My RA meds stopped working awhile back and we have been trying different medications but nothing seemed to be working. I went into a 10-day flare up with unbelievable pain. My RA has always attacked my hands, elbows, wrists, and shoulders. Once in a great while, it has affected my knees. This time around, it hit my knees, feet and toes. There was one day that I could not walk because of the pain in my foot. I had to move about my house by scooting myself around the house in a chair. It was not a pretty thing to see. The next day my wrists were swollen and painful. On day 10 of the flare-up, my entire right leg became so painful; I could not walk, sit or lay down. I took a painkiller but the pain raged on. I decided that I needed to go to the emergency room but my husband was not able to get me to the point that I could walk to the car because of the pain. We ended up having to call an ambulance. I was hospitalized for three days while they worked on getting the pain controlled.
I learned a lot during this time. I learned humility and to ask for help. Having emergency personnel come into my house and pick me up to put me in on the stretcher is a humbling experience. I think I may have cussed them out when they were doing it. I felt every single bump on the way to the hospital. Not being able to do things without assistance, such as use the restroom, is also a humbling experience. I learned to ask for help (I had no choice). I learned to accept that help. This is an ongoing struggle that I have with myself. Learning to be less independent and to accept help from others.
Living a Healthy Life with Chronic Pain
I had invited my husband’s family to Thanksgiving at our house. We decided to have it on Friday to accommodate everyone’s schedule. By Thursday, I was in the midst of a full flare-up and we had to cancel Thanksgiving. It was a good thing we cancelled because Friday is when I was hospitalized. I felt so bad for ruining everyone’s Thanksgiving. My husband kept telling me that his family would understand and to stop worrying about it. You know what? He was right. They were all more concerned about me and did not care about their missed Thanksgiving dinner. Another life lesson, right?
So, long story short, after leaving the hospital, I met with my Rheumatologist. I have been telling her for 6 months that what we were doing was not working. She got it. She took me off everything that I had been on and we started a new RA medication. It is a self-injection, which I was not thrilled about doing. However, if it helps, I will do it. I am still on Prednisone so the pain is managed through the Prednisone. It will take about three months before we know if the medication is working. So far, I have not had any nasty side effects, so that is a plus.
I am a very optimistic person. While my optimism was lost for short periods, I was able to find it again. I met many fantastic, dedicated and caring health professionals. My RA meds have finally been changed. My family and my husband’s family were wonderful. They adapted. I learned humility. I learned to let people help me. I learned that while it was dark and painful at times, I found my way back to Loving my life (even with Rheumatoid Arthritis). May you be pain free today…