I finally had my labs drawn for my rheumatologist. Routine labs are important to monitor the effects of RA drugs on the body. How is your liver doing? Kidneys? Inflammation markers? Blood count? With Actemra checking cholesterol levels are important also. Actemra can elevate cholesterol levels. Labs are important.
I am still on the fence about Actemra. Probably because it is working over 50% of the time on the one hand. And also because it can cause irreparable harm to my liver on the other. This indecision makes these labs important. My liver enzymes were elevated for the first time in July. If they are still elevated or if they continue to rise, I will need to stop Actemra.
A person who does not have RA or has not lived in endless unrelieved flares would consider taking a dangerous drug fool hearty. They cannot envision a choice between a dangerous drug or constant and endless pain and fatigue. I can. Many others can. If you have RA, you probably can or you will in the future.
There is more. Besides the pain and the fatigue there is the chronic inflammation throughout your RA body. This inflammation is toxic and can cause endless bodily harm all by itself. RA causes havoc in a patient’s blood vessels. RA patients die from heart disease.
When I had my last cancer, I spent the summer in chemotherapy. The drugs were toxic. I lost my hair and felt depleted for a long time. I never questioned taking the drugs. I knew that my cancer was a killer, and I needed the drugs to survive.
The RA biologics are toxic also. Yet we do take them. We take them for the same reason we take chemo. We take them to survive. We take them to slow the progressive destruction of our bodies.