All posts tagged: Pain management

Real Life and RA

Having a debilitating, chronic disease makes me much more aware of others who struggle to have a normal life with a chronic disease. For those who have RA,  pain is a central issue. The exhaustion that comes with inflammation is also the issue. Life becomes a daily struggle for those who wake up in pain, and who need to make that pain manageable so they can carry on with their daily duties of children and/or work.  Depression is common among those with RA. Easy to see why. I am not easily depressed. I can see too many of the little pleasures of life that make it worth the downside. But there are moments when the struggle to put pain in its place becomes just too much to live with. That is a big, clear signal for a time out. I can have a time out and so can many who have family to take the children or have a job where hours are flexible. But there are many who are  scraping by so need to …

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 doctor visit

Here in sunny Albuquerque we are expecting the thermometer to hit 104 this week. It is that time of year where hanging out in the house is a good idea. 90 is livable but once it passes 92, it is just too hot. My son is keeping the garden watered so we won’t have any plants that succumb to heat stroke. I finally connected with my RA Doc.  After x-rays, blood work and an exam, she can see the excruciating pain that I am in. She is thinking hip replacement. Tomorrow I have an MRI. I have an appointment with an orthopedic surgeon early in July. In the mean time she ordered Percocet and said to call if I needed more. I guess this is the holding pattern until the next step is reached. I am amazed that the pain is so immobilizing. I am still trying to do some restorative yoga, but there is something not moving the way it should so I am going with forward bends and shower wall push ups. Maybe …

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 …

EORA or YORA another RA category

Imagine my surprise when I learned about the initials YORA and EORA. YORA is an acronym for Younger Onset Rheumatoid Arthritis as is EORA for Elderly Onset Rheumatoid Arthritis. I came to a new understanding of where I am in the scheme of things. Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) can strike at any age from babies to the elderly. The elderly’s association with RA can be of long standing disease or it can be a new development. People who develop RA after age 60 are considered EORA. That is me. There are some notable differences with elderly onset RA. Initial symptoms may include large joints. With younger RA  onset small joints of the hands and the feet are usually first signs of joint involvement.  The shoulder joint may be a presenting joint in older onset.  My shoulder was involved initially as was the joints in my hands, wrists, feet, elbows. Initially I was in severe pain. Older adults may have more generalized symptoms. My grip was weak. I lost weight. I couldn’t sleep because of the severity …

Coping with the Symptoms of RA

Beginning with the first symptoms of my rheumatoid arthritis (RA), I have lived in daily pain. It has been over four years. It has been a long time. Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease. My body is on a suicide mission to destroy the linings of  the movable joints in my body. It is a scary disease in that it is unpredictable and it is progressive. I spent the first two years with severe fatigue/malaise. And it was as bad as the pain. This malaise is caused by cytokines, products of inflammation. Cytokines circulate in my bloodstream spreading RA damage. Add that to a high level of pain and it can be overwhelming. I wake to stiff, painful joints. In the morning as I walk painfully down to the kitchen to make coffee, there are times when I have become angry and tired of it all. I start the day in pain and I end the day in pain. It is too much. My feet are becoming deformed and I find it difficult to walk …

RA Journal 10-13-16

It is 5 am. Coffee perking. Cozy flames from the fireplace. Antoine, my 10 year old Maine Coon cat, fed. No sleep at all, not even a little dosing.  So I  finally decided to get up and start my day. I have RA. It is a bummer. Presently, I am on prednisone for a flare. I like the medrol packs which plus my regular prednisone help me feel better. But it is day four and the sleeplessness side effect has kicked in. It might last another day. I will eventually sleep. Most with the diagnosis of RA have a progressive form of the disease. I can say I have been in a constant flare for almost 4 years. That means my body has been continually inflamed for almost 4 years. Definitely not good for my body.  Sometimes are worse than other times. None of it is good. Mine started in my feet.  My toes, my feet, my ankles are reaching the point where I am worried about mobility. My knuckles can be bad as several of my fingers can. My right shoulder is worse than my left but the left is …

RA, stuffed green peppers and pacing

My podiatrist thinks people with RA have an amazing positive attitude. He says it is unique to his patients with RA. I can understand that. We have no choice but to manage our disease. So we do. We plod along solving our issues for pain and all the issues large scale damage to our bodies’ joints give us.   If we fail to pick up the responsibility, even more severe pain and disability are but steps away. We figure out how to manage grueling pain, random flares that send us to Medrol packs and heavy pain medications. Limping around on feet that feel like numb bricks. Energy that seeps away until we are but rag dolls wishing for rest. Learning to manage a painful existence isn’t easy. Those of us with RA just do it. We are experts on hot packs, splints, braces, pacing, and on it goes.  Pacing works well for me. I manage a lot following the concept.  Generally, it is working for short stints interspersed with resting activities. My pain medication is on …

Methylprednisolone and RA

              Methylprednisolone (WOW, an impressive word!) is served up in a package of 21 four milligram (mg) pills (Medrol Dose Pak) with specific instructions as to when to take each pill. One time a nurse told me to start the pack the next day as the instructions start before breakfast and that would be the only way I could follow the instructions. I would have to wait through the night before I could start resolving my problem. This time around I saw written on the package that all six tablets in the first row for the first day should be taken on the day you receive your prescription even though you may not receive it until late in the day. All 6 pills may be taken at once on the first day or divided into doses for the remainder of the day. I have had this prescription twice for inflamed salivary glands after thyroid cancer treatment and twice for RA flares. I call it a miracle drug as it …