When I was in for my follow-up with my PCP earlier this week, he asked me how I was doing. Unlike people you see every day, this is not a casual question. My doctor believes in treating the whole patient and to him, it’s a serious question. He wants to know what my assessment of my overall health is.
Over the years the answer has usually been “great!” or “great except for this one thing …”. This time my answer was, “I’m doing okay. Not great, but generally okay.”
In our shorthand, I was telling him that despite my chronic ailments (RA and high-blood pressure to name the most prominent), I didn’t have any real complaints. I told him I was “better” since my rheumatologist had added Arava to my RA cocktail.
Reliving the conversation in my mind (as many of us do with our doctor’s appointments), it struck me that I couldn’t remember the last time I felt really good. And I further realized that I never quite feel “well”.
Part of it, I’m sure, is the increased fatigue that came with the Arava prescription. This fatigue zaps my energy and depresses my spirit. It’s hard to feel vibrant about life when sometimes you don’t have the energy to smile. I’ve got some fun things coming up in my life, but it’s hard to be enthusiastic about them when all I can think about is how tired I’m going to be.
I would love to have a day where I woke up well-rested, felt good (happy, refreshed), felt well (non-diseased, not tired).
This is one of the daily quandaries that those of us with chronic illness face. It’s a balancing act between benefit and risk. I could no doubt have less fatigue if I quit taking the Arava — however, I would also no doubt have more joint pain and stiffness.
I am feeling better since starting Arava, but I’m not feeling good, and I wonder if I will ever feel well again.
I hope you are feeling well today. Thanks for checking in.