Sunday, December 18, 2016

But Can I Still Run?

This week I attempted to find my footing, literally and figuratively, as I worked on getting my head around my new diagnosis of rheumatoid arthritis. While I don't want to be known as the "arthritis runner", I wanted to share what is ahead for me--both in the doctor's office and on the road.

I'm still feeling overwhelmed and reeling with the shock of this diagnosis. I was also surprised that in spite of completing a 5 day course of high dose steroids (prednisone), I continued to have significant pain and stiffness in my hands and feet. It's like aliens have taken over my body. That is exactly how I described it to my new BFF, my rheumatologist, and she agreed. "It's a shitty diagnosis," she said.

I couldn't have said it any better.



My diagnosis of rheumatoid arthritis requires a shift in my thought processes. Dr V, my sports medicine physician, gave me some advice after my diagnosis. "I know you're not good at taking it easy, " she said, "but you need to give yourself a break. " She's right. This type A++ gal is not good at sitting still, and I'm not good at being the patient. As a nurse practitioner, I'm much more comfortable in the role of caregiver, not care receiver. I don't do well in the role of "sick" person.

Dr A, my rheumatologist, laughed and shook her head as we reviewed my symptoms. All those nagging little aches and pains I have had over the past couple of years? Runners are good at ignoring those, she told me.

Isn't that the truth? Raise your hand if you've done any of the following:
  • run on a broken foot?
  • took ibuprofen before a run instead of resting an achy hip or knee?
  • stopped mid-run to stretch out a cramp or sore foot instead of calling it quits?
  • run a marathon with minimal training?
  • run with a cold and cough?
  • run a race with raging PF?
  • run with a Baker's cyst?
Guilty on all counts. For the last 6 weeks or so, I've had aching and swelling in my hands and feet and a flare of my IBS. I didn't think much of any of these symptoms, considering them to be nothing out of the ordinary. Right? Reviewing my history with Dr A revealed a few interesting things:
  • That broken big toe a few years back (I DNS'd a race for that!) that wasn't broken at all? Most likely the start of RA. 
  • My PF? Probably RA-related. 
  • That low back pain I feel during yoga twists (SI joint)? RA. 
  • And of all things, my jaw locking? My dentist told me it is because I clench my teeth. I don't clench. It's RA. 
The Baker's cyst I found a couple weeks ago was the tip off to begin the workup for RA. Although I wasn't in pain, there was some swelling in the affected knee. Dr V is a smart cookie. I'm a lucky patient.

As an activity, running is high impact and puts a lot of stress on our bodies. It's just part of the deal. While I did seek out medical care this year for my PF and the Baker's cyst, I certainly didn't run to the doctor for every little ache and pain. We runners just learn to live with those little niggles. I've been running for 25+ years and I've become accustomed to feeling a little achy at times. Calling the doctor for every minor complaint will get you labeled as a hypochondriac. Trust me on that one.

No guts, no glory!
What doesn't kill you makes you stronger! 
Be a warrior, not a worrier! 
Pain is just weakness leaving the body!

Heard any of these? These mantras are used to push ourselves through a tough run, a tough race. What better badge of honor than to have a medal placed around your neck after a hard-fought battle to the finish? Broken foot? That's why we have 2, right?

Anyways. Last week, my body decided it had had enough of my nonsense and waged a full-blown war on itself. That's what RA does. It's an autoimmune disease where the body attacks itself, in this case, the joints. According to Dr A, I have a particularly aggressive presentation. The good news, she told me, is that aggressive RA responds to aggressive treatment. Dr A and I barely shook hands and before I could blink, I was receiving my first dose of methotrexate, a chemo drug which is use in low doses to treat RA. I will be giving myself injections of this medication weekly. I also started on a different steroid (medrol) in a low dose for 6 weeks. Powerful drugs, I'm scared of these medications, but I desperately want to feel better.

I've been given advice from lots of folks about an anti-inflammatory diet. While I can't get over this current flare on diet alone--wouldn't that be great?--diet will be an adjunct to my treatment. High dose Omega-3s and Vitamin D have been prescribed for me.

And yes, I can run. Dr A said to let pain be my guide. When I told her I have a marathon in June, she said that will be our goal, to get me to my race. She wants me to continue all my activities, especially yoga and strength training. No restrictions. I think I found the right doctor.

Just keep moving, she says. So I did.

Earlier in the week, I took advantage of some warmer temperatures by cross country skiing and gentle running (easy and slow). My head needed the miles. As the week wore down, on top of all this, I was developed a cold, which forced me to take it easy. Our weather was pretty brutal in the latter part of the week as well, with sub-zero wind chills. Those workouts were indoors. Saturday's run was outdoors, but slow and admittedly, a little challenging. Was it the YakTrax? The snow? This upper respiratory virus? Or the RA?

Cross country skiing at the preserve where I do my marathon training! Low impact.

A cold, windy warrior 2 on my way to see the rheumatologist. Trying not to be a worrier.

35 minutes on the bike trainer, riding with my VBFs in Australia

Tuesday's run. Tree pose. Strong.
First and foremost, I am a runner. That does not change. I look at my new diagnosis as a challenge. As long-time readers know, I'm not one to back down from a challenge. But I'm also not good at setting limits on myself, and that is something I'm going to need to work on. I will evaluate my training as I go, and if I need to reset my goals, I will do that. As I always say, finishing is winning, and finishing will be my primary goal from here on out. Along with having fun on the way.

Onward and upward. Let's do this.

Any readers run while dealing with a chronic illness? Any advice? I want to thank everyone who has commented or reached out to me this week. We have an amazing community here. And yes, I can still run!

I'm linking up this post with Holly and Tricia for their Weekly Wrap as well as Angela and Ilka for the Sunday Fitness and Food Linkup!




125 comments :

  1. Oh my gosh, but it sounds like this is def not going to stand in your way. I was compelled to read every word because of my own issues -- the last year or two I have had significant pain and inflammation in my hands (mainly surrounding thumb joints), elbows and feet. I wake up swollen and stiff. The marathon I ran a couple weeks ago (I only run 1 a year), my feet were KILLING me, I didn't know what was wrong -- same shoe model,same diet nothing new. The other thing I've been perplexed and distraught over is that my running performance has dropped quite noticeably over this time period. I am having trouble recovering from everything. My Drs don't really want to listen . . . they just auto-respond middle age, perimenopause . . .menopause . . .change your lifestyle . . .blah, blah, blah

    So, sorry to ramble . . Sounds like you at least had a smart doctor who would listen and refer you to the rehumatologist . . . good luck with everything and I hope you are getting relief!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I heard the same thing when I curbsided my gyne about 6 weeks ago. I told him about my achy hands and feet and my IBS flare, and he responded, "virus". Well, I knew it wasn't that. If I were you, I'd ask for blood work for RA. I learned that the longer you let it go, the more chance you have of damage to your joints. Since my presentation was so dramatic, I was treated like an "emergency". I'm still having symptoms but oh my gosh, I am feeling so much better.

      Let me know how you are doing.

      Delete
  2. So glad you made it through this first shitty week of your shitty diagnosis with your sense of humor still intact. Think of it this way--essentially, nothing has changed in the past week...except you now have a diagnosis. Of the same disease you've apparently had for a few years. So what is there to change? Just listen to your body and deal with your aches and pains the way you have in the past. The only difference is now you'll know what is causing them. And you're now armed with the extra meds. I don’t blame you for being scared of them. It sometimes sucks being the woman who knows too much.

    I believe there are two ways most people deal with stress: Deny and Ignore (his name is Bob, and I love him anyway), and Attack and Conquer. I've only (virtually) known you for a few months, but I'm pretty sure I know which category you fall into. Take advantage of the brutal weather this week and take some time to relax, get more settled with your diagnosis, and enjoy your family and friends. You've got this, my friend.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you so much! At least now I know where my endurance has gone. Didn't I just write about that a few weeks ago? I hope I get it back.

      Delete
    2. Yes! All this ... YES! Wendy... you got this lady! Kick RA in the ass! Throw in a glass or two of wine on your forced rest days and go from there!! Hugs to you!!

      Delete
  3. I was a really sickly kid, and as a result, I'm pretty good at taking care of myself. So no, I doubt I'd run a race with a broken foot, but I have definitely run dealing with the tail ends of a cold/virus (like last weekend).

    While I am really sorry this has happened to you, I know you are also going to help sooooo many people as we all follow along with your journey. People may or may not comment, but you will reach far more people than you ever know.

    I guess I'm lucky that at heart, I'm a sloth.

    I also know that nothing will keep you down for long and I'm definitely in your corner!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I really appreciate your support. I'm so not good at being the sick person that most likely I won't be! I'll be a good patient as long as the treatments are helping me! I promise.

      Delete
  4. I feel terrible that this is the road you have to travel, but I have no doubt that you and your medical team are going to get you back into remission and back to doing what you love with minimal pain & discomfort! Believe that and envision your renewed health. Thank you for sharing with us, Wendy. I think this will help many people. I had a diagnosis of arthritis in my lumbar spine and I deal with some pelvic alignment issues so it did take me awhile to figure out what works and what doesn't but with perseverance we can all find our way! Hang in there...keep fighting!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Glad to hear that you are on top of your issues--it will be a trial and error period for me as I sort through all this. It helps to know that others have been there.

      Delete
  5. You can definitely still run, you can definitely still have an amazing life. I don't have RA, but I have an autoimmune that is very similar and know many with RA and they just have to find what works for you. You will get better, they will get you managed, and you will be able to continue to do the things that you love. You are just going to become an RA warrior!

    Again, if you need anything, let me know. I understand the trials and tribulations of these sorts of diseases all too well.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. But I don't want to be an RA warrior! (whine) I just want to be a warrior. Period!

      Seriously, I so appreciate you having my back. You and I seem to live parallel lives. I'm glad it's you I have to share this stuff with.

      Delete
  6. Wow, that's a sucky diagnosis but from reading your blog it seems you have the positive attitude that will get you through this. I'm glad you can still run, and good luck!

    ReplyDelete
  7. Wow - Wendy. I did not see your earlier post. I love your attitude and approach.

    I can totally relate to this post and it makes me wonder how many of us could have a big issue and "run through it." If it makes you feel better, I did 1 200 mile bike ride with a blood clot in my leg. My leg was so swollen and painful, but it helped when I moved (moved the clot!?). So before going to the nth doctor, I went to spin class. I had some small clots in my lungs and "walked them off." My doctor nearly killed me (after the clots didn't).

    I have a few friends who need to see this post. I'll pass it on.

    Best of luck - if anyone will be an RA warrior, my money is on you!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Well, see it isn't just me who ignores these things! I think most serious runners are like this. At least that's what my sports med doc told me. That's why I like her so much. She gets me.

      Delete
  8. Wendy, I am glad you have a doctor you trust to help you and who also allow you to MOVE and RUN! This diagnosis does suck, and it's fascinating to hear the symptoms over the past couple years that you didn't realize were related to RA. We can all learn something from reading this!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Isn't it crazy? The jaw thing threw me for a loop! Who knew?

      Delete
  9. Wendy, I'm so glad that you can still run (and do yoga and strength train)!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh thank you! I made sure to find a rheumatologist who was going to be open to me continuing to pursue my activities. That's really important.

      Delete
  10. You know? Just like I say good running/training requires "finding your gears", I think living well requires us to "find and use our tools". In your case, with RA slapping you up side the head, you're so wise to do just that and fall back on all the other activities you've cultivated when running isn't in your best interest. Yeah it's shitty, but its all about how we react to adversity, right? I think you're doing pretty darn great so far. xoxo

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I also like Carla's WYCWYC philosophy. Which how I plan to approach this whole thing. With a little help from my friends, of course...

      Delete
  11. I don't want to offer any advice as I have not dealt with something like this and we each have our own limits, struggles and boundaries. I think you are one tough woman and after the initial shock, I am sure you will find some way to live with this. You are a warrior !

    When I face adversity, I try to stay positive, accept and adapt, and especially give it some time. Hang in there Wendy, we are all rooting for you !!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That's exactly the plan. I'm soaking it in and letting it all marinate. But I am a runner first and I hope to always be one!

      Delete
  12. oh Wendy. I'm so behind on blog reading, but I saw your link posted and had to come by. I'm sorry that this is the diagnosis but actually it's good to KNOW so that you can move forward! keep up your positive attitude, you will get through and adjust as you go xx

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Absolutely! I mean, what else can I do? Kicking RA to the curb...

      Delete
  13. Yup. Ran with a broken foot, stress fracture, etc.

    And I'm afraid that my toe issues is RA as well. And then there's the bunion on the other foot.

    I will run. So will you.

    That's who we are.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Nooooooo! I sure hope it isn't RA. Let me know what you find out.

      Delete
    2. I'm not going to a dr since it comes and goes. Lately, it's gone. Fingers crossed.

      Delete
  14. As cliche' as this sounds...at least now you have an answer. Not a great answer, but it will give you some direction (and ammunition?) to move forward. Onward! ;-)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It sure explains my failing endurance.

      Delete
  15. So glad you can still run! Its great that you found a doctor who is so supportive. Its tough to back off but at least now you have a good reason to really listen to your body..plus you know why all those little aches and pains have happened!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Answers are good. I'm glad I know why and what has been going on. Now time to conquer!

      Delete
  16. You have an amazing attitude. And an amazing doctor. That's awesome that she understands how important your running and other activities are for you and isn't limiting any of them. Thanks for being so open about your journey and normalizing autoimmune issues- they are so common!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. When I had a diagnosis, my first goal was finding a rheumatologist who wasn't going to restrict me. Fortunately, I was diagnosed by sports medicine, so that made it easy. She didn't hesitate to send me to Dr A. I am so lucky!

      Delete
  17. Having a doctor that supports you is a wonderful thing. My podiatrist said the same thing trying to figure out how to KILL that painful neuroma -- our goal is to get you to that marathon! I thought I was going to kiss her. I know you will get through this. You are a strong woman, my friend. This is just a little *blip* on your screen. Thanks for linking, Wendy!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I hope it is just a blip! Right now it's a pretty big blip. But we've got plans, right? Me and you?

      Delete
  18. I love that you are sharing this journey because it will help so many and serve as a reminder that we can do things despite a diagnosis

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It was interesting because when I learned my diagnosis, the first thought I had was "but can I run?". Seriously. I've never been a rule follower--glad I don't have to break the rules to keep doing my thing!

      Delete
  19. It's never easy to be sidelined and I can feel your frustration. Sounds like you have a great plan in place and your aggressive treatment sounds like just what you need. I really admire your attitude.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you! As you may have noticed, even tho I'm running, it's pretty limited. I just want to keep the legs going. Once my pain resolves, then I'll be ready to roll full speed again...at least that's the goal.

      Delete
  20. Oh my gosh, Wendy, I'm so sorry to hear this. And I know it's so hard to hold yourself back. Have you ever read the blog Mom's Small Victories (http://momssmallvictories.com/)? Tanya has RA and writes about life with RA...she also does blogging tips, recipes, and some book stuff. Check it out if you haven't already.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I haven't read her blog but I'm heading over there right now! Thank you for that, and for your support! Hopefully nothing will change, tho. I'm still me!

      Delete
  21. Yes, this diagnosis sucks, but it does sound like you have a great doctor to help you. I'm so glad that she's encouraging you to do what you can while still listening to your body and giving it the TLC it needs. Great running and yoga pics as usual - you are such an inspiration. Ugh on the weekly shots - I had to do daily shots when I first had my DVT but maybe it's easier for you as a healthcare professional? or is it still different when it's yourself?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh there's no way I can give myself a shot. Fortunately, I have a lot of volunteers at work who can help me out. Or maybe that's not a good thing? Hmmm...

      Delete
  22. Sounds like your doctor has a good plan for you and it's great that you can still be active. My toe started bothering me again after 2 soccer game st his weekend, hoping a few days off will help it.

    ReplyDelete
  23. Glad to hear you can still do what you love even after being diagnosed with that. I guess just knowing your limits and when to stop if significant pain starts to creep up.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Exactly! Even though it's not the answer I'd want, answers are good.

      Delete
  24. As I mentioned before, I have PsA which is very similar to RA. And it sucks. I haven't started my treatment yet because I haven't gotten my X-rays yet (I think I'm trying to stall the inevitable), but I do watch my diet a lot. I've been particularly bad this week with sugars and meats and I've noticed a substantial difference in the way I feel. I get runner's colitis (and IBD) and I know with diet and proper hydration I usually do okay in that aspect, too. My brother has Crohn's and colitis, now I have PsA... we're all hot messes, no?

    I'm lucky because my rheumatologist is a marathoner so she knows exactly where I'm coming from! Hopefully our docs will take good care of us. Hang in there, lady.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. My cousin has PsA and she manages it well on one of the biologics. She's a runner too.

      As far as my diet, I already eat fairly healthy, altho I could eat more veggies. The issue is that IBS--if I eat too many veggies, it causes issues...hot mess here too...

      Delete
  25. Wendy. You are a rockstar. So inspiring. So glad you found the RIGHT doctor to help you on this journey. And what a good reminder that we shouldn't ALWAYS ignore pain like we runners often do.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's a fine balance between worrying about every little ache and pain and blowing off the big stuff. But like I tell my patients, most things don't simmer forever. There's usually something dramatic that tips you off.

      Delete
  26. Is PF plantar fasciitis??
    Sorry to hear about this Wendy!! If I know anyone who can handle it like a boss-- it is you!! :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh yes, PF, the dreaded plantar fasciitis. My nemesis for the past year...

      Delete
    2. Mine too since my last trimester!!!

      Delete
  27. I am sorry you have to deal with all this, but I know you will stay strong. You are a fighter!
    As someone who has gone through a lot of pain this past year, I think the hardest thing is comparing yourself to your "old self" or setting expectations on what you used to be able to do. Be proud of where you are is something I have been trying to embrace and just keep moving. It took me all year, but I am getting there and you will as well :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. And you've finished 2016 stronger than ever. You running that marathon inspired me like you have no idea! Especially since you struggled with that foot pain most of the year.

      Delete
  28. Of all the people I "know," I think you would be the least likely to let this get you down. It sounds like you have a great teammate in Dr. V. Together you will find what works for you to kick RA in the butt!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. As long as I can keep moving, I'll stay positive! I promise.

      Delete
  29. Sounds like you got a terrific doctor! So great you can continue running! You are so amazing and will get through this!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Well, thank you! I feel pretty lucky with my medical team.

      Delete
  30. Being the woman and runner you are, will only help you power though this!! I have no doubt. It sounds like you have your head on straight when it comes to a balance of pushing, being active and resting and treating your symptoms when you need to. A good friend of mine has RA and uses medicinal marijuana to help...just throwing that out there :-) LOL!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Haha! My boys and I discussed medicinal MJ last night at dinner. I mentioned that there are so many hoops patients have to jump through--maybe they know someone who could hook me up?

      Teenagers in the house...just sayin'....

      Delete
  31. Oh wow! So this summer I was diagnosed with "bad knees". Arthritis. I've had to totally revamp my running. After x-rays, MRI's and second opinion, it all still came down to the same conclusion that I am going to have to "manage" it. What does that look like for a cardio junkie like me who has done nearly 60 half marathons and over a dozen full marathons?? Right now I can only run 3-5 miles at a time and need more than 24 hours between runs to "manage" the pain and swelling. It's been really hard to digest since it all started with a subtle pain in my knee (after 3 spring half marathons). I just thought I needed to back off a little, but when it didn't go away, I sought help. Hoping good things for you! I know a little of what you're going through. My first response was "I'm a runner!!" I can't stop! :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Bad knees? What kind of diagnosis is that? I thought my foot pain was OA--I had gotten that diagnosis from an xray.

      Have you considered working with a strength coach to build up muscles that support your knees? That's been a game changer for me.

      Delete
  32. Saw this yesterday and I'm finally making my way back here to comment.
    LOVE AND LIVE the letting pain be my/your guide b
    I know this feels scary and challenging and I'm sending you love and good vibes xoxo

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I will take all the love and any good vibes!! I'm sure feeling all of that. <3

      Delete
  33. Please read The Autoimmune Solution by Amy Myers MD. My husband was diagnosed this summer with an AI disorder and by following her eating plan and some supplements, in 3 months he was "cured" (we know it will always be there lurking). We still follow her plan and my husband will never go back to his old ways of eating. ----- Denise

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you for sharing! I will check it out! Glad to hear your husband is feeling better.

      Delete
  34. Ugh, I'm so sorry you're having to deal with this. We think, when we run, stay fit and active, that we are somehow protected from the issues and illnesses that strike the average person. This diagnosis is a reminder that we are not. I love that you are not backing down and plan to keep running, while still listening to your body. If anyone can hold off these symptoms, it is you.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You hit the nail on the head. I had a few "who me?" moments, but the shock from my friends and family really told the story. None of us are immune from health issues. I'm so grateful to have answers to my symptoms, even if it means dealing with a chronic illness that might hold me back a bit.

      Delete
  35. Wow. I am sorry that you are dealing with this. As runners, it's interesting that when change smacks us in the face, it is one of the first questions we have, "Can I run?". This Thursday I will see my ophthalmologist to ask the same question. It will be 4 weeks to the day that my retina detached, with emergency surgery the next day. For 2 weeks, I laid on my side as still as possible to allow the surgery to heal. I was compliant to the last day and I hope that results in being able to resume normal activities (running!) sooner than later. I'm glad you have found doctors that see the benefits of staying active and encourage it. Best wishes to you.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I hope you get cleared to run! That is so scary. I always think, yep, this sucks but it could always be worse.

      Delete
  36. Wow, I'm glad you got a diagnosis, but sorry that you have an uphill battle. I know you will overcome it and perservere, with adjustments of course. Good luck! Oh and I have run through many aches and injuries, def not the best idea.....

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh hey, it's what we do, right? Relentless forward motion...

      Delete
  37. I'm definitely guilty of running when I shouldn't be...it's really challenging to discern when you can "run out" the pain.

    My good running buddy was just diagnosed with Ankylosing Spondylitis, and now that I'm reading up on it, I'm all YES, that is her, so much. But she's spent nearly a year dealing with things that I don't want to say were misdiagnosed, but weren't put together, like your symptoms finally were, as part of a bigger picture. Like you, she's now got a plan of treatment and we are hoping that A) her pain will go away and B) she will be able to run like her old self once again.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sometimes it takes a really smart clinician to put the pieces together. I had a bunch of nagging running injuries. Who wouldn't chalk them all up to running? Like I said, lucky me to have such an astute doctor!

      Delete
  38. I don't think it's ever easy to be the patient. It's also not easy to go see a doctor for niggles because it may make us look paranoid. I hope your treatment regimen gets you going and you can train and run your marathon.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I guess you have to know when to hold 'em and when to fold 'em, right? Pretty sure tho, that the blow up in my foot would have prompted my workup anyways...

      Delete
  39. I have my annual physical this week and I'm planning to take a list to my doctor of all the weird health related things I've been experiencing lately. I've been assuming it's menopause but I want to be sure it's not something else.

    So glad you can run and that you've found a doctor who is helping you with your RA.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I was blaming a lot of things on menopause. Now, is it RA?

      Delete
  40. I love your attitude about all of this. and I agree I do think you found the right doctor. I hate it when they say "well just stop running" it really isn't an option for most runners. How are we supposed to stay sane?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I really believe that you can and should keep up your activity through most illnesses. I love that doctors are totally changing their attitudes. But I'm pretty sure if I went with one of the "old school" rheumatologists that were recommended to me, I would have been told to stop.

      Delete
  41. I'm so sorry to hear your RA is so aggressive, but I'm happy to hear that you're on a treatment plan and that you have a doctor that is supportive of you staying active. I appreciate your honesty as you go through all of this and I wish you the best!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm feeling so much better! In this case, aggressive might not be a bad thing? Stay tuned.

      Delete
  42. I've seen your comments on others' blogs but don't know if I've read your blog often. I'm very sorry about your diagnosis but your attitude is so great- I know that will get you through this. It sounds like you have a great doctor as well who is determined to get you to the start line of your marathon and any other race you want to do. I also love that you have posted information about RA and the issues you had that tipped off your health professionals. My knee injury lately has been weird and I have a swollen knee right now. RA has never crossed my mind (and I'm not one to "Dr. Google" because that is always the worst case scenario), but I'm going to read up about it now because admittedly, I know very little about RA. You never know who your posts about it may help, too.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm so glad you posted a comment! Yep, I always tell my patients that Dr Google is not our friend. But I won't lie, I googled too. I do have that scientific training, so it helps me to sort through the BS.

      Delete
  43. I'm so sorry about your arthritis. That sucks!! You are very inspirational though for being determined to push through! I look forward to following your journey and any tips you have to pass along.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm sorry too. But my goal is to keep on moving.

      Delete
  44. I am so happy you can still run, girl!! Way to push thru a tough diagnosis and stay so strong...physically and mentally!

    ReplyDelete
  45. After all of that I was sitting on pins and needles to hear the words, I Can RUN! I didn't even cheat and scroll down either! You always do amaze me with your positive way around things, challenge? Yes it will be but you've overcome them before, I mean we are runners and we must run, fact! I do say, yes in deed you found the right Dr. I'm just glad you found out what has been going on and now time to buckle down and deal with it. XOXO

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm just so grateful I can still run. Oh, and that I found a doctor who's totally on board with it. Because I have this fun tribe and I don't plan on missing a single step! <3 #holottafun

      Delete
  46. Oh my ! that sounds very stressful!

    You are a very strong woman, and you are handling this with a lot of grace. I'm very confident that in a few months, this will be just another obstacle you defeated. Stay strong!! and do get a little bit of rest, if you can.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm glad to have answers. I did have a lot of rest last week--more from fighting off the cold than anything else...

      Delete
  47. Wendy I am so sorry this is the path you have to travel, but I have no doubt that you will tackle it with grace and gusto! I am so happy to hear that you have found the right doctor - makes such a difference to have someone who is supporting you. You will find your new normal in all this, and we'll all be here to cheer you on!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes. This is my new normal and I love that you put it that way!

      Delete
  48. I'm SO glad at least you have an answer b/c knowledge is power and knowing is half that battle. I have no doubt you will do every thing you need to do to remain a strong, healthy runner. Having a doctor who understands and is supportive makes all the difference. We've got your back!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you! I'll take this tribe at my back anytime!

      Delete
  49. What sucky news! It's good to get an answer, but what a challenging one to get. Glad you have a plan and hope that you can get this flare into remission quickly. Hang in there!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You aren't kidding--but it could always be worse. That my doctor is all on board with my fitness is the best thing of all. I'll do whatever she says...

      Delete
  50. I'm so sorry you're dealing with so much pain! However, it sounds like you have a great doctor who wants truly wants to help you. I bet a number of doctors would tell you just to stop running and deal with it. She sounds great. I hope you feel better!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That is a bet you would win. I wouldn't see anyone who would tell me to stop running. Or that I couldn't run my marathon.

      Delete
  51. What an amazing story of hope! I am sorry to hear of your diagnosis. I know that a woman with your strength will succeed in anything you put your mind to. This is such a beautiful piece about strength and I thank you for sharing this personal topic with all of us. I felt your joy as you told us that you can still run! I'm so happy that you will be able to race in June. I look forward to reading about your updates.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you! I hope to line up in June as well. I may have to adjust my goals, but I'll cross that finish line!

      Delete
  52. You are amazing. I know this quite a blow, but like everything, you will rise to it and overcome. It's just who you are. You know I am rooting for you and that marathon. You've got this. <3

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you! I'm feeling better already. Onward and upward!

      Delete
  53. I have now convinced myself that I have arthritis a la Google. My mom has all three kinds of arthritis, and I have all the symptoms. Shit.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. No! I always say Dr Google is not our friend...but get it checked out. Let me know...

      Delete
  54. So sorry to hear about the diagnosis. Sounds like you've got a doctor that understands your needs and that is key and I'm so glad you are able to run! You are an amazing and strong person. You will get through this challenge, you've got this!

    ReplyDelete
  55. Yes you can run and yes you are a warrior! A beautiful warrior, inside and out! The sound of those meds scare we too but you must be better and be the best you! XXOO PS I think Florida sun makes everyone feel better :) just saying!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I am working on my husband. I think I need to live somewhere warm, for medical reasons! :p

      Delete
  56. Sending virtual hugs to you my dear! I am so sorry to read this. My pain from my arthritis in my knee is painful but I can not imagine it all over my body.

    I love your attitude and so glad that you have a Dr that gets you....that makes all the difference in the world.

    How awesome that you get to do all the activities that you enjoy! Even training for your marathon in June...that is great news!

    I hope that you get some relief from the medications.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I will take any and all hugs! I'm happy to report that I am feeling better. So grateful.

      Delete
  57. Your attitude is always the best Wendy. I know this diagnosis is not easy for you, but you still have this warrior attitude, which will ultimately help you tremendously. I knew RA wouldn't keep you from your fitness, the only thing is you might have to learn to sometimes listen to your body and take a day or off. Reading about all the aches and pains you have ignored in the past, most runners, me included, can identify with all of all of this. We just keep running through pain because we think the run will somehow cure it or make it go away, even if only temporary. It definitely gave me food for thought about my own attitude and how I handle my aches and pains.
    Hugs my friend! You're strong! You'll manage this!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I agree with you that I need to learn to better listen to my body. I'd much rather push through a tough run than skip it because I'm not "feeling well". That is going to have to change...

      Delete
  58. You have a great attitude which as someone else diagnosed 2 years ago with an autoimmune disease I say that is half the battle. You also seem to have a fantastic doctor advocating for you!
    Those powerful drugs can be scary but I hope they have you feeling well asap! I remember when they finally declared me sick enough for an emergency infusion of remicade + methotrexate when everything else failed and Crohn's got worse quickly - I have never been happier to be hooked up to an IV in my life. Hope you find the relief and balance moving forward. No matter how slow I had to run while in the worst of it, being active saved my sanity - it is ingrained in us - so keep it up and just really listen to your body :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm happy to be feeling better on the steroids and weekly methotrexate, but what is interesting to me is that I'm still having symptoms! It's kind of scary. However, I'm happy I get to keep running. As I keep saying, "I'm still me!". If I had to stop, I don't know how positive my attitude would be!

      Delete
  59. Wendy-- I'm a little behind in reading this... but I teared up for you reading this. I am so glad your doctor understands your love/need to run and is on the same team as you. I am so sorry you are faced with such strong medicine. Sending lots of love your way!!! xoxo

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'll take that love! I'm so much better this week--I've gotten a few runs under my belt. You know what? As long as I can be me, I'm going to be ok.

      Delete
  60. If anybody can overcome this, I have no doubt that it will be you. You are such a strong woman, shown through your ability to do all of that pool training and still successfully cross the finish line of Big Sur. You can do this, and you have tons of people here to support you.

    ReplyDelete
  61. I was dx with Psoriatic Arthritis back in May. I woke up one morning with a swelled up foot and 1 toe, also I could barely walk because my SI joint felt like it was made of wood, it was also in my shoulder and ribs. A full blown flare. I finally got into see the rheumy in 8 weeks. I started methotrexate it helped a little but I was still in a flare. Dr. put me on Enbrel and I felt immediate relief and didn't feel ill like the methotrexate made me feel. I can bicycle again, but running is a little slow coming back. I think my SI joint is messed up forever from the flare. I've been on Enbrel for several months now and haven't had a flare again. My mantra right now is I'm going to do as much as I can and if I have a flare then I will slow down. Good luck in your journey.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I so appreciate you sharing your experience. While I feel better, I'm sure not 100%. But I'm happy I get to run!

      Delete