I am embarking on a new path this week. It is a scary one to be sure. I'm fortunate to have a partner in life who will provide the wind beneath my wings as I try to soar.
As I mentioned before, I have Rheumatoid Arthritis. Each day is filled with pain, Gypsy pains which are feeling the need to roam all throughout my body, at will. I never know where the bugger will be when I find myself awakend each morning. The very first thing I do upon opening my eyes is to look over at my husband and say "Yea!" It is a reaffirmation of the fact I am alive. I really do have this wonderful man lying next to me. Then it's time to take inventory of my body. I do a mental checklist starting with my neck and proceeding town to my toes.
There is not one morning in which pain is totally absent, only those which I find to be bearable enough to go without taking an ibupropen to take the "edge" off of the pain. Those are my "good days". For months my neck, shoulder and right hand were so painful I could hardly focus on anything else. Then, a person from my past re-entered my life and brought me a miracle, a portable, mini TENS unit. Within an hour the pain cycle had been broken! And then I began noticing pains elsewhere in my body; the back, shoulders, knees, wrist, thumb, ankle, shoulders and hips. (Unfortunately I couldn't make the TENS unit work all over my body at once, but it still is effective in localized areas.)
My Rhuematologist is a nice man, and we even share a birthday (though he will be only 39), but why does he insist on writing me prescriptions to "solve" a problem when it really only addresses a symptom? For instance I have been taking a low dose of methotrexate (four pills) once a week since October. Yes, I'll admit it did brought some of the pain down from, "I don't want to live like this" to, "I can live with this." It was huge and I am grateful. Yet, I am also not happy that he seems to want to increase the dosage to six pills a week. I have tried, but each time I do I get a different illness (a cause of my lowered immunity due to side effects of this chemo-drug). A month or so ago I had gastric problems which forced me to not eat, or go on the BRAT diet. The problems went on for three weeks. I had no idea if it was what I was eating (salmon grilled, a salad, fruits) my normal diet, or what. So I lowered the dosage of pills and voila, no more problems in my gut. It didn't take a genius to figure out the correlation. I researched and discovered I could take the medicine as a shot, bypassing the whole stomach issue. I asked my doctor about it and his response was, "Sure, you can do that." Nearly the identical response he had to my asking him why he didn't tell his patients about the TENS unit. (At which time he said he'd written me a prescription for physical therapy where they would do it. Uh-huh, five weeks of two appointments a week. Sheesh.) So I began taking a shot once a week, and I don't like shots. My husband is kind enough to do the deed for me. He does a wonderful job, no pain. Yea!!
Then a friend sent me a text with a link to a book about an Arthritis breakthrough. It was the same friend who gave me the TENS, so I bought the book and was astounded. I also began to research and found out there is an alternative treatment which is inexpensive, no side effects and can end the pain and inflammation.
Excitedly I researched until I found a clinic in a not too distant city whose doctors offered the treatment. I called, got an appointment and casually asked about my insurance. "Oh, we CAN'T take your insurance, we have a contract with them." Huh? Okay, I'll just pay out of pocket, isn't that what I had an emergency fund saved for? "No, if they found out you had a card WE could be fined." Appointment cancelled.I was so confused, and angry.
Then something kicked in, something inside my brain said to me, "This is not where you should be going." So I redirected my energies and went to my local doctor to research this idea further. He said he would monitor me. In fact he did research the following weekend and his office called with a referral. Wow. My next move was my Rheummy. "Have you heard of this?" I asked after explaining what I knew.
"Yes, but it has fallen out of favor." He said without looking up from his notes. A moment of mixed reaction, then I asked, "Would you be adverse to me trying it?" He said he would need to research the dosage (which to me meant for a normal sized person) then call in the prescription. My husband and I left the office hopeful...for the first time in a year, and laughing at the absurdity of the scene.
This week I will begin taking the low-dose antibiotic in conjunction with a stepping down my other drug. Hopefully in the ensuing weeks I'll be able to get off the nasty one and be on my way to become a Gypsy Vanquisher. I know it can take months, but some hope is way better than none.
I've had to stop being creative and I will say it has almost been worse than the pain. My life has been about communication, by words or my drawings and paintings. To me, despite everything else, I have always been defined by my optomistic view of life. Finally after the past year I am optomistic again! YEA!!!