As a small child, I used to watch the old-time Western serials. After watching a scene with the hero sheriff and the bad guy, the narrator would change the scene with the announcement, “… and now back at the ranch” to show what was happening at the home front.
I’ve been so busy with travels that I realized quite a lot has happened since I last published a personal update on my life with RA. In keeping with our movie theme, here is the highlights reel:
- I posted last about nuclear imaging to investigate ongoing pain in my knee, which (thankfully) showed no infection or loosening of my artificial knee. The steroid injection my doctor gave me has worked well and I’m back to walking. Right now I’m only hitting a “maintenance” two-mile distance, but hope to work my way back to the four-mile routine over the next couple of weeks.
- However, the imaging did show increased arthritis in my right shoulder (my left one has been replaced). A visit to my shoulder doc shows bone-on-bone degeneration in my right shoulder. We’ve known for a while that shoulder is also headed for a replacement, but it looks like it may be sooner rather than later. I’m hoping to delay it until after the new year.
- The nuclear imaging also showed some concerning changes in my spine. I had an MRI yesterday to get a better assessment of what those issues are. I see my neurosurgeon next week to go over the results. I don’t think there will be anything that needs immediate surgery, I’m more concerned about how quickly things are worsening.
- I’ve posted that I’ve been on Simponi Aria (the infused version of Simponi) since last December and have been doing very well on it. This successful treatment plan has been complicated by problems starting an IV. As a result, I haven’t had an infusion since last July, even though I’m supposed to have them every six weeks. (I’ve now missed two.) For various reasons, the injectable Simponi isn’t as good of an option for me, although I’ve been “making do” with some injectable samples until we can get this figured out. I’ll spare you the details, but it’s been a convoluted mess including the fact that Medicare will pay 100% for the infusion but only a portion of the injectable — even though it’s the same drug and the injectable is less expensive. I have actually had other people successfully start an IV on me (including my MRI with contrast yesterday), so my doctor has suggested we switch infusion providers to see if that makes a difference. If not, I will probably get a port installed — which is no one’s first choice but will keep me on my treatment plan.
- No real news on the esophagus front. We did adjust one medication I’m already on (calcium channel blocker) that’s supposed to help, but hasn’t. In the meantime, I’ve learned to live/eat around the situation. I see that doctor right before Thanksgiving. With everything else I’ve got going on, I think that’s the least of my worries and expect to just live with the situation until it gets to the point of really having to deal with it.
When my husband and I got married (almost 22 years ago now), I told him that he might not always be happy but he darn well would never be bored. I sort of feel that same way with RA. I can’t say that I’ve EVER been happy with RA, but you can tell with what’s been happening just these last few weeks, I’ve also never been bored. (Right now a little boredom would be a good thing!)
I hope whatever’s happening at your ranch is a good thing. Thanks for checking in.