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:
- This is how RA affects the rest of your body
- It can also cause hoarseness and other laryngeal symptoms.
- RA can have a significant impact on work and relationships.
- Its not just the disease but the treatments that can cause problems with your skin - ones I have include Raynaud's syndrome, bruising, red dots, and increase sun sensitivity.
- My favorite is how RA affects both your hands and feet.
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.