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If at first you don’t succeed

January 24, 2015

Mostly notes for myself here, not much for you today, Dear Reader.

My three primary pain centres are right hand, left hip, and right ankle. I’ve made it my personal mission to eliminate at least one of them in 2015. My auto-immune system does not work properly, and the problem in my hip is exacerbated by an impingement which is an irreparable mechanical problem. I am proving allergic to most things that might otherwise help. On the bright side, I usually like a challenge and I’m not one to shy away from difficult problems.

Things I’ve tried for pain relief so far in 2015:

osteopath: I endured one treatment, and the recovery time was too long, plus the pain level post-treatment was too high. Unrelated, my insurance company claims she’s not really an osteopath and denied coverage of this minor expense. One day, I will write a post about the difference between being insured and being covered, but today is not that day.

topical pain reliever: I have shied away from these in the past due to my many drug allergies. However, in early January, I found a tube of Lakota Extra Strength in the discount bin at the pharmacy. The main ingredients are menthol and capsaicin. It delivers topical pain relief as promised and I am careful to avoid patches of broken skin. I have used up most of the tube on my right wrist and right ankle.

vitamin D supplements: I tried them (4000 units per day) for two weeks on the suggestion of the osteopath. I have not noticed any change as a result, and probably won’t buy more of them.

salmon: Also tried on the suggestion of the osteopath. In fact, I liked her as a practitioner but the recovery phase of osteopathy is not for me. In the past, I have usually enjoyed salmon in moderation but having tried it twice in recent weeks, I learned it brings out the nausea side-effect of the methatrexate. It’s off the list for the foreseeable future.

physio clinic, specializing in pain reduction: I braved one assessment, and in fact, I left before the actual treatment was even started. The person who assessed me was not actually a physiotherapist. He had trouble hearing me. I started the conversation with “I am looking for your help with reduction of pain, and I’ve got workarounds and can live with the rest of it.” He asserted “you want things back the way they were before” and “you want to get off the meds” both twice, even though I was clearly and vocally a fan of the meds that took me a year of trial and error to find. I need to be heard. On the bright side, I learned that a hand x-ray is usually ordered before starting any ultrasound treatment because it’s contra-indicated in cases of RA. It can do more harm than good. That information was of value to me. I left shortly after he revealed he was actually a chiropractor, proposing to adjust me every second day for at least 8 weeks, and pushing hard on me to sign a waiver of the risk of stroke that goes with each treatment. (I had approached a chiropractor in early 2013 when the lesions threatened to take me over, and decided at that time that this sort of treatment is not for me.) Thanks, but no thanks. I’ve got plenty of snake oil at home.

alterations: I’ve cut all of the nickel findings off of my favourite bra. Ironically, I’d replaced all my bras over the Christmas break. I knew they were contributing to the problem, but I had no idea how.

throwing money at the problem: I acquired IMAK gloves and a GMYLE cover for the parts of the MacBook Air that touch my hands. With the introduction of both items into my data entry regimen, the rash on my hands is currently responding to the Taro-Clobetasol. It had been a hold-out for months.

homedics: My sister sent me a paraffin bath. It arrived last week. I’ve been dipping my right hand every day since it arrived. I had tried paraffin treatments a few times at a nearby nail salon, and noticed some improvement for a day or so following each 15-minute treatment.

dermatologist: He’s happy with how I’m responding to the Methatrexate so far, and my liver is tolerating it well enough. With the inflammation on the retreat, I’m more comfortable driving and I am bending more than I was before. There is still considerable room for improvement, but this certainly opens doors that closed for me months ago. My dose increases next week.

hot tub in the forest is about 10 miles from my front door, and a day pass is cheaper than any hour in the city with the “osteopath”. I was out there yesterday, and will find more time for this guilty pleasure in the coming months. In hindsight, I realize my daily trips to the pool stopped shortly after I upgraded my bathing suit. I am glad to have kept the old one; not just a sentimental favourite, it’s free of nickel findings..

To my health.


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