Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Hope -- the best remedy there is.

The following song reflects my current mood:

Make no mistake, this week had rocky beginning. I had desperately purchased some compression gloves, and wore them nearly constantly, without any pain relief. My RA symptoms seemed to peak in intensity, as if my body were rebelling against me. Hands swollen like mittens in the morning, struggles to open doorknobs, turn the key in my car's ignition, get dressed in the morning, and participate in my mother's care, pain without let up. And the fatigue...

My dear gentleman friend, bless his heart, waited on me this week, encouraging me to rest in between shifts of clients, making me food ("You've got to eat something, dear"), and keeping me company. Things did get strained, though, when at times he got visibly exasperated hearing my cries and groans. "It really bothers me to see you in pain." I responded by trying to muffle these sounds, or make any statement that contained "hurt," "pain," or any of their synonyms.

I wanted to send him packing.

Two nights ago, I hit bottom. I'd taken an Ultram before bed, and tried desperately to sleep, with countless variations of positions, and several pillows for support. At nearly midnight, I took a second Ultram, apologized to my dearie, and fled to the sofa. By 1:30, I added an inflamed left shoulder to my woes. Pillows, ice bags, sleep. I don't know what's worse--being awake all night, or the early morning TV programming. Despair set in, and I thought of the scripture quote, "...for dust you are and to dust you will return." (Genesis 3:19, New International Version).

Beginning on Tuesday night, I began counting down the hours until my rheumatologist appointment. Please, relief, that's all I'm asking for. My dearie came with me, for support, and, I suspect, to seek his own peace of mind.
As it turns out, Dr. La is the answer to my prayers, and I'm not just using hype here. After telling me that my rheumatoid markers are "off the charts," (gee, surprise, surprise!) I got a massive shot of cortisone in my shoulder, and a new medication regimen. Prednisone is the initial, and purposefully aggressive, first line of treatment. Dr. La was firm about this not being a long-term medication due to its side effects, but it should halt the progression of the pain and swelling. The methotrexate sodium, per the handout I received, "...also can reduce damage to joints and the risks of long-term disability." (sold!) Folic acid is to mitigate the unpleasant side effects of the other stuff.

Dr. La was emphatic about instructing me to begin taking these pills, especially the methotrexate sodium, right away. Hey, absolutely! I was also told to rotate my left shoulder as much as possible. We will see tonight how well it responds to the injection.

While on the Arthritis Foundation website this afternoon, I read that early treatment can actually encourage remission. What a beautiful word! It makes me think of another quote, "I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made..." (Psalm 139:14, New International Version).

Stay tuned.

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