A Crick In Me Bones

I thought I was losing it. Going absolutely bonkers. There was this pain and it was sometimes sharp, sometimes dull and achy. Sometimes it disappeared altogether. Other times it had needle-like pinpoint accuracy and a sudden onset that would take my breath away.

It had this incredible mobility! It moved around. One moment on my shoulder, throbbing and aching. Suddenly on my hip, forcing me to slow my stride and sit awhile. Then, out of nowhere, an ache in my knee-knocking me off balance! I'd rub it over and over again hoping to calm it with a tender touch.

Bruising, joint pain, and fatigue

I told my family doctor about the fatigue and how it interrupted my daily activity. I showed the bruises that appeared for no good reason and forced me to wear long sleeves on the hottest of days. I was left mute about this phantom joint pain. I had no words.

I didn't mention it to anyone at the time. It sounded crazy even to me! A magical and diabolical pain that comes and goes as it pleases, changes all the time and moves from one place to another? Bonkers. So I kept quiet about it and loaded myself up on ibuprofen to get through the days.

First visit with my new oncologist

It was my first visit with my second oncologist. He reviewed my blood work and gave me a thorough physical. I winced when he checked my reflexes. "Joint pain?" he asked, "Does it move around?"

Bingo! A light went off in my head. I nodded and the words that had been pent up for a year and a half came flooding out of my mouth. The relief was so palpable that I shed tears! He didn't seem to mind and nodded his head understandingly. Then he explained.

It was called arthralgia. We compared notes.

As stiff as the Tin Man

It can occur in any joint, at any time whether I am moving around or at rest. It can make me as stiff as the Tin Man in the Wizard of Oz! It can be obvious, like when my joint is hot to the touch and tinged red. And it can be manic, like when I try to outrun it with activity. Or it can be subtle, like when I lay in a hot bath trying to melt it away.

My oncologist explained how leukemia cells can gather in a joint. Any joint at any time. This can be painful. And the bad news? It doesn't necessarily go away as we go through cancer treatment. It can actually be aggravated and a side effect of some chemotherapies and other medications used to treat cancer. Double whammy!

Something else I have to live with

Ok. I had a name for this. I had a cause for this. I had to resign myself to the fact that I had to live with this. My oncologist asked me if I had ever met anyone with rheumatoid arthritis. The symptoms were somewhat similar.

I thought back to my grandmother. She made the best homemade bread from scratch. She would kneed the dough with the full force of her tiny frame. She'd have an almost trance-like devotedness to her routine until...wham... she'd exclaim, "I've got a crick in me bones!" Her face would wince and she'd take to her rocking chair padded for comfort.

Tell it like it is

I now understood. This wasn't crazy and I wasn't going loopy. I could find comfort measures to deal with this. And like my Nan, I had a crick in me bones.

Perhaps you've felt this too. And maybe you've felt unbalanced by it in more than one way. I'm here to tell you that you aren't losing all your marbles and, like my grandmother, sometimes it's ok to just tell it like it is.

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