Last week was one of the more exciting ones in my medical life and, per the headline of this post, I did feel like a pincushion. Wednesday I got a steroid injection for my hip bursitis, my second Euflexxa injection in my knee, and my regular Orencia injection. That was followed Thursday by my myelogram where they injected contrast/dye into my spine and took pictures.
Wednesday was my regular follow-up with my rheumatologist. We had a lot to talk about with the pending back surgery, the knee injections, knee-replacement surgery, and new “sausage finger” symptoms. By the time we got through everything, I’d spent most of an hour with her (which is one of the great reasons I like this doctor — she will take the time needed). We discussed whether or not the Orencia is working and that’s something I need to think about in the coming weeks. After having been through methotrexate, Humira, Simponi, and now Orencia (which is a different class of drugs than Humira and Simponi), the options are getting more limited. She did increase my Arava from 10 mg to 20 mg, partly to get me through surgery when I have to go off Orencia. Orencia does help, I just don’t know that it helps enough. She did give me a steroid injection for my hip bursitis, which I wasn’t expecting, but which I appreciated. It had gotten to the point that it was difficult to sleep on that side (as well as walk or do anything else), so getting the bursitis calmed down before surgery is a major benefit.
After I left my rheumatologist, I went to my orthopedic surgeon’s office for my second Euflexxa injection. Again, the injection didn’t hurt at all. The really good news is that, five days later, my knee doesn’t hurt either. True, I gave my knee a good rest after the injection since I was down for bed rest after my myelogram Thursday, but I’ve also been giving it a workout. We spent a couple of hours wandering around the Dallas Auto Show on Saturday, then on Sunday, I was on my feet for several hours working on straightening up closets and bookcases. I am really encouraged. I don’t know how long the total effect will last after my final injection this week (supposedly several months), but it is such a relief to have the knee pain-free. It’s hard to enjoy anything in life when you’re in constant pain and I feel like a new woman. (In my younger days I would have felt like a new man, but since I’m now happily married …)
Then the following morning was my myelogram and CAT scan — which are the final diagnostic tests prior to my surgery. My brother had a bad experience when he had one a few years ago and with all the cautionary information on the Internet, I had a bit of anxiety about the whole situation. However, other than a bit of light-headedness due to my vasovagal reflex, it was pretty much a non-event. The only discomfort I had was the bit of sting when they numbed the skin on my back. The really hard part was afterward when I got home and had to lay down with no more than one pillow for 24 hours. I was really, really tired and bored about four hours into it. The bad part of myelogram isn’t so much the procedure as some of the bad after-effects that occur if you don’t do the bedrest, so I was pretty motivated to be a good patient.
So this will be a calmer week medically. I get my final Euflexxa injection, take my final Orencia injection prior to surgery two weeks from today, and meet with my neurosurgeon to go over the myelogram and CAT scan results. Next week is a pretty quiet week, then the following Monday is surgery. At least that’s when it’s currently planned. I have some travel plans in early May that, if the doctor won’t let me travel that soon after surgery, I will need to reschedule the surgery until after the travel. We’ll see.
I hope your life has been less medically exciting than mine has been lately. I’ll keep you posted as we move forward on all this stuff. Thanks for checking in.