Month: September 2015

Walking with Wisdom Woman

After an MRI of my lumbar spine. Seeing the bad news. Being sent to yet another specialist. Spine and Pain Clinic. I was totally discouraged. In the same small office complex, I visit my rheumatologist, my neurologist, my oncologist, my palliative care nurse and now a pain doc. And this is just one of the office buildings I visit. I was discouraged because I could see it as another proof that my body was falling apart. Am I on a steep slippery slope looking downwards? Scary. I was scared. Then, as if by magic, my Irish-French Canadian genes kick in. What to do? A long time ago I had come to the conclusion that I needed to keep my primary focus on the activities of my life.  My writing. My family. My friends. My Hobbit House Projects. I would not ignore my medical issues. I would care for them well. And then I would bring my focus back to the activities of my life. Sometimes I could do more and sometimes less. It worked for …

Ruth explains RESET

The delicacy of the mahogany writing desk. Petite. Leather inlay surface. Slender wood turned legs. Just right for Ruth.  She sat back straight in her neat smoothed dress. Her eyes twinkled in greeting. “I need help,” I said. She glanced toward the strait backed chair next to the desk. I sat. “I am discouraged. Exhausted. Defeated. Weak. Worried.  In pain. All of it in a jumbled pile in my mind. Too much.” She smiled her little smile as she looked into my eyes. “It does sound like too much,” she agreed.  “It weighs like an anchor on your soul leaving you feeling stuck. You need relief.”  She understood as always.  “Maybe it is time to RESET yourself. You are overloaded with tough stuff.” “Let’s have tea and sit in the big cozy chairs, “she suggested. As we sipped our tea and munched on lemon cookies with buttercream frosting, she explained the process. The first and most important RESET step is the Purge. The purpose is to empty the mind of all concern. Meditation can be too …

Ten things to know about methotrexate and RA

  Methotrexate has been used for RA since the late 80’s.  It is the cornerstone for RA treatment and considered to have an impressive safety record. Methotrexate is classed as  a DMARD, Disease Modifying Anti-Rheumatic Drug. It decreases pain and swelling. It can lessen joint damage and consequently long-term disability. Methotrexate is taken once a week usually in pill form. The injectable form is reserved for those who don’t tolerate the pill or to extend the effectiveness of the drug. Self injection is not hard to learn for those who need it. It can be easy to do with a prefilled  auto-injector that comes in a variety of doses. The auto-injector is useful for children with JIA, too. Methotrexate is frequently paired with other DMARD’s. Plaquenil, an anti-malarial drug is often used. Sometimes Sulfasolazine is added, too. Drugs used in combination with methotrexate are usually more effective. Methotrexate is also paired with the biologics including Orencia and Rituxan. The biologics become more effective when teamed with methotrexate. RA can continue on its destructive path when there are no obvious symptoms. It’s reassuring …