The Life of a Professional Patient, Blog #3

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My obligatory warning: this post is about the author.kelly page turn

My RA news

When my Rheumatoid Arthritis symptoms changed from Palindromic to “full blown,” I began using Humira injections to fight RA joint damage and disability. After the first few months, the doctor increased the dose to double the typical prescription. So for a couple of years, I used Humira weekly instead of biweekly.

However, the RA continued to progress and to bring more disability. Almost six months ago, I switched to Enbrel. When the Enbrel got up to full speed, it brought me to about half mast – still no days without flare for almost four years.

Over the last four months, persistent rashes and hives brought me to a dermatologist. Actually, I have seen three dermatologists. I mentioned each time that I had recently begun Enbrel and asked whether the angry rashes might be related to the drug. The Enbrel question was shrugged off each time, but eventually I was prescribed Elidel.

This week, a new rheumatologist suggested a radical change of course: No Enbrel, which the doc blamed for the rashes. Use only methotrexate for six weeks. At that point, the doc will see a new “baseline” for the Rheumatoid Arthritis. Then, we’ll try another Biologic that is not a TNF blocker. Doc said it will be a tough few months, but could definitely be worth it.

The good RA news

My Rheumatoid Arthritis has affected every joint. Since my joints have not read any ACR criteria, they did not know which ones should have RA. This doctor did not try to talk me out of certain joints.

This rheumatologist was also able to detect subtle swelling or warmth in most of my joints which was invisible to other doctors. As she carefully examined my joints, she acknowledged affects of RA everywhere. It seems she did not believe any of the myths I mentioned here the other day.

The bad RA news

It has already been 18 days since I have injected Enbrel. I have a fever all the time. The pain has increased, especially in my cervical spine (neck). The joint pains are getting sharper. Every day is a little worse. I am concerned about how bad it will get. Life will not wait for me. What will I miss?

The next chapter of my RA news: The Life of a Professional Patient, Blog #4; Continuing to Fight Rheumatoid Arthritis

Recommended reading:

Note on drug allergies:

Enbrel does not cause rashes in all patients. I have several drug allergies. Please do not assume that Enbrel would not be safe for you.

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Kelly Young. All rights reserved.

This entry was posted on Friday, October 16th, 2009 at 8:14 am and is filed under RA Education. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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