Well, faithful readers, here we are again.
“Why doesn’t she write?” you ask. I like to imagine that my absence from the blogging world is noted and pondered.
Some days, I don’t write because the brain fog is thicker than Sofia Vergara’s accent. Rather than sentences, my posts would contain such scintillating phrases as “Coffee good. Coffee warm.” While true, this doesn’t engage the reader and it simply tires me out with all the complex thinking.
Some days, I don’t write because my fingers ache and freeze into claw-like positions. I’m pursuing the idea of standing near the exits at Wegmans, surrounded by stuffed animals while children beg to give me quarters.
Yet there are other days that I don’t write because I feel fan-fucking-tastic. I shower. I dress in pants without drawstrings or stretch and coat my lashes in 3D Fiber mascara. I run errands, do household chores, attend roller derby practice, and hold entire conversations without pausing to wonder what I was talking about. I am simply too busy living to bother with a blog post.
Today was not one of any of those days. My synapses are firing; my hands and joints, while sore, feel somewhat fluid for the first time in days; I feel like putting off the laundry for another twenty minutes.
So now you know why I haven’t written. Here’s why I’m writing now: you must take your health seriously, always.
I say this because every time I feel I have a pretty good grasp on the war waging in my body, a new battle breaks out. Epstein Barr? I’ll take B12 injections. It’s chronic? I’ll take more supplements and change my diet. Rheumatoid and psoriatic arthritis? I’ll take the medication journey until I find something that works, take more supplements, and change my diet more. Pericarditis? Well, shit. What’s that?
Let me set the stage, if you will: I was feeling somewhat merry and seasonally joyful as I hung my snowflake shower curtain, imagining the actual shower I planned to take when it was in place. As the second hook slid through its little hole, I thought, “Aaaaarrrggggh.” Loosely translated, that means, “An evil demon is squeezing the bejesus out of my heart.” When the pain didn’t subside, I relayed this turn of events to Hubby, who became appropriately concerned and convinced me the ER was in my immediate future.
Long story somewhat shorter, when my blood tests came back with differing results, I was admitted overnight for observation and more tests. I was eventually released with orders to follow up with my regular doctor, as I most definitely was not experiencing a heart attack. I came away from that appointment with the latest diagnosis: pericarditis.
What is it? A side effect, if you will, of RA. According to the Mayo Clinic, “Pericarditis is swelling and irritation of the pericardium, the thin sac-like membrane surrounding your heart. Pericarditis often causes chest pain and sometimes other symptoms. The sharp chest pain associated with pericarditis occurs when the irritated layers of the pericardium rub against each other.”
What does it mean for me? Well, this time, it meant anti-inflammatories and rest. If it happens again, it’ll be a round of steroids and more rest. In the meantime, I am cleared for normal activity. I can skate, do PiYo, begin training for my first distance race in two years (that’s an entirely other blog post), and whatever else I choose.
It took me nearly two weeks to actually push myself through a challenging workout. I know it’s not actually my heart. I know that activity only makes me feel better. Yet I have that nagging anxiety that not even my beloved Zoloft can assuage. Each twinge in my chest causes a millisecond of fear. It just does.
Of course, my reaction to most fears is to meet them head on. Fear of heights? Jump out of a plane. Fear of public speaking? Join a public speaking club and get back into group instruction. Fear of falling? Join a roller derby team. You get the idea.
So today I began a second round of PiYo. I am making plans for that half marathon and PiYo/TurboKick certification. Guess what? Heart is still beating. It’s beating with purpose.
What I’m discovering is that everything thrown at me makes me stronger.