First: Thank you all for your comments on my last post! As hard as it was to see, I really wasn’t expecting any comments at all. Honestly, you guys are the best.
Second: Yes, I fixed the black type problem, thanks to a kindly WordPress technician. I’d inadvertently imported some freak formatting when I copied and pasted the post from Word into the WordPress editor. That’s never happened before, but I’ve learned my lesson. I’m typing my posts directly into the WP editor from now on.
And now, on to What The Doctor Said.
As I anticipated, he asked me to be patient and give the Humira another three months to work, reiterating that it could take up to six months. Each RD patient is different, he said, and some people’s immune systems accept the drug quickly, others take longer–or never accept it at all.
I was disappointed, but not surprised. My other DMARDs have taken varied periods of time to become effective, too. I had, perhaps, unrealistic hopes that Humira would be my SuperDrug, swooping in like a speeding bullet to save me from the rheuma-dragon.
My elbow flare turns out to be lateral epicondylitis–more commonly known as tennis elbow. There are a couple of possible explanations for it, since I haven’t played tennis since I was in high school. My rheumie reminded me that RD affects more than joints alone–it also affects soft tissues like tendons and ligaments, and more seriously, organs like the heart, lungs, and even the vascular system. He feels this new, painful aggravation appeared as a comorbidity of the rheumatoid disease, just like the chronic bursitis I’m still struggling with.
I’m sure he’s right about that. But after I got home, I did a little googling, as we do. And I discovered that it can also be caused by overuse–specifically, overuse of a computer mouse or even of a laptop computer.
“Ahah!” Yes, I am on my laptop for several–and often many–hours each day, both working and playing. And, since my new room is still full of boxes and other stuff that we haven’t found space for in the new apartment, I haven’t been able to use my desk. Instead, my laptop resides on my lap as I sit in the living room armchair. My elbows are pressed close to my sides.
Now, this has been quite comfortable up until now, so other than wishing I could have a quiet place to work, it hasn’t really been a problem. But discovering that not being able to use my desk might be the culprit behind my painful elbow might help to get Mom to finally go for renting a storage space here in the apartment complex. It’s relatively inexpensive and quite affordable, but she’s become obsessive about pinching her pennies–even though I’m paying rent on the extra room. Sigh. Maybe tennis elbow will do it, eh?
The doc gave me a small velcro-d strap to wear just below my elbow that helps to relieve the pain. He prescribed an analgesic salve, as well.
As he examined my joints, he noted how dry my skin is, and asked if I was having any discomfort in my eyes.
Yes, I said. They’re always bloodshot, and they often itch and burn.
He called the dryness Sicca syndrome, saying it was a possible precursor to Sjogren’s, and prescribed artificial tears for use four times a day. In the meantime, he said, we’d keep an eye (heh-heh) on things, since Sjogren’s is such a common comorbidity of RD.
In other news, Mom woke up feeling ill this morning–she has a headache, nausea, and diarrhea. This is not good.
I’m going out later this morning to pick up Christmas dinner from Honeybaked; we decided not to go through all the stress of making another huge feast this season. And, given the price of groceries, buying the meal already prepared is cheaper. We’re expecting Mr. Wren, my daughter Cary, and her significant other, Matt, for Christmas, but that could change if Mom is still sick. We’ve had to postpone the holiday before because she was ill. We can do it again, and freeze the feast for later. We’ll see.
Here’s hoping this post finds you feeling good and almost ready for the holiday. Thanks again for all your comments. You really have no idea how much I appreciate them.