Friday, August 21, 2009

New Words and Medical Mysteries

Today Kenly and I were trying to color. Okay. What I really meant to say was that I was trying to get Kenly to color. Instead of, you know, eating the crayons, coloring her pajamas (because it is 3:15PM, and we're still in our PJs), or hiding the crayons in places they'll never be seen again. Since coloring wasn't working out, I decided to try and teach Kenly her colors. She can already say blue and purple, or something very similar. Blue sounds like boo. Purple sorta sounds like 'urple.

I picked up a yellow crayons while trying to get the purple crayon out of Kenly's mouth. I said, "Look, Kenly. Mommy has a yellow crayon." Kenly took the purple crayon out of her mouth and said, "llellow." I got so excited I nearly peed my pants. Needless to say, I praise her extravagantly. Probably a little too extravagantly because when I picked up a blue crayon, she said, "lellow." When I picked up a black crayon, she said, "llellow." When I picked up a green crayon, well, you get the picture.

In other new (AKA new not about Kenly), I check out about 7 books that deal with RA and other autoimmune diseases to educate myself about my new found "buddy". I read a book entitled, Women and Autoimmune Diseases. I learned tons of medical lingo dealing with the immune system. I was amazed at how creative God was in designing us the way he did, and I was fascinated to finally have someone explain, to the best of his ability, what happens when my immune system misfires. I also read some other interesting facts that I thought I might share.

1. 75% of all autoimmune diseases affect women. Perhaps this is part of the curse that Eve brought on women in the Garden of Eden. RA suffers are in a 4:1 ratio--women:men.
2. Just when you thought that was cruel enough, it appears that hormones strongly affect RA and RA flares. Estrogen makes flares worse or can bring them on, so women taking hormone therapy are encouraged to stop. So, what about birth control? Isn't that hormones raging through my body? But, since methotrexate causes severe birth defects, I am required to take birth control.
3. Children born to women with autoimmune disease are far more likely to get an autoimmune disease themselves. Said children are also more prone to being left handed. Have I mentioned that Kenly perfers her left hand? She uses both, but she's more comfortable with her left.
4. If we have a second child, and the child is male, he will most likely be left handed too. In addition to that, a striking number of male children born to women with autoimmune disease turn out to be dyslexic. What's the correlation, you ask? Nobody knows. In fact, most of what I'm reading is conjecture.
5. Scientists have no idea why cancer drugs or malaria drugs help RA patients. All they know is it interrupts the sequence of misfires in the immune system which means that RA patients often have to be on multiple drugs to remain symptom free.

All doctors encourage being medicated. Alternative treatments are not considered a good practice since RA can damage joints quickly. However, this doctor says that Omega-3 fatty acids help some people. He believes that massage and chiropractic therapy benefit some. There are other supplements that I don't even feel like going into here that offer some people relief--things like Zinc and Copper. Gold therapy (they inject liquid gold into your body) helps some, but it can cause renal failure. Yoga was also highly praised. All in all, nobody knows.

I just have one more question. Why would my doctor, knowing that I wanted to have another baby, put me on methotrexate first? At my last appointment, he wanted to add Palenquil to the mix. In his opinion, Palenquil is "safe" for pregnant women. Why not start there? Is that logical to anyone else but me?

I'm glad I'm researching the disease that affects me daily, but there are some strange things out there. I'm not going to become golden or sign up for bee sting therapy. I'm not going to take cat's claw or other non-FDA regulated substances. I will do everything I can, as naturally as I can, to take care of myself so that I can be around to hear Kenly's ramblings for years to come.

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