Ask the Experts – How did you Feel When you Started Treatment?
Because I was diagnosed at such a young age, I do not remember myself what it felt like to start treatment. My mother had to coax me into taking my medications. I gave her a really hard time because they tasted terrible and I didn’t want to swallow them. I’d also hide the pills in the chair cushion while she wasn’t looking! When I was a little older and could understand more about the importance of my medications, I took them willingly. In fact, I remember in elementary school a substitute nurse tried to give me the wrong pills one day and I corrected her because I knew the difference. Later, as I tried different treatments I felt a variety of emotions: Hope that the new medication would help alleviate my symptoms and slow the disease. Fear that the treatment would not work and sometimes fear because some of the treatments were injections that gave me pain or discomfort. Anxiety because of the uncertainty around if my medications would work and how my disease might progress.
I was a bit scared. I was placed on steroids, methotrexate and pain killers right away. I was resistant at first because the side-effects were so intense as my body got used to the medications. I felt so good after my first flare (which led to Dx) that I didn’t think I needed them. I didn’t understand that I needed to take these medications to control and prevent further symptoms.
When I finally started my first treatment, I was so hopeful. We get so used to taking medicine and feeling almost immediately better that it is easy to forget that it doesn’t always work that way. That is certainly the case with RA. Everything takes much longer than you think it would. At the beginning of treatment, I really didn’t know that was the case so I went in, blindly hopeful that I would finally feel better.
How did you feel when you first started treatment? Share in the comments below.