ThriveWithRA: I Don’t Have Cancer, But I’m A CHEMO Patient

RA Guy Community News 5 Comments

Did you know that Chemo is not just for Cancer? Yes, that’s right! I am on Chemotherapy, as are the vast majority of Rheumatoid Arthritis patients around the world. RA patients, these brave individuals who have “The Big RA,” regularly ingest or inject Chemo into their bodies, in hope of slowing the progression of the disease, reducing inflammation and pain, and preserving their life and mobility.

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Comments 5

  1. Rising Phoenix

    I was just talking to a friend today about this, she was shocked that some of us are on chemo drugs. I explained to her that it’s just the way it is for us, no-one wants to take these drugs but for some of us its the toss-up between less pain, stiffness & inflammation on one hand and some very nasty side effects on the other.

  2. Post
    RA Guy

    When I started taking methotrexate, soon after I was finally diagnosed with RA, people were dumbfounded when I’d tell them that I was taking low long-term doses of chemotherapy. Thanks ThriveWithRA for writing this excellent post, I’m sure it will help to enlighten many people about the seriousness of our illness.

  3. Thrive with RA™

    Thanks RA Guy for your support and PR on your sites and for your great comments on both your and my sites. 🙂

    One thing I shared in the article — buried towards the end, so perhaps not everyone read that far — is that a big difference between the use of Chemo between Cancer and RA, is that in the case of Cancer, Chemo is actually an agent used to CURE the disease – not just “slow the progression,” as the Mayo Clinic qualifies its use in terms of RA. So, shorter-term usage, but in higher dosage for possibly CURING Cancer, and in contrast, long-term, possibly life-long usage at lower dosage for RA patients that will NOT cure RA, and possibly won’t even halt the progression of the disease. This is the case for all medicine used to treat RA — they may not work.

    Our immune systems are fighting — fighting against our bodies/tissues/joint linings/organs, often times fighting against the meds that are supposed to help preserve our very lives. I suppose I needed to mentally join my body in “fighting mode” and help fight against misinformation and myths against RA!

    Thanks again! 🙂

  4. Jan

    Thanks for this–I had to link it back to my post for today. I haven’t been blogging much lately, but always appreciate your info, links, and personal sharing.

  5. Margarita

    I’ve had RA for over 16 years now, diagnosed at age 19. The beginning was horrific and started as I was watching my father with RA in his final struggle with the disease. I remained in denial for a couple of years, until I couldn’t deny it’s nasty presence in my body. The first rheumatologist had me on Celebrex, sulfasalazine, plaquenil & tramadol. I took these believing eventually the RA would slow down and I would finally feel relief and what we desire most, NORMAL.

    Three years went by with nothing more than a day here and there that I could walk more than a block without crying. I decided to make a change in Drs to see what else I could try. I had an infant that I could barely hold and enjoy the beauty of motherhood. It made me feel like a failure to put it simply.

    The next Dr was a flop, the third finally gave me hope. After only 5 injections of Enbrel I was running around, enjoying everything. I could finally soak up the happiness of my life. That was, until I caught a cold that nearly killed me. So, no more Enbrel. Again it was back to square one. The current Dr decided to just put me back on the regimen of my original rheumatologist. Yep, time to break out the phone book again.

    Finally, I found a younger Dr & he immediately said, “Chemo!” I cringed at his plan due to my 2 year battle with cancer as a child. I was terrified. We started off on Arava and every 6 months I would need to sit for 5 hours to receive an infusion of Rituximab. This IV treatment would consist of one treatment of the chemo & 2 weeks later a second boost treatment.

    I can honestly say, this chemo thing WORKS. Sure I feel like garbage for the next few days, dizziness, fatigue and nausea for me. But after that, I feel kind of normal. I don’t have inflammation or pain from it & very little stiffness. All I have to deal with are the severely damaged joints throughout my body & the deformation that limits me in my hands. If you have no hope or feel that you have tried it all…don’t hesitate to talk to your Dr about this type of drug for your RA.

    Keep your head up and keep moving. RA can’t win unless you give up! Love to all, you are not alone!

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