Right so here we are then. Back in full body mega flare land. What have I proven? That without drugs I am unable to live any sort of reasonable life and I have constant, severe pain. Good to know.
I have started taking my Naprosyn again. Sadly it doesn’t work immediately. It got to the point where it didn’t work much at all, but I’m not going to dwell on that. The idea that it may not work doesn’t please me, so I’m going to take the mature approach and ignore it.
So I’m taking Naprosyn…it’s doing Sweet FA. I’m down to 3mg of prednisolone…it’s doing Sweet FA. I’m still on plaquenil…it’s been doing Sweet FA for several years now.
As far as I’m concerned I have failed methotrexate convincingly…the doctors see it differently. I have also failed sulfasalazine. The doctors see it differently. We all agree that I have failed plaquenil. All agree that it is just too mild a drug, and my RA is not mild.
But my RA is not *typical* and so I don’t qualify for any other treatments.
I also tried Imuran (azathioprine), but the side effects meant I didn’t last long on that either.
The doctors feel I haven’t given these drugs a long enough trial. They are slow acting and you need to be on them for several weeks to see any improvement. The side effects, however, kick in right away.
Methotrexate, sulfasalazine and azathioprine all cause major depression. They all also cause nausea, diarreah, headaches, stomach aches, fatigue…but all this is bearable. Spending your entire life being severely depressed is no better a life than spending it in severe pain. It’s just a different kind of pain.
And I know that RA, in and of itself, can cause depression. Or rather the pain and disability that goes along with it causes depression. Who wouldn’t be depressed when every joint in your body aches all the time?
But this is different. Medication induced depression is different. And it doesn’t respond to anti-depressants. I tried that too. Several of them. No effect.
Anyway, the point is I have tried every treatment option available to me. I don’t meet the qualifying criteria for biologics in Australia.
So now all that is left to me is alternative therapies.
In the past I have tried all of these. Some have no effect, some seem to help a little bit. I think something that helps, even a bit, is worth doing when things are as severe as they are now. And for me, following a ‘clean’ diet is pretty easy. I have always been a health nut and ‘indulged’ in sweets and processed foods only occasionally. So diet is easy.
Acupuncture seems to help with stress. It is expensive, but right now its worth it.
Supplements are very expensive. And I don’t know if they help at all. Again, they might help for milder versions of RA. But I have a month’s supply and I will start taking them today and see what happens.
I’m also looking at other alternative therapies. Antibiotic protocol. Helminthic therapy. I will research and blog on those later.
I finally got through the gatekeepers and spoke to my rheumatologist No.2. She told me to get back on methotrexate, sulfasalazine and up my prednisone again. I won’t take methotrexate. I won’t take sulfasalazine. Prednisone is just kicking the can down the road a bit further. But I might have to do that.
I don’t have another choice.