Sunday, May 16, 2010

Lil' Ol' Me?

One thing that makes having this not-so-fun disease a little easier is all the wonderful, supportive people I've met through it. Had I never been diagnosed, I never would've started this blog or connected with other blogs full of caring people like RA SB @ Confessions of an RA Superbitch, Wren @ Rheuma Blog, Leslie @ Southern Gal with RA and Lana  Living It, Loving It - just to name a few!

A couple of these wonderful ladies have passed along the Sugar Doll award to me:

For this award, you're supposed to post 10 interesting things about yourself, then pass along the award to 5 other great bloggers. Well, I think all of my readers who have blogs are great bloggers - so this goes out to all of  you!!

And because inquiring minds want to know - here's 10 things about me:

1. I used to volunteer on an underwater rescue team. I did everything from driving the boat, holding guide ropes for our ice divers and (when it wasn't icy) being a rescue diver myself.

2. I'm a writer not only online here, but also in my professional life. I write things like those "Exercise & Arthritis" brochures they have at the doctor's office, as well as those "School Bus Safety" coloring books your kids get on the first day of school.

3. My dream of dreams is to own my own bed & breakfast some day.

4. I LOVE the ocean. I would spend every day walking the beach if I could.

5. Per above, I got married on the beach at sunset - barefoot, toes in the sand, with just my parents & in-laws watching.

6. In college, I did my own "independent major" in biology & writing. It was a fun and liberating experience to create my own course of study.

7. I love to bake. I'm always fiddling with something in the kitchen - homemade bread, pizza dough, cookies, cakes, etc.

8. At the time of my RA diagnosis, I was actually in the best shape of my life. I had lost 70 lbs. and kept it off for a year, I was running every day & eating well. Makes you sometimes wonder about fairness in the universe... but I'm trying not to hold a grudge ;-)

9. I love book series that use the same character(s) throughout - the alphabet books by Sue Grafton, the Stephanie Plum novels by Janet Evanovich. It's like catching up with an old friend everytime there's a new addition.

10. My favorite way to change up my look is to dye my hair. I've been a variety of shades of blonde and brunette - and these days I'm sporting a dark raspberry red. Gotta keep it interesting!

I'd love hear some interesting things about you - either on your blog or in the comments. Let's get to know each other!

Monday, May 10, 2010

Maybe is a wonderful word...

From the very beginning of this blog, I think it's probably come across pretty clearly that I was on the fence about kids. I had my yes days and my no days. I even went through a "YES, YES!" 3-month period at the start of the year where I longed for a child, craved the feel of a baby in my arms, and nearly cried when I thought about not having one.

Oh how things can change. My husband and I both got promotions at work, there's talk of a possible big move in the next year, hubby & I had more talks about "us" vs. "us with kids"... and we topped it all off with a week spent with my 3-year-old niece and 4-month-old nephew. All of this made me realize how much I really love my life right now and how much a child would change that -- and how I'm not ready to make that change right now.

Here's my breakdown -

The promotion made me realize that I love being able to pitch in at work when they need me - staying late and saving the day.

The extra money from the promotions have afforded us some flexibility with the budget that's made me remember just how much I love being able to take off for the weekend with my husband - no destination in particular in mind, but wherever we end up, it'll surely be an adventure. I love our little team of 2.

The possible looming move made me question how I feel about parenting with my family around. I'm very close to my mom and dad and imagine I'd need to rely on them heavily if I flared when the baby came (which my rheumy says is pretty common). I also worry about making 2 big changes like that at the same time. My anxiety levels have gone through the roof with changes in the past (moving away to college, buying a house, etc.).. why push it? What's the rush?

Coversations with the hubby - he very nearly broke my heart when one night, after a few drinks, he said something along the lines of "I don't understand why I'm not enough for you." Oh. Dear. And in other conversations (sober ones), he's told me kids are OK, but he thinks right now he'd probably be happier without them. It's bittersweet in a lot of ways because both of these statements make me realize he cares about me so much that he would sacrifice a little piece of his happiness and security for me.

And lastly - the kiddo experience. I love my niece and nephew dearly and enjoy spending time with them, but this last trip really hit home to me how much children take over your life. Want to go out for the day? OK - as long as it works with naptime. And that's not because the kids can't adjust - it's because you need them to take a nap to help save your sanity after they've asked "why?" for the twelve-billionth time. (Or, at least that's how *I* felt about naptime.) Yes, the play times and cuddle times were awesome - but I get that now as an Auntie.

So, for me, kids seem to be moving to the back burner again. Not now, probably not a year from now - maybe never, but then again, maybe someday. That's the wonderful thing about "maybe" - it leaves your options open. And from the very start, I think that's what I've really been after - options. I didn't want to feel constrained by societal expectations that I *must* have children, or antiquated medical advice that I shouldn't because of my "condition." If my someday comes, great. But if not, I still feel a sense of peace because I had my chances to truly consider all of my options.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

The Zoloft Zings

Since going off birth control about a month and a half ago, I also decided to taper down my Zoloft. I was on it mainly because it seems whenever I use hormonal birth control, I struggle with anxiety and depression. I'm a little prone to that anyone, but when I'm on BC, it starts to interfere with my life, so I get a little extra help from medical friends.

Anyway... over a month, I slowly tapered down until last week when I stopped. Starting from 50mg/day, I went to 37.5mg for 2 weeks, 25mg for 2 weeks and 12.5mg for 1 week, then off.

Now, the last time I went off Zoloft, I had horrible dizziness. My doctor at the time said Zoloft doesn't cause withdrawal and I must just have an inner ear infection. Ok... Well, 5 years later I'm going through a similar thing. Yeah, I think Zoloft does have withdrawal symptoms, thank-you-very-much.

This time, fortunately, they're not as bad. I think that's because I wasn't on it as long this go around (about 1 1/2 years, instead of 5) and because I tapered more slowly. Right now, I just have what I call "the Zoloft Zings." I pretty much feel fine when I'm just sitting or walking in a straight line, but if I start to turn my head a lot - ZING! I get this weird "altered" feeling for a few seconds. Kind of a dizzy/cloudy feeling. Honestly, it's not that unpleasant - hah! :-)

I'm doing just fine, really, but I wanted to share in case anyone else out there goes through the same thing. It's frustrating to have a doctor tell you it's not real - or it's something else that can't be treated anyway. The good news is, in my experience, it doesn't last forever. I think last time it was about 2 weeks before the dizziness was fully gone. So far, I'm on day 6 of the Zings and they're getting less and less every day.

Isn't it fun dealing with all these medicines and there side effects?!? Anyway - now I'm happily down to just Enbrel, Plaquenil and Aleve (plus some vitamins & fish oil - which fortunately have no side effects for me).

I don't think we'll be trying for a baby anytime soon (that's for an upcoming post), but it's nice to know that if we do decide to go for it, I'm off all the medications I didn't want to be on while TTC. It's taken 6 months, but I'm there!