I have what now?

I’ve always been a busy girl, someone who takes on a bunch of things at once because we only have one life on this Earth and I’m determined to make the most of it. I’ve always been the tough girl of the group. Running trail races and triathlons, dancing in musicals, falling down and getting right back up. Tenacity became my motto. No matter the injury or the obstacle I will always keep going. I hold that tighter now than ever.

In the beginning of this year I started to notice a few strange things happening with my body. Some fingers and toes had been swollen for long periods of time. My wrist would swell and be extremely painful for a few days. I was having trouble getting out of bed in the morning. I attributed it to the new and different stressors in my life and the fact that I still wasn’t slowing down with my training. I was in the last semester of school for my teaching credential which meant I was student teaching at a high school while going to a seminar once a week at the college. I was teaching two high school classes of general PE and one dance class. Being on my feet like that was a little different than what I was used to so my body was just adjusting, right? Besides, I had no time to see a doctor. I wasn’t allowed to miss one day of school. I was too busy to dwell on it anyway. My boyfriend had become my fiancé and I had a wedding to plan, a 50k to train for, and a teaching credential to earn. Pain was pain but it wasn’t going to stop me.
Finally, the semester was over and I was able to see a doctor. By this time my feet had been killing me for a couple months. That made it especially difficult to teach. I had a feeling something was not right. The blood tests from my primary care physician were concerning enough for him to send me to a rheumatologist. I made an appointment for the next day. After more blood tests it was confirmed. Rheumatoid arthritis. That was not what I wanted to hear. I called my fiancé as I walked to my car in tears. “I know you didn’t sign up for this but I hope you still want to marry me.” He did. When our wedding came around about two weeks later the “in sickness and in health” held a little extra weight.

The last few months since diagnosis I have been reluctant to start any drug therapies. Everybody had an opinion about what I should do. Try diet change! Try this herbal remedy! Try snake oil! Try this! Try that! It was hard to think straight. I did try a drastic diet change for a little bit but there wasn’t even the tiniest glimpse of improvement. My feet felt like they were going to shatter each time I put my feet on the floor. I got a full time job at a local high school as a dance teacher so I needed to do something that would actually help. My doctor prescribed methotrexate three months ago but I was putting it off. I am not a fan of taking pills unless absolutely necessary. The more I thought about it and researched it the more I realized I needed to do something. It’s early, I’m young, I want to be able to dance to my grave. Letting the RA go without treatment sounds like shooting myself in the foot or hands or knees…

I took my first dose of MTX yesterday. I was terrified. I still am. I was a bit nauseated yesterday and still am at the moment. My head feels like it’s not actually attached to my body and I’m incredibly fatigued. Still, I hopped on my bike this morning before church just to see if I could. I did, albeit slowly. Part of me feels like I’m taking poison while the other part of me is hopeful that this will help in the long run. I want to be the crazy old lady who teaches the youngins how it’s done during the day and goes swing dancing with her husband at night.

Time will tell. I take comfort in the fact that it’s all in God’s hands. I’m just borrowing this body, anyway.

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