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.