Wednesday, February 16, 2011

More of the same with a slice of something new

Even when you think you are used to Rheumatoid Arthritis, and know your own body, they play sneaky little tricks on you. Though I've had five years of experience with this disease, I've struggled recently with a new problem and lots of the same old ones.

I decided to try again to taper my prednisone again. I knew, from my last attempt, that I should try to lower my dose by half a mg, and lower it every few weeks. I started my new dose and in a matter of a week, the heel of my left foot went completely numb. Over the last few weeks, my ankles had been my RA battlefield. They hurt all the time. They hadn't been swollen every day, but I knew that sometimes swelling isn't obvious. Yesterday they were noticeably swollen, and the numbness had extended to the top of my foot.

I gave up my prednisone taper today and bumped up to a higher than normal dose. I thought I'd feel much better today, but everything hurts. My ankles (and fingers and elbows) are swollen, and my foot is still numb. I'm going to continue the higher dose for a few days and go back to my old "prescribed" dose when I'm doing better.

I guess my rheumatologist is right and I need a new DMARD to get this disease under control. I hate taking all these drugs. I wonder if they are really doing anything at all (except the prednisone). I know that my toes are not all pointing in the right direction. I need a new thumb joint, and a bunionectomy. And, what is going on inside these swollen, painful joints. Will there be more joint replacements to come?

I don't want to deal with BOTH the damage this disease does to your body and the effects of the crazy drugs you have to take to live with it. If I could find a drug that would stop the damage, I'd want it bad. But, as I mentioned, I've had this disease for five years and am still trying (along with a good team of doctors) to find the right treatment for me.

Things aren't all gloomy, and I'm glad. I have a job that I love, even though it can be hard and stressful at times (well, maybe most of the time). I have a wonderful family, a home of my own and some wonderful furry friends.

I guess the biggest mood booster this week is the weather. Gone (for now), are the frigid temperatures and ice covered everything. It is supposed to be in the 60s tomorrow. You can't ask for better than that mid-February.

Goodbye socks and hose and shoes with toes! Come on spring . . . go away RA!

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