Why I stopped taking methotrexate for my Rheumatoid Arthritis

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I didn’t take my weekly dose of methotrexate last night.  It was not a decision I made lightly, and yes, I feel horrible guilt this morning.  Rheumy will not be happy.  But he will understand.  This is my second attempt at methotexate, and once again the side effects have beaten me.  For me, this treatment is worse than the disease.

That’s the way it goes sometimes.  It’s the gold standard treatment, it helps literally thousands of people get their lives back.  But it doesn’t work for everyone.  And the side effects can be horrific.

For me, there’s the nausea.  By the third dose I was unable to eat at all, retching at the smell of most food.  And if I got it down, it didn’t always stay there.  I was dizzy, and had a headache all the time.  My stomach would feel like I’d been kicked…hard!  I am a brown belt in karate and have been kicked hard in the  stomach a few times…yep, that’s how it feels!

Then there’s the complete brain fade…Meth brain, I called it.  I would just stop…stare…fade out.  Forget what I was doing, or where I was going.  And struggle to remember…not always successfully.  I was working on a website and almost brought the whole thing down.  Absent minded…that doesn’t BEGIN to cover it!

But worst of all was the depression.  First I was irritable…a bit cranky.  Like I have PMS all the time.  Then little things would start to get me down…then I started feeling really detached from my life.  Like I was just watching it all go by, but not really part of it.  Pretty soon I started thinking that the people in my life would be so much better off without me, and it’s a very short step to some seriously dark thoughts from there.

SO.  No more methotrexate.  I haven’t told Rheumy yet – I see him next week.  He won’t be happy, but he will understand.  And we’ll move onto the next option.  There are always other options.

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