Monday, January 12, 2015

...of big changes

Let's start with a cute picture of Abram and Selah in Spain:



I posted earlier today while I was waiting to see a rheumatologist in Dubai. I had been referred by the ortho doctor I had seen in Fujairah on multiple occasions over the last few months for my finger and back problems. My sister is a dermatologist and knows that I have had psoriasis for years and she also thought I needed to see a rheumatologist. 

Just in case you aren't aware, psoriasis is basically an itchy skin condition. Basically. But there's actually more to it than that (which I wasn't even aware of until very recently.) It is a chronic auto immune problem. My body's immune system (for some undetermined reason) attacks healthy skin cells and it results in itchy patches of skin. Pretty awesome, right? In about 20% of people with skin psoriasis, the immune system will also start attacking the joints, which is why I found myself in a very nice rheumatologist's office this afternoon. 

To make a long visit short: After a lot of questions and some physical examination, he told me that my psoriasis, fingers and back (as well as some other symptoms) all indicated psoriatic arthritis and he started to talk to me about treatment options. There was talk of daily pills or weekly injections, regularly monitoring my liver and kidney function because of side effects, and being careful because my immune system would be at least mildly suppressed and living with three children could be difficult. Quinn and I had talked about all of this, because we were pretty sure we knew what the diagnosis would be and one thing we wanted to try and avoid was immediate medication.

We have heard of many people who were able to go into almost complete remission through diet, exercise and life changes. I, personally, have a sweet new friend that I got to talk to today about that exact testimony. We really want to try that first, but honestly, it will take a lot of work in general and especially a lot of work over here. We will need a pool membership (which is expensive here) so that I can do regular low impact exercise. We will need to grocery shop regularly in Dubai (1.5 hours away from where we live). We will need to get regular part time help with cleaning and cooking so that I won't be stressed trying to do those things while homeschooling.

Oh, yeah, the stress. One of the definitive causes of flare ups of this kind of arthritis is stress. It's been quite the year for our family and I won't blame it all on Simon, but there's a reason his nickname has become High-me Si-me (he's our little high maintenance babe). My stress level with three kids, home schooling, trying to keep a wonderfully large house relatively clean and my wonderfully picky family relatively well fed has really taken a toll on my emotions, my mood, and (apparently) my body. 

All of this to say that Quinn and I have decided that we will be returning to the States for a little while in order to try and reduce the stress and get the help we need to make these big life changes and sustain them when we return. We love Fujairah. We love our church family, the culture, the people and we want to thrive here. And to do that we need to get some rest and tools to come back here ready to keep me healthy, active, and able to take care of the little people God has so amazingly blessed us with.

Thank y'all so much for the encouraging words and prayers through facebook and email. It's sobering to be only 31 and faced with the reality of a deteriorating body. But it's a fact of this life isn't it? Sickness, pain, injury, debilitation, death. As a child of God, there is a definite peace in all of this. I believe in his sovereignty and trust that He really is working all of this together for my good.

"So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, 
our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light 
momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal 
weight of glory beyond all comparison,"
(2 Cor 4: 16-17)