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So I went to London with a slight case of the crud. You know, the scratchy throat, the tickly cough, the slight feeling of congestion in the back of throat. Note that we left on a Wednesday and came back on a Wednesday and Wednesday is the day that I take my Enbrel injection.

You know where this is going, don’t you? Not supposed to take Enbrel if you have an infection.

So the Wednesday when we left, I wasn’t sure that I was really sick as much as just overworked and run down and I didn’t want to spend a week walking around cold London with sore joints, so I took my shot and did pretty well.

When I came back, I’d had the stuff for a week and yes, it was worse. But my right knee looked like it swallowed a small melon and the rest of my joints were not in much better shape. So you balance the decision of whether the joint pain (and possible damage) is worse than the cold. I figure they can cure pneumonia, but joint damage is permanent, so I took the Enbrel. (Hey, at least I thought about it …)

So now I have a full-blown case of the crud. But my joints are doing a thousand percent better. Did I make the right choice? Regardless, it’s the choice I made and all you can do is move forward.

Every choice has repercussions, but medical choices can be life changing. Deciding whether or not to take the Enbrel isn’t nearly as serious as many. I have a friend whose husband was diagnosed with leukemia. The drug he took no doubt saved his life, but it also caused permanent damage to his lungs.

Those of us with chronic diseases make the choice every day to follow a treatment plan or to find alternate treatments or just say to heck with it and throw the drugs and their side effects down the loo. All of those decisions can dramatically change the quality and even the quantity of life we have.

None of this is easy and, I think one of the hardest things, is really deciding what’s important to us as individuals. Is having a little pain better than being fogged by opiate drugs? Are the chances of long-term side effects worth the short-term, immediate benefit?

The best thing I’ve found is that we live in an age where we have information readily available. We can make informed decisions. And we have access to an online community of people who have faced the same decisions and we can share and learn from each other.

I appreciate the support and insight I’ve received from all of you.

Thanks for checking in.