Productive Rheumatology Appointment

I went to see my rheumatologist this morning. My blood work was in and everything looked really good except for very mild anemia. I have always had this so it isn't much of a worry. Liver function seems really good and blissfully unaffected by massive consumption of bacon, eggs and bourbon.

I've been having a little up and down period with my body of late. The up is that Humira is clearly working and there are far fewer symptoms than before and far more good days than bad ones. I've been feeling well enough to hit the treadmill somewhat regularly, and I play racquetball (with an assortment of tapes and braces in the appropriate places) usually a couple of times a week. I'm waiting for the fall semester to start so I can resume deep water exercise classes. And last weekend I spent three nights and four days appreciating a rather wet and soggy part of the Hoosier National Forest and went kayaking in the rain. While sleeping on an air mattress in a tent in the rain is likely not the single best way to handle arthritis, my doctor and I see it as a sign of living a normal life and if I have to take a few more ibuprofen once I get home then so be it.

On the down side, I don't seem to have a good handle on those annoying environmental factors which contribute to pain, inflammation, sleeplessness, etc. I've been having a lot of pain in my large joints of late and my small joints including my wrists for the first time have been a near-constant nag on my pain receptors and my patience. In describing the pain I experience I told my doctor (and not for the first time) about the stabbing pains inside my joints and then the numbness and tingling that often accompanies these bouts of acute pain--particularly in my fingers and toes. This presentation seems quite similar to neuropathy and given that when it presents (often in the night) it affects my sleep patterns, he decided to start me on gabapentin at bedtime to see if I get some relief.

On the whole, a good appointment. And I'm booking another campsite in September.

Hi janeatiu, it sounds like you're doing pretty well! Racquetball is a fast-moving sport-it's great that you can participate in it, and I'm thinking this kind of exercise is good for your all-around well being! Just don't overdo it!

I had a rheumy appt too today-which thankfully there was a telephone reminder for yesterday or I wouldn't have gone.... Like so often, I forgot to put it on my calendar.

It was a very informative appt, I got to see the x-rays of my hands and feet from 8 months ago and he pointed out the damage from PsA and osteo. He was okay with me getting my Enbrel through my dermy, and offered to take over if I don't want to continue my follow up appts with her since she's 70 miles away.

I wanted to tell you what I had taken for neuropathy in my feet a couple years ago. Nortriptyline worked extremely well for that, and all I took was 10mg/day. It took away some of my anxiety too. Just wanted you to know in case the med you got doesn't work well .

It's good to hear how well you're doing and your positive attitude. Yes, the pain is problematic sometimes--my rheumy told me the osteo isn't going to go away so there will always be the aches and pains from that unless I get surgery to remove it or steroid injections--or just take more pain meds. Sounds like you have a lot of that, too.

I am glad to hear you living your life. Although I need a nap just reading your adventures. I have the same anemia issue since diagnosed and on Meds. Have been playing with all types of iron supplements and have recently seen an improvement. The anemia adds to the sluggishness.

Enbrel has definitely alleviated a lot of my pain and fatigue, but like you, I've been having some other bad pain that's really getting me down. I dealt with neck pain that started before I started Enbrel-and finally that is letting up, but now my SI joint is really bothering me-to the point of tears yesterday. And I never give in to pain like that. I'm thinking this is just my body adjusting and, like every other flare, this will die down eventually too. The pain in my right butt and down my leg is so bad it's disabling and my movements are slow and calculated. I did start doing an "unloading" position yesterday for 10 min at a time, and that is lying on my back and resting my legs on a stack of cushions with knees bent at 90 degrees. This takes the pressure off. The other positions and exercises hurt too much right now to do. PT this afternoon will help, maybe. :-( The biologics definitely have lots of benefits, but I guess we have to accept that they aren't a cure all!