Saturday, January 02, 2021

Lupus Saga part 1

Time to start a new chapter in this book, eh?

A year ago I went in for blood tests after feeling unwell for a couple of months with what I wrongly believed were allergies. The next morning the doctor ordered me to the emergency room because she suspected my kidneys had failed. As it happened, my body had gone into kidney and heart failure due to lupus, which I may have been suffering from for a number of years without knowing it.

The kidney failure nearly killed me, and the cure had its own problems. The steroid that kept me alive gave me temporary diabetes as well as inflating my face to balloon-size. The first attempt at bringing my kidneys back to full function resulted in massive rashes and worse, forcing me into chemo. Luckily, the chemo worked, and I have been slowly recovering the past few months. Now the lupus has become my main issue.

Not a lot has happened as far as my health goes in the last month since I last updated. I kept thinking I would update when I had news - then I didn't have news. I still don't. My next appointment isn't for another week, and although I've had a blood test, the results - that I can understand - just show more improvement as expected and nothing dramatic.

I have good days and bad days. My hands hurt all the time, no matter what I'm doing. They are worse in the mornings. My legs are good at times and bad at other times, with my knees having the worst issues. Thankfully, my house has been made as friendly as possible to my condition, so I'm not having too many difficulties getting around and doing daily tasks like feeding myself. My long-suffering hubby, Eric, has also been able to help on those days I just cannot manage.

My biggest difficulty is keeping myself busy both mentally and physically. I've been playing a lot of video games, which isn't ideal, but does keep my mind going. I use an exercise bike for physical movement, but I feel like I need more. I haven't been out walking because of the virus, as well as the general difficulty getting out and just walking.

I'm still waiting for the new medication to have its desired effect, although I think it's beginning to work. I have had a few more good days in the last week than bad days. And the goal is for my lupus to stop attacking my joints, which is what happens on a good day. It's still too soon to be sure, though. Another few weeks is when the studies I read said it would become obvious. I would cross my fingers, but that hurts.

In other news, Inkwell has his own merchandise. Mark Monlux created RedBubble shops for his line of people's cats, and Inkwell is on it (with my permission). I haven't been able to buy any of it yet, but my sister purchased a couple and has been amusing me with photos of Inkwell merch around the house. The real cat, meanwhile, has continued to make my legs his favorite daytime cat bed.

CBS News made a short video tribute to PBS, and hubby-Eric actually appears in it! He's about 90 seconds into the piece, sitting at a phone bank while our friend William talks to Dalek Rainier.

As our Centurylink internet service has been degrading ever since Centurylink took over and bought the original company we signed up with, we finally made the hard decision to move to another service. I don't like moving internet providers for a lot of reasons, not the least of which was needing new hardware to go from DSL to Cable internet. I ended up buying a new coax cable and a new router, but frankly the advantages are truly worth it. The new internet, from Spectrum, is on average about 15 times faster than the old. But most importantly for Eric's teaching job, it doesn't keep dropping the connection. Centurylink had gotten so bad as to drop our service a couple of times a day. And while most of the outages were in the evening when Eric wasn't teaching, not all of them were. Since signing up with Spectrum, I haven't noticed any disconnects.

The decision to upgrade our internet has had another unforeseen effect. I'd been being encouraged by Sophie Fatal to try streaming with Twitch, but knew our internet couldn't handle it. Heck, there were days I couldn't *watch* Twitch because of outages and the incredibly slow speed. But with a fast internet, I started to think about streaming seriously. On December 31st, I woke up in such pain that I couldn't do my usual stuff online, or even play my game. What I could do was read online, so I read about how to get started streaming on Twitch. And before the end of the year I managed to stream three very short test streams, and one longer stream. I deleted the test streams and left the longer one up. Then on the first day of 2021, I streamed my favorite game, DC Universe Online, for a bit over 30 minutes. So. I guess I can call myself a streamer now.

Another thing that fast internet did was finish my online backup. It was due to finish in February with the old internet. It finished with the new internet in less than a week. My entire hard drive backed up online. Nice.

In other news, I found a couple of cat-related mods in Fallout 4. One, called Craftable Cats, allows you to make cats for your post-apocalyptic settlements. Naturally I went a little nuts on them and made a few too many. This didn't last, of course. I had to go back to an earlier save because having that many cats just KILLS the framerate on the computer. But it was fun anyway. The other mod is Immortal Cats for those of us that cannot, for whatever reason, bear the sight of a dead cat even in a game. Despite the description in the mod's notes, this did lead to an amusing incident when a robot started attacking cats that were weaving around its feet.

In family news, while I started the year in the hospital, my mother ended the year in the hospital. No, she didn't get COVID (at least I hope not), but instead somehow managed to break her back. I've questioned my siblings, but we aren't sure which one of us stepped on a crack. While she's putting up a good show, I know she's in a lot of pain. I hope she's able to get home soon.