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rue-madame's Diaryland Diary

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It's Friday and I'm feeling fine

First of all, thank you so much to everyone for being so sweet and thoughtful as I deal with all of this health nonsense. Your support has really helped me maintain my sense of humor, and I am so grateful for your kind wishes!

My appointment with the rheumatologist (Dr. B) went very well. Sheís only at the hospital once every two weeks, and yesterday was one of the weeks she was supposed to NOT be there. She made an exception for me because of her relationship with my primary care physician, Dr. W.

Donít I feel special.

Dr. B is certain that I will be back to my old self in a matter of a few weeks. To get me there she has prescribed these drugs:

- Methotrexate, 5 mg once a week during Week 1; 7.5 mg once a week during Week 2; 10 mg once a week during Week 3
This is the official rheumatoid arthritis drug. Often prescribed to treat certain forms of cancer and severe cases of psoriasis, the drug works by interfering with cell growth and by suppressing the immune system. Itís gnarly.
- Prednisone, 10 mg per day for one week; 5 mg per day thereafter
This is a steroid that is going to jumpstart my treatment by reducing swelling and pain. I hate this drug because it typically makes me moody, hyper and I always feel pudgy. However, Iíve only taken 2 doses and already I feel better (reduced knee and hand/wrist pain.)
- Folic acid, 1 mg per day
Since Methotrexate interferes with the production of Folic Acid, I need to supplement. Also, the acid will prevent some of the side effects of Methotrexate which include mouth sores. Ew.

I think she forgot to prescribe Prevacid. I have it written down in my notes (shut up! So what if I take notes?), and I remember her being concerned that the drug cocktail + the 1,000 mg of Naprosyn I take daily would upset my stomach. Thatís something I need to talk to her about.

Here is a handy photo of my new friends:

There are all sorts of gross side effects, but with any luck, they wonít plague me. The doctor is really into monitoring everything (kidneys, liver, lungs) and even had me get a chest xray so that she could examine any changes that might occur in the future (either due to the medications, or due to advancing arthritis.) I have to limit my drinking because there has been some evidence of Methotrexate causing cirrhosis (ugh) but since my party days are behind me, I think Iíll be ok. One to two drinks per week should be fine.

She pointed me towards different websites so that I could read up on everything, and gave me her direct phone number in case I have questions or side effects.

I feel so much better already.

10:24 a.m. - 2005-04-29

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