Dealing with RA (rheumatoid arthritis)

My “journey” with RA began in the early months of the summer of 2016. While visiting friends in West Virginia. I noticed my feet were “burning.” I attributed it to a reaction perhaps to the floors as walked barefoot much of the time. We decided to go on a hike but the walk was difficult… my feet just didn’t want to move.

In the weeks ahead, it became difficult to pick up things with my hands. My hands swelled to the point where they doubled in size.

Initial blood work was negative (no sign of inflammation. ( I later learned that about 30% of RA patients are sero-negative … not showing inflammation in their blood work.)

I truly couldn’t get up off the coach by July and decided that it was time to see a rheumatologist. My rheumatologist ordered a new or type a blood test called the Vectra DA. Unlike traditional blood test to test for inflammation the Vectra DA looks at 12 different markers of inflammation. It was from this test that an RA diagnosis was looking to be more positive. An MRI of my hands,showing bone erosion made the final diagnosis.

That was then and this is now. I am face with deciding whether to continue with medications and/or start new ones. From what I have read, many RA patients,if not most, go through the stage that I am going through.

Currently on methotrexate by injection, the swelling in my hands has gone down considerably as has the pain. Doc wants me to start Embril, a biologic, that is supposed to slow down the disease better than the methotrexate. Each of these medications come with a long, long list of side effects.

The problem is is that as I am feeling a bit better I do not want to keep taking these medications but I am afraid to not take them. This is my dilemma.

I would love to hear from people who have been going through the same dilemma.

December 31, 2016

I am wondering if all people who have a chronic illness go through what I am going through. The questions (oh, so MANY questions), the worries, the wonder, the confusion etc. My guess is they do. My dilemma now is whether or not I want to continue taking meds. They have so many side effects. I  am afraid to take the meds and afraid NOT to take the meds. I found an online support group yesterday which was a great comfort to me late last night and the wee hours of the morning today. I’m still in a worried and undecided fog but I am hoping that I will continue to find support and comfort with this group. Facebook Group #Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) – Laughing, Living and Learning.