A Cocktail Full of Hope
My Rheumatoid Arthritis journey started off in early 2011, at the age of 33, with pain in small joints of hands, fingers and wrists. Eventually, over a time span of a few months, the pain had taken over everywhere from my jaw to my larger joints (hips, shoulders). While waiting for my very first appointment with a rheumatologist, I was started on prednisone & diclofenac (initial doses via injection followed by a months worth of pills) by a Jamaican doctor while on vacation due to a hip flare that left me unable to walk. I was officially told I had RA by my first rheumatologist telling me he would keep me out of a wheelchair. (Looking back at that moment, I am still unsure how I feel about that approach, but that's another story) It is my belief that the intense intervention by the doctor in Jamaica put me in a remission for about a year. Maybe a little longer. Over the years my cocktail of meds has changed as it does for everyone else. Things work for a time, and then gradually they decline in effectiveness. The latest drug my body seems to have built a resistance to is the biologic, Humira. I am in the process of starting on Remicade infusions while continuing my weekly injection of 20 mg of methotrexate. I am waiting for my first infusion appointment to be scheduled as I type this. This, of course, all hinges on my application being approved by the patient assistance program set up by the pharmaceutical company. The costs associated with the newer biologic medications is astounding and most insurance companies require exhausting pre-approvals and re-approvals and also have high copays for these types of medications, if they are covered at all. The only reason I was able to go on Humira was due to the patient assistance program they provided. I know going onto Remicade will most likely not be the last time my cocktail is adjusted in hopes of calming the inflammation I feel throughout my entire body. But I am hopeful that it will work for as long as possible.
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