Thursday, July 22, 2010

The Appointment

If you are anything like me, once you acknowledge that you are angry and experience the anger, it is so much easier to move on. Yesterday I felt a lot of anger and I shared it with my blogger friends. As I joined my homeschooling friends, I still felt the anger but as I checked messages on my iPhone throughout the day, I felt tears forming as I realized I didn't have to share this with others because I was getting so much support and encouragement yesterday from those of you who are experiencing the same thing. Thank you so much if you responded to my post yesterday. I needed to hear your words more than I knew.

Today was my appointment with the rheumatologist and I wasn't angry when I went to the appointment as I expected. My heart felt calm and as I talked with her I realized that my PCP was very smart in recommending a new rheumatologist to me.

Dr. J. started the appointment by asking, "Does the weather bother your joints?" (First rhuematologist said research didn't support that theory when I brought it up.") Then she totally won me over when she said, "this is up to you," before presenting any of her recommendations. We went over my recent lab work. My inflammation rates are still really high. We discussed how I have a lot of daily hair shedding and nausea the morning after taking methotrexate. Then she really won me over. She stood up and felt my hair and said, "If it continues to thin out, we will take you off of it." (When I had the same side effect with rheumatologist #1 in 2004 he said, "Oh, it is hard to tell since you have so much hair." I felt like I was making it up until my hairdresser asked if I was taking hormone therapy because it had thinned out so much). I appreciated that Dr. J. acknowledged that this is a concern for me and decided against increasing the methotrexate.

We then discussed Enbrel. I teared up as usual. She said, "These are scary drugs." BINGO! She was validating my concern. Rather than scaring me, it calmed me that I wasn't overreacting to the side effects of these drugs. We then discussed how RA has progressed even in recent months.

I left my appointment feeling calm and ready to start treatment. I feel optimistic. I feel like all the work I have been doing the last two years has not been a set back but instead preparing me for now. As my immune system is suppressed by the new drug, a good diet is going to be needed more than ever. Having a strong relationship with my naturopath to work on supplementing side effects of the medications is more important than ever. Yesterday I felt like I was taking steps backwards but today I see that I have only been preparing myself for today.