As the Blood Spills…

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Disclaimer: period talk, blood

Anemic and Exahausted black lettering. Multiple red splatters in the backgorund.

My rheumatoid arthritis (RA) has been on the back burner for a little while. My biggest health concern since I moved across the country is severe, debilitating anemia. But, unlike many of my symptoms, I know why I am anemic.

Since April 2021, I have experienced abnormal menses. Let me be specific. Since April 2021, I bleed for 3 out of 4 weeks, every month. No, actually, let me take that back. My menstrual cycle is normal. I get my period at the same time every month, it lasts for the same amount of time and ends like clockwork. The abnormality lies with how much I bleed the rest of the month.

At first, I experienced intermittent blood loss. I’d bleed for a few days, it stopped, and then re-started 12-24 hours later. It was never “period heavy” but, it was still noticeable.

Let me preface this all by saying that I am very good at keeping track of my RA symptoms. I keep a food/medicine journal where I detail any symptoms, habits, and activities. However, I am absolutely terrible at tracking my period. I tell myself to mark it down, forget and that’s all they wrote. For three months I wasn’t entirely sure anything was wrong. I had an inclining but no certainty.

I moved in August 2021 and hit the ground running. Oddly, my period normalized for two months. This good fortune did not last, however because in October, I started to bleed for three weeks; but now, I bled in a big chunk with a heavier flow.

If I wasn’t anemic before I definitely was now. I had to sit for iron infusions. Due to scheduling conflicts, I did not start them until February 2022. I sat for one a month for three months. My blood levels increased. But, only for a little while. Soon, my hematocrit and hemoglobin plummeted once again. I had full blood panels done. My levels were normal, including my thyroid and hormones. My specialists couldn’t figure out what was wrong. I went to my primary nurse practitioner (NP) who referred me to a gynecologist. She made a great point that even if I sat for an iron infusion every month it would never counter the continuous blood loss.

The gynecologist did a pelvic exam and an ultrasound and everything was normal. There were no polyps or cysts, no inflammation or anything that could explain the bleeding. So we started to think of solutions. I couldn’t continue this way. I was exhausted. I fainted when I stood up and my extremities went numb if there was pressure on them. So, we started a list:

hormonal birth control pills? No.

I had used them a little while before due to an ovary issue (a different story) but get this, they made me bleed EVERYday! That was not an option. What else?

An IUD? Tried it (updates to come)

It did not work.

The third option?…Sterilization.

And, what’s funny is I always wanted to get a hysterectomy (uterus & cervix removal). I never wanted to birth a child. I would much rather adopt or foster. I do not want to take the chance of passing on my chronic illness genes to another person.

Ideally, I’d wait on the hysterectomy because it is an invasive surgery and I have an autoimmune condition. There are a lot of risks and my recovery is at least 50% longer than the average healthy person. Time is a factor. Do I have the time (with school and work) to lay up for 8+ weeks?) No. I wanted to wait until after vet school. It was always an elective surgery I wanted in the future. I never thought it would be a medical necessity.

Now, here’s the thing. Insurance in this state is shit. It doesn’t cover my medications and barely covers my RA infusions. It won’t cover the surgery even if it’s medically necessary. I just cannot afford a big surgery right now, point blank. As much as I need this surgery it will have to wait.

Here’s the problem. I’ve hit a critical point. I now bleed heavily for three weeks (“period heavy”). I am in school and I need to be alert and functional; which I cannot be while so anemic. It also puts me in a vulnerable position to catch colds, flus, coronaviruses, and other nasty illnesses. At this rate, I will continue to feel more and more ill. I need/WANT relief.

It kind of bothers me that I don’t know why this is happening. I believe that everything has a reason yet we cannot figure this out. I tend to blame everything on my chronic illness so I am going to do that again. I don’t know how but this is the RA’s fault! Here’s the thing, though. Plenty of females have inflammatory conditions, take the same medications I do, and do not experience such torrential menstrual cycles. Maybe this time it’s not the RA. I want to find the cause for this bleeding but mostly, I want a fix. I have had my fair share of periods and I am so over them. If I never had one again, I would be on cloud nine.

Hi, my name is Monica and I have RA.

Abstract Halloween | #nailart #neon

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As many may know, I detest Halloween. As a kid I had a very vivid imagination so anything spooky came to serious life for me. I don’t like dressing up for Halloween, I don’t like haunted houses, I don’t like scary movies. The only thing I enjoy is the large assorted bags of candy. (Want to hear a secret? I’m still eating Halloween candy from last year!)
Regardless of my personal feelings on Halloween, I kind of love the color scheme so I participate in some abstract style “Halloween” nail art. I have to say, my most recent one came out PERFECTLY. It took a bit of time to photograph because neons are notoriously difficult to capture and I still had to color correct my skin a little. Even though it has a bit of a green-ish hue to it, the polish colors are accurate (which is an accomplishment all on its own!)
What do you think? Do you like them as much as I do?? Let me know in the comments!

Abstract, Dry Brush Easy Halloween Nails with Orange Brushstrokes and Black Dots | Monica with RA Rheumatoid Arthritis Blogger

Base: China Glaze Delta Darlin’ (Trolls World Tour collection)

Details: China Glaze Orange Knockout (neon orange), Essie Blanc (white), Formula X Nails Naughty Newton (discontinued)


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Just Some of the Reasons I’m Stressed || #stress #disability

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Let’s start with the obvious. My medications are not working as well as they should so they cut out early (before my next dose) and I become fatigued and painful.

This has always been a problem but now that I am in school and I need to focus, study and retain information, it’s just a bit harder to function properly when my body doesn’t cooperate.

My eyes are tired dry from Sjogren’s. I cannot read a computer screen or a device screens for long periods of time. I have to take frequent breaks which just eats away quickly at the day. I hate glasses and that I have to wear them all the time. I cannot wear contacts. I hate that I have to constantly push my glasses up the bridge of my nose. I hate that they fall off, especially when I look down or sweat. I hate that because they move around so much I get headaches. I hate glasses.
I hate that they don’t even make my contact prescription anymore. I have to buy them just slightly higher and lower than my actual prescription so I just can’t see. I hate that I have to wear glasses. I hate that I get headaches.
I hate that I wake up every morning with a sinus headache that carries through the day. I hate that I am on medications that cause these stupid sinus issues.
I hate that I wake up in pain. I hate that I am in pain every second of every day. I hate that this is my life.

I hate everyone who goes out without a mask and takes selfies with people who are not in their quaran-pod. Great, you social distance and wear a mask…but take it off for a photo? You’re an idiot and you’re the reason why this pandemic carries on the way it does. I hope you are not responsible for someone’s death; but, you probably are. Think about that for a second.
You ARE definitely responsible for me not being able to go back to work safely. So thanks.
I hate that I didn’t get my stimulus check. I hate that I make less than 50% of what I made before. Money is tight. I have four pets to care for and now I have to pay for school.
I wonder every day is this really going to be the rest of my life. A life where I am enslaved to my body. A life where I hate waking up every morning because I have to put on glasses that don’t fit and feel pain with every movement and hate everyone because they’re stupid and selfish. How sustainable is this type of life? It’s a not a good life. It’s not even an okay life. But, I just have to deal and get on with it. Wow. Can you imagine, waking up and not looking forward to anything because it all sucks?

Yeah, that’s pretty damn pathetic. But, it is what it is. And that’s just too bad for me.

Also, this new WordPress is real shit. WordPress, why did you have to fix it? The other editor was perfectly fine. In fact, it was perfect compared to this mess of a situation. I would switch platforms but I paid for this domain for a year. ::Shrug::

Hi, my name is Monica and I have RA.

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Red Velvet Sugar-Spin Nails | #nailart #sugarspin

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I love painting my nails and doing nail art but sitting down and doing them has been like pulling teeth during this pandemic. I think the reluctance comes from how much I wash my hands right now. I already do a lot of that because of the pets but now it’s twice or three times as much and nail polish does not stand a chance.
I change my nails often but I do want wear them for at least a couple of days. LOL.
That being said, sometimes, the call for nail art is just too strong and I have to give in. I had an overwhelming urge to do a sugar-spin (which I do have to take off immediately because it takes too long to dry). ‘Why do you do it then, Monica??’ You may ask. Well, there is something really soothing about this technique for me. It’s my favorite. But, let me say in no uncertain terms. It is NOT an arthritis-friendly technique. Let me repeat, this technique is not arthritis-friendly. As much as I would love to do it all the time, my poor swollen, rheumatoid arthritis-ridden fingers can’t manage it.

It’s been a while since I last did this kind of nail art but I am thrilled with the result. It looks like a delectable red velvet cupcake with frosting and sprinkles! What do you think? Do you like it?

If you are interested, scroll down to see the products I used and watch a short tutorial on how I do my sugar-spin nails!

Red Velvet Cupcakes with Sugar-spin Frosting Nail Art, Sugar Spin Nail Art with Wet n Wild and Zoya Nail Polishes | Monica with RA Rheumatoid Arthritis Blog

Base: Wet n Wild Burgundy Frost

Details: Zoya Aspen (sugar-spin), China Glaze #thisismystreet (sprinkles)

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Satisfied Sunday 8/16/20 | #gratitude

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What are you grateful for this week?

Satisfied Sunday Gratitude Blog Post | Monica with RA Rheumatoid Arthritis Chronic Illness Blogger

Me? Sunsilk is still alive. I took her to the vets soon after Marmalade passed away because I noticed symptoms I didn’t notice when both cats were alive (they shared resources so it was sometimes hard to see pet-specific issues). I found out that Sunsilk’s heart and kidneys were deteriorating very quickly and the vet anticipated that she wouldn’t last six months. Well, we’re there and Sunsilk is still here.

Satisfied Sunday Gratitude Blog Post | Monica with RA Rheumatoid Arthritis Chronic Illness Blogger

I, of course, could be writing a “RIP” at the end of this week, we don’t know. But, as of RIGHT NOW, Sunsilk is still alive and kicking…literally.

Satisfied Sunday Gratitude Blog Post | Monica with RA Rheumatoid Arthritis Chronic Illness Blogger

Hi, my name is Monica and I have RA.


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Satisfied Sunday | 8/9/20 #gratitude

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What are you grateful for this week?

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Me? While the pandemic has changed our entire trajectory as a species, it made it so I can return to school a little earlier than anticipated. Given my immuno-compromised state, I can take my classes safely from home (which is not in the same state as my school). I planned to return in a year or so. My father and I began discussing the logistics of moving, what would we do with the pets, etc. but now, we have a little more time to figure it all out!…and I can start school!

Hi, my name is Monica and I have RA.


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What You Don’t See 7/4/20 | #invisibleillness #rheumatoidarthritis

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What You Don't See Chronic Illness Invisible Symptoms Rheumatoid Arthritis | Monica with RA Beauty BloggerWhat You See…

This photo was taken Friday or Saturday night before I went out. I applied a dark brown eyeshadow over my lid (to minimize the appearance of swelling), smudged an eye pencil across the top and bottom lash line, and added a couple of swipes of mascara. A well-placed highlighter and lip gloss revived my pale countenance and made me look a bit more alive.

What You Don’t See…

Behind the forced smile and bright eyes, I was beyond fatigued. I wasn’t in a flare or in a lot of pain but my body was just spent. What people didn’t realize is it took a lot more energy than the average able-bodied person, to complete simple tasks. By the end of the day, I was tired and ready for bed.

‘Cancel your plans,’ you say! Ah, if it were that simple. Occasionally, I have to show face at hangouts.
When a healthy person says they are too tired their friends might say “that’s okay! Next time!”
When an ill person says they’re too tired their friends ASSUME the person will bail the next time, and the invites stop.

I have to make an insane amount of effort to socialize. It sucks sometimes because I like being around people but it just takes energy I just don’t have!


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