One important lesson that all RAers learn is that every day brings with it a new set of experiences and adventures. Plans to complete the Weapons Against RA series were put on hold once again. I’ve been gathering information about natural treatments but need to put more thought into this huge and controversial topic. Instead, this post represents ramblings about recent adventures.
As reported earlier, the new biological medicine Cimzia seems to be working with higher levels of energy and less joint problems. After a wonderful experience snow skiing last week, the days following represented a set of challenges. That was not unexpected. Physical or emotional strain seems to be followed with an RA flare in symptoms. It wasn’t too bad this time, just a lack of energy and stiffness for a few days. That was until an unforeseen medicine complication hit.
Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) and I don’t get along very well (see this post on NSAIDs). In an attempt to provide some pain relief, my rheumatologist had me try various NSAIDs that are designed to cause less stomach upset. After failing at Mobic (meloxicam) last month, the latest NSAID attempted was Salsalate. This modified version of aspirin is supposed to cause fewer stomach problems. I started taking it two weeks ago and noticed almost immediate pain relief. After two weeks it felt like perhaps a solution was at hand. But yesterday morning that tell-tale heartburn started and by midday the pain was so bad that a trip to the ER was close at hand. Carefully monitoring diet and taking massive doses of antacids and anti-gas medicines got things to a tolerable level by bedtime. Of course, by then things spiraled into a bad night’s sleep which made today one of those, ”just get through it” kind of days.
The joy of skiing and a new biological drug that appears to be working was tempered by a few setbacks. These two steps forward, one step back responses to RA represents the norm. In the movie Parenthood starring Steve Martin as Gil, his Grandmother gives a most wonderful piece of advice…
[Gil has been complaining about his complicated life; Grandma wanders into the room]
Grandma: You know, when I was nineteen, Grandpa took me on a roller coaster.
Grandma: Up, down, up, down. Oh, what a ride!
Gil: What a great story.
Grandma: I always wanted to go again. You know, it was just so interesting to me that a ride could make me so frightened, so scared, so sick, so excited, and so thrilled all together! Some didn’t like it. They went on the merry-go-round. That just goes around. Nothing. I like the roller coaster. You get more out of it.[i]
RAers don’t ask to ride this roller coaster. But I want to make the most of both the ups and downs!