Thursday, October 18, 2012

Totally Random Thoughts

Blue Ridge Parkway near its beginning at Cherokee, NC
October 15, 2012

Following the introspection found in my last two posts, decided today needed to be simple and direct.  And BTW, thanks so much for all the comments, support and encouragement given to those last couple of posts.  Most importantly, I hope they've encouraged you.   Without further ado, here's the latest Gains and Losses reported through Sharon's eyes!!

You may have noticed not much has been said about hiking lately.  Truthfully, there have been days I just plain haven't felt like it and other days when the thoughts of how I feel the day FOLLOWING a hike have kept me off the trail as well.   The passion to hike never subsides, so I've tried to use wisdom and prudence by hiking shorter trails and have made much effort to continue lightening the load in the pack I carry.  I am extremely safety conscious and probably carry way too much in my pack, but knew that to protect my neck, back and shoulders, some things were going to have go.  Fortunately, the people with whom I hike are as safety conscious as I am and are carrying those "essentials."  No need for duplication.  Plus with the cooler temps, less water is needed.  Unfortunately with the cooler temps, MORE coffee is needed.  What to do....what to do???

The merry-go-round saga of revolving Rheumatoid Arthritis meds continues, however there is hope.  Happy to say I'm finally totally tapered off the prednisone and with that, many nasty problems disappeared within a few days.  I've also been given permission to restart Enbrel  at my discretion.   Enbrel was the medication that put my RA into remission in 2001 and kept me there until early 2011.  It appeared to have lost its efficacy and had begun giving me some nasty headaches so we stopped it for good this past July.  And that is when the REAL problems began.  My rheumatologist and I are hoping the break will have "shocked" my body into remembering how well the Enbrel worked for so many years.  We'd hoped to keep me off of it for four months and I almost made it.  With so much success before, I am so hoping it will work again.  

Yesterday, I was a responsible patient and gladly was threatened into having my five-year colonoscopy.  I'm one of those who had a few benign polyps when I had my screening colonoscopy so was placed on the five-year repeat plan rather than ten which is the norm.  No, the prep isn't pleasant, but today I am happy to report that he found no polyps at all this time.  Really good news as it's my understanding if you have them once, you are more likely to have them again.  I also asked him to do an upper scope since I'd been having so much severe heartburn from the anti-infammatory meds.  Thankfully, he said everything looked great there as well.  

Bill and I had a lovely, but very quiet fall break in beautiful Asheville, North Carolina.  How can one go wrong when staying for three days where this is the view from the sofa.................

Rocky River Cabin - Asheville, NC

and this is the view you wake up to each morning......................

It wasn't one of those fall breaks where I can report all kinds of exciting things we did.   To be honest, we spent a lot of time sitting on the porch gazing at the river.   And when it started raining, we went in, switched on the wonderful fireplace and gazed at the river.   One night, Bill grilled some amazing steaks and I fixed Tami's Baked Acorn Squash.  We ate outside on the deck and gazed at the river.  When we got home Monday afternoon, we were exhausted from all that gazing at the river.

We are heading into what appears to be an incredible stretch of perfect weather condition and enjoying autumn foliage as it works its way down into the lower elevations.  I'm off next week for another few days in western North Carolina for more fall hiking, so next post will probably be from there.   In the meantime, enjoy some fall pictures from my Great Smoky Mountains in all their splendor.  

What's the fall foliage update from your neck of the woods?


  1. We've got trees in color, but it's not brilliant this year... it's all sort of dull. Rusts instead of reds, etc. I'm glad you're feeling a bit better!

  2. Oh - I can identify! With the heartburn part. I have self diagnosed esophagitis and am seeing a GI person in just over a week. I am definitely in the "my body is falling apart" stage of my life:( We are off to LA and will be heading to REI to shop for hiking boots. I'll think of you:)

  3. Hmm, fall foliage. A tree around the corner is starting to turn. Does that count? :) (Crossville/Cookeville areas were gorgeous last week--still not full peak, but lovely all the same.)

    Fingers crossed, candles lit, and prayers sent that this med switch works!

  4. I'm also sending prayers that old meds work again... Glad everything went okay with the colonoscopy!

    As for foliage...same as you of course ;) I will say even here in the lower valley, in Maryville, this week the trees are turning fast! It's beautiful, and I know this year's color is so much more present than last year.

  5. Here in Ohio we are having the best fall color ever! It's been absolutely gorgeous and they have lasted longer than usual. I don't want it to end.
    Hope the medication works for you again.

  6. I am glad you are making progress with the RA. I'll pray that the Embrel works for you.

    Things are beginning to get pretty here. To me, things seem to turn a dull green before the fiery autumn colors burst out. We've had some great days temperature wise. Thunderstorms blew through last night brining the cooler temps.

  7. The fall foliage looks great where you live. Nice photos! Here in Oregon, it's going strong in the high country, but just getting started here in town. A couple more weeks and it will get good down here.

  8. Sorry you are having so much pain Sharon. It's difficult when it phsyical ailments alter your lifestyle. Prayers that the medication will once again work for you.

    It's a little early here but a few leaves are just starting to turn color. We are still having warm temperatures so mother nature thinks it's still summer.

    I have an acorn squash sitting on my kitchen counter waiting to be roasted! Hope you enjoyed it as much as I do.

    Blessings and safe travels.

  9. BEAUTIFUL Fall Pics!! What a lovely time!

  10. I hope the medication holiday from the Enbrel worked and it gives you the results it used to.

    Your fall colors are lovely! We have passed peak here, but still some gorgeous trees :D

  11. I so hope and pray that the Embrel will work for you again. So glad to hear about your colonoscopy results as I also am on the five year plan due to polyps.

    Up here in Oregon there is some lovely fall color. It is barely started in California.

  12. Great news about not having the polyps. Hoping the Meds work out. Hang in there. Loving your photos, as always. Karen P

  13. So glad to hear that the results of your colonoscopy were good...and glad that you got that over with! Here's hoping that the Enbrel will once again be effective for your RA and well-tolerated.

    And I hope you're able to hike again soon, Sharon---I know how important that is to your well-being. Tom and I are really looking forward to our little staycation next week. We hope to do some hiking, too, if his knee holds up.

  14. Hope the results at my colonoscopy next month are as good as yours! I'm pretty sure it's a case of fructose malabsorption that has me so miserable these days and I'm working on diet modifications, but have to rule out other nasty things as well. Hope your hiking goes well!

  15. I'm so grateful that you're feeling better, Sharon. And YAY for getting off the pred AND getting that colonoscopy over with (whew!) My Mom just had hers today. You're right - not pleasant; but she says WAY more tolerable than the way they used to be.
    Our fall colors are just about done. Lots of rain has stripped the trees. We did have a good run, though.

  16. Thanks so much for telling us about the Foothills Parkway... You'll have to check out my blog tomorrow. The colors were AWESOME and we enjoyed being there so much. We did hike to the top of of tower --but it was a little hazy up there today. All in all, it was a GREAT day... Thanks again.

    Hope you have a good time in NC. Looks like your little vacation to the Asheville area was GREAT.


  17. Our fall color is pretty good this year, but nothing like that!