My last post was all about the New Year. Given that it’s now April, you can see that I successfully took my own advice: “You don’t have to start now just because it’s a new year.”
I’ve been so busy for the past three months that an update of my whole 2019 would probably take up an entire book and be quite boring for anyone not interested in the micro-details of my life, i.e. everyone except me, and possibly my mum.
But on the arthritis front, things have been getting pretty juicy. And by juicy, I mean kind of gross and inflamed.
Long story short, my last rheumy appointment didn’t go quite as planned and so I’ll be kicking off my Easter break with a scan of my hip and shoulder to find out if my arthritis is spreading. If it is, then I’ll be having steroid injections in to my joints for the second time in six months.
Needless to say, this wasn’t exactly part of my holiday plans, and I’m feeling pretty unimpressed with my body right now. More importantly, though, the time period between this appointment and my last joint injections is short enough that I have a pretty vivid memory of what the experience was like last time i.e. painful and debilitating. *
*Quick note just to say that, horrible as it was, the steroids did actually make a massive improvement to my overall health and that’s why I’m consenting to have them again. Modern medicine is amazing, listening to your doctor is the responsible course of action, etc.
This would usually be the point where I’d come up with some practical solutions – probably in list format, because who doesn’t love a good list – for how to deal with this situation. And I have. In fact, they’ve been sitting on a Word document on my laptop for the five weeks since I found out about it.
But a comprehensive list of solutions doesn’t really capture the reality of this experience, either for me or anyone else who has to go through it.
The reality is this: when I got the phone call telling me this was happening, I nearly cried in the middle of my university’s library. Whenever I think about having the injections, or even walking in to the appointment, I feel like someone’s tipped a bucket of ice down my back. And now term’s over, the apprehension is building to the point where I feel permanently nauseated. It’s so bad that I was offered chips for £1 today and I wasn’t even interested.
So, why am I sharing all that woe with the internet?
Because I think that social media often encourages us to airbrush our lives. The top posts about chronic illness are about staying positive, even when things are horrendous, and making the best of it. And I love that attitude, I really do. I can’t think of a better way to live your life.
Plus, there is a big fat positive to this whole situation: because of this appointment I get to find out, and possibly even massively improve, the problems with my joints.
But to do that I might have to go through a lot of pain and fear. After spending months rebuilding my strength and mobility after the last set of injections, I might have to re-start that whole recovery process again. And that is what having a chronic illness is like – it is a lot of starting again.
So, the list of appointment stress management tips won’t be deleted or ignored. But this post is just to say that because of arthritis, I have to do something really unpleasant next week, and I would much rather not have to do it, and it sucks.
And if you feel the same way about your arthritis this week, I really encourage you to admit to it because just writing that sentence made me feel slightly better. It’s great to be positive, and it’s great to be practical, but sometimes the best thing to do is just be honest.
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(Any opinions expressed in Izzie’s blog are not necessarily shared by Arthur’s Place. Nothing that you read in Izzie’s blog constitutes medical advice.)