Wednesday, April 4, 2012

The Double Whammy

If you've been here before, you know that on a daily basis I deal with a "package" of autoimmune diseases that would give even House a run for his money.  The suite of illnesses includes, but is not limited to, Crohn's Disease, rheumatoid arthritis, peripheral neuropathy, persistent migraine headaches, and asthma.  Basically, the immune system is in permanent overdrive and my body is in a state of constant battle...with itself.

When you give my body an actual threat, all hell breaks loose.

This happens every spring and autumn.  Although I am not truly allergic to tree pollen in the classic sense, with streaming eyes and constant sneezing, it is enough of an irritant to, well, kick the overdrive into overdrive.

Everything right now is worse than it usually is.  Not just for me, but also for anyone who suffers from any form of autoimmune illness.  Whether you suffer from something serious like Lupus or from something relatively mild like Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, spring and fall can be tough, tough seasons.  Symptoms are worse, side effects are worse, aches and pains are MUCH worse, and medications that are normally effective enough to let you live a normal life seem to lose their efficacy overnight.

Take today.  Today was a perfect spring day.  Light breeze, 68 degrees F., sunny and clear.  A perfect day to go outside and enjoy the last of the cherry blossoms on our three trees.  Unfortunately, today I simply couldn't be that far from our powder room because of a Crohn's flareup.  Which was compounded by a rheumatoid arthritis flareup.  The Crohn's was sending me running, but the RA was preventing me from moving at anything remotely like a run.  Today was more like a slow hobble.  I did try to work some in the basement, because I promised my wife that this year I was going to go through all the old comics and toys and books down there and either pitch them sell them, or donate them...but we don't have a bathroom in our basement and I was forced to give that project up, for today at least, after repeatedly having to get upstairs as quickly as possible.  Even walking the dog was a nightmare, with no fewer than four -- four! -- abortive attempts this afternoon before I was able to get the little guy up and down the street.  Readers of this blog know that I am no fan of our dog, but it's not his fault for being confused by my turning around to go back to the house after getting no further than the neighbor's driveway.  All he wanted to do was whiz on the fireplug.

I don't know what the answer is.  My rheumatologist, bless him, is always game to try the latest thing to try and help me, but that can be dangerous.  I fully blame one of the treatments I tried for either giving me peripheral neuropathy or for making it much worse...but I don't blame my doctor for trying to help me.  I'll be limping in to see him tomorrow, and if he has any hope for me, you all will be the first to know.

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