Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Intro, Part I

Well, here we go. I set out to blog about my plight with RA, which started quite a long time ago. Here's a little bit about me:

I'm Matt, I live in Omaha, NE. I'm 33 years old. I'm married with 2 daughters. I love the women in my life, hockey, skiing, golf, hiking, biking, camping, fishing, hunting, softball, football, baseball and cooking.

I have RA. And it sucks.

I was finally diagnosed with RA at the tender age of 26, after spending nearly a year as a human pincushion and lab rat for half the doctors in Omaha as they ran test after test after test and couldn't come up with anything. So, after failing to categorize whatever it was that hurt so bad, they said "You have a high Rheumatoid Factor, so I guess you have RA. Here's a referral." Really? I didn't buy it.

Time to get in the Way Back Machine. In the year 2000, I was coaching a pee-wee hockey team with a couple of my friends, and we were getting our team ready for the State Championship. Our 14 year old goalie starts popping off about how he's superman and can stop any shot, any time. I decided to put the little turd in his place and started launching big boy shots at him. He stops the first couple, then I accidentally nail him right in the face mask. He gets up, smiles at me and said "That all you got?" So I just kept going. I spent almost our whole hour of ice time firing all kinds of shots at him. At the end of the practice I noticed my (right) shooting wrist had started to hurt pretty bad, like it was locking up. I'm a hockey player right? Tape it up, get back out there and it'll go away. Well, 2 days later and I couldn't even button my shirt or hold a spoon. Luckily the State tournament was the following week and I didn't have to do any more shooting, so I wore a brace and told the kids that I got in a fight and that they should see the other guy. I went to my ortho guy who had formerly reconstructed my right shoulder (another hockey injury) and he wrote a script for anti inflammitory pills and a full on wrist brace. I took my meds like a good boy and walked around looking like a rollerblader for 2 weeks until it went away.
Only problem was, it never really did. After that day my right wrist was always a little swollen and clicked alot when I rotated it. One of the friends I coached with moved away to the desert and my other friend took over a business so we all quit coaching hockey. (BTW - we won the Cornhusker State Games Pee Wee Hockey tournament that year, BOO YAA!)

Fast forward 2 years waaaaay back to 2002. I can't hit the batting cages anymore before softball because if I do can't hold onto the bat during the games. This sucks. My timing is all off. Then I have to switch to catcher because my wrist hurts so damn bad after the second game I can barely get the ball back to the pitcher. Deciding I was now a weak link on the team, I decide to hang up the cleats. I had a good run, 8 years of softball every Wednesday night was starting to get old anyway, right? At the end of that season, I propose to my girlfriend. All is good. Except for my wrist.

I was working as a Web Developer during the day and slinging drinks (bartending) a couple nights a week, which I had done for about 4 years. Now with my wrist hurting, making it harder to open bottles, lift kegs and mix frozen margs, I start overusing my left arm, using it to grab everything. Then that left shoulder starts to hurt, not muscle pain, but the same hurt as my wrist. WTF?

I go back to the ortho guy and tell him the meds aren't doing much for my wrist and now my left shoulder hurts. He says we'll try cortisone. To my shock he pulls out the biggest damn needle I"ve ever seen and proceeds to directly inject the cortisone into my left shoulder. That HURT. He totally eyeballed it too. He felt around the outside of my shoulder, marked the spot with a ballpoint pen, sprayed some cold stuff on it and said "You might not want to watch this". Then he tells me to come back in 48 hours so he can cortisone up my wrist. I say OK.

My arm felt dead, but the pain was gone. For a while

its getting late, I'd better hit the rack so I don't flare up. I'll finish this story tomorrow.

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