I have been selected to share my arthritis story on behalf of Lifescript.com with my viewers, Lifescript.com provides medical information, tips and advice that is all written by professional health writers, experts and physicians.Websites life Lifecript which has a Rheumatoid Center has useful information on Rheumatoid Arthritis that has helped me figure out the answers to many questions I have had along the way!
I have been on a very long, journey with my Rheumatoid Arthritis it has been 3 long years of pain, medicine trials, and figuring out how to manage my disease the best I can and still be able to take care of my family. I originally was feeling sore all the time, tired and sick, I would not be able to walk for sometimes up to a week after doing a good amount of walking. My joints would become red, hot, and swollen. My joints were getting so bad that within a few months they were damaging joints so bad that I was scheduling surgeries to get them fixed faster then I could have cared for. My podiatrist (foot doctor) said I needed to get on some DMARDs (Disease-modifying-rheumatic-drugs) to halt the disease from progressing any further, and to prevent from getting twisted joints and disfigured hands and feet if I wanted it to ever end because the arthritis was attacking my joints faster then they could fix them. I suppose bunions on my 4 outside toe joints before I was even 30 years old should have been a good indicator…
I decided it was time to start seeing our family Rheumatologist. I started seeing him and of course the first few appointments were lots of talking and tons of labs that were drawn. In the end we found out that my CCP levels were beyond elevated, not even just elevated they were through the roof. I didn’t know what exactly that meant at the time but have done a bunch of research from sites like Lifescript Rheumatoid Center and found out that this was not a very good thing. As stated on the Lifescript website “people who test positive for CCP are 90%-95% certain to have RA” So I was officially diagnosed with not only Osteo Arthritis but also Rheumatoid Arthritis.
Between the positive CCP test, and the damage I had started to see quickly getting very bad I decided it was time to start treatments. All the research I have done states that early treatment is the best way to prevent the damage I decided that I needed to start taking meds to prevent more damage. So I started on 20mg of prednisone daily, and was put onto sulfasalazine, this treatment did not help a whole lot so we moved onto stronger meds to hopefully start to see a stop to the damage being seen in a lot of my joints.
I was then put onto Methotrexate, which is a cancer drug and is a very strong drug to be taking. Because it is such a strong drug there are things I have to do just because I am on this medicine, I go in monthly for blood work to make sure there is no underlying problem being caused by the medications, I also only take the medicine once a week but I take the strongest dose available for any disease except cancer.
If you read the information about this medicine it can be pretty scary especially when the doctors are planning on having you take it indefinitely. After starting to take the medicine I did have extreme nausea that came along with taking it, but that went away after a few months of taking it, the good news was that the pain in my joints had finally gone down quite a bit! I have now been taking Methotrexate for almost 2 years, I actually wrote a post the first time I took it, and an update to them meds. Because this drug has many bad side effects, 1 of which for me has been very bad cases of pneumonia what is referred to as Methotrexate Pneumonia, I have to take 5 different medicines just to counteract the side effects. Also while taking Methotrexate you cannot drink ANY alcohol (not that we really drank any way) but this has meant not even a glass of wine on New Years Eve and for the last 2 years I have not even had a drop of alcohol!!
~I have to take folic acid daily which helps with (doesn’t stop) the mouth and scalp ulcers.
~I take calcium and VitD every day to help to make sure I don’t get osteoporosis from the bad side effects of the medicines.
~Every other day I take an antibiotic to prevent methotrexate pneumonia.
Even though we were seeing some improvement with my arthritis the doctor was still not happy with how fast my joints were detoriating. So we decided to all Enbrel, an injection I had to give myself weekly. Now let me tell you I have given myself insulin injections in my stomach for many months while pregnant, had spinal taps, even epidurals, never have I had a more painful shot then the Enbrel injections. Matter of fact each week when I would get my injections I would have to have my husband do it in fear I would pull away when the pain started and my stomach would end up with a very big bruise wherever the shot was given. In the end I figured it was the shots or my joints becoming more deformed, getting more nodules, and hurting more and I wanted the joint pain to stop so I took it every week for almost a year. That was until I started having some major neurological problems after restarting the meds after a BAD case of MultiLobar Pneumonia, the doctor decided the Enbrel was causing the neurological problems and said we needed to stop the Enbrel right away.
My next journey has been with monthly IV infusions of Orencia for the last 6 months. The infusions are so far working and I only have to go in monthly to the infusion center and get a 30 minute infusion of the medicine through an IV. The side effects of this medicine haven’t been so bad and the IV’s don’t hurt nearly as bad as the Enbrel injections.
I have now started embarking on a new journey, trying to get off as many of the medicines as I can. I have noticed I am taking 1 medicine to cure one thing and have to take 2 more to combat the symptoms that come from that medicine. I am still on the strong DMARDS but have dramatically cut down on what I am taking. I will share more on this new journey in a future post! But even with this journey Lifescript Rheumatoid Center has been such an amazing resource for that along with many other topics.
Visit Lifescript.com for useful information on Rheumatoid Arthritis and other prevalent health conditions related to Women’s Health.
Here are 4 great posts from Lifescript.com about Rheumatoid Arthritis:
- Top Rheumatologists on treating RA Complications
- Stages of Rheumatoid Arthritis.
- Anti-Inflammatory Diet Tips for Rheumatoid Arthritis.
- Treatments for Rheumatoid Arthritis.
Lifescript’s Rheumatoid Arthritis Hearth Center features tips, quizzes, recipes, and articles – all by professional heath writers, experts and physicians – covering common RA symptoms, foods that compose an anti-inflammatory diet, new RA therapies and more. Please visit the Lifescript Heath Center on Rheumatoid Arthritis for more information.
This is a sponsored post by me on behalf of Lifescript.com.