Add another Autoimmune illness-Vasculitis

I pay for this site so that I can keep the kimmstree.com address, but I haven’t written on here in three years. Part of the reason is because life got really hectic; now it is less so. Part of it is that I couldn’t decide what kind of blog this would be, but I think it has pretty much been a health blog [impending menopause, thyroid, RA]. I toyed with the idea of using it as a platform for my side gig selling books for Usborne, but then, I am so disenchanted with the MLM model, that I just can’t.

So, here’s a quick update: My RA morphed into Vasculitis. I’m convinced it was due to stress from my job [some Shakespearean parents whose constant litigation caused many so much extra work and hassle]. What that looked like was petechiae on my lower legs and hemorrhages on my retina. Because my sister had been hospitalized with LV and had to go on months of Cytotoxan, my doc put me on the infusions Robin was taking: Rituxan- and things got better. I take the infusions every 5 months- previously it was six months, but I was having breakthrough pain and symptoms, so she shortened it. This drug replaced Humira with a side of MTX. I stopped taking the Methotrexate due to a host of side effects, as well as the Plaquenil and replaced all with Rituxan. Now the infusions are a Godsend for the RA, but the vasculitis tries so hard to slip back in. I am a week from my first of two infusions this month and I am having symptoms which I attribute to the Vasculitis: sore ears [a weird aural fullness that is a painful ache], fevers, aching around my neck, scalp pain, itching.

I had planned to retire at age 60, which is a little over 2 years away, but I cashed in my chips this year, a victim of Covid19. I didn’t get Covid, but my sister did and she was on a ventilator for over 100 days. That will be a whole other entry entirely. I went to work from home March 2020 doing what teachers do- making it work. Spring of 2020 was hard, but the 20/21 school year was even more difficult still. Many people have no respect for what this was like. They saw teachers sitting on a sofa at home and, we were, but we were there for 16 hours a day. We only got up to take care of pressing personal needs. I taught EC, so I had to create content for my students that was engaging enough to keep their attention. It would take me hours to create content that could be delivered in less than 30 minutes. I learned to use CANVAS, delivered group and individual instruction, managed staff, made packets, trained parents on how to use all of the new platforms, delivered items to student homes, and continued to keep up with data, IEPs, and everything else the district threw at me. I just could not do it again this year. I wanted to hang in there for full retirement, but I looked at it through a risk to benefit ratio and then cashed out. I have absolutely no regrets.

I feel like it will be the Vasculitis that gets me in the end, not the RA, and I do not want to waste any time. I am taking a writing course, writing, working out, soul searching, and just generally grateful for every single moment. The problem with working as hard as we were all working last year is that you don’t even have time to be grateful, it’s like swimming from Cuba to Miami with sharks chasing you. I love each morning and I go to bed happy every night. I am still working for the group home writing plans and have taken on a part time supervision role, but for right now that is enough. I am also having fun volunteering at the Carolina Theatre downtown.

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