a journey to healing part v

i realize that these little blurbs are starting to get long - five parts, caley, when are you going to get to the end? the truth is, i don't think this journey will ever end, unfortunately. but i'm getting there. i'm going to pick up where i left off, but this is the last part of this series for a while. then i'll pick it back up once i have something to update you all on!

so the initial oral medication that i was prescribed had no effect during the five months that i was on it. so i went back to my rheumatologist in august of 2015 to get re-evaluated. i was so nervous that i was going to have to go on the injectable. but, i didn't get ahead of myself and tried to be optimistic. maybe there was another solution. and it turned out there was! she simply prescribed me a stronger oral medication that i was to take once a week. phew! that was music to my ears. so, again, my knee was aspirated and given another steroid shot to the joint, and i was on my way to see how things went from there on the new medication.

fast-forward a month, and the swelling wasn't there! a huge weight was lifted, and i eagerly asked my physical therapist (yup, still going to physical therapy at this point) if i could start running and ramp up my exercises. he agreed, and that's exactly what i did. the soccer season was well on its way and i was still so limited in what i could do. there was very little hope that i would see the field on a game-day, but i kept my head down and focused on getting back in shape. as time went on, i realized that the medication was actually working and keeping the swelling out of my knee. this was a huge confidence booster! unfortunately, getting back in shape after all of the ups and downs made it very hard for me to keep that confidence. i wanted to get on the field so badly. my hard work paid off, and i was able to make my debut on senior day. i lasted about 20 minutes before i got extremely winded - even when you think you're in shape, once you step on a soccer field, it's a completely different level of fitness. but, i focused on the fact that i didn't re-injure myself, and that i was back on the college field, where i belonged.

our season ended very poorly, but i didn't care all that much about that. obviously i wish we had made it further, but i learned a lot about myself while watching from the sidelines. at this point, i was just happy to be back to my "healthy" self. i stayed on the medication for about a year and a half, but decided to try natural supplements to reduce my inflammation. so i stopped taking the medication around may of 2017. at the time, i simply switched to taking turmeric supplements and changing my diet to eliminate foods that caused inflammation. to my surprise, the swelling stayed away! and then i went to ireland in august...

we were there for about 2 and a half weeks, and halfway through, i noticed my knee starting to swell. i thought it was just from all of the traveling and the way i was eating - a lot of red meat, and alcohol (both of which i didn't consume much of in my usual diet). so i figured once i returned to my normal routine back in cambridge, everything would go back to normal. well, it didn't. it got really, really bad actually. it got to the point where the swelling had built up so much, it was creeping up my leg to my quad muscle. this made it extremely uncomfortable and i was limping around because it was so limiting. when i finally got an appointment with my rheumatologist at the end of september, she couldn't believe what she saw. i'll leave out the yucky details, but the inflammation was some of the worst she'd seen. 

the doctor explained to me that although i had been off of the medication for a few months, it took that long for it to completely leave my system, so the swelling stayed away until that happened - until now. the real kicker was that, even though i would start the medication back up immediately, it could take up to 6 months to catch up and have an effect again. 

so here we are, present-day. february 2018. i have not exercised in any way since that doctor's appointment at the end of september. and i'm going to be honest: it's been extremely difficult to stay positive and confident in myself. i have my good days and bad days. but i just miss exercise so much and am incredibly anxious to get back to health again. i'm currently on 2 medications, no longer eat red meat of any kind, and am still taking turmeric supplements as an added benefit. i recently saw the doctor about 2 weeks ago to have my knee aspirated again and another shot injected. fingers crossed i'm on the mend! 

i want to thank everyone who read these posts, and would love any advice, encouragement, comments - any thoughts whatsoever on this series! comment below!

Caley McCaslinComment