RA Status Quo or No?
One of the perennial challenges of living with rheumatoid arthritis is the question of maintaining the current status of treatment and management choices. Is there a point at which it is time to reassess?
Is there a time when the status quo should be a status no?
My RA decisions are personalized to me
As with the myriad of decisions related to our journeys with RA, this is a very personal, individualized choice. Comparing your options in all areas of your RA management to others is not only dangerous from a health perspective, but it can lead to a lot of frustration. I can remember going to several RA medical appointments armed with others’ experiences and trying to convince my care team that I needed to follow the same protocols, medication, and treatment choices.
Lucky for me, my very patient rheumatologist explained that my RA was mine alone and it had its own unique “personality” that was unlike anyone else’s. From blood work, to the condition of over 350 joints in my body, to the degree of systemic inflammation, and to the co-morbidities, just to name a few, my RA was very uniquely mine. We all need to keep this tenet close to our minds when making decisions about our management strategies.
That said, I think there is great value in listening, sharing, and assimilating others’ journeys. Oftentimes, I come across very insightful and helpful tips and suggestions that I weave into my decision-making, but I have learned not to make them a blueprint.
Status quo or status no?
This brings me to the question of staying with the status quo. This is your choice and your’s alone. It should be based on your specific situation. There are, however, some general questions that I think we can ask ourselves and depending on the answers, we can then decide to stay the course or make some changes.
For example, I recently had to stop taking both methotrexate and prednisone. First, I stopped the MTX, then a few months later, the prednisone. Shockingly, I am fine using neither. However, I remain on my biologic. In my 25 years with RA, I have never been able to reduce my medications to this level and I have tried on several occasions. My point is, that even within my own experience, what I do and the choices I make vary considerably. So now, I am facing a question: Is it possible that I could stop the biologic too? Could I actually be in some state of a more permanent remission? I have no answer at this point and I am reluctant to change my status quo out of fear.
Weighing the options with my care team
It has been my experience that a specific biologic, when stopped, is no longer effective for me if I try to resume it. That simple fact is the reason I am not going to stop the biologic at this point, unless, after consultation with my care team, we decide that stopping it is the right decision. I have been fortunate to not have any significant side effects from my current biologic, which is a factor and it has worked for me for seven years now. Do I want to say no to the status quo? Not right now.
Each of us has to stop and confront the question of status quo or no at various times through our RA journey. Take the time to weigh the choices and carefully and openly deliberate with your care team. Then your choice will be clear and your fear will be alleviated.
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