I think I can... I think I can

Most days I feel like the little engine that could. I persuade myself to do some more, get on with it, push through. You know all the aphorisms about sucking it up, pulling up yourself up by your bootstraps, and finding this to be a character-building experience. What doesn't kill us and all that.

Yawn. This is just plain tiresome. Although I no longer have methotrexate-induced nausea I feel nauseous every day. I'm pretty sure it is the vitamins and once I've taken my meds, had a cup of tea, had my supplement drink and tried to get some breakfast down my neck I typically feel pretty gross. I've found Glutino cereal bars really helpful in getting through the nausea. They're a perfect snack size and with some green tea they seem to calm the churning in my stomach. I used to really enjoy eating and the ritual of food, but lately even chewing is a task.

Work is a chore, too. It is busy right now and I just can't focus on anything and I blame the prednisone. I find myself making perpetual to do lists that seem only to get longer. It takes forever to get ready for work between the aches, the stiffness, the pills, the nausea and the fatigue. Even on prednisone I'm still pretty crushed by fatigue. My administrative assistant handed in her notice so now I have to go through the hiring and training process which means being at the office far more than I have been. And the spring semester is looming along with an 8:00am twice-a-week teaching obligation to 90+ sophomores. I can only hope I am able to get up early enough to make it to class.

The same "little engine that could" mentality plays out in my mind when I think about the methotrexate. I've been taking it for eight weeks and I'm hard pressed to know whether it has made any difference. I think it has, I think it has. I hope it has.

My good friend reminded me this weekend that my current situation is not permanent. With medication this too shall pass. It is hard to remember this when every moment is overtaken with a drive to assess my body for joint pain, stiffness, swelling, nausea, potential flares and a need to compare whatever symptoms I'm experiencing to some other point in time. A daily and weekly comparative benchmarking process. I stare at my hands and feet as though I might just see something happening.

Work, chores, illness, life. I think I can. I think I can.

I think it is too early to know if the mtx is working for you. I have been on it a year and it is still effecting change for me. Now the Enbrel not so much.......I remember feeling the constant push to "do". When I was still working. I am not working now, I am on disability and while it still happens at times it is usually because I took on too much, holidays and such. We each have to find our best level of activity vs rest. Your image of the little engine that could is perfect. I am sending you hugs and prayers as you find your level.

MTX, as with many of the other medications, can take time to work. My impression is that most doctors like to see a 6 month trial before making any decisions. I was on it for six months, got nothing out of increasing doses, and was constantly nauseous. Clearly, not the right drug for me. I got switched over to leflunomide (Arava) 2 months ago, and seem to be getting some improvement. Much less tendon inflammation, a bit less fatigue, but also less hair and more stomach upsets. That's where the balancing act between improvement in symptoms and side effects comes about.

It’s I know I can, I know I can!

Yes, Jane, you can! But it’s not easy, is it? I was diagnosed after I retired from teaching, and I thought “Thank goodness I didn’t have to cope with this while I was still working!”. But now I realize that I’ve been coping with this for, oh, the last 20 years or so. Miscellaneous aches and pains. Fatigue. Joint complaints. Pain. And I pushed and pushed on, thinking that I was just overweight and lazy, and yes, something about a buttercup. :wink:
Looking back on it, if I had known that I had PsA, I would probably have been easier on myself and indulged in less self-blame. And if I had only known, and had treatment, it probably would have been, like you say, a temporary state of affairs.
Getting PsA is rotten luck, but I think you are fortunate to know what devil you are dealing with. Yes you are, and yes you can!

Thanks to you all for your sweet words and reassurances. I'm so glad to have a place to write and shed my load from time to time. Your thoughtfulness is much appreciated. Thanks for making this a safe and kind place to be.