The Joy Of RA Medications

Rheumatoid Arthritis Guy has had a really good past two weeks, in regards to his rheumatoid arthritis. My last flare finally subsided, a few days into my recent break from blogging. I think that the three anti-inflammatory injections that I had during the preceding week and a half finally took effect.

One of my personal victories during this past flare was getting through it without the use of Prednisone. I have nothing against Prednisone, as I have used it many times in the past. In a way, that was sort of the problem though…during each flare, which was beginning to happen almost monthly, I was taking a Prednisone burst. During my last visit to my rheumatologist, even though my flare was worse than usual, I stated up front that I did not want to use Prednisone this time around.

I know, I know…Prednisone provides great relief to many people. During one of my recent visits with my rheumatologist, though, he spent 45 minutes teaching me about the advantages and disadvantages of corticosteroid therapy. Not that he is against the use of these medicines – he’s not – he just want to balance the benefits with the risks, and does take my age into consideration. I respect his judgment, and have backed it up with my own research.

So we resorted to using three Diclofenac injections over the span of a week and a half, which seemed to work. Previously I used to expect improvements overnight…but this time around I told myself it would take about another ten days for all of the injections to finally take effect. That is exactly how long it took.

The first day that I started my break from blogging, I was frustrated when I continued to deal with the symptoms of my flare. I don’t think I had even thought of this on a conscious level, but only at that point did I realize that deep down I was associating my break from blogging about RA with an anticipated break from living with a RA flare. If only the connection was so easy… Luckily though, a few days into my break my flare did subside.

Which is not to say that I am back to 100%. But If I’m hitting the C range, in the 70′s, then I am more than happy.

Towards the end of last week I left the house without crutches or a cane, for the first time in a long time. Funny thing, all of my classmates started congratulating me on recovering from my surgery/injury. (We’re in the third month of classes, but they have never know me without crutches or a cane.) My brief explanation of rheumatoid arthritis were quickly accepted, and I even discovered that one of my classmates is in a long-term relationship with a lady who has been living with RA for 20+ years. We talked about RA medicines, local rheumatologists, and flares. It was actually sort of fun, and totally unexpected!

In the past, I used to try to forget about my rheumatoid arthritis during these good periods. Now, I am enjoying the freedom that comes of being able to get dressed again in a matter of seconds, and being able to leave the house without crutches or a cane. At the same time, however, I am thinking about what I can do now in order to make the next flare just a little bit easier.

(By the way, what does a person who uses crutches do when it rains? I just thought about that the other day, when for the first time, I was outside with my crutches and it started…raining. Raincoat maybe? I don’t think I would ever use on of those umbrellas that sits on the head like a hat…although I guess it’s best never to say never.)

On a side note, I have had a really bad past couple of days, in regards to my stomach. My NSAIDs and Plaquenil seem to be breaking through any protection barrier that the Omeprazole previously provided. I’m back to teas, boiled linseed, and hot cornstarch beverages. I still haven’t gotten my stomach back into balance…but hopefully this is just a couple of days away.

superman

If Superman is the superhero with abs of steel, Rheumatoid Arthritis Guy is the superhero with a stomach that seems to be made of tissue paper.

Read more about my stomach remedies: http://www.rheumatoidarthritisguy.com/2009/08/stomach-remedies/

And hopefully I can return to actually sleeping through the night. It’s not like I haven’t fought…and won…this battle many times before. Wish me luck!

Stay tuned…for the next adventure of Rheumatoid Arthritis Guy!

9 Comments
9 comments
  1. Jules says:

    I really hope that your stomach subsides soon. I had to giggle at the visual of the crutches and the umbrella hat. Much needed comic relief for the morning.

  2. Sherlock says:

    I took prednisone off and on for several years, the last year being so bad that it was 10 days every month. That stopped a year ago when I developed extremely high blood sugar. Now I have diabetes on top of everything else. But I have to say, this fall I am missing the relief that I always got with prednisone. Believe me I’d take it if I could, especially these past two months with such drastic temp changes that have brought on bad flares.

    I am just today getting prescriptions for diclufenac and misopostal (my ins co won’t pay for arthrotec so I have to get these in two separate scripts). I know it works but is tough on the tummy so I’ve avoided it thus far this year. It’s time to hit the inflammation hard for a few weeks then I can go back to my regular meds.

    Hope the stomach issues resolve quickly.

  3. Judy says:

    Some people bring such joy to others lives. I want you to know, you do that for me. I look forward to every post, and have learned so much from you! Keep sharing!

  4. Teresa says:

    Rheumatoid Arthritis Warrior posted a similar blog about meds today. It was meant for me to get up early today and check in. I called my Dr. yesterday and I am awaiting a call back about my flares and how I am handling them with medications. I am so tired of the flares, come to expect them but never seem to go into remission. Maybe it’s not possible for me, but I hope so. Presently I am only taking Enbrel for the last year and tapered off methotrexate and prednisone. I have been using prednisone for flares but this time I want to hear something new. A new combination. Maybe I have to go back on the methotrexate with Enbrel, but I don’t want the prednisone. Trying to tough it through this flare is a new experiment for me.

  5. Rebecca says:

    I just tapered off prednisone and my RA is flaring badly. I’m waiting for the Humira to kick in, but in the meantime, I won’t go back on the prednisone. It can be a lifesaver, but it’s also a nasty drug with nasty side effects, some permanent and serious. Here’s to the day none of us will have to be on prednisone!

    And hope your stomach heals soon!

  6. Wren says:

    I chuckled over your worry about crutches and rain, RA Guy. When I lived in Germany (where it rained 5 days out of 7)I was put on crutches several times during flares. Cast and all. Unfortunately, there’s not a lot you can do but get wet, then thank your lucky stars that your skin is waterproof and that hair and clothes dry eventually. The biggest issue with crutches and rain I ran into was slippery pavement. Crutches (or sticks, as I call ‘em), tend to slide easily. So be careful!

    Good luck with the stomach problems. These meds can be so corrosive! Have you tried a little dry, whole grain toast to soothe your stomach? Ginger tea? Sounds like your cornstarch drink would work pretty well, actually. I’m going to try that one, as I’ve just been put on a NSAID for the first time in years, and they’ve always played hell with my tum.

    Thanks for the great writing, encouragement and advice, as usual. You’re a gift.

  7. Barbara says:

    How timely! The NY Times personal health section today (Tues Nov 10) had a column by Jane Brody on the use of prednisone and similar medications. I know what you mean about toughing it out without it. I stopped prednisone in May and it wasn’t until September that I started to feel a bit more free from the side effects.

    When I was doing research on the downside of prednisone, I was trying to find dosage levels for certain side effects. Because I wanted to know what levels were associated with what side effects. I really had no idea how heavy my dose was. Finally, I saw something from Johns Hopkins.

    Keep up the good work!

  8. Kali says:

    Have they tried you on anything else for your stomach? omeprazole did nothing for me, but Prevacid (lansaprazole, I think) worked a lot better.

    As for crutches in the rain, yeah, I wear a long raincoat. My current one is a London Fog trench, which I am quite fond of. If it’s cold out as well as rainy, I add a hat; otherwise, I tend to let my head get wet.

    If a coat is not for you, you might try a Nubrella. http://nubrella.com/ I haven’t tried one, but I’ve heard good things.

    The other thing you might want to do is add a pair of rain tips. I know these guys make them http://www.fetterman-crutches.com/tips.html but I don’t know anyone else who does offhand. Word is they’re worth the money, but I don’t know from personal experience – was trying to get mine through my insurance company, and by the time they’d officially been denied, the rainy season was almost over and I was getting a service dog.

    ~Kali
    http://www.brilliantmindbrokenbody.wordpress.com

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