Tuesday, September 3, 2013

What RA does

As I approach my one year anniversary of being diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis and fibromyalgia (because I didn't have enough ailments prior to then), I can reflect back. Although my mother has had RA for more than 20 years and I thought I was fairly educated on the subject, its different when you are the one living with the disease.

To be fair, I will say I had long since moved out of my parent's house when my mother was diagnosed so I was exposed to less of the day to day issues. For many of those years, I was busy with a career which involved lots of travel and pressures. But now that it is affecting me, I find I have learned a lot more.

I do not know what the standard protocols were for treating RA when she was diagnosed in 1989, but now the protocol is to treat it strongly and quickly to prevent many of the side effects and degeneration that accompanies the disease.

I was promptly put on prednisone for the short term, as a quick acting treatment, and plaquenile, as a long term treatment, and found out I was allergic to both. Then I was switched to methotrexate oral, dose upped, and finally switched to injections in the spring. That was until my compromised immune system caused my husband's mild cold to give me a double ear infection and put me out of circulation for two weeks while I recovered. I had to go off methotrexate to treat my ear infections with antibiotics.

Finally, I have been back on weekly injections for about six weeks and am starting to feel normal, or as normal as I ever will be, again.

Over the year, I have learned all sorts of fun things about RA and how it affects the body:
And the treatment for fibromyalgia? Its just treating the pain so we are trying to manage that. But now I have both fibro fog and chemobrain so I can claim brainlessness regularly. I have problems remembering words and names these days and am constantly misnaming things and people.

What do I have to look forward to with RA and fibro? I have blood tests every eight weeks to monitor my blood levels, particularly liver function as methotrexate is hard on your liver. I bruise very easily and every cut, scrape, or bruise takes forever to heal.

In the meantime, as life gives me lemons I keep on working on that lemonade.

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