Saturday, June 18, 2016

6. Caught a cold.

I've caught a cold. Should be okay right?

Ok, keep going to work, cold gets worse; Take a day off.  Start to feel better, return to work. Cold gets worse, take a few more days off, take a week off, and take 2 weeks off.

Finally get back to work for a few days and my knees hurt so bad I cannot stand up.  What's going on? They are hot and swelling and I have over an hour to drive home. 

Get home, pick up my wife and off to the hospital. Turns out I have torn the quad tendons in both legs and will need to be in a Zimmer splint on the right knee for 5 weeks. Can’t walk or bend my knee. 5 weeks of not teaching turns into 11 weeks. Seems the leg is not healing and now my wrists and hands are starting to have problems.

Ok, things are going downhill again. It's ok, I’ve been through this before, just keep calm. I worked at a private school, so 10 days of sick leave are gone, unemployment insurance will cover me for 15 weeks.

My son is studying at university; my daughter is in college, my wife hopefully will find a part time job to carry us and social assistance said they will help too.  Ok, we get to keep the house this time, just need to cut back on any extras and we’ll get through this. 

Off to see a Rheumatologist. She is newly starting out in her own practice, but just finished two years working with the best doctor I have ever seen and recommends an ANCA blood test to rule out Granulomatosis with polyangitis (Wegners), an extremely uncommon disorder that causes inflammation of the blood vessels in your nose, sinuses, throat, lungs and kidneys. It couldn't be that right?

Guess who has Wegner’s. My ANCA levels are off the charts and this very new Rheumatologist doctor has found it very early and is sending me to see Dr. Kalidi. 

This man is the person you want to know if you have Wegners in Canada. How blessed can I be to have such a great doctor and his team? 

People come from miles around to be treated in Hamilton and I am 15 minutes away. Now, you would think someone with this doctor’s credentials might be arrogant or have a terrible bed side manner. No, not this man, he is great!

Answers all my questions, supports me, and takes away most of my fears. He even calls me at home on weekends when he gets a bad report from one of my tests and sets up lung specialists on a Saturday.

Ended up in the hospital for a week, but I’m alive.    

Ok, so I’m sick, it turns out very sick. But hey, I get Ontario Disability support; some Canada Pension money and my medical expenses are being covered.  My kids get to keep going to school and I get to buy a coffee every couple of weeks. Life is still good, I am alive, still got a place to live and I am getting great medical care.

Then I get my first real flair up from Wegners and the pain is incredible. Wow, back surgery without pain killers is nothing compared to every joint in your body hurting, all at the same time.  

It took two weeks for the Prednisone to reduce the swelling and ease the pain, and that put me at the limit of my ability to cope. For the first time in my life, I wished for death to ease the pain, but I’m still here and the pain passes, and knowing the pain will pass makes it easier to cope.

The next three flairs were worse still, but knowing you can get through, makes it easier. Over the last two and a half years my doctors, yep, now I have a team of 7+ specialists, have tried several different treatments, including 9 sessions of chemo and am now trying Rituximab. I have very high hope for this one, so I am sure I will get remission, to at least stop the flares, soon.    

Two years at home, can’t really go anywhere nor do much. I am stuck in a dark place looking out at the world.  I’ve watched almost every movie on Netflix already. We don’t have cable, it’s too expensive and I am bored out of my skull. My wife brings me a $3 dollar acrylic painting kit of an English country home.

The dollar store has two more kits, a bunch of roses and a cheery blossom tree; Ok painted them, now what? Middle of November 2016, buy blank canvas and a tube of red, yellow, blue and white quality paints and that’s how I started my journey of becoming the artist DAB

I am getting out of this box and moving on to something new! I hope you will accompany me along the way as I make these paintings and explain why and what I was thinking, or not thinking, at the time I made them.
See ya all next time!

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