if it helps releave pain. Hey, I've been there before: I haven't cried since I was little but I've closed my eyes and made frustrated expressions because it helped. Also that helps the nurse know you are in discomfort and if they can help relieve it, they will usually.
Another thing people often say helps is to bring along a friend or family member. Many people find comfort in having a fimilair person with them. In my case it's usually my mum. I haven't had a needle with my mum present in two or so years. I never bring my mum along when I go for scans, even though I'm given the option of her presence. Honestly, I like doing these sorts of things alone for a number of reasons:
1.) I feel more likely to ask questions.
2.) I'm more likely to have a conversation with the nurse or who-ever due to being alone.
3.) I don't like it when my mum or anyone sees me in pain or such situations.
4.) I find it awkward.
I know everyone is different. Most people expect you want company or support during a test or procedure but in reality it really just isn't always the case. I'm okay doing things alone. It feels better because I know that I'll be able to pay attention to the nurse or doctor better. Also, when I get hip ultra-sounds, it is a little awkward so I prefer to be alone with only the technican and/or doctor, who are perfectly used to this.
Maybe I'm the odd case, I'm unsure. But, I just know that sometimes being alone is just what you need.

Tuesday, 29 May 2012

Everything Will be Okay

I don't know how to say this so people will understand, but I'll go on just incase someone is sitting at home wondering if they are alone in this thought as I feel at the moment. During songs or videos, if I hear a line or lyric that is reassuring or comforting, I will re-play it. I'll put myself in my own world and imagine this line is being said to me. Usually along the lines of "Everything will be okay in the end" or "Don't be afraid." Sometimes when you're going through a whole lot, and knowing it will be on going people don't realise how much a simple "It's alright" helps you. No one has ever told me everything will be alright or that I haven't any need to be afraid, or that it's okay to be afraid. Mostly because they don't think to say anything.
People really underestimate the value of it. Even doctors, who tend not to put too much emotion into patient treatments, should learn that saying something so simple can make such a difference.
I've reassured myself it's okay to be angry or sad. And I know that accepting something can mean I feel nothing about it, or that I'm still upset. And at the moment, the future doesn't scare me at all. But to really feel that everything is going to be okay, you need to hear it. You can't do everything by yourself, and quite frankly I don't want to or plan to my whole life. Granted, a recording is not the real thing and the person speaking is not speaking to you but it's the best I've got and I bet it's the best some people have too. That and, I think hearing "Everything will be okay. Trust me: I'm the Doctor," is pretty cool.

Monday, 28 May 2012

They Get It, Mostly.

Last night as I talked with some mates through a webcam, I was on this website for people who are 'chronically ill.' I cringe at that phrase. Chronic = very serious and long lasting. Illness = I'm sick. And I know I have a chronic disease: I know that I'm sick and probably will be for a very long time.
But anyway, some of the things I came across on this website was really funny. Suggestions that people who are ill get that are simply  hilarious. What medical words really mean, or at least to us. It's a huge relief to know there are more people just like you. But what I laughed at, sometimes my friends didn't when I read it off. I know they wouldn't get all of it so I didn't read all of it to them, just things that I forget people don't understand. Like when people tell you that you take too many medicines and they're making you sick. They don't know.
When I know I'm going to the hospital, I'll tell my friends I'm going to be absent on said day. They look and go "Oh you're going to visit Marc?" And I smile and say "You know me too well." Dr. Marc actually has his own fan club he's not aware of. Most of my friends ask if they can come. I would if I could.
I constantly say I want to bring my friends when I get my blood test. Not to creep them out with needles or show off that I don't flinch, I just want them to stand and watch as I talk with the nurses as if we've been friends forever, though I do know them pretty well because I've been going to the same place to get my blood drawn for about three or four years. The funny part about that is that I almost wrote 'I've been going there about two years.' Time really flies by.
Anyway, it's funny how much they understand for not being sick themselves. I know that it's due to me telling them this stuff, but really when they say something understanding without you reminding them it's so wonderful. Like when I was saying to my friend  that one of my rings fits loose some days and perfectly others, he said "It's probably due to the arthritis causing your knuckles to swell."

Sunday, 27 May 2012

Write and Procrastinate

I really don't know what to post about today. In all honesty I would really just rather not write something but I've been trying to push myself to do work everyday, whether it be the blog or working on a project. Since I don't feel like working on my project, I'm going to write on my blog about my project.

Currently I'm working on a pencil sketch of a little stranger. My family's newest addition made her first appearance to the world earlier this week. She's so lovely, a dream really. I've fallen so deeply in  love with her: I constantly show my friends her pictures, though they don't understand how I'm so proud of a new baby. Anyway, my auntie got a picture of the baby with her eyes open and smiling so I've been drawing it to give to the proud mummy and daddy.

I haven't finished it yet. I should probably work on it: I'm going to go visit them tomorrow.

Friday, 25 May 2012

Treatment vs. Pain Medicine

I haven't updated much about my arthritis in a while so I think I'll start off with that. My muscles are really sore and my joints are creeky, but nothing out of the ordinary.
What amazes some people is that I typically am in a lot of pain but I don't take pain medications. I mean, treatment like Methotrexate is just that: Treatment. It's not a huge pain reliever, though it is for some people. But mostly we all take medications to cope with the pain and some have nasty side effects. And I don't bother. Really. I can take about three times more ibuprofen in one day (Doctor prescribed) versus the average dose for others person and still be in a lot of pain. My mum tells me it makes me look more relaxed and calm and that's good when it's time to calm down like at night but not when I need to get homework and chores done, on top of finding time to talk with my friends.
At the moment I am researching arthritis treatments that relieve pain. I've found a few and all I have to do now is talk to Dr. Marc about it. Hopefully we will see eye to eye, especially since we are the same height. :)

Keep your chin up,
Elizabeth and Arthur

Thursday, 24 May 2012

Pool Side

In a lot of ways, I have been really stressed lately.
In a lot of ways, I have been really amazed at how wonderful life is.
Like in swimming, instead of doing laps lately we have been playing games, particularly basketball. It's nice because rather than the girls standing around doing nothing and the boys acting as though it were the Olympics, everyone participates and enjoys themselves. Okay, the boys still act like they are playing in the Olympics but they're a bit gentler. I've been having a grand time since there is no running and I can really get into the game. But what really makes my day is when the kids say "Elizabeth, pass it here!" For one, they acknowledge I'm alive. But two they know me as Elizabeth and not Liz anymore: I'm so thrilled.
It's things like that that really make the difference. I like swimming class unlike a lot of girls in my class: My hair looks great afterward and it's refreshing unless the teacher makes you do laps. But also because you can't move as quickly or as strongly in the water when you move to do something like catch a ball. It seems to give me a fair advantage so everyone can play equally. Though it's never fun when a hard, rubbery basketball lands on your unready hands, or off the side of your head. Not a personal esperience of mine, but that of a girl who always seemed to be looking the other way when the ball was passed, and would bounce off the poor girl's skull. Several times.

Wednesday, 23 May 2012

Ordinary to Smile

My mum always told me that there is nothing more attractive than a smile. I always knew this was true, but not really realizing it's depth until recently.
While I was in art class, working on a personal sketch because I was finished with my own class work. A boy who is in the year above me walked into the room to work on his project. I had never really seen him before, and he seemed to be very average looking though not a bad looking lad himself. He worked quietly on his project, not talking to anyone. A girl came in and she said something to him. He looked up from his project and smiled. I swear he looked to be the happiest boy in the world: He all of a sudden seemed so handsome and I thought to myself 'his parents must be so proud of him.'
Some people won't smile in pictures, some people won't smile at all in life. I don't walk around with a grin all the time because it looks goofy but also because it wouldn't look geniune. I notice that when I walk with my chin up and a grin because I'm thinking of a joke or soemthing, people seem to notice me or smile back or something. I don't feel I'm that pretty of a girl but until the day I die, I swear having a smile and looking to be happy (Real happy) will always do more good in the end than you could ever imagine.

Tuesday, 22 May 2012

Bruised

This past week, I've bumped and banged my legs and arms and I'm covered with bruises. Though I haven't taken Methotrexate in weeks, I'm getting used to life without: Whenever I start or stop it I get excessively tired, sore and lose my appetite. I guess I'm still going to bruise for a few months though because it's effects are still in my system. It's like the advice to wait three months after stopping Methotrexate to get pregnant.
I hit my elbow a couple times and it's all bruised and sore and I'm discovering new ones from gentle bumps on my legs and arms. I'm not typically this clumbsy it's just all of a sudden I'm hitting this or that. This just isn't fun what so ever. While the pain I get is beginning to get worse due to the lack of medication, I don't mind it much because I've never noticed too much pain relief on Methotrexate.
A bit emotionally drained at the moment, but I will fill you in when I feel better.

Sunday, 20 May 2012

Wave Goodbye

It's one thing when your friend starts to get a bit odd and you don't really want to talk with them. It's one thing when your friend starts to get very odd and you don't really want to be with them anymore. It's another thing when your mum tells you she's beginning to not want you to talk with this person anymore.
My friend at first seemed to be acting very immature. Then she began to be very rebellious and immature. And now she is making very immature and rebellious choices.
I don't understand kids, really, especially because I am younger than her yet I see more wrong in what she is doing than she. What is going on isn't acutally wrong, but it isn't wise and not the best choice towards a happy life. I don't really think she is thinking of consequences or anything. Then again not a lot of kids do. It really agravates me when kids, say, drink heavily at night because it's so fun but end up failing a test at school due to their headache the next day. But on a more extreme level.
I really do have big opinions on what I find is appropriate for people at certain ages but I choose not to share them. It just causes too much trouble so all you can do is ask a few 'are you sure you're doing the right thing' type questions, repeatedly remind them they have their whole life ahead of them, pray they'll be alright and wave goodbye as they go off and do what they want, knowing they probably won't come back the same person you knew before.

Friday, 18 May 2012

Dreaming

I've never had 'normal' dreams, but talking about them with my friends I guess no dream is really normal. I had heard once that people can control how their dreams go, but I'm not sure how much I believe this. My friend said that you can when your body is sleeping but your mind is not, and you control what you think. He said you're more or less paralized and whatever was on your mind before you go to sleep is what you dream. That sounds like the scariest thing ever because even though you think you were thinking about your sweet heart or your pet or baby, what if you were actually thinking of some horror movie as your mind drifted? You'd be trapped in that dream! Yikes!

Wednesday, 16 May 2012

Ring

If you've read my blog before, you know I'm the artistic type of person. I think a lot of odd things are cool and I 'get' modern art, even if I don't like all of it. And I even like some of the ways people dress and do their hair or make-up to look different. I think every artistic person has done that before. I'm really no exception. I look rather normal, but you might notice I wear rings.I love them and if I could, I would wear one ring on every finger, just because I think it would look cool and artsy. But that would take away from the rings I do wear: One on each hand because one is gold and the other is silver, and I know that they clash.
I don't really know where I'm going with this post, aside from the fact I think wearing a lot of rings would be cool. I'm just not in the mood to post about arthritis, mostly since at the moment it feels I talk a bit too much about it and that it's taking over my identity. So for today and maybe tomorrow, no arthritis talk. :)

Tuesday, 15 May 2012

Quirks

Most people like  to hide things about themselves away. I, on the other hand, generally enjoy people's quirks. I myself harbour several nerdy little obsessions and such. I enjoy that a few of my friends like to watch a cartoon that most people would raise an eyebrow at. And I like that my friend wears a Sonic Screwdriver necklace. I shall now share with you, my top nerdiest quirks:
1.) I read the daily comics everyday. Not things like Donald Duck but little known comics because I like supporting the 'little man' because I know that might be me one day.
2.) I can play the entire song 'Hedwigs Theme' (The song associated with Harry Potter) on my guitar by heart.
3.) I have a huge list of people I want to meet one day, ranging anywhere from people on Youtube to famous actors who were in black and white films.
4.) I whistle at random times and places: Sometimes little tunes and sometimes full blown songs.
5.) I draw clothes from the Edwardian period to about the 1970's, especially children's clothing because generally speaking children's clothes have always been a bit more interesting than adults.
So I shared some of mine: What are yours?

Monday, 14 May 2012

Well, That's Not Good.

Imagine this: You're in your bed, all nice and warm in your favourite pyjamas. The lights are dimmed just the way you like it and it's  been a long day, and you're ready to fall asleep. You're in your favourite sleeping position and you know just one little stretch will make everything perfect. You go to flex your ankles when all of a sudden CRAMP. Your muscles are tense and pulling your feet, ankles and calf in an uncomfortable position. If you stay still, it hurts but if you move it hurts even worse. So you opt to just lie there still, maybe rubbing your muscles to stop the painful spasms.
No, this was not me in my bed last night. This was me all day in school today, somewhat. While I did not actually have cramps, I had that pain all day. Nothing made it feel better what so ever and I'm lucky I had art all day so I could relax a bit. 
I've had that pain before but today it seemed to go out of hand. In a way, I really miss my Methotrexate... Nah, I still don't like it enough.
Anyway on a lighter note, it's the birthday of one of my very good friends today and in school we had a grand time having a little celebration for him. At the moment, all my friends (who are in the same year) and I are all the same age except one, which we all enjoy because we get to tease the youngest a little. All in good fun of course. :)

Sunday, 13 May 2012

I Don't Want to... I Don't Want to.... I Don't Want to Think About...

I don't want to post anything today.
I don't want to write anything today.
I don't want anyone to see anything I wrote today.
I don't want to do anything today.
So of course I'm writing a post today.
I haven't taken Methotrexate for about three weeks now. I am feeling terrible. Everything hurts. My back. My legs. My feet. My neck. My muscles. My head. My spirit.
I'm going to see Marc soon  and I've been researching new medicines to take instead of Methotrexate. I'll most likely end up on Enbrel or something like that but the night is still young and things do change.
I have exams coming up in school once again.
I don't want to study today.
I don't want to think about studying today.
I don't want be be reminded I need to study today.
So I am going to study... later.

Wednesday, 9 May 2012

My Wonderful Day

People have told me that when I speak of Arthur it is rather depressing. I promise he doesn't mean to be depressing: He's my little Arthur and he can't help making things harder sometimes. So today I shall write of the day I've had in a less depressing way.
Oh, what a wonderful day! Today I had swimming class in school. We get wet in a shower before we go in the water to protect our hair and suits, and the warm water felt wonderful. I'm so glad the teachers took their sweet time in doing roll because the air was so cold: A nice shock to the system. Then when we got in the pool and had to play a game, I pulled my hip muscle: It was such a relief to have pulled it since it hasn't been bothering me and I didn't want to forget I have an achy muscle there.
When school was released, I was so happy to go home even though school had been so much fun! The ride over bumps and sharp turns kept me on the edge of my seat, which is a relief since who really wants to relax on their way home? Once I got into my house, I decided to go on the computer. Arthur really enjoyed playing on the computer so much he didn't want me to get up, so even though I really needed to get some things done. How nice of Arthur to want me to enjoy myself!
Then I had to do homework and I just couldn't wait to get started on! Oh boy, how much I love to study and do drills that are already inplanted in my brain.
And I got to take a lovely hot shower and use plenty of beautiful lotion afterward. I swear, it's so relaxing and really loosens me up after such a wonderful day.

Monday, 7 May 2012

Methotrexate Irregular Periods

Hello there. Usually I try to be humorous or wise in my posts. Not today. As I write this, I must admit I am crying. As I told you before, I've quit taking Methotrexate tablets but will continue with injections. I feel, however, this is the wrong choice for me. This is a bit embarrassing for me to admit, but I've never really had a regular period. After my first cycle I began taking Methotrexate, and then they stopped or came at odd times. At the moment I haven't had one in three or four months, even though before hand they had came three times on a schedule. But I found out that this is not my body, nor is it my arthritis. This is the Methotrexate. I swear it's the MTX. Yes, I am young and young people tend to bounce back. But that's all the more reason I want to stop Methotrexate. Maybe I'm wrong and I'm over reacting, but I know my body better than anyone. People will tell you that this side effect is impossible but when I stopped taking it, I started getting regular periods after a month or so. That's how MY body reacted, not someone else's. By no means am I saying that Methotrexate is terrible. It has proven to be so helpful to a lot of people! What I'm saying is listen to your body and talk with your doctor when you think something is wrong. Don't do anything that may cause you harm, when the benefits don't outweigh the risks. And  the reason this post is so plainly named is so other women and girls who turn to the internet for information will be able to find this because it's easy to feel very alone when you have this problem. By NO means is this medical advice!! This is theory of a personal problem and an offer to outreach other women and girls who have experienced this problem.

Saturday, 5 May 2012

Methotrexate... Yum

Last night was one of the last times I will be taking methotrexate in pill form. This will sound gross, but when I swallowed it a few seconds lately I became violently ill and vomitted anything I ate a few hours prior. I really didn't think I ate much.
My mum had to call Marc, my doctor, and we have to make arrangements so I can begin taking injections of methotrexate again. This time I am going to learn to give them to myself: I've seen many people on Youtube do it and I think it will be a good idea for me to learn to do it in case I'm unable to get to a nurse or doctor.
I was actually thinking of getting the injections done at school so I could make my friends watch. Yes, I write make. I want them to see myself injecting yellow liquid into my own flesh. I want them to feel my pain... Okay, actually I would really just like moral support because I know at some point I will not want to do it and I will get sick at the smell of rubbing alcohol or something. Not that I need someone to hold my hand or anything: I just want someone there.

The Milk Bottle Adventures

During our lunch period, a friend of mine will buy food and -naturally- gets a bottle of milk with it. But, as he doesn't care much for milk, he gives it to me. Milk: *For strong, healthy bones! (*Excludes those with arthritis)
Recently they changed the design of the cap: Instead of pulling a little tap and the top popping off, you have to twist the cap off. When the country decided to allow students of all different abilities to be educated together, I think they didn't get the memo that milks with caps that are hard to take off are a big no-no.
The first time this ever happened I kind of just sat and stared at the bottle as if it would open itself if I stared long enough. Then I spent a minute or two clutching a cold bottle painfully and trying to twist the cap with the other hand. It took a while but I did do it.
The second day I thought it would be really hard but I successed in one, painful turn.
The third day I got too confident and hurt my hand trying to twist it in one turn again. What ended up happening is that boy two friends staring at me trying to open the bottle like an idiot. Though they both offered to open it, I did it myself: It's important that I am able to do necessary things like life.
So ends the milk bottle adventures, or at least for now.

Thursday, 3 May 2012

Portraits of Portraits

Today in art class we did one of my favourite things: Portrait drawings.
Today in art class we did one of my least favourite things: Self-Portrait drawings.
I say it's a bit of a curse because I can draw almost anyone except my mum, my grandmum and myself. I think it's a bit of a generation thing. Both of my attempts on huge paper we were given were very far from what I actually do look like. I decided I would finish it at home on my own paper: I hope the teacher won't mind, and I'm sure he won't since we're just doing those only to scan them into the computer to paint over anyway.
My mum tells me that I draw people softer than they really are, meaning I'll round pointed faces and make harsh eyes gentler. But when it came to drawing myself, I made myself look so brutal and stern: As if I were wicked. It's scary too because while my friend and I agreed that the picture did not look like me, it looked like someone we have seen before. This one girl whom I am friends with (who has quite a rude streak) burst into laughter when she saw my drawing and said if she said what she thought I would slap her. I'd never hit her though. I'd walk away and I'd never come back. Well of course I would come back to school but I'd never act as a friend to her again.
Anyway, I don't know why I make myself harsher and -frankly- uglier than I am yet make anyone I draw look gentle if they are harsh. Maybe it's because I like to try and over look the brutuality of others and I'm too critical of myself. Or maybe it's just a real curse keeping me from drawing. ;)