All posts tagged: Rheumatoid arthritis

TNF inhibitors

The next line in the treatment of RA TNF inhibitors/TNF blockers are a group of biologic medicines that suppress the body’s response to TNF. TNF (Tumor Necrosis Factor) is a complex protein produced by the white blood cells in response to inflammatory events in the body. Those who have rheumatoid arthritis may be given a TNF inhibitor as part of their therapy. This is the third article in a series about the treatment options for rheumatoid arthritis. You can download the articles or you can read them on Marysarthritis.com. Many insurance plans may require that you start your therapy with a nonbiologic such as methotrexate (MTX). As troublesome as the side effects are in the beginning, methotrexate has a good success rate. When MTX isn’t enough the doctor may order a combination of methotrexate with sulfasalazine and/or leflunomide. A TNF inhibitor may be the added to the methotrexate. Although the TNF inhibitors are basically similar, they do have differentproperties. If one doesn’t work for you, another might. Your doctor will order a TB test and …

RA Solutions Gardening

I have the misfortune of having a painfully, progressing rheumatoid arthritis. My RA started when I was older. An older onset RA tends to be more severe like it is trying to make up past time. After eight years, most of my joints are affected. I have neuropathy in my feet and joint damage in my hands and feet. I walk with a cane when I’m out and frequently use a walker to get around at home. I am disabled. It has taken me a long time to admit it. But the upside is that I can make changes to my life so that I can manage in spite of disability. The long cozy nights by the fire have given way to the longer days of spring. It is time to be out in the garden. My roses were amazing all through May. My clematis is covered in large dark blue flowers. Hosta fill one corner of my patio. All my herbs have renewed themselves. I enjoy the fruits of past garden labors and am …

Celiac’s Disease not RA

Gluten is not theculprit in RA, but Gluten is the culprit in Celiac’s disease. Gluten is a protein found in wheat, barley, rye, and triticale. The small intestine becomes inflamed and damaged when a person with Celiac’s disease ingests food such as bread, beer, cereal, or other foods that contain gluten. As damage occurs to the small intestine, it becomes increasingly difficult for the intestine to absorb nutrients. Celiac’s disease is an autoimmune disease. It is commonly paired with the autoimmune diseases of the thyroid (6%) and type1 diabetes (6%) There is also an increased risk associated with the following: Sjögren’s disease, MS, Autoimmune hepatitis, and arthritis (but not RA). Those with Celiac’s disease and those with a gluten sensitivity should not eat foods containing gluten, such as bread, pasta, and cereal.  The gluten will make them sick.  A gluten free diet is the cure for Celiac’s disease.  Those with Celiac’s disease may experience joint pain but it is not the destructive arthritis of RA. The joint symptoms will lessen as gluten is eliminated from …

Managing RA

I am an optimist. But I am also a realist. When faced with a painful situation, I sometimes  dance around the issue for a few turns. Then, painful, or not, I face whatever it is,  deal with it and then do my best to move on. Stiff upper lip and all that. Each time I was diagnosed with a new cancer I did just that. I never once thought why me. I had the surgery, the chemo, the radiation. Suffered through it. Recovered for the most part and moved on. I felt that none of those three cancers would ever return as the treatments were brutal to my body and left nothing unaffected. My method of handling problems worked with cancer. Then I was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis almost eight years ago. RA is a painful, debilitating and a  lifelong disease. It is a disease that must be dealt with daily. RA will not go away just because I am weary of living with it. It is forever. It is not a problem to be …

Lockdown Update

We are still locked down. We go to Costco and to Smiths. We travel out with our masks and our hand sanitizers. Those we meet are friendly and have smiling eyes behind their masks. If a person depended on reading lips to understand another, they are currently out of luck. Who would have guessed? Certainly not last September. Life changes so quickly. My garden is winding down. The squirrels are fat and happy after eating my tomatoes. The roadrunner couple I saw having sex in my back yard now have healthy teenagers who are as aggressive about eating birds as their parents. Our quail population is booming. They love quail blocks and nest along side the squirrels on a little used side of my property. I make bread every couple of days. I have many recipes for rye bread, but rye flour is now unattainable. Not enough planted by the farmers for the current demand. I also make a lot of oatmeal bread. Lucky for me. I make my own buns for bratwurst. I also …

No more methotrexate

RA Dilemma Number Five There is another dilemma to face when you have rheumatoid arthritis. I was surprised by this one. After all, I have had RA for seven years and feel I have covered a lot of ground in that time. I know infection posed  a very high risk while taking RA meds. My mind thought flu or maybe pneumonia. This one started five months ago. Suddenly and out of the blue, my right breast developed a lesion and stated to drain. I felt feverish and went to see my oncologist who sent me to the breast surgeon oncologist down the hall because she was the one who had the ultrasound machine. She came in, introduced herself and looked at my lesion. She instantly knew that it was caused by necrotic breast tissue due to radiation for breast cancer. The radiated tissue gradually degenerates, expands until it pushes through the delicate breast skin and drains. It cultured positive and I was sent to the wound clinic. Eventually, it was determined that the only solution …

Surviving Food, Nutrition and RA

This is the first few pages of the nutrition section in my up coming book Self-Managing Rheumatoid Arthritis. Surviving Food, Nutrition and RA We all know that good nutrition is an important part of staying healthy. Most of us have limited knowledge on what constitutes eating well. Our problems are many when we try to figure this out. What is good nutrition? How does it fit into our family style? How do we manage when we have pain and fatigue? How do we manage when our budgets are limited?  To complicate matters, each of us is unique both in body make-up and in our responses to our environment. We need diets or food plans that work for us individually. It is a given that a good diet will help you manage your RA. Good food will help. You might already realize your particular dietary needs. Some will do better on a vegetarian diet. Some will do better without dairy. Many will thrive on a Mediterranean diet or an anti-inflammatory diet. Some are gluten intolerant. Some …

Infection and off methotrexate

I stopped taking Actemra. I had only two doses this time. Last week I stopped taking methotrexate. I had been on it since 2013. All this was at  a suggestion from my oncologist who was helping me battle a severe breast infection. The infection started in October 2019. I went to a wound clinic for a month. I had surgery to debride necrotic, radiated breast tissue 13 December. Then the infection returned. Perhaps it had never left. I also developed a severe cellulitis. The cellulitis covered my entire breast or what was left of it. Now the cellulitis is down to a couple of inches. The whole thing was caused by  the radiation treatment that I had for breast cancer in 2013. The radiated tissue became necrotic and infected. It is not uncommon. I wonder what part my RA drugs played in this long standing dilemma. This infection has gone on for three months. I do know that methotrexate should be stopped while a person is on an antibiotic. Methotrexate should not be used at …

Life is good

Christmas is surrounding us. Thoughtful considerations given. Small kindnesses. Music. Good chocolate. Desserts. Hugs. Packages in shiny paper. And the knowledge I am cared for. I feel fortunate. I have loved ones to share the holidays and although I am a little wobbly at times, I am able to do my favorite activities for the season. I have had past years where I have felt frightfully alone. I have been fearful for my life. I have been fearful for my future. But now my heart has settled down. I know better who I am.  I feel satisfied with myself. I accept my place in the world and I am grateful for it. Life is good. My son and I took Francis for a picture with Santa at Petco. We were first. Francis growled at a young French Bull dog and then sat on Santa’s lap like they were old friends. Another good memory.