Month: March 2015

RA and cancer support

Cancer and RA seem to go hand in hand. Shortly after I was diagnosed with RA,  I was diagnosed with two different cancers, thyroid cancer and then breast cancer.  I had the big C hanging over me like a grey cloud, leading me down the cancer road with all the usual experiences.  After surgeries and after radiation treatments, I started looking for help, for support. I found it with the Cancer Support Now Third Annual Long Term Effects of Cancer Survivorship Conference.  A long name worth repeating as I became totally impressed with this organization. Dava Gerard, MD, a respected physician in the cancer field, gave the talk ¨The Journey: From Surviving to Thriving¨.  It was just what I needed.  Arti Prasad, MD presented ¨Holistic Cancer Survivorship¨.  Again excellent. There were breakout sessions. Free lunch from Jason’s Deli. The morning had started with a generous breakfast. I felt welcomed and very glad to be there. Since then, I have joined the board of Cancer Support Now and am on the committee for this year’s conference. Both are big commitments …

Massage and RA

Garrett is amazing.  He is tall and lanky. Arty. Welcoming. He is a student at the ABQ School of Massage and he gave me a massage at their free cancer clinic. I remember my first experience. Coming out of the massage room, I felt renewed. Massage therapy started as a new adventure for me.  My RA needed help.  So did I.    Massage therapy seemed like a good thing to try. I made the appointment. After the first massage,  I received an email from Garrett asking if I would be the subject of his case study on Rheumatoid Arthritis. I would receive six free massages. He would ask me questions about my RA.  Of course, I said yes.  I needed another tool in my RA toolbox. I am a lucky woman.  My adventure continues. Today was my 5th massage. I follow the routine of each massage. I check off my choices on Garrett’s  before pain scale sheet. Next I undress in the massage room and slide under the sheet and blanket.  Lights are low.  A quiet space.  …

Rituxan- the final frontier

Rituxan, the final frontier February marked the second anniversary of my Rheumatoid Arthritis diagnosis. After two years of treatment, my average pain level was reduced from 10+ to an average range of 4 to 7 every single day.  The constant presence of pain and a body riddled with inflammation continue to suck every drop of energy from my aging, aching body. My treatment was complicated by the addition of thyroid cancer and soon after that with the addition of  breast cancer. Both required surgery. Both required radiation treatment. Both required medication.  Both interfered with my RA treatment. The TNF antagonists, like Embril, are contraindicated for those who have recently had cancer. I am not allowed to have them. The ongoing treatment for thyroid cancer is to keep my body slightly hypothyroid. It helps prevent the cancer from recurring but it also increases the effects of RA fatigue. The ongoing treatment for breast cancer is anastrosole. It eliminates all estrogen in the body. It also puts me at high risk for osteoporosis as does Rheumatoid Arthritis. My treatment originally started with …