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Monday, January 31, 2011


A few days after starting on Tramadol I have stopped taking it. The nausea was just too much. Yesterday I took about 2/3 of a tablet in the morning, no more later, and this morning I still felt sick.

I understand that sometimes the nausea will go away over time but I don't feel willing to wait. Perhaps when the subject of pain relief comes up again I can discuss anti-nausea meds as well. Much as I hate to add more drugs to the soup, I do feel I need to find something that can take pain away and does not cause me some kind of distress. When I have surgery I will need something during the recovery and rehabilitation period, to allow me to work on the joints without severe pain.

Just to play catch-up: I don't use NSAIDs because they cause stomach issues, including two instances of ulcers. I use acetaminophen occasionally but it isn't particularly powerful, and it too has side effects that worry me if I take it regularly.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Changes ahead

Two days ago I had an appointment with my regular doctor, to discuss options for my arthritis. I told him that I am living about 1/3 of the life I would be without arthritis, that I am in pain when I walk and when I stand, that this pain prevents me from doing many things alone and with my children. I told him about my efforts at the gym and beyond, and said I don't normally take pain relievers because of the effects on my stomach.

He said the only solution that makes sense for me is knee surgery. It's a "no-brainer", he said, and then sent me to get some x-rays of my left knee. When he came back in the room he said it hurt just to look at the x-rays, and he prescribed some Tramadol, a narcotic, for the short-term, and made a referral to an orthopedic surgeon. The appointment will be made when I get approval from Medicare.

In the meantime I went to get the Tramadol. I started taking it at about noon yesterday. It makes me fuzzy, as narcotics usually do. I do feel some relief from the pain, though, so I am going to keep taking it, to see if the fuzzy effects go away and the pain relief remains.  Right now I just feel like lying down.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Treading Water

It seems that I am treading water now. I am not progressing but neither am I regressing, best as I can tell. When I was sick for a couple of weeks, away from the gym, I was able to tell the difference in my aerobic capacity and endurance when I returned to Aqua classes. So I know I am doing something. But it isn't much. At times I feel discouraged.

Today I went to the gym early because I have sewing class soon, and I was simply in pain the whole way through. I wanted to quit. I didn't. How long can I keep on feeling this way?

Friday, January 21, 2011

The Left Leg, the Right Hip

Sometimes, out of the blue, I feel a sharp twinge in the area just below my left knee. It is pain combined with a stiffness, that odd kind of arthritic stiffness that I associate with an arthritic "flareup".  It usually eases off a bit but not always.  It has happened a couple of times lately when I was in the middle of doing leg presses, and continued through the rest of my gym routines.

Sometimes I wake with right hip pain. Sometimes it eases off soon, but other times it just won't. Today, for example, it caused me difficulty getting around the house. I hoped that the Aqua class might actually help it but it didn't. In fact, the frantic water-walking we did today had me almost biting my tongue as I kept hoping it would ease up. It never did and it still hasn't.

These are the two pain issues that most affect me right now. Even when I start off feeling good, going to the market for example, in no pain, one or another of the two will often slip in and make my feel-good time not so feel-good.

So much for that theory

In my last post I mentioned that after I started taking Zyrtec, an antihistamine, for a rash, that my arthritis was not as bad. The inflammation was reduced. I particularly noticed that I was not as stiff after sitting for a while.

It now appears that the anti-inflammatory properties were left over from the prednisone that I had stopped taking a few weeks before. At least that's my present theory. I have been feeling more pain lately, particularly in my right hip, and more stiffness when I get out of bed. As would be the case if the prednisone is completely worn off now.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

antihistamines and arthritis?

After I went off prednisone I expected the stiffness in my knees to return. But it didn't. I have been taking a generic version of Zyrtec for a rash, and it seems to be having an effect on inflammation. I have never heard of this happening, of antihistamines being helpful for arthritic inflammation.

I have done a couple of quick searches online for any connection between relief of osteoarthritis and the use of antihistamines. I found a few studies that suggest that maybe there is an anti-inflammatory effect, but these studies referred to rheumatoid arthritis. Nevertheless, I think it's an interesting connection and will be looking further into it.

Not to say that I feel great and I can walk miles. I can't. I still have pain in my hip and the stiffness is not entirely gone. Also, the damage that has been done results in different types of discomfort at different times.  However, in general I can sit for a bit and get up again without experiencing great pain.  A nice effect.