I’ve now taken two doses of Humira—a month’s worth—but my rheuma-dragon continues to bite and gnaw the joints of my hands, ankles, and feet with undiminished enthusiasm, like a dog with a well-loved bone. If I hadn’t actually injected the stuff myself, I’d never believe I’d even taken it.
Yes, I’m disappointed that I don’t feel better. Yes, I know this stuff can take quite some time to show results—if it’s going to. I’ve studied up on Humira and the other biologics, and I’ve read what many other bloggers who’ve taken it or are taking it have written about it. I know that biologic DMARDs, like their cousins, the chemical DMARDs, are fey and fickle. Some people get immediate results. Some get results only after a longish “waiting period” has passed. And for some people, these drugs never work at all—in which case, they have to try another one, going through the whole waiting process again. And maybe again … and again …
I’ve told myself to be realistic and not expect anything. But you know how it is. Deep down inside, I was hoping I might be one of those lucky souls who sees quick and dramatic results.
Seems I’m not. Still … maybe soon. In the meantime, I’m sucking it up.
And now, a new health challenge. About a month ago, just before my lady-parts exam, the nurse took my vitals. Blood pressure, weight, temperature, the usual. My blood pressure was sky-high, even after waiting for a while and taking it a second, then a third time. After my exam, they sent me straight to my primary care doctor.
At the primary care clinic, my blood pressure remained so high my doctor stuck a monitor on me, made me sit in a wheelchair, and had me trotted right over to the emergency room. And there I stayed for the next three hours, following the ER doc’s instructions—“Be calm. Think happy thoughts. Take a nap.”—and hooked up to monitors. Eventually, my BP came down. It was still higher than it was supposed to be, but I wasn’t in imminent danger of a stroke anymore. (Wow. I felt just fine, too!) They sent me back to my primary care doctor.
She gave me an injection to bring my BP down further—she felt it was still uncomfortably high and wasn’t very happy with the ER doc. She had me wait in her clinic for another hour and a half while the medicine made my BP drop. Finally, she felt it was low enough that I could safely leave. Before I did, though, she prescribed a daily blood pressure medication.
I saw her again today for another follow-up. She adjusted the BP med dose for the second time. Seems my blood pressure is still higher than it should be. In the meantime, I’m slowly cutting back on coffee (which I’ve already done over the last couple of years—this is even more). I’m down to just a couple of cups a day, but as my doctor reminded me, the goal is no coffee at all. That’s not going to be easy for me. I get horrible caffeine withdrawal headaches every time I decrease how much I drink. That’s ugly enough, but you know what? I don’t want to give my coffee up entirely. I’ve been drinking it since I was 16 years old. I love coffee.
Why is it we always have to nix the good stuff? Why can’t I give up Brussels sprouts instead?
Other changes I’ve got to make because of blood pressure: cut even more salt out of my diet, and go on a diet. Again. I guess I might as well. Without any salt, my food’s going to taste like kaka, anyway. And of course, I must exercise. Which, I remind myself, is also good for the RA. Sigh.
I’m feeling sort of low these days, but I’m searching for my smile. It’s out there somewhere.