Month: June 2017

RA feet and orthotics

My RA started in my feet. About 20% of patients are introduced to RA via painful feet and about 95% of RA patients eventually do have feet involvement.  RA struck my poor feet first.  Diagnosis was slow as my primary doc, an internist, later said I was too old to have RA and that the pulses in my feet were strong so my feet were fine. Once I was diagnosed. Methotrexate (MTX) was my first RA drug. The dose was gradually increased until I reached the max of 25 mg/week.  I tolerated the nausea and diarrhea which eventually passed.  MTX helped me but by this time my feet were in a lot of pain and I walked with great difficulty. I was sent to a podiatrist who declared right off the bat that he didn’t do foot surgery for RA. Fine, I thought. I had read about the horrors of RA foot surgery and I wanted none of it. I did need to know what would help. He did three things for me. He ordered …

RA Fog

Last month I finally filled out the form for the Arthritis Foundation, made out my $20 check and mailed it in. A few days ago I received my first copy of Arthritis Today. I was surprised and impressed. It is a small magazine, not cluttered by pages of ads.  The focus of the magazine is to be helpful to those with arthritis. It is. There are interesting and helpful articles. I enjoyed the article about Clark Middleton. He was the DMV guy on the series the Blacklist. Funny character. He had juvenile idiopathic arthritis as a child. He had many joint replacements and continues today with methotrexate and a biologic. His is the story of a man who has accomplished a lot while coping with a debilitating disease. The article on Brain Fog reminded me of methotrexate fog. That was a hurdle for me as I settled into methotrexate treatment. I was a sharp business woman. I had to be in order to stay in business for over 25 years. I had always done my own …

Being in a funk with RA

I have to admit I am in a place where the mind is willing but my RA body is not. I have been living with extreme pain for a month and I have been trying to manage it myself.  Yoga, pain medicine on schedule, more medrol.  All for naught. I had sent an email via My Chart to my rheumatologist but I had no response.  It seems to be a situation where I have no choice but to call her.  Last I talked with her she was mad at me because I brought the statistics on Actemra to her. So asking her for help is a stretch. However, I have gone through my resources and they are not enough. So I will call. Living with chronic pain is bad enough. The worst of it is how immobilizing it is. My hip joints are deteriorating as is my spine. The worst of the pain is in my left hip and I bet it is where the sciatic nerve passes by the hip joint. I am okay …

RA and Yoga

My first yoga experience was about 15 years ago. I belonged to Riverpoint, a sports and wellness club in Albuquerque. All classes were included in membership price. The evening I was at the club, a yoga class was just starting. I thought I would give it a try. I knew nothing about yoga. No mat and no clue. I walked into an advanced class. I was so very fortunate to have an excellent, progressive teacher. She welcomed me. I was also welcomed by her class.  I took classes with her for about four years before she headed off to Costa Rica. She believed people should start where they are at. She said yoga is not competitive with yourself or with any one else. I learned good form. I bought a yoga mat and thanks to her I still have a yoga practice. The first two years after my RA diagnosis I tried classes and just couldn’t do it. My feet and my wrists hurt too much. So I stopped. Looking back I could have done …

RA treatment in the 1920s

In the early days of the twentieth century very little was known about rheumatoid arthritis.  It might have been called chronic infectious arthritis, proliferative arthritis or atrophic arthritis. Rheumatology was not a specialty. There were no rheumatologists. It was not a good time to have RA. Arthritis treatment at the Mayo Clinic  included bed rest. Patients were admitted to the hospital and put on bed rest for several weeks. They were given a balanced diet. Physical therapy was an important therapy. It improved range of motion, strengthened muscles and prevented deformities. Heat and massage were used  to improve circulation and to remove toxins. Bracing and casting were used to support joints and reduce contractions. Canes were prescribed. Shoe corrections were prescribed. Vaccine therapy, fever therapy and sympathectomy were popular treatments at the Mayo Clinic based on the theories of the time. As medical knowledge grew these therapies fell out of favor. Salicylates were drugs of choice. Remember this was before sulfa, penicillin and cortisone. It a was long time before ibuprofen would be formulated. Any …