Doctor Day

In a few hours I’m seeing my rheumatologist. The main topic we’ll discuss during this appointment: Humira, and how it’s working for me.

My take: It’s not working. Since starting it three months ago, the symptoms of my rheumatoid disease have increased in severity. And I’ve basically been in one long, long flare that started soon after the second injection.

The most recent symptom? Three days of stiffness and pain in my left elbow. It didn’t disable the joint, but it was very uncomfortable upon movement and throbbed, with the occasional sharp, shooting pain, at rest.

The pain referred to my upper arm and down to my wrist. Today marks the fourth day, though it’s a bit less painful so far this morning.

To say I was—and am—dismayed is an understatement. In more than 26 years, I’ve never had an elbow flare up. I had real hope it would remain that way forever, but obviously, that’s not to be.

I’ve also experienced an on-again, off-again sensation of deep fatigue. That symptom first appeared about six weeks ago. I’ve been very lucky throughout my RD journey in that the fatigue that characterizes the disease has struck me only rarely. But this, too, is no longer the case.

I’m curious to see what my lab results (my session with the vampire was on Monday this week) say about the Humira and the state of my disease. Three months ago, they looked pretty good; my rheumatologist started me on Humira purely based on my increasingly problematic symptoms. So I suspect that my lab results will still be good, since that’s the sneaky way my rheuma-dragon works.

Will my doc switch me to a different biologic DMARD? Or will he suggest I stick to the Humira for another three months, giving it more time to work? To be honest, I’m expecting the latter response. I know this drug can take quite a long time to become effective, and it’s possible it will start working for me soon. Soon-ish. Maybe.

Or maybe not. Anyway, I’ll check back in later, after the appointment, with the decision. This is one of those instances where wishing for luck or crossing my fingers seems fairly useless; neither outcome—stopping the Humira to try another drug, or continuing it to see if it might finally work—offers much hope for any immediate relief. And I should know better than to expect a quick, positive outcome. RD—my wicked old dragon—doesn’t work that way.

10 thoughts on “Doctor Day

  1. Is it you or me? In the comment box I have white text on black – on your post it appears to be black on black and all I can see easily is your photo of the Humira shot.
    Hope the elbow calms down – and that the fatigue goes away since of all my symptoms that was the worst overall.


  2. If I highlight I can read it. It’s Humira day for me. Being in a flare obviously is not making you feel any faith at all that the Humira might work. Everything in RA takes so darn much time.
    I hate all the waiting while one joint after another feels as though it is disintegrating. Why can’t we have cartilage inserts? They can make almost anything


  3. Hi, everyone!
    Yep, same problem for me. Black type on black background means unreadable. I’m querying WordPress; hopefully they’ll fix the issue.


  4. When I started Humira, I was told it could be 2-3 months for it to kick in. Not 5-6. If you follow the treat to target treatment approach, if it isn’t working like it should after 3 months, you adjust the medication (increase dose, add another one, switch entirely). Hope your rheumie acts.


  5. Hi, Wren. I’m sorry I can’t read your entire post, but I wish you luck with your visit. I took Humira for a couple of years back in 2006-07, thereabouts. I was told I had to wait at least six months to see whether it helped or not. It didn’t and I took myself off. I don’t recommend that, but hope you can have a good discussion with your rheumatologist. Sending you good thoughts!


  6. Black on black here too..but I can read. I understand your frustration…similar week coming up for me. I’ve been on Remicade for 14 months and I say it isn’t working. Labs say I’m the picture of health but Vectra DA says I’m BACK up too high moderate activity. MRI tomorrow to confirm that I am still suffering synovitis in hands and wrist. I’m scheduled for infusion on New Year’s Eve…unless MRI proves me right. If no improvement they next want me to try Enbrel. SO frustrating. They do tell me it can take 4 to 6 months to see improvement. I hope one of the lesser of two evils will work for you and here’s wishing us all a more pain free New Year!


  7. I read the post on my iPhone which has a neat feature that makes things easier to read (black text on white background) but also see black/black. Please do let us know how the rheumy visit went. I don’t know of any doctor that would make you stay on a medication for six months that you didn’t feel like it was working. By now you should be getting SOME relief if it was going to work for you. Hopefully a change (for the better) is in the works. Wishing you a Christmas miracle.


  8. I hope your visit with your doctor has brought you some answers and a possible way out of this painful time. At times I completely gave up on all the doctors I had to see but that’s so futile in the end. I realise that patience is difficult and I have been there, believe me. Is there anything that offers at least distraction and comfort? I hope so!!!


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