Check it out

… latest blog on The Mighty.  Read about my life with Georgia Grace.


I always write about myself as a person living with multiple chronic illnesses (rheumatoid arthritis, fibromyalgia, Graves’ disease, high blood pressure, and disseminated superficial actinic porokeratosis), but today I am going in another direction. My beautiful dog, Georgia Grace is a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, who also lives with debilitating chronic illnesses. We make a chronic dynamic duo and this is our story…..

(Click here to read the rest of our story on The Mighty)



I resist….

Ok….being chronically ill is hard enough.  Then along comes cold and flu season.  Ugh…I would bathe in hand sanitizer if I could.  No matter what I try, washing hands, hand sanitizers, avoiding sick people, taking immuoboosters……I still get sick.  This time, however, was a real learning experience.  I started feeling sick 7 days ago.  I thought I would try to go to the doctor on Friday, but my dog was really not right.  I canceled and took her to the vet instead.  At the time, her condition was way more serious than mine.  I also figured that they wouldn’t give my immunocompromised self antibiotics after only 2 days of not feeling well.  It is crazy that I still have to fight for antibiotics.  Anyway….

So Saturday my primary doctor is not open, so I went to a walk-in clinic.  The doctor looks at me and seems shocked that I didn’t know that I had both a sinus infection and bronchitis.  To be honest, I felt sick but I wasn’t “super sick”.  I normally take Z-pack but have noticed that it takes me a long time to get better when I take it.  So the doctor convinced me to take a strong antibiotic called augmentin. Now, we’re all familiar with augmentin.  It’s that super strong antibiotic that is a combination of amoxicillin and clavulanate.  I hate it because it messes with my stomach, so I always try to avoid it.  This time, I decided to take the stronger medication in hopes that I would recover quicker.  The doctor wisely told me I would feel better after the second dose.  That sounded fantastic.

Well, the second dose came and went.  I still felt lousy, but on the third day, I suddenly spiked a fever.  Not overly high 100.8, but enough to add to my misery.  Suddenly the body aches exploded and my sinuses decided to release.  The chills and sweats were horrible.  I ended up taking the next two days off of work because honestly, I was a total wreck.  Walking upstairs to use the bathroom was too hard, so I had to crawl.  I couldn’t eat much but I was drinking.  I felt worse than I did prior to starting the antibiotics. So I forced myself into the shower and drove back to the clinic.  Now why didn’t I go back to my regular doctor?  Well, she does not like that I go to a walk-in clinic and honestly, today, I couldn’t take the judgment I knew I would get.  I see the same nurses and doctors at the clinic.  They make me get a chest X-ray to rule out pneumonia (which was my fear…thank goodness unfounded).  What is the diagnosis??  My bronchitis and sinus infections got worse. Apparently, augmentin did NOTHING for me except help me get sicker (excuse the grammar, I’m fuzzy).

So now I wonder, is my body resistant to antibiotics?  Could be.  I’m now on levaquin, steroids, and inhaler, a nasal spray, and tessalon perles.   I’m not coughing like crazy due to the perles, but I’m WIDE AWAKE due to the high dose of steroids I’m on.  *SIGH*  I’m also home from work for the rest of the week.  I’m annoyed about that because I know I will fall behind, but I also know that a speech-language pathologist working in a room the size of a closet with a hacking cough, sweating from fever and chills, with laryngitis is not what my students or colleagues need.  Hell, it’s not what my body needs.  Thankfully my RA and fibro are playing nice right now, otherwise, I’d be in a way sorrier situation.

I probably shouldn’t be blogging and trying to get some rest, but I’m still in shock that a tried and true antibiotic doesn’t work for me.  Could it be this strain of bronchitis?  Could it be I’ve built up a resistance to it?  Honestly, I take antibiotics maybe twice a year, if that.  Nothing else seems to work….

Alright, enough pondering.  The dog’s snoring is starting to lull me to sleep.  At least her antibiotics have helped her get better and she is eating again!  I hope you are all faring cold and flu season better than I am.  Be well friends.

When it rains…..

So my heart is still aching over losing my cat, Isabella.  I’ve been having trouble sleeping. It’s so difficult holding an animal that you adore while they pass away.  Things got better when I knew her ashes were back home with my parents.  I know she had a good life, but not being able to sleep was a way my brain was processing things.  Lack of good sleep takes its toll on my body.  The fatigue has been cumbersome.

I returned to my home after the holidays and we were hit by a “cyclone snow bomb” in the NorthEast.  I have to laugh because the meteorologists predicted 1-3 inches of snow but -0 degree weather with windchill.  When you live with RA, you have routines to make life easier, especially if snow is in the equation. I should know by now that meteorologists are hardly ever right!! I live in a town home and have a driveway that butts up to a shared alley/driveway.  Normally, if there is going to be a lot of snow, I will park in the driveway so I don’t have to shovel it and can focus on the alley.  Well, 1-3 inches is no big deal, so I parked in my garage.  Five or six inches of snow later, and I am kicking myself because I had to shovel a LOT of snow.  Thankfully, my neighbor helped me out.  Regardless, my elbows, wrists, and shoulders ached terribly and guess what…..I couldn’t sleep again due to the pain.

Then the dog got sick.  Georgia was refusing to eat.  I was almost late to work multiple days because I had to spoon feed her before getting insulin into her.  I was thinking it was due to diabetic ketoacidosis so I rushed her into the vet.  Nope.  Not her diabetes.  She has a massive ulcer on her tongue.  What it is from is still up for debate.  Could be a chemical burn from licking/eating something (rock salt, or possibly essential oils my cats knocked over) or it could be a cancerous tumor. We’re treating it as a burn and taking it from there.  I get the dog home and now she is on 18 pills a day, 2 shots of insulin, a “pain relieving mouthwash” and two blood glucose tests daily. All of this in addition to taking care of myself.  Seriously, enough is enough, right??  Nope….

I wake up on Saturday feeling like a brick house fell on me and I’m coughing a lot.  I hadn’t been feeling good but living with RA, I always feel like I am sick.  I drag myself out of bed and go to a walk-in clinic because it is a weekend.  Turns out I have bronchitis (that was my guess) and a sinus infection (I didn’t see that one coming but once I was told, then I felt it).  The doctor looks at me and asks why I didn’t come in sooner.  I almost fell off the table.  I always feel like I have the flu.  The cough made me think something was wrong but if I wasn’t coughing, I probably wouldn’t have gone in for a few more days.  I think the doctor thought I was crazy.  People have no idea what it feels like living with chronic illness.

So, life is a bit overwhelming right now.  Focusing on getting rest, drinking liquids, and taking it easy.  The body aches are pretty serious and of course, I have to stop taking my biologic drug until I get better.  It kind of stinks to be me right now.  Nursing Georgia is going well because she is a good patient.  We have a follow up tomorrow and hopefully, the tongue will be healing and we won’t need to see an veterinary oncologist.  Here is a photo of Georgia before diabetes and just the other day.  She’s been through the ringer but still smiles when she sees me, even at the vet’s office.  We are quite the team.  Wish us luck that we both get better sooner rather than later.26730652_10215857483896208_2554054361533709398_n