At Least I Have an Explanation

At least I have an explanation of what to call my problem, RA. I am 74 years old. For several years, I had joint pain that took turns in different places and resolved on its own.

My symptoms exacerbated

Then about three years ago, I realized I was very stiff, I couldn’t walk fast but pain was not a big problem. My husband and my children weren’t very understanding...they acted like I should have been able to keep up when I walked with them. I didn’t have a clue..I knew I was a turtle. I was worried I had some slowly crippling disease.

After months of waiting, I received a diagnosis

About two years ago, I was told to see a rheumatologist. It took months to get an appointment. Then it took time to get tests and a follow up appointment. Finally I was told, you have rheumatoid arthritis. To be honest, I knew very little about it.

Medication came next

The first round of meds came with respiratory side effectsPlaquenil was prescribed first and then methotrexate ..both were linked to wheezing and cough with a few days of starting these meds...really? Was I allergic or was it a coincidence?? I’ve had mild asthma with respiratory illnesses. Never from a medication. A new medication brought even worse side effectsLast July, when my Vectra score was 40, I started loading doses of Orencia IV. No problems. I felt okay after. Then I went monthly until December when my blood pressure started going higher than ever and I had terrible and frequent profuse sweats...soaking wet hair, nausea from feeling overcome my my heatwave. My doctor did a Vectra score..increased to 44. We stopped Orencia. Then the virus hit..I was terrified..high risk by age and RA.I have lousy lungs. I was getting many URI’s on Orencia. A consultation with a pulmonologist diagnosed asthma. An appointment with my ophthalmologist diagnosed bilateral cataracts. Oh the joys of old age and drug side effects!My latest test results, side effects, and updatesMy last WBC was 13,500..it’s been trending upward and abnormally high for months. My sleep is being destroyed by pain..aching, and bad in my hips after I’ve slept on them. The rheumatology nurse practitioner in consultation with my Rheumatologist has talked to me about Xeljanz and Kineret. Blood tests first. I’m taking a short burst of prednisone..pain is less but I also take meloxicam and Tylenol. I am thankful. I can exercise in my pool. I’ve lost 22 pounds since January on WW. Hoping!

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