I passed 6 months drug free last week, sunday to be exact. I left it unmentioned; the first monthly increase passed without comment. And then BANG: this...
It started wednesday. I went up to London in the evening to a gig with a good friend of mine who lives up there. An entertaining evening was had, but on the last train back to Brighton somewhere in my head a little voice could be heard... "there's a familiar old pain in your left shin richie... don't ignore it...". And so began, for the first time in a while, that feverish compulsion to keep rubbing my leg. Brilliant. It's nearly midnight, I'm stuck in a packed carriage and I cannot stop myself repeatedly pulling up my trouser leg and rubbing the offending area... Still I wouldn't need to fight for a seat: who wants to share space with a leg rubbing loony?
By morning there were two inflamed areas on my left leg - not massive - and a small area on the top of my left foot. By the time I got home from school (after parents evening) both feet were massive and my school boots could empathise with the footwear of the Hulk. I was in agony, not helped by having to repeatedly stand to greet each new set of parents. Not happy. By friday they looked as they do in the photo - I went to school (too much GCSE Controlled Assessment to miss a day) but in my unlaced converse, doing the 'old-man shuffle' round the place.
So, this has raised several questions: 1) Whyohwhyohwhyohwhy? 2) What do I do now? 3) What if...
1) Why? What was the trigger?
football injury - on sunday the 25th April I played football. In the last 10 minutes I had a fairly bone-jangling collision with a defender (totally fair: we were both running for the same high ball, looking up at it rather than at each other... BANG!) in which I suffered a bloody painful 'dead' leg (I've just read that link myself - bloody hell, it sounds much worse than I've ever thought!), that caused me to sit out the end of the game and limp for at least 3 days. I know these facts and the info in that link are somewhat damning but... it was in my right leg.
stress - could be that I've let my old nemesis sneak up on me again. I am always guilty of subconciously burying stress, even in these mentally enlightened times: we are getting to exam-end of business at school after all. And as everyone in the English education system knows, if those kids don't meet their (inflated-for-challenge) target grades, there's only one person to blame... me.
I've had a cold - feeble, but true... I'm not milking it. It's not Man-Flu. It's just a cold. Annoying nonetheless.
sloppy regime - no, I'm not talking about my bottom here..., but the fact I have become extremely blase in using the NLP and Hypnotherapy tapes. Why? Coz I've been well and lovely of course! Come on, when everything in the garden is rosy good intentions are so easily loosed for something more interesting. I reckon it had been nearly a month since I'd listened to either of them. I have to admit I was guilty of slipping back into some of my bad habits too: the ranting had restarted (at the TV mainly, several key-characters in the imminent general election, the infamous 'bird' incident described last post...), the grumpiness had resurfaced, the general pessimism was alive again... Mmmm.
A combination of all of the above?
The UC is waking up? Not contemplating this one yet.
2) What now? Well, at first I thought I'd have to get back to the rheumatologist, but since they discharged me in what I see as a joint-dept conspiracy to get me onto azathioprine, which I was refusing at the time (AND QUITE RIGHTLY TOO I MAY ADD. Bastards) ("your arthritic issues will only improve if you deal with your bowel symptoms", "But what if they're not related?", "They are", "How do you know?", "They are", "Yes, but how do you know?, "They are"...), but that would involve getting a new referral from my GP. But then I thought: Bollocks, just get back on the tapes Rich, this is just a blip. There have been so many conventional medicines that I have kept up despite much worse in the way of symptoms or side-effects (Aza, Asacol, Salazopyrin, 6MP, Pentasa, etc), always thinking (and, indeed, often being told) that problems would be ridden out. Well, maybe this NLP stuff isn't going to be a totally smooth ride, but I can't bin it yet. Not after my healthiest 6 months for nearly 7 years. So, I've hit the tapes hard...
3) What if... my bowel symptoms remained negligible at the expense of an arthritic flare-up every 4 to 6 months? Would I take that? Well, it's been 5 full days since the first signs of the arthritis and the swelling has gone, though the feet remain sore... so... say, you're offering 5 - 10 days of pain and hobbling for no bowel symptoms... I'd bite your fucking hand off.
Finally, Lovely-wife chastises me for photographing my various swellings (of the UC variety!). "It's for the blog" is my standard retort. But she knows me better than that. I have shown that picture to at least 8 of my colleagues and friends today... They're interested! Of course they are. And I'm just doing my bit for UC-education.
I must put a picture of my normal feet on here at some point though.