Tuesday, August 15, 2017

WARNING: GROSS FOOT PICTURES

Clockwise from top left: Two days after, one week after,
two weeks after, and three weeks after.
Thought I'd give a little update on how my foot recovery is going. Pretty well! Day by day it gets better but it is slower than one would like. Now that I am able to wear normal shoes and walk without a limp you'd think I'd be almost back to normal. Not the case though... any prolonged walking, jumping, weird toe bends, etc. and my foot is not happy. My toes are still decently swollen, especially the one next to the pinky toe. It is still a Vienna sausage pretty much.

Hey, remember those earthquake kits we made in elementary school? Mine always had Vienna sausages. It was fun at the end of the year when you got it back and could eat the stuff. I don't remember those in middle school at all. Was it just a ploy to teach us about earthquakes or a legitimate strategy to survive if a big one hit when we were at school? Do they do it now? So many questions.

Anyways, I think in about a week I'll be able to walk for fitness again. A few miles at a normal pace. Nothing crazy. And then hopefully slowly start jogging again toward Labor Day. I think in about two or three weeks my toes will be almost back to normal... too much bending or stubbing them will be bad, but otherwise fairly functional. So the 4-6 week timeframe is looking about right assuming the progress I've been seeing continues.

Saturday, August 05, 2017

TOUGH BREAK

This is my left foot (mirrored for some reason).
Well, thought I should finally update you guys. I think most who know me are aware, but in case you haven't heard or you an internet stalker, I've encountered bad luck again. Well, I created this bad luck, but still, it has stopped me cold on the running front. I broke two toes on my left foot pretty bad in what we'll all a "small motorcycle" accident.

It happened two weeks ago today actually. Just as I seemed to be breaking free of my IT issue and maybe finding a groove this happens. Recovery time is 4-6 weeks so I'm probably looking at early September before I can run again. Don't want to push things... it's not worth it. It has gotten a lot better in the last two weeks though, I've gone from limping badly in a walking boot to almost being able to walk normal and in regular shoes.

Two of my toes were going almost 90 degrees the wrong direction. It was pretty gruesome. At the time it didn't hurt at all, my body was full of adrenaline so the whole time to the ER I was pretty low key. The thing that hurt the most was the four shots into my broken toe. A big needle and a lot of painkiller going in there. Holy hell, probably the most painful thing in my life so far. They then cracked the toes back into place. If they painfully numb you up for that I'd hate to feel that crack sober.

At this point it is just a waiting game for my foot to heal. So that sucks, but the last week or so it's been really hot, so going outside wouldn't be pleasant anyways. Once I can walk comfortably maybe I'll go to PRC and walk on Mondays. Need to try and stay somewhat active despite the foot. It's going to suck starting over again running, but by this point I'm used to it. Hopefully I'll have much better luck this fall. My knees feel hunky dory at this point with very little being asked of them.

Friday, July 14, 2017

RUNNING UPDATE

Just thought I'd post a quick update on my running progress. When I only post once a month it's easy to gloss over the continued mission and struggle to get back to semi-regular running. My goal is to get back to running three times a week... nothing crazy, maybe four or five miles at a time. Just enough to stay in shape and have a baseline of fitness.

One improvement is I don't get super sore every time I run now. I've ran enough to shock my legs back into compliance there. However, I'm still getting weird things after runs. Yesterday I ran three miles and earlier today my right hammy was complaining. Now my right calf is feeling a bit weird. Nothing major, they'll be fine tomorrow, but it would be nice to get past some of this stuff. I kind of remember a bunch of crap like this back when I was first running, so I'm hoping once I'm back in the rhythm my body will not freak out so much.

The IT band thing seems to be improving. After four miles at PRC on Monday it only was feeling a little weird. Not really at all during the run and then afterward just a bit of complaining. The next day on stairs it was a little tender but nothing bad. I didn't feel it at all before or after the three mile run yesterday. So that's good. I seem to be keeping it in check. However, if I were to do anything more than four miles right now I'm not confident it wouldn't act up. Once I can do four miles without a peep from it I can try to go farther, but until then I am going to be cautious.

The other item of note was being able to run 10:20s yesterday for three miles and not have it kill me. It was slightly above "comfortable" pace but I was still able to mostly chat and not feel totally winded. That was pretty encouraging. I'm hoping to get back to a 9:30ish easy conversational pace. Don't want to feel like I'm holding others back. So being able to run three yesterday at a faster clip than I've been running and feeling pretty good during and after was definitely a step forward.

As for the knees... they aren't flaring up. The inflammation seems to be tamped down and the running doesn't seem to move them one way or the other. While they aren't normal knees, I don't feel like they are the main obstacle at the moment... that seems to be this IT band thing. Anyways, I had to reschedule my rheumatology appointment so unfortunately I don't see my doctor again until late August. Fortunately, since the treatment seems to be making progress, I doubt she would have changed anything during the visit.

Wednesday, July 05, 2017

ONE MONTH LATER - BETTER, BUT NEW ANNOYANCE

People who know me know I don't squat. Notice the right arm braced to control my revolting leg muscles and stop me from
toppling over the edge of the cliff.
Okay, I figure it is time for an update. I am taking a very wait and see approach with this whole deal. I will say I think I am in a better spot than I was a month ago. In fact, I am pretty confident in that!

My knees haven't really acted up in a while. The last "flare" was when I stripped the deck to stain it. My knees have been feeling pretty good since I started the injections. They aren't back to normal, but they are definitely better. I did some hiking around Iceland during my recent trip and they weren't ever really an issue. There were a few times where I could tell the power and flexibility of old wasn't quite there, but they felt improved even compared to the Memorial Day hiking of a month or so prior.

On Monday I even went to Sky High Sports, a trampoline park, and bounced around for two hours. And you know what? My knees felt fucking fantastic. Not an issue at all. I was quite surprised. I know for sure that wouldn't have been the case two months ago. I'm sore from that, being out of shape and all, but two days later and my knees still are fine. So I don't think I'll flare from it. And before that would have been a guaranteed flare. Another note of progress was kicking the soccer ball around. It was just in the parking lot, no hard shots or anything, but I was able to pass and stop the ball and do things with nary a complaint from down below. Even some really brisk passes that would have hurt before felt fine.

So that's very encouraging! Unfortunately, I've seemed to develop an IT band issue in my left knee. I was able to run 4 miles last Monday just fine but when I stopped it flared up. I had a small issue with this before the Iceland trip and it did rear up a little during our longer hike there. Nothing that completely hobbled me, but definitely uncomfortable. It's very frustrating. Just when I felt like I could get going again this appears. So I'm going to try to take it easy and hope that can just resolve itself. I think I might be turning my foot inward when I walk/run... this is new, I didn't do that before. I haven't confirmed for sure, but that might be the root cause, or maybe a symptom of something else messed up. Weak left hip? Who knows! Anyways, I'll need to solve that puzzle before I can really make an effort to get going again.

Oh, one more thing to mention. I started to be really nauseous most of the time. Just a general ill feeling. I was pretty sure it was connected to the methotrexate. It was frustrating, just as I seemed to be feeling much better joint wise this thing popped up. I was used to the feeling once a week when I took the medication, but all the time? Hell no. Well, then it popped into my head, I got REALLY bad about taking the daily folic acid supplement. This is prescribed in concert with the methotrexate because it has been shown to greatly reduce the side effects. I started taking it daily again (instead of maybe once or twice a week when I saw it sitting there) and within a few days I felt back to normal. So a lesson there for sure!

Anyways, that's the update from the last month. Focus this month will be quashing this IT band thing and getting back to being active and non completely out of shape.

Monday, June 05, 2017

WAIT AND SEE

To follow up on the dosage issue, my pharmacy is "special" and has been under filling my prescription but won't admit it or realize their mistake. I think I'll be switching to the local Walgreen's. It's plainly obvious that the prescription is for two vials of 2mL of MTX. Safeway, however, is reading the "Qty: 2" as one vial of 2mL. Literally the bottle fucking says:

Description: 2mL methotrexate (25mg/1 mL)
Qty: 2

Aka, two vials, enough for five weeks of treatment.

Like when you get a pill, it would say:

Description: 10mg Fuckadex™
Qty: 30

And that would be your monthly prescription of once daily Fuckadex™, not 10 pills.

Same level of expertise as the local
Safeway pharmacy.
ANYWAYS. Completely stupid and confirmed with my rheumatology office as so. So that's pretty annoying.

Meanwhile, the injections are going okay. I managed to bruise myself two weeks ago but last week I did it much smoother. I think I was trying to jam it in too quick and went at too deep of an angle. Anyways, it's still not pleasant but it's entirely doable. I'm still monitoring whether or not I get fatigue as a result of the injections. Sometimes it definitely feels like it but then again I could also blame it only getting like six hours of sleep (not enough for me).

As for the results... still in a "wait and see" type of deal. I was able to hike around all Memorial Day weekend and feel pretty okay. If anything it was my out of shape muscles that complained and were sore. The knees haven't been a huge issue in a while. That doesn't mean they are feeling great though. A couple times hiking I could definitely tell the power and flexibility is not where it needs to be. In places where before I would just bound in one step, I'd take three smaller steps to avoid bending my knee in a certain way or request too much "power" from it.

Right now I'm seeing how active I can be without causing issues. I'm trying to be active enough where I can do something and not get super sore from it. So I'm trying to exercise enough to get to that point. When your legs are sore from a three mile run it's hard to tell just how "recovered" you knees are. So hopefully I'll really be able to monitor the knees here soon. They still have a long ways to go before they are anywhere back to normal but at least I'm somewhat functional.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

ANNOYINGLY SMALL (#)

Well, I found something out last week when I went to give myself my third shot. Turns out the vial of methotrexate they give me is 2mL and each shot I give myself is .8mL. So basically I have to go to the pharmacy every two weeks because each vial is only 2.5 doses. I'll be calling the doctor about that one. Ain't nobody got time for that. It has to be available in a larger vial.

Anyways, I didn't realize this when I went to give myself my third injection. So I was able to get up to 0.5 (hey an extra 0.1 for free!) before I ran out. I was confused for a second but then I did a little math in my head and was like "oh." Annoying. It was like 8:15pm, the pharmacy closes at 9pm and who knows if they could even accommodate me. So I injected the partial dose and then took some leftover oral tablets I had to make up the difference. So this week was a mix of the two. I'm sure that's fine in a pinch, don't see why not.

That did remind me that the pills suck though! I was nauseous almost immediately after taking them. It's this low level nausea that just make you feel crummy for an extended period. Anyways, boo to that. I am very much looking forward to my full injection this week even though I seem to feel them more and more each time. Less adrenaline pumping because I'm not scared maybe? Anyways, even when I do feel them it's no biggie.

Am I getting better? That's the question. I'd like to think so. I can swear I do feel an improvement. The arthritis is still very much there, but I haven't had a flare since being sick, even if my joints haven't felt super fresh. I was able to play soccer with Brandon and go on a run the next day last week without anything major happening. It seems my knees "warm up" faster once I start walking around.

So who knows. I've convinced myself it's getting better before and every time I've been wrong. So I'm on a very wait and see approach at the moment. I'm going to Iceland in one month (soon - yikes!) and plan to do some decent hiking, so I really hope I can do that comfortably!