Wednesday, March 10, 2010

And the bricks come tumbling down....

Well, the remission was good while it lasted.Tuesday the second, my knuckles flared, and by Wednesday night I started having pain in my lower cervical vertebrae. Tried all the tools in my box of tricks...nothing calmed that neck pain for more than an hour or so. Saturday I was a mess. My neck hurt so bad I could barely move. I drove to the urgent care center where they took xrays and told me I had arthritis in my c-spine. The doctor that did my exam said he'd never seen a cervical vertebra feel so hot before. He prescribed a larger dose prednisone dose pack, keep taking my pain meds and use ice/heat whatever felt good.Spent the weekend in bed, I was having headaches form the neck pain.
Monday I couldn't really feel a difference, so I called the rheumatologist and was able to get in Tuesday am. By then my whole back was spasming from sleeping funny and guarding my neck. I could barely get up off the sofa. My
rheumy was very surprised to see, as I had been there March first and was perfect.
Tuesday's appointment really didn't get me anything other than a prescription for Flector patches (voltaren in a 12 hour patch) Thank goodness they had samples, because the pharmacy had to order it. (and now that I have them they don't help all that much!)
It's now been two and a half weeks. Thankfully my neck has calmed down somewhat, and my back is slightly more forgiving (Thanks to the fine folks at Massage Envy and physical therapy.)
I was so happy in was so nice to step out of bed in the morning without sore feet or having aching fingers for a change. For the most part my fingers and toes are still 95% painless, but I can tell they are more swollen and stiff.
The relief of having no pain for wa hile also meant I was more independant. My son did not have to come over and carry in the heavy groceries or housekeeping. I actually felt like I was on top of everything for a change. I realize now that maybe I was overdoing it. I still don't know what caused the neck flare, but know it was surely the most painful flare I ever had. The neck still gets sore from typing or when I look down, but I have been able to work this week, and hope to get a little done in the yard tomorrow while the weather is good.
All for now...gentle hugs!

Monday, March 1, 2010

Remission Guilt

I have to admit, I don't know what to do. Since I was disgnosed with RA in 2003, I have never had a remission as long as this one. I am officially 34 days without a flare. I am only on my methrexate and Enbrel, and am tapering off my prednisone (down to 5 mg)
My mild Florida winter has been full of extreme temperature changes every 3-4 days, that last year would have been pretty much incapacitating, keeping me home in bed on percocet and steroid packs and feeling miserable to boot. I have so much more stress at this time in my life (Job woes, job interviewing, son getting married,economy stinks) that I would normally have been pushed in to a flare.
I should be so happy enbracing the fact that I feel good for a change. I didn't start a new diet, eliminate foods or try some over the counter miracle drug. The only thing that may have made a difference is my going back on to my premarin (hormone replacement)after 3 years of fighting with my primary doc. ("you'll increase your risk of cancer or heart disease"....yeah, so I was on every biologic in the past 5 years, plus Rituxan, a chemo...and I'm still here. Difference is I feel more human not to be having 100 embarassing hot flashes a week; especially since I work in the nursery with newborns under overhead warmers..not cool to drip on the babies while I have the mother of all hot flashes.
I still, however feel guilty. Why should all my RA friends not be able to achieve some part of this happy and painless state? I live looking over on shoulder witing for the RA shoe to drop again, but in the meantime I catch up with some long overdue projects while I can.
At my last Rheumey visit in January (also my last clinical trial date marking 6 months since my last Rituxan and enbrel combo)we discussed moving in to another clinical trial using Actemra. I have been thinking about this for several weeks..I don't want to rock the good boat I am on right now with just the MTX and Enbrel. I like where I am right now and want to stay here for a while. So, after weeks of thinking I plan to just stay on the status quo and see where it takes me.
I have some interesting things ahead on the horizon, the most exciting is the possibility of a new job...should get word this week on that, I thought my interviews were excellent, and this time I can actually keep my fingers crossed!
Wish me luck, and have a pain-free day!