Tonight I will administer my 6th injection of Simponi (or golimumab for those who like scientific names). I've been told that it takes between 5 and 6 injections to "get to baseline" - i.e., it may take that long to really feel the effects of the drugs and in essence, feel better. Understanding that, it seemed to me to be as good of a time as ever to celebrate the milestone, contribute to this site with a blog post and perhaps help someone on this site or out in cyberspace living in as much pain as I was!
First things first - full disclosure here. I am a J&J employee and I take Simponi, which is a J&J anti-TNF Blocker. I'm not here to market for Simponi nor is this an attempt at a viral marketing campaign (I hope the FDA got that- ha). Ok, back to me...
I was officially diagnosed with Psoriatic Arthritis on February 26th, 2013. I say officially because for years I knew I had something autoimmune related, but wasn't sure exactly what, nor what to do about it. I don't want to waste valuable time going over every little detail, so to sum up my symptoms, here goes:
- Psoriasis - check
- Pain - check
- Iritis - check, check, check
- More pain - check
- Depression - check
- More Iritis - check
- HLA B-27 - check
- More depression - double check
I honestly thought I could manage the pain myself. That attempt failed miserably. The pain and the depression took over and I found myself checking out of life as much as I could. I have two small children (4 and 17 months now) and a husband at home who need a mom and wife. Unfortunately I wasn't being very good at either - and I still had to manage my full time job to boot! By December (2012) things were pretty much falling apart. How did I get out of this viscious cycle? I broke down. At work. Thankfully I have a wonderful friend who runs our Fitness Center. I was able to hide in his office, privately lose it, and tell him everything that was going on. He suggested I talk to our EAP (Employee Assistance Program) Counselor. Thankfully she could see me the next day. After listening to me, she whipped me right into shape. She didn't sugar coat anything or try to coddle me. Before I knew it I was finally seeking help from my PCP and a new rheumatologist and with the help of a little Cymbalta, I was on the path to recovery... both physical and emotional!
After it was determined that a biologic would be the best course of treatment for me, I opted for Simponi. I got my first injection on March 5th, and as I mentioned, tonight will be my 6th (Simponi injections are every 28 days). The transformation since March 5th has been amazing. I never thought I could give myself an injection. Guess what - I can! As I've told people, it feels very empowering. My pain has dramatically decreased as well - the meds are workin! I finally feel like I am in control of something instead of the pain managing me. I'm not in love with the fact that I'll probably be on medication the rest of my life, but honestly I wasn't living before so why not?!
As I try to proactively fight this disease and maintain control of my life, I've also begun seeing an Herbalist who is also a certified Aromatherapist. That Cymbalta I mentioned? It gave me dry mouth and caused a cavity within 5 months of taking it. I'm now weaning myself off (God help us!). My dentist recommended I see Laurie. I've always been open to other methods of healing so it was a no-brainer.
What Laurie has done for me is as amazing as my Simponi results! Using the practice of muscle testing she identified that I could benefit from 2 essential oils. Cedar wood and Celery. When we looked them up, lo and behold, they fight inflammation, pain, stress, rheumatism... basically they treat everything that is wrong with me! After putting the oils on, just twice, I immediately felt the pain in my neck start to dissipate. 4 1/2 Weeks after beginning, the pain in my neck (which has lingered for some 17 years - the result of a car accident), is almost gone. Now we are working with accupressure points and taking natrum sulphuricum (cell salt #11) to help deal with my assortment of issues. I've regained my energy, I'm a little less high strung, a lot more positive and able to be a much better mom, wife, daughter and friend...
I hope I can encourage you all not to give up and to stay positive. Seek alternative methods of treatment if you're not satisfied with what you are currently getting. Rely on friends and family too! If you have something that works for you, please share it - either in the comments here or write a blog. Perhaps you will help someone too!