I don’t want to

March 4, 2015

I don’t want to have to get dressed and go out into frigid 7 degree weather now just to pick up a new Vicodin prescription when I’m not feeling well. But, I have to. Remember the good old days (before October) when your doctor could just call in the prescription to your pharmacy? Those days are dead. And I’m really crabby about it. I’m also annoyed by how inconvenient it is to drive and park at my clinic; it’s not a quick and easy trip. It’s a huge hassle. I hope a cup of coffee can give me a little burst of energy to leave the house.

In addition to the daily RA maladies, I’ve been sick with an upper respiratory virus thing since last Thursday–coughing, choking on snot, head about to explode, etc. So I REALLY do not want to have to drive all the way over to the clinic just to physically pick up this piece of paper.

I am thankful that I’m able to even have access to pain medication when many people in my situation aren’t so lucky. All right, I’ll shut up now so I can go get my meds and hopefully do something productive today that isn’t related to managing my health, since I did stay home from work.

But, I really don’t want to move.

Anemia and fatigue

March 4, 2015

I just found out that my hemoglobin level is low again (9). This could explain some things. Like, how I’ve been feeling so dragged-down tired all the time. But it’s often so hard to know what the source of the fatigue is. RA? Sinus problems? Lack of sleep? Depression? Anemia? Pain? Stress? ALL?

So, I’m back popping the iron pills. I hope this helps some.

Flare

February 8, 2015

painpainpain

February, 2015

 

proudpain

I saw this written in graffiti on the side of a building one day when I was riding the subway in November. I wished I could’ve taken a photo of the original, but instead I grabbed my little notebook out of my purse and scrawled this down quickly.

To whomever wrote this quote, I thank you. It’s beautiful, much appreciated, and often times quite needed.

Pain without pain relief

February 3, 2015

I’ve been having a flare-up for the last three days or so in both feet and ankles, hands, and my right wrist. My shoulder too, I think (sometimes it’s so hard to tell which pain is which). And, in great frustration (and pain), I’m out of pain medication. Once again these new, stricter FDA regulations on narcotics are causing me additional and unnecessary suffering. And I know I’m not the only one.

So, sorry for complaining, but I think this issue needs to be talked about. I’d also like to point out that if I had easier access to pain treatment (which is obviously legitimate and not abusive), I would not be missing work this week. I’m losing. My bank account is losing. Society/the economy is losing. And my sweet kindergarten students are losing their teacher.

Here’s a good opinion piece I read today from The Boston Globe by Donald N.S. Unger:

“My Chronic Pain Isn’t A Crime”

This hits home, unfortunately.

Actemra (tocilizumab)

January 31, 2015

infusion3

Receiving my Actemra infusion, 1/26/15

 

Monday, January 26, I had my first Actemra infusion. I’m not sure how to feel or react to this, exactly. Hooray? Congrats to me? Holy shit? THIS BETTER WORK? In any case, it’s a new chapter in my RA life. Actemra is now the fifth biologic drug I’ve tried since I first began biologic injections/infusions, starting with Enbrel in autumn 2002. I can’t believe I’ve been on them that long! Luckily (I’ve been very lucky) I haven’t had problems with side effects with any of these still fairly new medications.

Before beginning Actemra on Monday, I received bi-monthly Remicade infusions for about seven years (for the second time). I had been on Remicade once before from approximately 2004-2007, then I switched to Humira injections because I moved to France briefly to teach English (my doctor and I decided it would be easier to do injections in a foreign country rather than trying to sort out getting infusions while abroad). When I returned home to Minneapolis from France, I switched to monthly infusions of Orencia, basically because I really hated giving myself shots; I never got used to doing it. I can’t remember how long I stayed on Orencia, but my rheumatologist and I decided that if I was going to stick with I.V. infusions, Remicade seemed to work a bit better for me. So after a brief time on Orencia, back to Remicade it was.

A few months ago my rheumatologist and I finally decided that it was time to change my RA treatment and try a new biologic. Remicade just didn’t seem to be working that well anymore. I was on prednisone more often than I wasn’t due to frequent and stubborn flare-ups. One of our main goals for my treatment has always been to stay off of prednisone. And now that I try to remember, I think it’s been at least a few years since I’ve been off of it consistently for more than a few months at a time.

So! While starting a new medication can be scary and worrying, I’m also trying to be hopeful and positive that Actemra will be a good turning point in helping to stabilize my RA and maybe even put me into “remission” for the first time. I’m so ready to have a good long stretch of significantly decreased pain and flares and especially a nice lengthy period of NO PREDNISONE.

I hope this works.

Happy New Year!

January 4, 2015

dietcoke

Today is Day 1 of NO DIET COKE. And Day 1 of actively working on my New Year’s resolutions–or “intentions”–as I wrote about them in a recent article on RheumatoidArthritis.net.

I wrote about five main ones, but there are so many more. Maybe I should start a blog about resolutions and how many I can actually fulfill? Hmm. Not a bad idea although it could prove to be quite depressing when I resolve to, say, reply to all of my e-mails one day and instead wind up on the couch watching a marathon of The Love Boat. Um, not that I’ve done this before, of course.

But today, I did not drink one single can of Diet Coke! What did you do or not do?

Here’s the article if you want to read it:

“New Year’s Intentions”

I hope everyone has a VERY HAPPY New Year and that you will find success and joy following through with your own Intentions for 2015!

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