All posts tagged: RA progression

At the infusion center

I am taking a big chance. I went to the infusion center for a dose of Actemra. Actemra blocks the activity of the messenger cytokine, Interleukin-6. It was the  same routine: sign in at the reception desk, weight, vital signs, 20 questions. I am in a recliner with my feet up. IV started. Blood work. Tylenol and Benadryl to avoid side effects. I think this was the routine for all my infusions. My son, David, was with me. The Actemra infused without incident. I didn’t die. We were there for three hours. I had mixed feelings about this drug. It stemmed from several considerations. I have had a lot of bad luck with the biologics. The last was the TNFi Remicade. After two doses I became so ill I thought it was over. I felt weak and lethargic. No appetite. It lasted a month and I survived. I was reluctant to try another. Actemra was the last one available to me.  My RA Doc feels the drug is safer than no drug because the progression …

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 …