Tuesday, 30 November 2010


Tomorrow is my 1 year RA anniversary. 1 year ago exactly, I was a totally normal healthy 23 year old.

How bloody depressing.

I remember waking up on the 1st december with these 2 strange swollen knuckles and thinking a big spider or something had bitten me during the night.

I remember the absolute terror and depression which gripped me for the next few months after discovering that I had a chronic uncurable disease.

It was horrible, just horrible. As I'm sure you all know yourselves.

Where am I at 1 year later? A lot calmer, for sure, even though the whole thing still really gets me down if I stop and think about it.
Most of the horrible fears I had last December haven't come true. I deal with some symptoms most days but I generally feel alright and my life is pretty much the same as it was last year.

I've had a good year, I've travelled to many new places and had a lot of fun with my friends and family.
I've met some incredible people through Arthritis Care who have helped me face my condition head on.
I set myself a physical challenge in doing the charity cycle, and I succeeded.

I'm looking forward to Christmas, knowing it will be a LOT better than the last. It can't possibly be any worse!!

Unfortunately I think the hydroxychloriquine is doing bugger all for me. My symptoms are mild and come and go but I think that's just my disease because nothing's changed since I started the drug 4 and a half months ago. No better, no worse. The sulfa didn't agree with me, so I'm starting to try and come to terms with the fact that I might have to try a low dose of methotrexate in the new year. This is something I have to mull over the next couple of months before my check up at the end of January and I need to come to a decision together with my doctors. I know that the decision will be to try it because I really want to continue living my life well. But I need a little while to get used to the idea.

This reality would've scared the hell out of me a year ago. And it still does, but I feel stronger now.

So, happy anniversary, RA. I will continue to fight you and hope you go to sleep for a very long time so that next year, I won't even remember it's our anniversary.

Friday, 12 November 2010


It's been raining every day since I got back from Berlin, it's ridiculous. I hate winter!!!

My mum came through to Glasgow to visit me the other night and we went out for a nice meal and got quite tipsy on lovely wine. It was nice to see her, as always, but interestingly we had a chat about my arthritis. Not a very in depth chat, but more than we have for about 6 months. She asked how 'my hands' are (she never says arthritis, it's always my 'hands'). I told her about my dodgy foot lately and how I think it's settling down a bit and then told her about my recent rheumatology appointment. She took it all in and said to me: 'Don't think I'm not worried if I don't talk about it, because I am. It's just I know there's nothing I can do to help apart from be there for you. I'm glad you have a good doctor.'

And then FINALLY, she said she had an appointment with her GP next week to ask her to run blood tests for RA. You see, for about 3 and a half years my mum's had problems with her legs. She had some swelling in her knee and ankle a while back and just general pain. She gets quite stiff as well and I'm totally convinced she has arthritis too. Only question is whether it's osteo or rheumatoid and since I have rheumatoid I'm guessing she might too. Her doctors have been quite useless so far, just giving her insoles for her shoes and what not. But I guess since she's 57 and it's her lower body they'd automatically assume osteo.

Thing about my mother is, she's horrifically stubborn. She never complains and she concentrates on other people. She runs about like a headless chicken doing a thousand things and I've been getting on at her for about a year to go to the doctor and ask about blood tests. I get so worried about her but she just shrugs it off. She's the opposite of me, I panic at the slightest health problem and need to go sort it right away. She prefers to ignore it. Both extremes are bad in their own way.

I don't know if I hope it's osteo or rheumatoid. At least with rheumatoid there are treatments she can try. But at the same time I wouldn't want to see my mum in the same horrible situation as me, taking lots of drugs and god knows what. But the point is, she definitely has something going on and it's not going away and in the past year I've become quite pragmatic about these things. No point hiding away, you gotta stand up for yourself and face your fear head on.

I think the thought of my ma having RA upsets me more than me having it. Even though she's not diagnosed with anything she has a lot more problems than I do with stiffness and pain and at least I'm an energetic young thing, I feel like I'm pretty fit and have more energy to battle it, you know? And I've faced it from day 1 and am doing all I can with my doctors to prevent damage. Who knows how much damage my ma's got in the past 4 years. But then I guess at least she had 53 years free from it where as I only had 23.

Ok this is getting to be a really long serious post. It's not all doom and gloom, to be honest I think her going to the doctor is a positive thing and hopefully she can get some relief in the next year or so. And we're both still active and relatively well and there's no point worrying about what might happen.

And it's the WEEKEND!! And I'm going to visit friends down south in Brighton and I have Monday off work. So..hooray!
Have a good one, folks.

Thursday, 4 November 2010


Can I just say, what a cool place! Pubs are open all night, you can take your drink outside and no one looks at you like you're mad. The city, being basically built up from ruins after WW2, doesn't boast amazing architecture, but because of this every second building has become an art installation with amazing graffiti murals.

Yeah it was great fun and really really cheap. I only spent about 120 euros in 4 days and man, those Berliners know how to party. They go out to clubs at 2am (normally when in Scotland you're about to go home) and when we left about 6am the club was still full.

Here's some pics:

The memorial for the murdered Jews of Europe

The tv tower in alexander platz

A part of the wall in Kreutzberg that's been kept preserved..the graffiti is not the original graffiti on the west of the wall but was comissioned after the fall

A cool building in Friedrichshain, former east berlin

Art outside an area full of clubs

View from the Friedrichshain/Kreutzberg area


The obligatory bikes which everyone rides

It's also a fantastic place for a photographer. My friend who I was visiting is really not into photography so I couldn't really take my time and spend as long as I wanted taking pictures but I would love to go back on my own and explore more with my camera.

Arthritis wise, it was alright. My foot was playing up and swelling some of the time but I managed to do quite a lot of walking despite it. A few of the days we cycled about the city because it's what everyone does so that was a good rest for my foot. Had a lot of stiffness in my hands some mornings too but maybe that had something to do with the excessive drinking of extremely cheap German beer. Overall, not too bad. Can't complain too much about life just now, so I won't. Hope you like the pics and that you're all doing well.