Friday, July 10, 2009


This picture is from a single trip to the pharmacy. That’s right – ONE trip. Literally twelve prescriptions. TOO MANY DRUGS! Sucks to have a compromised immune system.

Feeling Frustrated

We just got back from APL’s wonderful family reunion. About twenty members of APL’s family from all across the country got together at his parents’ property near Yosemite National Park. Not only is that part of California particularly beautiful, but we also had a lot of fun. We talked and played games and ate delicious candlelight dinners on the patio under the giant oak trees. One night we had a “Low- and No-Talent Show,” which had us all laughing until our sides ached. I had an amazing time and I am so grateful to be even a small part of such an amazing family. I’m already cherishing the pictures from that weekend.

Except for the pictures of me. I just don’t like looking at myself in pictures anymore. The twenty (ok, let’s not lie, thirty) extra pounds I gained on the prednisone just seem so obvious to me. Particularly in my face, but also in my middle. I’m absolutely not writing this to extract a string of comments telling me how skinny I am. I know I’m not obese. I know I look fine. Actually, it’s not really about how I look anyways. The extra weight makes me feel horrible. And seeing it in pictures makes me remember how horrible my body feels. I am so frustrated with my body that it literally makes me cry.

For the past year I think I have been fighting hard to not hate my body. There are so many things wrong with my body – my immune system, my joints, my blood pressure, my thyroid, my energy – it would be really easy to hate my body. I know the vast majority of these things are not my fault, but the potential solutions to some of these issues take a lot of patience to find, which hasn’t exactly been easy to maintain for such a long time.

Take, for example, my visit to the doctor yesterday: The last time I saw the doctor, she decided that the prednisone had elevated my blood pressure too much, so she gave me some drugs for hypertension. Yesterday I went to check in with the doctor about my blood pressure and also mentioned that I had a hacking cough for about a week. Turns out the cough was caused by the hypertension meds, which I was only taking because of the prednisone, which I was only taking because of the damn RA! So, although the prednisone helps with my pain, it also makes me gain weight, which gives me hypertension, which results in a hacking cough! Frustrating!

Finding the right combination of meds is a long and frustrating process. And I’ve tried so hard to be patient. For a year I have really been fighting to stay positive about my body and try to keep myself from hating my body. It really hasn’t been easy, especially on days when everything hurts so much I can’t help thinking about the pain while doing ordinary tasks.

I know this is going to sound horribly shallow, but seeing pictures of myself where I look as horrible as I feel makes it extremely difficult to stay positive about my body as a whole.

I know I can lose the weight. I know that this particular body flaw is not a permanent one. But the prospect of loosing the weight is also a quite overwhelming. Although I’d like to think I eat pretty healthy most of the time, the prednisone also makes me hungry, which leads to overeating I’m sure. And to lose weight I obviously need to exercise, but this can be an extremely daunting process when my body hurts or I feel fatigued. For example, while we were at the family reunion most everyone took a 4-mile hike from Glacier Point down into Yosemite Valley, but because my toes were cramping that day I was regulated to shuttle driver. How am I supposed to be active enough to loose 30 pounds if I can’t even take a walk?

I have reached a point where I am forced to admit: sometimes, I really hate my body.