I am living through my days without methotrexate. I am not on any of the biologics. Hydroxychloroquine is no help and has been set aside. At first, I felt left alone in the world without armor. Would a flare become so severe that I would spiral down and down into total pain and immobility as I had in 2013? That was my fear.
For years, a low level of pain humming in the background has kept me company. I have a degenerating spine. There are long fancy words for what has attacked my spine. Plainly said, I have a bad back. I could say I inherited it from my dad. I am accustomed to pain. Now I have RA.
Over the years I have learned to ignore the humming pain. However, there is a tipping point after the start of a flare where something needs to be done.
As a flare starts pain grows louder in the small joints in my feet. The rest of my feet ache. My left ankle develops sharp pain making walking difficult. My knuckles ache and my elbows become inflamed. All these joints scream their desire for relief. Together they are loud. When this starts to happen, I not only feel bad, but I feel discouraged. Without intervention, the flare will get worse. This has been my story for seven years.
In 2018 when I was in chemo and off methotrexate, I would use a Medrol dose pack for flares. It helped get me through. I have good bone density. I have had no infections. So, in reluctant agreement from my RA doc, I take low dose Medrol daily and then a boost of a Medrol dose pack for flares. It works for me.
Medrol is also known to reduce RA damage over time. I feel covered. I am one of those unlucky individuals who are in the minority of people who have serious complications from drugs. Tamoxifen caused a rare uterine cancer that required drastic treatment. Orencia caused a severe flulike infection that I never had before or since. Methotrexate caused a necrosis to radiated breast tissue which required ten months of treatment.
I am reluctant to try any more biologics as I believe I will probably have one of their many serious complications. Most people will not have these problems.
This is my current regime. It works for me and my life goes on. I have just finished reading Lifespan by David Sinclair. He is a world renown genetic scientist. He paints a hopeful picture of possibilities for us humans. We can live much longer, and we can live healthier. Sounds good.
Last night I made a fragrant vegetable soup with chicken added for dinner. Now I am munching on an organic apple as I write. Good habits. Tasty habits.
At this point in time, I am good. I have had enough crises in my life to appreciate the good. Problems can be solved, or they can be managed. Those of us who have RA or who have been treated for cancer understand. We had gone through tremendous hardship and we come out knowing that life still can be good.