Tuesday, December 14, 2010

The 2010 Jingle Bell 5k Run/Walk for Arthritis

Sunday was a gorgeous, sunny day - the perfect day to take a walk!! So my team of 9 friends (and 3 dogs!) went down to Denver to walk a 5k through a park and around a lake to show our support in the battle against arthritis. The Denver walk this year had record-breaking attendance - there were more than 2,000 people there!

Apparently, this year was also a record-breaking year for fund-raising for the Rocky Mountain Chapter. One of the Arthritis Foundation volunteers told APL that we raised almost $90,000 for arthritis research with this walk!!! We had a lot of fun too!

I am also happy to report that Team Z was responsible for $3,300 of the funds raised that day!! We walked in honor of our donations from 71 people and 1 company (APL's work!) For those of you who donated, all of your names were on the back of my shirt when I walked - so you were all there with me!

I'm also super excited about the fact that my friends and family walked coast-to-coast against arthritis on Sunday. AML and MK ran in Baltimore (dressed as Christmas trees, no less!). Then we walked in Denver. Then my sister, her boyfriend, and their friend LB ran in Seattle. Between the three teams, my friends and family have donated about $4,000 to the Arthritis Foundation this December. And that is pretty amazing.

Thank you to everyone who supported Team Z!

I'm feeling a bit tired after the end of school and the walk, but I'm so glad that I participated. I hope I can get more involved with the Arthritis Foundation - doing positive things with my RA - from this point, forward!

Saturday, December 11, 2010


I've been suspicious about this problem for a couple of weeks. At first, I tried to convince myself that I was overreacting. That I was just noticing something totally normal or I was just under too much stress. But, after watching the problem for a couple of weeks, I'm pretty certain it is not normal. I'm pretty certain something is wrong.

My hair is falling out. 

Not in huge quantities - I'm not going to be bald by next week or anything like that. But certainly a lot more hair is falling out than should be or usually does. Every time I touch my hair I come away with what seems like a handful. And more hair has been falling out in one shower than usually falls out in a week.

I know that a lot of the drugs I am on - particularly methotrexate - can be responsible for hair loss. Luckily, I have am appointment with my rheumatologist this upcoming week, so I can ask him what he thinks is causing it and what we can do about it. Hopefully we can find a way to stop it before it really becomes a problem.

In the meantime, it obviously doesn't make me feel particularly fantastic. Especially considering I have cold sores in both of my lips right now. My lips are a bloody mess - and not the cute, English slang kind of "bloody." The ugly, blood kind of bloody.

I know neither of these things are the end of the world. And I am very grateful that it isn't worse.  The cold sores are on my lips are not even that noticeable and no one but me can see the hair loss. But when I'm already tired and achy and a little bit grumpy, it can seem like a lot to bear. Especially when I can't help but picture myself bald and bloody on my wedding day. ~;o(

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Mariah = RA + MS + JD

Yesterday I turned in my final final paper and I am now officially finished with law school and graduate school!! I now have several important letters I can put after my name: MS and JD.

Although I'm pretty exhausted and I can feel a big crash coming on, I am happy to report that I feel considerably more satisfied with this accomplishment than I felt over the summer when I finished my last law school class. I actually feel relieved and happy, which I'm pretty excited about!! And I'm also feeling pretty proud of myself - I may have been diagnosed with RA halfway through law/graduate school, but I still finished.

So that, my friends, is the end of THAT!! ~;o)

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Enbrel Bruise

I am so very sorry to do this to you fine people, particularly considering the very uplifting content I have had on this blog recently, but I am faced with the overwhelming desire/need to share this monstrosity of a bruise with someone. Unfortunately, that someone is you. 

I thought about putting my ordinary "this is disgusting" warning on this post, but if you are already reading this, you have most likely already seen the disgusting image. Clearly something went wrong with my Enbrel injection this week. After APL gave it to me, the injection site on my thigh swelled up into a big, nasty lump. We iced it for several hours and the next morning I had what is almost certainly the most purple bruise I have ever had. It grosses me out every time I look at it, and somehow I thought it would help to make you look at it? Interesting logic, there, Mariah.

Whatever went wrong, I hope we can avoid it in the future, because it looks like it is going to take several weeks for this bruise to heal. You could fit two quarters on top of that bruise. If I got one of these every time I did an Enbrel injection, I'd look like a dalmatian and/or APL would get investigated for spousal abuse. 

In the meantime, please excuse the nonsensical-ness of this post. I am trying to finish my last graduate school paper EVER and I am having extreme difficulty concentrating on it!!

Monday, December 6, 2010

My Incredibles (updated!)

Everyone reading this blog knows that, over the past two and a half years, I have done little more than deal with RA and try to stay healthy enough to graduate from my dual degree program at CU. I really haven't had the time (or energy) for much else. But I am finally about to graduate - this very week, in fact!! 

In celebration of my graduation (and accomplishing it despite RA), APL, River, and I will be walking in the Denver Jingle Bell 5k Run/Walk for the Arthritis Foundation on Sunday as Team Z. We'll be joined by 6 local friends: RK, MM, AN, PN, TL,  HL, and CV (plus two more canine friends - Buddy and Charlie!). We'll also be walking "with" my sister, her boyfriend, and their friend LB, who will be participating in the Seattle event. And of course MK and AML and their friends, who will be running in Baltimore.

Right now, Team Z is actually the top fund raising team in Denver. We have raised MORE THAN $3,000 Arthritis Foundation!! This amount is more than SIX times our original fund raising goal!!! And, if you count the funds raised by our "sister" teams in Baltimore and Seattle, my friends and family are responsible for contributing over $4,000 to the Arthritis Foundation this December!! So thank you! I am so very excited to make such an amazing contribution to the Arthritis Foundation and to do something so positive with my RA.

But, honestly, what has been most amazing to me in this whole fund raising experience is not the amounts that people have donated, or even the impressive total we have raised. What has meant the most to me is that so many people have donated. My parents and my sister and my aunts and uncles and cousins. Austin's grandma and aunts and uncles and cousins. My future in-laws and their friends. My sister's friends (some of whom I've never even met). Friends in Bolder who can't join us for the walk. Friends from high school. My friends from college (some of whom I have barely talked to in the past 5 years). Law school friends. My neighbor. My roommate. Austin's work.

Whether you contributed $10 or $200, when I walk that 5k on Sunday I know I will have the love and support of SEVENTY PEOPLE. And that is worth more to me than I can say.

So thank you. All of you. So much.


Specifically, I'd like to thank (in alphabetical order):
  1. AJ K.
  2. Alex L.
  3. Alex N.
  4. Angel P.
  5. Andrew L.
  6. Antoinette C.
  7. Azad B.
  8. Barbara L.
  9. Becky P.
  10. Becky Z.
  11. Ben L.
  12. Benjamin C.
  13. Bernie F.
  14. Brian K. 
  15. Carlos V.
  16. Carole D.
  17. Charlie L.
  18. Chris D.
  19. Debra S.
  20. Elise A.
  21. Erica K.
  22. Ernie T.
  23. Ernie Z.
  24. Everon Technology Services
  25. Gesa L.
  26. Halli B.
  27. Hayley L.
  28. Hilary L.
  29. Jack D.
  30. Jack Z.
  31. Jake A.
  32. Jan R.
  33. Jess T.
  34. Jessica P.
  35. Jia T.
  36. Jill C.
  37. Jody L.
  38. John T.
  39. JoyT.
  40. Kathy A.
  41. Kelly A.
  42. Kipp C. 
  43. Laura S. 
  44. Lauren K.
  45. Leanne H. 
  46. Libby C.
  47. Leo D.
  48. Lindsey B.
  49. Logan B.
  50. Louise F.
  51. Marian S.
  52. Marianne Z.
  53. Matt M.
  54. Meghan K.
  55. Mike T.
  56. Mindy L.
  57. Nancy K.
  58. Nick K.
  59. Paris N.
  60. Paul D.
  61. Rebecca K.
  62. Sallie J.
  63. Sarah Z.
  64. Shar R.
  65. Steve C.
  66. Steve S.
  67. Stuart R. 
  68. Sylvia Z.
  69. Tei L.
  70. Tim L.
  71. Tracy R.
  72. Wendy Z.
 If you'd still like to join or donate to Team Z in Denver, please click here. (If you want to walk with us, registration closes online Friday at noon!! Again, please feel free to join us - even if we've never met!!)

To join or donate to MK & AML's team in Baltimore, please click here.

To join or donate to my sister's team in Seattle, please click here.

Jingle all the way!!