Saturday, October 20, 2012

Toxins everywhere

I was going through old pictures & stumbled upon pictures from February 2010. I had a massive, serious, allergic reaction to something. At the time we were getting our house painted (inside) & I was breathing the fumes pretty much day in, day out. My face looked like I had been beaten up, the hives were so intense, my ears were swollen to the max, the skin was so tight it hurt. My nose doubled in size, so did my lips. My eyes were almost closed. The hives went down to my chest, in a vine like pattern. It lasted forever, but a round of steroids (which I was NEVER going to take ever due to my previous experiences) got rid of it. I didn't connect the dots between the reaction & the paint fumes until I visited friends who had just done some painting at their house - I got the same reaction after visiting them! (and another round of steroids!)

So I just googled the topic, just to read a little more about it & what other people had experienced. It turns out, if the paint is latex based, my reaction indicates I'm allergic to latex?! Which then lead me into another concern - Enbrel sure-click injection. The needle cap in sure-click pen includes latex. Perhaps this would explain my injection site reactions? Recently they've become far more itchy & it lasts longer. For the first time today, I actually contemplated on switching to the regular Enbrel injections. Which is a big deal, since I'm not able to look at the needle puncturing my skin, when I'm getting blood work done. I could do without the injection site reactions & the intense itchiness. Maybe the latex is also the reason why my face is all rashy & bumpy? Maybe I COULD do the regular injections. Maybe?

As I was researching the previous topics, I came across this website Green and Healthy - Sick House Syndrome. The chart details diseases and conditions caused by exposure to "Building Toxicities". To my surprise (not) I discovered some autoimmune related toxins. For example, if you're sleeping on a chemical latex foam layered mattress - over time you can become ill by repeated and continuous exposure to the low level of chemicals continuously emitted during the sleep process. Common petroleum based chemicals (bedding, mattresses) have been clearly shown to have the ability to weaken or damage the immune and nervous system. What an eye opener this website is. Now I have to find out what my mattress is made of. I know it's a foam "something", but most likely it's not a healthy mattress, chemically speaking. Let me know what you think & I'd love to hear what are your own findings.

Thursday, October 18, 2012


It's been exactly 6 months since I wrote a blog post, yet so much has happened. I've shared little bits and pieces of my summer & fall in Twitter, but really, it's been a crazy time & not everything can be explained in 140 characters. Following is a summary of some of the important milestones, events, thoughts I've had since April.

So I found a new rheumatologist, who made me feel all warm & fuzzy inside. That was April of 2012. I had to increase my Prednisone dose to 10mg/day (from 5mg) because I was going on a trip to Italy in May & I was scared my body would give up on me. Now I regret having done that, it's been really difficult trying to come back down from the 10mg dose. In 1 month I've gone from 10mg to 7.5mg. I wish I could go down faster, since my weight keeps going up & I'm definitely feeling it. Not to mention the number it's doing on my self esteem, looking at myself in the mirror & not knowing who the woman is staring back at me. It's not the best time to be feeling this way, as I'm supposed to transition to single woman life & confidence is highly needed.

I also had a ultrasound of my fingers done back in May. It was an interesting experience & gave my doctor & I a clear understanding where we stand with  rheumatoid arthritis. All finger joints were inflamed (duh, I knew that even without the sonogram) & loaded with synovial fluid. Deformations were so minimal, it's barely worth mentioning. It does not mean I'm not (or have been) in excruciating pain though. What it means is that the synovial fluid was hard at work trying to destroy the cartilage that keeps my joints functioning & eventually that would lead into deformities.

I also saw a dermatologist for my odd skin problems & had a biopsy done. It gave me the answers, but no cure for this one either - the diagnosis is Lichen Planus. Some doctors believe it's an autoimmune disease as well & nobody really knows what causes it. Some speculate it could be brought on by extreme stress. I've also read it's not hereditary, but I beg to differ. After my diagnosis we also had a diagnosis for my dads skin condition. It was always a taboo, we were not allowed to talk about, nor did he ever get a biopsy on it.  He was probably too scared to know what it was. He suffered from the skin disease since his teen years up until he passed away at age 56. Also, he never wore short sleeves nor shorts, because of his scars. What a way to (not) live.

Thankfully I was able to begin Enbrel injections (50mg/week/sure click) in the beginning of June, I felt a significant improvement in joint pain & swelling in just 2 weeks & it's been mostly good since then. I do have wrist pain, ankle pain & my previously injured left knee continues to be badly swollen. But in comparison to where I've been, how bad things were, I was ready to give up on life... the quality of my life is amazing. I can only hope this lasts, but because I know it won't - I'm appreciating every single day I'm able to run the stairs, tie my own shoes, open milk cartons, wash a frying pan & wipe my behind ( lol, yes, most people take this for granted!).

We also finalized our separation agreement. July 16. It was a compromise for both. It was also a huge relief. However, following the signing of the separation agreement I had to get myself & little one ready for our trip to Finland. There was no time, nor was it practical, to move/find a place to live, before our trip. I was mentally preparing to move in September, after we got back from Finland. However, finding an apartment has proved to be incredibly difficult. According to our agreement, I should've moved out by October 1. That day has come and gone & we're still here. We are all living in a limbo, though, we're both trying to keep little ones life as normal as possible. Due to not knowing when we can move, ex & I haven't been able to tell our son about the separation. It's absolutely killing me, it's like everyday we don't tell, we're lying to him.

My little pumpkin with his pumpkin :)
He has made quite a few observations about things that aren't right or that are missing. Like the day we left for Finland, ex took us to the airport & we said our byebyes. After we settled down in the plane, my son asked me, how come you didn't kiss daddy? I'm not sure what my response was, as he took me by surprise. Daddy & I haven't kissed in front of him since our church wedding 2007. Daddy & I have barely hugged in front of him since (or elsewhere). Our son hasn't seen us be affectionate with one another & it's breaking my heart. We are very affectionate with our son, but as long as this (pathetic) charade continues, he won't get a chance to witness a normal partnership. For now he has a very sad role model for marriage.

I recently realized I've buried some painful events so deep, for so long, that I almost forgot them. Something happened recently & it reminded me of the insane mental anguish I was in. It was so painful my mind had completely blocked it. Now it turns out, I never dealt with the loss & I need to face the music. I don't know how or where, but it won't let me be... just keeps bringing me down & making me sad. I recently confided in a friend about these things & it made it all far more real than I can deal with currently. But I suppose it's part of healing & grieving process.

~ Thanks for reading my long update  ~

Onwards & hopefully upwards.