Neck problems #lupus #ra #stillsdisease

My neck has been bothering me for a few months, but it’s been especially bad this past month. I’ve had some arthritic flare that makes me have headaches that make my neck, jaw, teeth, and nasal passages hurt. I get vertigo when I look down with my neck. It’s been going on for the same amount of time as my neck pain, and is definitely related, because when the pain is bad, so is the vertigo. My neurologist insists it could be a problem with my eyes but I don’t get vertigo when I look down with my eyes, I get it from bending my neck downward. The pain and vertigo have been pretty difficult to deal with. I got vertigo from looking down at records at a record store, and I had to leave. I get it at the library when I’m looking down browsing books. It’s really hard to be on the computer, and I definitely can’t look down at a book. When I get my infusions, I get bored because I can’t look down to read. I lose my balance sometimes because of it. I haven’t fallen yet but I worry about it.

I know the vertigo is partly related to my neck pain because when I wear a neck brace, it makes it feel better. Some doctors believe you can get cervical vertigo, inflammation in your neck that presses on nerves and makes you dizzy. That’s how it feels to me.

I can’t wear the neck brace all the time because it makes my back and jaw hurt.

It’s hard to do stuff when you’re all wobbly. Sometimes I catch myself “holding on” like the room is spinning. It makes me feel lightheaded and it’s been especially hard to concentrate lately. It’s also been hot here which seems to make it worse.

Sometimes walking makes it feel a little better. I think sitting is the worst for it. I usually feel better if I can lie in bed on my side.

I have the headaches with it, and those by themselves are bad enough. I’ve had a lot of nasal pain lately, which could be a side effect of the Actemra. Sometimes it’s impossible to find a comfortable position to be in.

I’m pretty tired of the pain and the spins. I have it every day, for most of the day. Right now I’m kinda just doing the wait-and-see-if-the-actemra-works thumb twiddle.

I’m bored sometimes. You don’t realize how many things require looking down until you can’t. I want to do some painting and drawing. I tried to crochet yesterday. I can play video games alright despite the vertigo, as long as I prop myself up a certain way. I can watch TV usually. I’m on the computer less. Doing anything for too long can be bothersome. I’m trying not to get too frustrated about it. Some days are better than others.

Some of my other joints are flaring too. My feet are bothering me a lot. They ache and they get a fever rash that really makes my skin burn. My knees are bothersome too. My hips have a fever most of the time. I have some skin discomfort sometimes. I still have the daily fevers which bothers me whenever the ibuprofen wears off, which is morning, 4pm, and before bed. Sometimes they bother me even when the ibuprofen hasn’t worn off. Summer isn’t helping either.

My power was out for a couple hours today. It made the house hotter than usual. A water pipe broke and flooded one of those sidewalk grates that houses electrical stuff. These guys had to get out all the water with a vacuum thing. When the power went out, my house went dead quiet, and it scared my dog and he ran outside. He wouldn’t come in for a while. I sat outside for a while just to be in the cooler air. Everything is fine now. I hope it doesn’t go out in the night because I won’t be able to sleep.

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July blog #lupus #stillsdisease

I had my 4th Actemra last Tuesday. I told them I didn’t want Solu Medrol with it this time. That has honestly never helped me. It actually seems to make my pain worse. It didn’t help the fevers either. The other night my feet and knees were on fire with a burning hot rash. All my joints have been hot, and I’m just feverish in general. I got up early today because I was too hot to sleep. My temperature is usually around 99.1-99.8 F which isn’t high but apparently it’s enough to interrupt my sleep. It’s strange because taking ibuprofen or tylenol don’t seem to help that much. I’m not feeling anything with the Actemra yet. Maybe I’m not supposed to. I’m still waiting until the 6 month mark, but so far I feel absolutely nothing. I’m still easily pained and easily fatigued by the simplest activities. And I’m too friggin’ hot.

My neck pain and headaches have been really bad. The neck pain turns into stiffness which turns into vertigo. I’m having a really hard time with range of motion. I still can’t look down without getting the spins. I feel lightheaded most of the time. Wearing a neck brace seems to help. It’s not very comfortable though.

I had the EEG the Friday before my infusion. The office fucked up and didn’t tell me that I was supposed to come in sleep deprived so that I’d be asleep while they did it. It was a giant waste of time. I guess one of the staff (the one who has been rude to me) was in a spat with the EEG technician and they weren’t talking to each other, because some people never leave high school. I feel like she sabotaged my test by not telling me how to be prepared for it. Of course I’m just speculating but I wouldn’t put it past this woman to do such a thing. She orchestrated a big lie last time I was in the office to cover her own ass because she forgot to give me orders for a blood panel. She treated me like I was too lazy to go, in front of the doctor, when I didn’t know I was supposed to go at all.

On a side note, I am not one of those “I can sleep anywhere” people. I can’t even get to sleep in my own bed at night when I want to, so even if I did come in sleep deprived, I probably wouldn’t have slept for the test anyway, I would have just made myself feel like shit by not sleeping and then dragging myself to Los Angeles.

I’m probably not having seizure activity. Neurology was my first place to go with my symptoms since I felt like they reminded me of some episodes I had when I was a kid. We talked about doing a 5 day hospital stay to monitor for seizures but I don’t think I’m going to go through all that. My episodes last too long to be seizures.

I realized that my episodes at night are at least partly due to anxiety. I seem to get short of breath when I’m trying to fall asleep. It’s totally involuntary, I don’t really do anything to stress myself out before bed. I feel like the panic comes to get me when I’m the most relaxed, actually. I’m a wired person. I can’t even nap anymore. If I don’t take something at night to make me sleepy, I’ll never sleep. I don’t drink coffee or alcohol which I know can mess up your sleep schedule. I know that just in the past few years my anxiety has gotten worse because my pain has gotten worse. My pain makes it so I can’t sit still. I want to take my body off like it’s a big itchy sweater. Obviously pain is worse than an itchy sweater, but I don’t know how else to explain it. It just drives me nuts.

I’ve got some other things going on outside of my health adventures that are adding to my anxiety. I try really hard not to allow myself to take certain types of stress on, but I think sometimes I can’t help it. I told my rheumatologist about my stress, my shortness of breath at night, and that I haven’t been sleeping. I usually take xanax but he said that just relieves the symptoms and not the actual problem. He gave me Seroquel. He said it would help me feel relaxed and sleepy. It’s usually used for mood disorders and schizophrenia, but can also be used in my case for an off-label treatment like anxiety or insomnia. I’ve been taking it for 5 days now. The first 2 nights it made me feel really drugged. It helped me feel relaxed and sleepy, but it made my body feel very heavy and off-balance. I was a little worried I might fall when I got up to use the bathroom. I felt a little dragged out during the day. By the third night, it didn’t make me feel so drugged. It actually seemed like it wore off around 4am, because I was awake and wired. I didn’t really feel as tired during the day. I almost feel like even though it’s helping me at night with anxiety, that it might just be pushing it off until morning, because I’m finding myself feeling more anxious during the day lately. I’ve only been on seroquel for 5 days though, and I’m sure there’s a period of adjustment. It’s also hard starting a new medication when I have my period because everything gets thrown off from that, so I can’t really tell how something is truly effecting me until I’ve been on it for at least a month.

It’s been raining here. We actually had thunder here, which almost never happens. The rain doesn’t really make my pain worse. I feel much worse on the days when it’s 90 degrees and 7% humidity. It’s muggy and sunny today. I wouldn’t mind if it rained more.

I’ve had a rash over the backs of my knees and inner elbows since March. I also have it under my arms. After my 3rd infusion, it flared. Just in the past few days it has peeled and gotten lighter. I’m pretty sure it’s eczema. I sent pictures to my dermatologist a couple months ago but she just blew me off and said it was a “fleeting lupus rash”. My rheumatologist said lupus doesn’t cause itchy rashes like this one. I’m not worried about it but it is annoying that it’s on my inner elbow where I prefer IVs to be placed. It seems to be fading for now. I have a lot of general skin irritation that doesn’t always come with a rash. Some days I can’t wear anything besides sweatpants because it’s just too uncomfortable.

I’m still taking the Dexilant for acid reflux. I’m on 60mg 4 times a day, which is a huge dose. I take a double dose of magnesium so it doesn’t get low. I backed off the Dexilant to 60mg twice a day because I was getting terrible stomach cramps that were lasting all day. The acid came right back and was keeping me awake at night. I went back up to 4 times a day because I didn’t feel like dealing with all the annoyances the acid causes, like the pain, losing sleep, and gross taste in your mouth all goddamn day long. It seems like as long as I take miralax and “keep things moving” I don’t get as crampy. I had a bad crampy day when I was only taking it twice a day, and that’s why I decided to go back up on the dose. The magnesium helps too. I guess I’m just gonna try to deal with it, because I can’t have grinding stomach acid waking me up at 4am.

I straightened up my room a little yesterday. I was pretty tired after. I didn’t do anything crazy, just put stuff where it goes. I don’t understand why I feel like I have no endurance. My muscles get tired so easily, I get short of breath, and a headache from doing anything that slightly raises my blood pressure. I shouldn’t have to recover from putting shit in a drawer. 25 going on 90.

I want to sit and draw but my back gets so tired so quickly. And I get the spins when I look down.

Some part of me misses taking the pamelor for my headaches. It made my concentration terrible and fucked up my mood but I didn’t have a headache all the time like I do now. I didn’t get a headache from bending over. Now I just feel like I can’t do anything because I have a headache. I’m probably gonna go see a new neurologist, since my current neurologist has a witch for an assistant, and since he gets bored with headache patients. I guess I’m just ready to try the next thing, because this headache all the time shit sucks.

Hot, bored, and skeptical. There’s a giant bag of animal crackers with my name on it.

TTFN