person holding positive test results, but is also on fire

Why Do I Feel So Bad When My VECTRA-DA Shows Improvement?

I recently requested a medication change with my rheumatologist because my fatigue and pain had increased. I found out that my VECTRA-DA results showed marked improvement from moderate activity down to mild activity. To say I was shocked is a gross understatement! How could my scores drop when I felt so much worse?

Using VECTRA-DA results to help treat RA

A treatment plan based on a physical exam & bloodwork

I am blessed with a fabulous rheumatologist who cares and listens. He said, “Labs don’t always have the answers, especially with you. That’s why we talk about how you are feeling and do a physical exam too. And don’t forget your fibromyalgia.” A little history: my RA factor, ANA, CRP, etc., have never shown any evidence of disease. Only my body tells the story. My first knee replacement revealed OA on the inside and RA on the outside of the knee. Finally, we had confirmation. A year later, the VECTRA-DA test became available and showed moderate RA.

The trials of a new medication

So, we tried a new medication. Unfortunately, I had side effects that required me to return to the previous medication. So I still have more pain and fatigue. In the midst of this, I have also had a pinched spinal nerve in my lumbar spine and bronchitis twice. All of us can identify with these times of what I call “RA+”. RA never seems to come by itself; it always brings a friend along.

Coping with RA co-diseases & infections

So, how to cope with RA, co-diseases, and infections? I find that listening to my body has to be first. I used to be able to “push through the pain” when I was younger and less smart. Now I know that the body has to be listened to and cared for first. Sleep and rest are my most important coping mechanisms. I follow a sleep routine that includes essential oil diffusion, ocean sounds, a memory foam mattress, and a semi-dark room.

More on this topic

When I get home from work, I rest first for an hour. Then I think about dinner. Music is always helpful, although I find silence helps also. I also set an hourly alarm at work, so that I get up and walk 250 steps each hour, preventing stiffness. I may not always get it done, but it is my goal. I find sunshine boosts my mood immensely, so I spend time at the pool. I have learned to accept that it is NOT selfish to take care of me first.

I cannot provide for my sons and myself if I don’t care for myself first. RheumatoidArthritis.net is my social life when I cannot venture out. My faith is my lifeline.

What do you do to cope? Please respond and share your ideas.

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