My 38 Year Journey With RA
I was diagnosed at the age of 2, I have never known life without R.A.
By the age of 8 the disease had made a home in nearly all of my joints and my eyes. By age 11 I was legally blind. At age 14 I underwent a surgical procedure that would help me regain some of my vision. My days always began with severe stiffness, searing pain and often a knee, wrist or ankle that was the size of a football. This is normal for the approximately 4.6 million Canadians like me who have R.A.
For years, my parents chose medications they hoped would help. For years we tried and waited only to have our hopes crushed.
My medication journey
In 2012 I began a new trio of meds, Methotrexate, Humira and Celebrex. Metho had been a part of my world as a child and the thought of going back on it scared me, I had not tolerated the drug well in the past and was plagued by nausea, vomitting and diarrhea for many of my childhood years due to the med.
My rheumatologist assured me that if I could not tolerate it again we would stop the doseage immediately. I had also been on Celebrex for nearly 20 years so Humira would be the only new drug.
I researched Humira, I was scared and excited at the same time. The results patients were seeing on the new line of drugs called biologics was astonishing. But the thought of reducing my immune system to nearly nothing was terrifying.
I set my sights low. I didn't want to get my hopes up for anything other than a miniscule amount of decreased pain. You see, at that time I was able to walk only a few steps before the pain hit. My hands were often clenched when I woke each morning, and my legs felt like tree trunks that I could not move. I was experiencing horrendous headaches as a result of the arthritis in my neck and my eyes were flaring often leaving me in a fog for days on end. Depression was creeping in and fatigue had settled in. Therefore, I couldn't set my hopes high to have them crushed. I just couldn't. I began my Humira injections on a Wednesday, by Thursday of the following week I had visible wrist bones and knees that l had not seen in years!!
Within 3 months I was walking and moving as I hadn't in decades.
Let's look at my present day life.
I have minimal pain.
I can walk further than I have ever been able to.
I have NO morning stiffness.
My eyes are stable.
I live in a body that is foreign to me. I LIVE.
My doctor says I am in REMISSION.
I am sharing my journey with two intentions, spread awareness and spark hope. I know what it is like to live without hope, I have sat in the dark with the monster in the corner. I have felt the despair of helplessness. You are not alone. You can find me on YouTube sharing my journey, and speaking candidly and openly about my 38 years with R.A. Please check out my vlog it is called, "RA Raw".
I just want others to know it can happen. Remission is possible.
Right now, what RA tips would most be helpful for you?