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I’m really good at this game

teslaSo in keeping with the general theme of “why not” my rheumatologist and I suspect that my RA may in fact be active again. There is a possibility that this is a temporary flare up but my lack of response to the doubled dosage of my NSAID [Celebrex] is concerning. We believe this could have been triggered either by my increased use of my hands due to my ASL class or my increased stress level [I forgot what being a full-time student was like]. Regardless of the cause we will just need to keep an eye on it, my rheumatologist has assured me that Methotrexate is not in my future if she can help it, and I have decided that regardless of severity I will not be going back on pain medications.

Additionally should my RA be active again it would not be considered uncommon, below I’ve included the link to a study regarding the rate of remission in RA patients. most notably it states, “Long-term ARA [American Rheumatism Association]defined remission was rare, constituting 7% of follow-up for the entire cohort. For those 20% achieving remission, this period represented 34% of their follow-up. A total of 56% had a relapsing-remitting disease pattern and 44% had a persistent disease pattern.” Additionally this study states that the average length of remission is roughly 20.5 months. Bearing this in mind statistically my chances of remaining in remission are slim, but we knew this from the get go. Regardless of whether my RA is active or this is a blip I will continue to attend school full-time and fully intend to graduate on time and continue to pursue ASL for as long as I can.

http://rheumatology.oxfordjournals.org/content/37/12/1324

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Remission

Posted on

enhanced-buzz-25824-1366906952-7So the results of my nuclear joint scan are in. And just like every test I have had done it was negative. According to the doctor a lack of activity on this scan indicates that I do not have active rheumatoid arthritis, therefor I have gone into remission. This is surprising to me as the overall remission rate (using the ACR definition of remission) is 8.6% which leaves most RA patients with incredibly low odds. I am not and have never been a lucky person so I am hesitant to list myself under that 8.6% however this doctor said that if these scans came back clean [still waiting on MRI results] that he saw no need to follow up with me but suggested I continue my RA treatments. However making the assumption that I am in fact in remission but still experiencing this level of pain and fatigue adds merit to his diagnosis of Fibromyalgia, in a way the lack of proof is proof. I will hopefully know more after meeting with the Fibromyalgia specialist on Monday. They will be deciding if I am a good candidate for their comprehensive pain rehab program, I really hope they decide to se me as I have stopped all pain medication per the Mayo rheumatologists request. So my pain level is a little higher than I would like it to be but hopefully there is something that can be done for it.

A misinformed opinion

68487_459509900770933_1239083196_nWhen I was first diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis my first instinct was to research it online as much as I could. The first web site that I found described RA as “uncomfortable” and “easily treatable”. For those of you who do not have RA let me say that it is way more than “uncomfortable”, it slows you down and can be very painful, and often does affect other aspects of your health. As I started looking at the more scholarly medical journal side of things I realized that the picture of RA that I had painted based on what I had initially found was grossly inaccurate. I feel that as a whole we have been misled as to what exactly having RA means to an individual and their life. Drug commercials for medications such as Enbrel and Humira show their patients completely resuming normal life as if nothing was ever wrong, but this is not a realistic depiction of treatments.

 

However when all is said and done there have been amazing advances in the treatment of RA patients even since the 1990’s. With new treatments being developed the way of life that these initial web sites offered does seem to be somewhat in reach but still a ways off. In the long run if I only have to deal with occasional flare ups that wouldn’t be the end of the world.

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