Wednesday, August 21, 2013

My Miracle (Shhhh...we don't want to jinx it!)

     One Small Pill=Giant Difference

On August 14, 2013, my life changed for the better. That is the day I went to see my family doctor. If she were here right now, I think I would kiss her. She did something, actually two things: a) she listened; and b) she prescribed something that finally worked on my arthritis.

Almost three years ago I began having painful hands. Then painful feet, shoulders, wrists and elbows. On top of a bad back, somewhere along the line I developed a bad neck.  Some of this stuff I assume starts happening as we age. I am in my mid 40's. But why do I feel like I'm in my mid 80's? My Dad was 86 when he died and he stayed active his whole life. I don't know how he did it.

After a few appointments, my doctor thought perhaps it was Rheumatoid Arthritis. The pain was symmetrical, it went away when I went on prednisone and I had low grade fevers.  I've been through three Rheumys and several different meds to relieve symptoms. Plaquenil, prednisone, methotrexate, cymbalta and tramadol. Some made me sick, some did nothing and the tramadol actually takes the edge off. Blood tests and X-rays reveal nothing. Docs tell me that some people don't test positive for the RH factor (seronegative). It still means we don't really know what I have.  The past few months I have been bothered mostly by the fatigue. I work in a law office and I began taking two hour lunches so I could go home and sleep. I was falling asleep at work.

After complaining to one of my friends about not being able to clean my house or go to any social events on the weekends because I was so exhausted and in pain from working all week, she gave me a pill. She said it would help me have some energy to get some things done. Its name: Vyvanse. She took it for ADHD.  I am not advocating sharing prescription medications, but I was desperate. Desperate people do desperate things. I took the pill and it did what she said it would. I had the energy to do my housework I had neglected for so long. After about two hours, I noticed something. I. had. NO. pain. Zero. Zilch. Nada. For the first time in almost three years, I was pain free. Well, I thought it was a fluke. A couple weeks go by and I am feeling worse and more fatigued than ever. I go to see my GP and talk to her about my meds. I am hesitant to tell her about what I discovered for fear she would think I was a drug seeker. I had nothing to lose, so I told her. She said she was going to prescribe something for the fatigue anyway, so why not try it.

I don't want to get ahead of myself here, but so far I have been not only virtually pain free but the fatigue is gone. I do wake up with sore stiff hands. I eat breakfast and take two tramadol and one Vyvanse and within an hour the pain/stiffness is gone.  Pain is gone from wrists, shoulders and elbows. I still have pain in the balls of my feet if I am on them for any length of time. I still need to wear my Sketcher Shape-ups to work. I was taking six tramadol a day and now I am taking three.

I can't tell you how excited I am! I just hope it lasts. There are some side effects.  Loss of appetite. I don't know why this is a problem...I am at least 30lbs over weight, so another bonus. Also, I have been compulsively chewing the inside of my lips. I can deal with it.  One pill lasts all day, so much so that I have to take a melatonin to get to sleep.  I no longer need to take a nap in the middle of the day.  What I am trying to say is I AM ME AGAIN. I am the me before arthritis stole so many things.

I will write about my progress or lack thereof. I hope you will come on this journey with me. Discovery is so much more when it is shared.

Enjoy the rest of your summer. I know I will enjoy mine :)

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