The day didn’t start well.
Yes, we needed the rain. And rain it has, starting yesterday evening, going through the night, punctuating my dreams with flashes of lightning and rumbles of thunder.
With the rain came the low pressure system, and with the low pressure, the pain in my joints. It was my left knee — the one that may need surgery — that woke me this morning rather than Nature’s lightning show.
My appointment with my rheumatologist was at 9:00 — plenty of time to get in and out and to the office at a decent time.
But the rain had gridlocked traffic and she was running late. Then the receptionist sent back two patients — both with appointment times at 9:15 (after mine) before she called me. It was almost 11:00 am before I was seen. I was not happy.
But I love my rheumatologist because she listens to her patients. In fact that’s what she said when she reviewed my last two sets of labs that were squeaky clean, “Lab results are lab results, but we listen to our patients.”
If you’ve been following my blog, you know that I haven’t been doing well lately. A few rheumatologist appointments ago, I’d felt the Enbrel hadn’t been working as well, so we added the Arava. Then the last couple of appointments, I’d reached the point where not even the addition of Arava felt like it was helping. My rheumatologist referred to her notes, listened to my litany of complaints (including the MRI showing inflammation in my knee and the X-Ray showing arthritic changes in my shoulder) and suggested we change medications. She first asked me if I had any ideas (because she knows that I usually have done my research and have an opinion). I told her I really didn’t because I’d already been through Humira, Simponi and now Enbrel. So she has now introduced me to Orencia which, unlike Humira, Simponi and Enbrel, is not a TNF inhibitor. As it is in another class of drugs, hopefully it will have different results.
She also prescribed a steroid injection to “give me a boost” and wanted to put me on 5 mg of Prednisone for a while to help while the Orencia took effect. I demurred on the Prednisone partly because I want to be sure any beneficial effects are from Orencia and not the steroid and partly because I really am trying to lose weight and get in better shape. Prednisone definitely will not help me lose weight.
Two injections later (one the Orencia and one the steroid), I’m out the door with another Orencia sample and instructions to get labs done in four weeks and see her again in six. I was rather proud of myself that I gave myself the Orencia injection.
I hope this works. I am ready to feel better.
Two things I’m not sure I like about Orencia. The first is that while it is now in injectable form (rather than infusion), it comes in a standard hypodermic and not the slick injector pen form that I prefer. (I hate poking myself with the needle.) The second is that my doctor’s office is recommending that I get the Orencia via a specialty mail-order pharmacy. I’d prefer to use my local pharmacy, but they asked me to trust them that this was the best way to get the insurance worked out and be sure of a good supply of the drug as this pharmacy specializes in biologics.
Whatever. Either I trust my doctor or I don’t, and I do, in fact both like and trust my doctor. I just wasn’t mentally prepared for all of this morning.
So here I am. No longer on Enbrel. Now a new Orencia patient with hopefully a new/better chapter in dealing with my RA.
I hope whatever is new in your life brings you blessings of health. Thanks for checking in.