Saturday, October 07, 2006

Out of the Woods... ish

Hey, I'm surviving. The worst of the 10-year flare is over, and I've survived it.

What can I say? I'm a survivor. I'm not gonna give up. I'm not gon' stop. I'm gonna work harder. I'm a survivor. I'm gonna make it. I will survive. Keep on surviving.

It's pretty much just what I do. I learned a few things, in the last couple weeks.

I think I said somewhere earlier that when the time comes, Amgen-Wyeth won't need to send me on golf weekends or anything, considering how much I love their drug Enbrel. What I've learned recently is that without it, I am ska-roooed. So big ups to Enbrel, 50mg BIW SQ. Here we are, four doses later over a week and a half, and we've turned back the clock. Sure, I suspect I have a lingering low-level strep infection (there's pain in my inguinal lymph nodes and throughout my legs, plus this weird guttae rash), but it's like there never was arthritis blimping up my left foot. And that thing was friggin huge, so much that the doc checked for gout just for the hell of it.

Also, I've stopped popping Vicodin and walking with my cane. Just for the record, I was doing the cane and stubble thing in the early '90s, before anyone heard of House, MD. ...Which brings me to my next note: Vicodin kicks ass. No wonder it's habit-forming and easy to abuse; it's easy to abuse those things that you love dearly and want to be a part of you all the time.

Seriously, it's a wonderful drug. You know how sometimes, you'll find yourself thinking about something, without thinking of it? Like your mind wanders away from the subject of its focus, like "I wonder if I left the light on in the bathroom?" or "hey, it's getting cooler in the afternoons; where did I put that scarf that everybody is always saying looks nice?" What Vicodin does is put pain in that category, where things you've lost track of seem to drift away to. Sure, if you concentrate, you can remember where the pain is, and what it's like... but it's not easy, and anyhow why would you want to?

It also left me, at any rate, able to do everything else with reasonable clarity. I got five days of Prednisone to try to arrest the flare (did I mention I saw one of my favorite docs?), and that made me surly. But the Vicodin treated me fairly, and left me more or less in control of my faculties. If one and a half beers dulled pain, that would be Vicodin, basically.

Outstanding. From a neuroscience perspective, I have to give them a good solid A. Would have been a B+, but there's goodwill that comes with doing a "very good" job with "excellent"-level enthusiasm. And so now that I've weaned off my lil' buddies, I am of course hoarding those last few. We loves them, preciouss, and nothing will take them from ussss.

So... yeah. I'm back to work. I don't feel awesome, and I'm fairly scary-looking, if you know where to look. I've had many conversations about psoriasis, and that's fine. Some are the "oooh, honey" variety; yep, it itches, and actually, when it's bad, it hurts. Some are the educational variety; inflammation blah blah tnf-alpha, blah blah cytokines, etc. Some are "hey, my roommate's sister has that," which are sort of cool. I guess. Mehh.

So I'm back to being an ambassador for a medical condition. It's not all awesome, but it's easier knowing that I'm fighting back, and in a smart way. Plus, once this is all over, I'll be in better shape than I've been in for quite some time. We are after all hitting the Enbrel at twice the level I've been at since I started, two-plus years ago.

Hey, I could even be all one color again, someday soon. How cool would that be?

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