In addition to the rheumatologist visit mentioned in my previous post, I had visits with my back surgeon, my knee surgeon, and my dentist. I’ll forego any discussions of the dentist as it was a routine, six-month clean and check and other than the discomfort of laying in a dentist’s chair for an hour while in a back brace, there’s not much to report.
I already reported some of the information from my rheumatologist visit. We decided to keep me on Orencia and 20 mg. leflunomide (Arava). We may cut back to 10 mg. of leflunomide once things get back to “normal” after the back surgery. One of the issues I’ve been having due to my back surgery is bursitis in my right hip from so much time resting in bed. It has been interfering with my ability to sleep. She had injected my left hip for the same reason before surgery and so she was agreeable to taking care of the right hip during this visit. It worked great and I’ve been getting a decent night’s sleep without drugs the last several nights since then.
The visit to the back surgeon went swimmingly. I had an X-ray beforehand and he was impressed that I’m already showing bone growth in the fusion area. They were amazed that I’ve been up driving and working and not on pain medication. I am confined to this blasted brace until the end of July, although starting mid-June (which isn’t that far off), I can start weaning myself out of it. That will definitely be a relief. I can also now lift up to 15 lbs. and can increase the length and types of exercises I can do. (I guess anything more than nothing would be an increase, wouldn’t it?????)
I also have to continue to use my bone growth stimulator once a day for three more months. As you can see from the picture to the left, this thing looks like a steering wheel. It straps to my back on a belt and the little control box turns it on for 30 minutes at a time. I know that my husband secretly wants to drive me around the house like a kiddie car every time I put it on. You can’t tell that it’s working because you can’t feel anything. But my insurance company paid thousands of dollars for it (I know, can you believe it?), so I’m determined to get whatever value there is out of it although I have to admit that I do have some trepidation of having electromagnet waves so close to things like my kidneys and liver and other important bits.
Finally, I had the follow-up with my knee guy after the Euflexxa injections. The injections have worked wonders. On the day of the appointment, I walked from one end of the enormous medical campus to the far side where his office is and back again to my car. This is a far cry from me hardly being able to walk across the parking lot before the injections. So he and I are both really, really pleased. The big question is, what’s next? Eventually the knee will have to be replaced. It’s a question of whether I do it this year or perhaps do another round of Euflexxa injections when this past one wears off. On one hand, it will cost me thousands of dollars less this year because I’ve already met all my deductibles. On the other hand, after this back surgery, I’m not sure I’m up for any more repair work on my body in the near future. My doctor is agreeable to whatever course of action I want to take. I’ll just have to think about it.
So basically all things are good. No cavities, healing well, doing well, and RA has generally stayed at bay. I hope your life is also going well. Thanks for checking in.