Old comments on my RA evolution
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RA weaning off prednisone

With Rheumatoid Arthritis, prednisone can be a friend, but at some point it is time to say goodby to that friend.

I see my Rheumatologist every six week. She is great. She checks all my joints, listens to my issues, and discusses my treatment plan and progress.  I have sero-negative RA.  About 20% of RA patients are sero-negative. Dr. R told me that with sero-negative patients, some have an undiagnosed CA. So tests are performed looking for the CA. She feels that I have RA and not CA.  The fact that I respond to prednisone is a strong indicator.

Currently I am on 10 mg of prednisone. I have been on it for 6 months. I was given a 30mg burst in February. I responded. It helped me.  Now it is time to start reducing the dose. Dr. R reduced it to 7.5mg which caused an awful flare: PAIN!   I had a hard time believing that 2.5mg would make such a difference. But I decided to up it to 10mg again to see if it did. It does.

I emailed Dr R to see if she minded me reducing 1 mg at a time. She sent the script to the pharmacist for 1mg tabs so that I could reduce by 1mg a month. It should work. I have taken it a step further. I started the reduction  at 9.5mg. I will keep that dose for 2 weeks and then reduce to 9mg for 2 weeks.

Prednisone can cause problems with blood pressure and with blood sugar.  Both are fine for me. Prednisone can also cause osteoporosis. I have good bones but don’t want to start having this problem. I have had a puffy face and fat in weird places. This is a tradeoff I can live with.

I consider prednisone a friend. It has been helpful to me. Now it is time to get the dose down. Sneaking up on my body 1mg or even .5 mg at a time should work. Some people stay on 5mg for a long time.  I need to get to 5mg before Dr R can tell me what is next.

In between appointments I have to show up at the lab for regular blood work. The tests include a CBC with differential, comprehensive metabolic panel, C-reactive protein and Sedimentation rate. The tests monitor any changes in my blood cells, liver function and inflammation in my body. I am doing well in that department.

Next month I also have an evaluation with a physical therapist. I have a thyroid biopsy with an endocrinologist. I have been tested for Hashimoto’s Disease, another autoimmune disorder. I don’t have it. Telling people I have Hashimoto’s disease would sound so much more exotic than saying I have RA.  However, I have to say I have RA.

Prednisone has given me relief of symptoms. Some reports say it also helps slow the disease progression. I appreciate what prednisone has done for me. I will keep it in my arsenal.  However, it is time to give prednisone a smaller role in my treatment plan.

This entry was posted in: Old comments on my RA evolution

by

Woman, friend, mother, RN, photographer, gardener, writer, researcher, observer, swimmer. Pretty much the same as everyone else with my own little twist to things. RA, and a variety of cancers. Life is good despite the obstacles. It's worth the ride just to see the infinite variations of the human spirit.

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