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Monday, January 6, 2014

My Rheumatoid Arthritis Story - Part 1

I am now entering the third week of not taking Methotrexate, those horrible yellow chemotherapy pills that I had been ingesting for 3 1/2 years. When I was first diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis back in September 2010 the rheumatologist prescribed a heavy dose of prednisone, along with 6 tablets of MTX per week. I despised the prednisone as it made me very moody and packed on 20 additional pounds within 2 months. I didn't know if it was the MTX or the prednisone that was helping reduce the inflammation, but was happy to get the hell off of them. A couple of weeks later the pain returned, but I did not want to go back on the prednisone. I was told the MTX would stop the pain. It didn't. Let me back up a little to when I was first diagnosed...

Weeks prior to going to my family doctor I was having difficulty sleeping, and my whole body ached. It was pain I couldn't quite put my finger on as it radiated throughout the bones and muscles with the strongest throbbing being in my hands and toes. My doctor thought some of the symptoms sounded like RA, but he wasn't sure so he referred me to a specialist. After taking x-rays and blood work the rheumatologist told me I had RA. I was devastated, and confused. The rheumy was very nice and told me not to worry, he could put it into remission by bombarding it with chemotherapy pills. I was aghast at the mere mention of such treatment, but he assured me that was the way to get it under control and into remission. Of course, it came with all sorts of warnings and possible side effects, the worst one in my view, being damage to my liver. I could no longer take Tylenol which was my go-to pain relief medicine, and worse, I could no longer drink alcohol, other than 1-2 glasses of wine per week, on the fourth day after taking the MTX pills. No!!!!!! I would have to be monitored every three months with bloodwork and visits to him.

At first I got along with the rheumy...he was very personable, maybe too personable, as he was always complimenting me, and telling me personal things about himself. I figured since he wasn't from this country maybe that's how the doctors in Ghana interacted with their patients and I was okay with it. Then things started to go sour. It came about once he found out I owned an auto repair shop. He would ask me questions about cars, like I know anything about that. I gave him a card and told him to speak with my husband as he was the mechanic. The rheumy was buying his daughter a car and had so many questions, none of which I could answer.

Anyway, it was one Saturday and he called the shop and my husband happened to be there working on his wood. The auto part of the shop is not opened on the weekends. When this "man" who didn't identify himself called asking for me, my husband got defensive, perhaps thinking it was one of the million telemarketers who call constantly for me, so replied to the tune of something along the lines, "She's not here, what do you want from her?" Knowing him, there might have been a curse word sprinkled in there. The caller then identified himself and said he wanted to bring a car down right then and there to have my husband check out. My husband let him know the shop was not opened but he could bring it in during the week. The caller did not like that as clearly my husband was there so why couldn't he just stop what he was doing and look at the car. I'm sure my husband's answer to him was probably not the most "polite." My husband did call me after the conversation and ask who the hell was this guy as he didn't like his attitude. I got mad at my husband for being so curt with him. My husband responded he was sorry I felt that way but the guy was an asshole. Cut to my next office visit...

The first thing the rheumy asked me was not how I was feeling, but instead stated how nasty my husband was, "What did he think I wanted to date you?" I was taken aback and explained to him about all the telemarketing calls we receive and that was more likely the reason he was abrupt at first. I also told him the shop is not open on weekends, but he could come during the week and that would be fine. He dismissed me with a "I already found someone else, and I bought the car." I responded with a "Okay, great, hope your daughter is happy. Good luck to her." And as far as I was concerned that was that. But, from that day on he wasn't the same to me...

*To Be Continued....*

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