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Not Cured Yet

The first blood test result after starting my new medication, I actually didn’t believe it. I thought there was an error at the blood lab. But after a second test a month later confirmed a normal CRP (C-Reactive Protein) test for inflammation, I had to accept that my new treatment was actually working! Hurrah! At last!

Unbelievable test results: almost felt like a “cure”

When I received the first test results, I told no one outside discussing with my husband. It was too strange and unreal. I felt better. But did I really feel that much better? But after the second test, I called up my parents to share the exciting news. They had been with me through this whole journey since my diagnosis at age two—this was what they had always been hoping for!

A few weeks later we visited my parents in person and I had some champagne to celebrate. I joked that now I was cured and would soon be doing backflips like an Olympic gymnast and other impossible feats of strength and athleticism. It made me laugh to envision being suddenly “cured,” but only because I know the reality is far from it.

As happy as I am to be feeling better, to have an effective medication, and to hopefully be experiencing a stop to the progression of active disease—I have more than 40 years of significant joint damage. This is irreversible. Bone and cartilage is not going to regrow. Joints are not going to untwist from deformities. Collateral damage to muscles, tendons, and ligaments will not change.

My medication is a pause button, not a rewind. It will ideally not let the disease actively chew away at my body anymore. Even better, it’s alleviating fatigue and pain. It’s letting me have more time at my current state, instead of knowing that my rheumatoid arthritis is gradually worsening.

RA remission and not RA “cure”

In actuality, I do get mad at people who go around peddling a “cure” for rheumatoid arthritis and other diseases where no such thing exists. (Don’t argue with me. Current science is on my side and you won’t change my mind.) Yes, there’s lots people can do to improve their RA. But there is no magic cure for everyone. My medication is working for me, but it isn’t effective for everyone and it may not continue to work for me consistently into the future. And some treatments that are effective for others have not done a thing for me. Nothing with RA is that simple.

So I know that I’m not cured, but I’m terrifically happy to have found a drug that has put the kibosh on my RA (at least for the moment). I keep putting the “for now” caveat on things because every day my body changes, my disease changes, and I know that life can change. Better to appreciate the moment!

Cautiously celebrating my RA remission

So while I am feeling better and enjoying effective treatment, I’m going to do things to support my health like good diet and regular exercise. And I’m also going to have some fun, darnit! We are planning some fun trips, family visits, and other activities that we enjoy. I won’t overdo it, but if I can enjoy myself more comfortably then I’m excited to do it!

As RA patients, we’re on a constant quest to feel a little bit better, to put those symptoms and side effects at bay. I’m continuing this journey, but feel I have made a significant step that has been long in coming (41 years!). I often tell others to keep on trucking, one step at a time. And, finally, I have something to show for it.

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The RheumatoidArthritis.net team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

Comments

  • Indigo2
    8 months ago

    With most likely “many” causes of RA, therefore, many different outcomes…we all strive to find “remission”…it is not a cure but it
    means the RA/ disease is under control.

  • Kelly Mack moderator author
    7 months ago

    Very true Indigo2. Thanks for your comment. Best, Kelly (RheumatoidArthritis.net Team)

  • Amy Borel
    9 months ago

    Hi Kelly,
    I also have a short fuse for people who dangerously tote miracles that cure RA. I think it disadvantages our patient communities and creates a dangerous situation for the newly-diagnosed person who is still struggling with denial. That being said, our disease likes to play mind games with us and convince us that it doesn’t exist. Every time I come out of a flare, I’m sure that this was all a bad dream. I haven’t been at this long, but I do know that it always comes back in some form or another, and that people like yourself, who have had this disease for decades, still have difficulty with acceptance.

  • Kelly Mack moderator author
    8 months ago

    Thanks Amy! Keep at it. Hoping that you find a good treatment and don’t have to deal with too many flares. Take care. Best, Kelly (RheumatoidArthritis.net Team)

  • tckrd
    9 months ago

    I am glad you are feeling better and your text results are good. I have sero negative RD and ankylosing spondylitus and for the most part have had those results the whole time. Even with that the pain and inflamation goes merrily along along with joint damage. Fortunately my rheumatologist knows that normal test results does not always show remission. I am glad you are feeling better and your results are positive I just want people to know that test results don’t show everything.

  • Kelly Mack moderator author
    8 months ago

    Thanks tckrd! You are right–test results do not show everything. My blood may be happier, but I am still achy. But it is good to be generally feeling better. Hang in there. Thinking of you. Best, Kelly (RheumatoidArthritis.net Team)

  • Lawrence 'rick' Phillips moderator
    9 months ago

    Every one knows that the only way to cure RA is to drink a mix of strawberry milk, aspirin, seaweed, sawdust, uncooked navy beans, and dandelions pureed and ingested 18 times per day in 8 oz servings.

    I mean every knows that? Right?

  • Indigo2
    8 months ago

    too funny!…along with the other 100 (non) cures you hear from everyone!

  • Richard Faust moderator
    9 months ago

    Hey Rick, no wonder it didn’t work – when I was mixing the cure up for Kelly I cooked the navy beans first. The really funny thing is that when I read your reply to Kelly she said she wanted to write almost the exact same thing before I could even say anything. Thanks for the laugh. Richard (RheumatoidArthritis.net Team)

  • gweniem
    9 months ago

    I just laughed and laughed. Ha. (I thought frog warts were deriguour now, anyway.) My mirth spills over when I reach for my hair brush the umpteenth time and it, yet again, slips away.

    I am not amused, however, when I think how long I waited for a correct diagnosis. Without the excellent bone scans and the wonderful tests available (like anti-CCP) I might still be wandering in the wilderness.

    The other non amusing aspect is to have RA and MS combined. I didn’t even know it happened to people. I now have a better grasp on differentiating the two, but pain remains pain no matter what.

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